Novels

SIGNED, SEALED & DELIVERED

a nostalgic romantic comedy novelette

BOSTON CLASSICS #1.5

This novelette can be enjoyed before or after reading Forget About Me or as a standalone, but you can only get this free book by joining the Wicked Smaht Romcom Readers Facebook Group or subscribing to the Home Cooked Books news at followkarengrey.com.

LUCY:

He’s my brother’s best friend, I’ve known him since I was six years old, he’s home for the summer and my brother isn’t. Which means he’s the perfect guy to lose my virginity with. I’ve done the research: The Joy of Sex, Fear of Flying, all of Danielle Steele’s books. I just need to convince him that it’s a good idea to be my partner in my self-devised “Intro to Good Sex” course.

BEN:

We’ve been Kick the Can teammates, she’s cried on my shoulder, we worked on plays in high school. If she weren’t my best friend’s little sister, I’d have asked her out years ago. Her brother’s in the Navy now and I promised him I’d watch out for her. Pretty sure that doesn’t mean seeing her naked. Somehow she convinces me that it’s a good idea for us to have sex. And boy is it. Until we both head to college and have to decide whether this summer class is one we want to make a year-long thing…

Take a trip back in time to the 1980’s with this prequel to the nostalgic Boston Classic series, where the setting may be retro, but falling in and out of love hasn’t changed.

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE

 

Monday, August 15, 1981

Lucy,

You haven’t even left yet but I want you to have mail waiting for you when you get to UMass. My dad did that for me freshman year and it helped a lot with the homesickness.

So, hi.

I really believe everything we said. I want you to be free to meet all kinds of people. but I’m already jealous of all those people.

I don’t want you to forget about me and

FUCK

 

Two months earlier…

LUCY

I’m late. And it’s raining. Only my third day at my first real job and I’m late.

With the rain and my sweat, I’m getting soaked in both directions as I run—well, walk fast—to the bus stop. Not that the animals care, but I have a full day of cleaning cages and sweeping floors and scrubbing exam tables ahead. Damp pits and crotch on top of that? Double your pleasure, double your fun.

Yippee.

Fighting with my mom isn’t a great way to start the day, either. Over food, as usual. Her trying to stuff me with food when I so obviously need to diet.

Wait. Is someone calling my name? Pausing my walkman, I try to remove the headphones but they get stuck in my dork-a-licious hair. I don’t see anyone on the sidewalk behind me but—shit—there’s my bus. Naturally, I’m halfway between stops. I’ll have to sprint to even have a chance at making it.

“Lucy!” Okay, that was definitely my name coming from the van double-parked just ahead.

Oh.

It’s Ben’s dad’s shop van. It’s Ben.

Wowzers. Just the thought of seeing him and my stupid heart is wigging out.

I can’t just stand here, so, one eye on the bus, which is now waiting at the intersection, I jog over to the van.

He’s backlit, but it’s definitely him. I haven’t seen Ben since Christmastime, when he was home from Vassar, but I’d recognize that lanky body and crazy spiky hair anywhere.

“Ben!” I check on the bus, still idling at the red light. “Hey, I—”

“Hey, Lucy, what’re you—”

I wave a hand in the air, like a total dork. “I’m sorry, but I’m late and I’m about to miss the bus, but—”

“Where are you going?”

“To work.”

He shrugs. “You want a ride?”

“Oh, you don’t have to—” Moving cars draw my eye. “Well, if you really don’t mind.” I point down the street. “That was my bus.”

“Of course I don’t mind. You can give me the skinny on what’s up with your family.” He leans across and opens the passenger door. “Where are we going?”

When I give him the address of the animal hospital in Somerville where I’m working for the summer, he shrugs. “I’m headed to a lumberyard over that way, anyway.”

I hesitate, even as the rain picks up. “For real? I’m kind of soaking wet here.”

“For realz. It’s not like I’ve got leather seats or anything. Hop in.”

I can’t help but return his smile. And it’s my real smile, too, not the polite one. Ben has always had that effect on me. Like he sees me and accepts me just as I am. Heaving myself up into the van, however, I feel self-conscious. Graceful and light, I am not.

