A USA TODAY bestseller, Sweet Thing tells the story of Mia Kelly, a twenty-five-year-old walking Gap ad who thinks she has life figured out when her father’s sudden death uproots her from slow-paced Ann Arbor to New York City’s bustling East Village. There she discovers her father’s spirit for life and the legacy he left behind with the help of an old café, a few eccentric friends, and one charming musician.
A story of self-discovery and friendship, Sweet Thing shines light on the power of loving and letting go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.
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Looking around at the remaining guests, the little white lights everywhere and the glistening pond, I thought Jenny and Tyler’s wedding couldn’t have been any better; it was complete magic. Playing music with Mia made an already perfect night spectacular. I wanted to grab a bottle of champagne and stroll around the little pond with Audrey, but I couldn’t find her anywhere.
I made my way up to the cottage and entered the front door. Right away I could hear movement. The moment I turned the corner to head down the short hallway, I saw Mia in sneaky mode, quietly closing one of the bedroom doors. When she turned, she ran right into my chest.
“Have you seen Audrey?” I said.
She just stared at me, blank faced.
“What, Mia?” She remained expressionless and then dick-stick Dustin walked out of the room and stood behind her. “Oh no. Really? Really, Mia? You and him?” Holy shit, she was fucking him in there. Oh my god, she’s gonna need disinfecting. And then Audrey walked out and stood next to Dustin. “What?” I started laughing uncontrollably. Why wasn’t I invited to this party? “The three of you? What the fuck?” I searched Mia’s face. She looked sad. I couldn’t believe it. I turned and headed down the hallway, thinking what a travesty this was—my best friend and my girlfriend together with Dustin, the filthiest, STD-ridden dirtbag in the universe.
I went straight for the bar, grabbed a bottle of whiskey, and then headed toward the pond. I could hear Mia yelling behind me. I kept my head down, got into the little white boat, and rowed away from the dock. I just kept thinking How could Mia do that, did she have no dignity? and How could Dustin use her that way when he knows how precious she is to me? How could he when he knows that I would have given anything to be with her, to be with Mia.
She yelled at me to come back and talk to her.
“I’m not. Talking. To. You. Ever!” I screamed. I saw Dustin with his arm around Audrey, standing behind Mia. I stood up in the boat, barely able to keep my balance, and flipped them off with both hands. “Fuck all of you!” I almost fell over, so I sat down and rowed farther into the darkness before yelling a final, “Don’t look for me!”
I could still see them under the lights, but I knew they couldn’t see me. When I got to the other side, I pulled the boat up onto the shore and started on the whiskey. First I heard her and then I saw her coming toward me from the footpath.
“Don’t fucking come near me, Mia. I swear to God I will row myself into the middle of that Goddamn pond and stay there till next year.”
She stayed where she was and in the calmest, sweetest voice, said, “I walked into the room and thought you and Audrey were having sex. I couldn’t see who it was behind the screen. I tried to sneak back out, and that’s when I ran into you. I was confused.”
I believed her, but I couldn’t face her in that moment. Audrey and Dustin had humiliated me and I knew Mia felt sorry for me.
“Go away, Mia.”
I spent the next hour in that little boat, thinking about everything, thinking about my life, thinking about the time Mia had asked me what my hopes and dreams were. I knew without a doubt they included her, but I also knew I had to be patient with her. The fact that Audrey and Dustin, that pencil-dick, were probably screwing around right in front of my face, didn’t even bother me. I just thought about how relieved I was that it wasn’t Mia.
I headed back to the cottage and found her sleeping, absolutely peaceful and beautiful. Her long, dark hair was braided and resting over her shoulder. She was on her side; the quilt was shrugged half down, exposing her almost completely in her T-shirt and underwear. Honestly, by that point I had gotten over wanting to fuck Mia. When I thought about being with her, I only thought about making love to her, sweetly. That night I wanted so badly just to have slow, soft, sleepy sex with her. I lay beside her on top of the quilt and watched her sleep. I thought back to earlier that day at the wedding when she came walking down the aisle, how badly I wanted to see her in white, but still how stunning she looked. I thought about her reaction when she saw Jenny and the way she’d lovingly but enviously stared at Jenny on her dad’s arm. I knew Mia was thinking about her own father and that the grief and pain was still weighing heavily on her. I thought about how she was always alone, even when she dated that dipshit, Bob. Mia just seemed like this lost little soul and I knew it would be a while before she came around. I passed out thinking about what it would be like to hold her and praying that she would let me; praying for us.
A few hours later I woke up to the feel of her gentle hand pulling my belt open. I noticed she had removed my shoes and tie. I looked down at her through foggy, squinted eyes. She smiled lovingly at me. There was just a hint of pity in her expression, but her face was warm and kind.
“I got it,” I said. “Come back to bed.”
She slid back into bed while I stripped down to my boxers. She turned away from me and onto her side. I curled up behind her and hitched my leg over hers. I reached my hand up under her shirt to her warm, soft skin. I was holding her; she didn’t stop me. It felt so good. That moment was tender, raw, and sacred, and I would take a fleeting moment like that any day over an eternity of mediocrity.
“I am now.” I kissed her hair and inhaled deeply. “It hurt more when I thought it was you,” I said and then I dozed off again. I woke up practically laying on top of her. My hands were on her sides and my head rested on her stomach. I think I was crushing her, but she didn’t seem to mind. She was running her hands through my hair. She smelled like Mia always smelled, clean and cozy and like home. I stayed there as still as I could; I wanted it to last forever. And then I thought, “Oh screw it. I’m going for it.”
I anchored my fingers and tried slowly to pull her panties down. She pressed herself against me like she liked it and then I think she felt me hard beneath her and jerked away to sit up. I watched her blushing face. She bit down on that pouty bottom lip.
I whispered, “Sorry, baby.”
Her lips curled into a tiny smile, and she leaned over, kissed my shoulder, and breathed, “Get some sleep,” just barely loud enough for me to hear.
When she left the room, I looked down at myself and laughed. Patience, my friend, patience.