He doesn’t seem to notice. As soon as I close the door, he puts the van in gear and pulls out into the heavy Mass Ave traffic. “So, working for a vet. Are you still thinking about being one?”

“I think so. If my grades are good enough.”

He glances at me briefly, an expression I can’t quite read in his eyes. Attention back on the road, he shakes his head. “I can’t believe you’re eighteen.”

I shift in the seat, feeling totally grody. Why couldn’t he have offered me a ride when I had a cute outfit on? May as well laugh it off. “Yeah, you’ll probably always think of me as Tony’s fat little sister.”

“Lucy,” he snaps, like I’m a puppy who just peed on the floor.

“What?”

He shakes his head, eyes on the road. “Nothing. It’s just… that’s not how I think of you.”

He doesn’t elaborate as he shifts gears, handles the steering wheel. Surreptitiously studying him, I can’t help but notice how his body has changed. No longer the pudgy little boy that followed my brother everywhere or the scrawny teen that my mother tried to fill up with food, he has biceps that actually bulge. His shoulders have broadened and his thighs are muscular. It’s not like he’s buffed out like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky or anything. It’s more like he’s come into focus. Everything about him is sharper. His face is more angular, too.

His lips, though? They’re full and soft. Lips made for kissing.

I’m staring, dammit. I have got to chill. Forcing my gaze forward, I check my chin for drool.

Radio silence from the driver’s seat.

Searching for a safe topic of conversation, something that won’t reveal the fact that all I can think about right now is what it would be like to have my teenage dreams come true— have those strong arms pull me up against that solid chest—I say, “So, you’re still working for your dad?”

He nods and clears his throat. “Yeah, got to save up money for the school year. Plus, he missed bossing me around.” He grins and glances my way.

“I guess he must get lonely when you’re at school.”

“Yeah. I mean, it’s not like I’m that far away. But the bus home still takes forever.”

“You still studying drama?”

“Yeah. And business. Just in case.”

“Cool beans.” What an idiot. Cool beans. Like I’m a little kid. Which I am compared to him. I mean, he’s been in college for three whole years while I just graduated from high school.

He taps on the steering wheel to the beat of “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. “Heard from Tony?”

“He sends letters to my mom. He’s somewhere in the Pacific, I think.”

“Yeah, I got one that said he might come home this summer for a week before shipping out again?”

“Yeah, maybe.”

He nods at the radio. “Hey, have you heard Devo’s version of this? It’s pretty rad.”

“Uh, no. I’ll have to check it out.”

I nod. Can’t think of anything else to say. It’s weird. I used to  always have these long talks with Ben where—in a way I can’t even imagine my brother doing—he’d give me his complete and total attention, even though he couldn’t possibly be interested in me yammering on about girl drama or the latest animal I’d rescued.

But this just feels awkward.

There’s an ad on the radio for the new movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Relieved for a conversation topic, I reach over to turn it up. “Have you heard about this movie? My friend Becky said it was far out.”

“Yeah, I went over the weekend. It was wicked cool.”

“Awesome. Maybe I’ll go this weekend.”

“You should. For sure.”

I have to stifle a sigh of relief when I see the vet practice up ahead. This ride could not have gone worse. “If you just pull over in front of that car, I can get out here.” I’m sure he can’t wait to get rid of me.

“This looks like a nice place,” he says as he pulls over.

“Yeah, it is. And thanks. You saved me from being really late.” I grab my stuff, which has left a puddle on the van’s floor and open the door. “You should stop by the house sometime. You know, come for dinner, like old times.”

He pats his flat belly. “I could get into that.”

“Okay, well, gotta book. Thanks again.” I step down to the curb, painfully aware of how the fabric of my scrubs strains across my fat ass. “Later skater.”

Hustling toward the entrance, I allow myself one last look back.

I wave.

He nods and pulls out into traffic.

I duck inside.

Guess that’ll never happen again. I am such a spaz.

 

BEN

After I pull up in front of Lucy’s house, I toot the van’s horn twice. As she skips down the front steps, I realize that after a few weeks of giving her rides, this has become the best part of my day. I just wish I could figure out how to spend more time with her. But asking her out—on a date? That would just be weird.

She opens the passenger door, her smile wide. “You don’t have to do this every day, you know.”

“Are you kidding? And miss treats like this from your mom?” As Lucy pulls herself up into the van, I feel like I should he give her a hand, but that feels awkward for some reason. “Sorry it’s so clumsy getting in this thing.”

“Hey, I need the exercise,” she huffs. “Here’s my fare.” She holds up a paper bag. “Where do you want this?”

“In my mouth, most likely. What did you bring me?”

“Homemade cinnamon rolls.”

Taking the bag, I open it and inhale. “Oh my god. Your mom is the bomb. These look awesome.”

“Just one of the reasons why I’m so fat.”

“Lucy. You’re not fat.”

“Dude, we were fat kids together. I’m still fat.” She shrugs. “You’re not anymore.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Taking in her body—which truly isn’t fat but it isn’t little girly either—not only do my eyes linger on certain curvy parts but my dick stiffens in my shorts. Man, what kind of a perv am I? The kind that’s jonesin’ for his best friend’s little sister, obviously. Eyes back on the bag of treats which is thankfully covering my woody, I mumble, “I think you’re perfect.”

Then I stuff half a cinnamon roll in my mouth to shut myself up before I say anything more incriminating.

Lucy pulls her big straw bag onto her lap and pulls out a cassette tape. “Can I change the tuneage? I made this mixtape last night and it is stellar, if I do say so myself. Plus, if I have to hear this ‘Greatest American Hero’ song one more time I’m gonna barf.”

I shrug. I’m not a fan either, but my brain’s still stuck on images of what she must look like under her clothes. Maybe better music will help. She leans across to push the cassette in and I have to grip the steering wheel hard to avoid pulling her right onto my lap. Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” is up first. I groan.

“You don’t like this song?”

“No. I—uh, ate that cinnamon roll too fast.” Wiping my hands on my shorts, I put the van in gear. “Don’t forget your seatbelt.”

She sighs.

“It’s my dad’s rule. If you want the ride you have to use it.”

“It’s just so uncomfortable,” she whines. I give her my best serious face and she rolls her eyes. “Oh, all right.”

Her boobs lift when she reaches for the belt. I can’t make myself look away even though I feel like a total wanker.

“It’s not coming”—she yanks on the strap a few times—“out. Is it caught on something?” She twists in her seat. “Can you see?”

Tearing my eyes away, I put the van back in park and lean over to look behind the passenger seat. “Shit, it’s caught on the edge of a cabinet. Sorry, we had a big delivery today and I really packed everything in. Hang on, I’ll get it.”

Unlatching my own seat belt, I move the bag of cinnamon rolls to the floor, kneel up on my seat, put a hand on the side of her seat, and lean over as far as I can to try and unhook the strap. This close, her curly lemon-scented hair tickles my nose. Picturing myself gently brushing it aside to kiss her neck, my grip slips off the edge of her seat.

Just as she turns back around, my hand lands right smack in the middle of her left boob.

“Agh! I’m so sorry!” Jerking both hands away from her, I completely lose my balance. All I can think is: you can’t touch Lucy like that and before I know it I’m falling behind her seat, clonking my head on a cabinet in the process.

Her face pops up over the back of her seat. “Oh my god, are you okay?”

“I’m so sorry, Lucy, that—that was a total accident.”

She’s smiling, but her cheeks are bright pink. “It’s okay. That’s the most action I’ve gotten in a while.”

“Jeez, Lucy. What would your mother say?” Wondering where the hell she’s been getting action is not helping me get out of this jam.

“My mother would wonder how we ended up playing Twister across the seats of your delivery van.” The seat shifts and her hair brushes my forearm. “Wow. You’re really stuck.”

“Yep.” Every time I squirm, I wedge myself in tighter.

The Police are now singing “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” That should’ve been the first song on the mixtape.

“Sorry.” She giggles.

Shit. I said that out loud.

“But I’m not that sorry.” She leans up and over the seat, bringing her delicious scent and luscious curves even closer. Taunting me. Her face hovers just above my left cheek, her soft curls fall to caress my ear, and her brows crinkle. “Oh, that’s where the seatbelt’s caught,” she announces. The buckle clanks as it hits the metal door.

“At least we solved that problem,” I sigh.

Lucy suddenly faces front and the seat jerks slightly. “It won’t go up anymore.”

“Yeah, I had to move it all the way forward to get everything in this morning.”

She’s back, kneeling on the seat. “With you there, it’s even tighter now. Maybe we should just leave you there. You know, as extra padding for the cabinets.”

“Stop laughing at me!”

“You have to admit it’s pretty funny.”

“It’s not going to be that funny when you’re late for work and I’m late with this delivery.”

My left arm is the only part of me that’s free, so I grab hold of the seat and pull. Unfortunately, at this angle I can’t get enough leverage. Maybe I’m just not strong enough. “Well, this is a problem.”

She grabs my elbow with both hands, bringing her cleavage directly into my line of sight. As she yanks on me, her boobs get squished together and bounce at the same time. I can’t breathe, let alone tell her she’s rubbing the skin of my left arm raw.

When she gives up and flops back into her seat, I can’t stop the groan of frustration.

“Sorry.”

“S’okay,” I grit out.

Her door opens and the van rocks slightly as she gets out and slams the door. The driver’s side door creaks open and then she’s back, kneeling my seat. “Good thing there isn’t much traffic yet, so nobody can see you like this. And no one else is home at my house, so I’m your only hope.”

She’s laughing at me, but I don’t care. The cleavage is back and my view is even better. When she leans close, pressing those boobs into my arm as she slides a hand behind my neck, I think my dick might explode.

Sweet Jesus what is she doing and can we stay like this forever? Blondie’s singing “Rapture” now and I’m with her. If the man from Mars came right now I wouldn’t even notice.

Lucy makes a little “eep” sound when she loses her balance. Sadly, she catches herself before falling.

“Careful,” I say, doing my best to keep my voice from revealing how totally turned on I am right now. “If you land on top of me, we’ll have to wait for the cavalry to get us out. Unless your dad finds us first and murders me for touching you.”

“Eh, it’s not like no boy has ever touched these boobs.”

“What?” Whoever the asshole was, I suddenly want to kill him. “Who has touched your boobs?”

“A few people,” she says. “None of your business.”

Filled with a sudden surge of jealousy on top of a growing desire to touch her, all over, purposefully rather than accidentally, I squeeze my eyes shut and clamp my jaw closed.

“Um.” Her voice and her body strains as she presses into me. “I can’t get a hold of anything.”

“Maybe try pulling?” A certain part of me is begging her to grab hold of it, but I wave my left hand. “This is free, remember.”

“Oh. Duh.” She laughs again. How have I never noticed how beautiful her laugh is?

She grabs my hand and pulls but can’t get a good grip. Probably because my palms are sweaty. Letting go of her hand, I bend my elbow. “Here. Hook both hands around my arm and then on the count of three, use your whole body to haul backwards. Just be careful and don’t fall into the street.”

After turning around and slamming the driver’s side door closed, she grasps my arm as instructed. “Okay. I’ve got you. Ready? One, two. Oh wait. Go on the three or after the three?”

“It doesn’t really matter. You’re in charge here, I can’t move myself.”

“Right.” She rolls her eyes. “One, two, and three!”

Her initial jerk only moves me slightly, but it’s something. “One more time, and really lean back, put your weight into it.

She doesn’t count the second time and suddenly I’m lurching through space. Grappling in the air for purchase while trying to avoid grabbing her inappropriately, I find something which shifts even as my hand closes over it.

“Shit!” I yell in her ear, when I realize it’s the gear shift. Lucy’s between me and the pedals, but I can see we’re drifting forward. “Hit the brake, we’re moving!”

“Fuck!” Lucy answers, as she twists around and starts stomping. The engine races and I shout over it, “The other pedal. That’s the gas!”

“Fuck, shit, fuck, shit,” she mutters, squirming on my lap in a way that is gloriously torturous as she tries to find the brake. “I don’t really know how to dri—”

The car jerks to a stop. “Hold it right there,” I breathe into her ear before finding the gearshift again. “Okay. We’re back in park now.”

She sighs. “Well, that was exciting.”

“Heh, heh. Yeah.” What’s exciting? At least to my poor neglected penis? Lucy is sandwiched between it and the steering wheel. Please god, let her not know what the hard-as-a-rock thing pressing into her butt right now is.

She looks over her shoulder, her cheeks bright pink, her smile sly. “I can feel you.”

The Jim Carroll Band is playing “People Who Died” and I’d happily go along with Mary, Judy or Greg right now. I have never been so off the hook embarrassed. Even so, half of me still wants to grab her and kiss the smile off of her face. “I am so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” she says, her grin wider. “It’s nice to know that you feel—”

“Lucy. You are my best friend’s little sister and—”

“Not so little.” She looks down at her feet and then back at me, her butt moving in a way that has me stifling a moan. “Can I take my foot off the brake now?”

“Yep.”

“Good.” She shifts her position so that, thankfully, her butt is no longer in danger of being invaded by my penis and I’m able to move my legs to the side and get my feet onto the van floor. Unfortunately, she doesn’t move far. She just nestles right in between me and the door, her warm thigh pressed against mine.

Eyes on the ceiling, fisting my hands, I tell myself I have to get my shit together. We’re both breathing raggedly now and it’s no longer from the effort of getting me unstuck or stopping the van from crashing into the car in front of us. “Lucy…” I shake my head. “I…”

I’ve got nothing.

“I really want to kiss you right now,” she says in a husky low voice I’ve never heard cross those lips before. It’s the sexiest goddamn thing. “Is that weird?”

Her breath is warm on my cheek and I can smell the mint of her toothpaste. “Well, as you noticed, I’m pretty fucking turned on right now. But”—I side-eye her— “We can’t do this, Lucy.”

“Why not?” Somehow she finds a way to face me and sneak a hand between my thighs. With her lips up against my ear she whispers, “Give me one good reason. After all, I’m not your sister.”

“Tony,” I grind out.

“He’s not the boss of me. Or you.”

I hold my breath, struggling to come up with a good argument for about half a second, until she sinks her teeth into my earlobe. And then all reason flies out the window. My right hand buries itself in her dark curls and pulls her mouth to mine. Lips crash together, somebody moans, tongues tangle. I cannot get close enough to her. Want to devour every inch of her. The thrill of her fingertips trailing over my skin lights me up like a pinball machine.

Then she’s straddling me and my hands skim up and down her sides, grazing her breasts with my thumbs, making her shudder. My mouth finds her neck and she rises up to give me access.

And a horn blares. Freezing, my eyes pop open. It takes a sec for me to realize that it’s my van’s horn. “What the fuck?” My hands fly out to the side as far away from her as they can get, like I wasn’t actually doing what I was just doing to my best friend’s little sister.

A slow smile spreads across her face. “That was… awesome.”

I squeeze my eyes shut so I can’t see the expression that makes me want to do that again. “Jesus, Lucy. What the fuck?”

“You said that already.”

“I know. I just. I’m so sorry. That was really… inappropriate.”

“Bullshit.” She rolls her eyes, pushes off of me and flops over to the passenger seat. “It was fun and you know it.”

I just stare at her.

“What?” The Go-Go’s are on now and she turns up the music. Waggling her eyebrows, she says, “I’m not going to tell.”

After a long moment, she straightens her clothes and gives me a look I can’t quite read. “We should probably go or I’m going to be late.”

Thrown by her abrupt shift in tone, I shake my head slowly. “You don’t want to… talk about that?”

“Nope.” She just shrugs. “But we should maybe try it again sometime. Somewhere a little more private.”

I shake my head more forcefully and grasp the steering wheel. Hard. “Nope. Not going to happen.”

“Mm, hmm.”

I look over at her just long enough to catch the smirk on her face, open my mouth to say… I don’t know what. Closing it, I shake my head one last time, start the van, check the side mirror, and pull out. Heart pounding, jaw clenched, I put all my focus on the road.

However, voice worms it’s way past all my lines of defense as she sings along softly with the Cars on “Think it Over.”

And… I’m screwed. Because they’re right. There is nothing I can do.

 

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