Drowning In You
by Rebecca Berto
Publication date: April 12th 2013
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Crushed by a tragedy
Charlee May’s been crushing on Dexter Hollingworth since she was fifteen. Five years later, a horrific skiing disaster at Mason’s Ski Lift Resort leaves her millionaire dad critically injured and her mom dead at the hands of Dexter operating the lifts. Charlee is suddenly the sole caretaker for her little brother while their world falls apart.
Dexter couldn’t be more different from Charlee. He’s tattooed, avoids exclusive relationships and his Dad has a fair share of illegal dealings. With Dexter’s reputation, almost everyone believes he planned the Mason’s skiing disaster.
And after all these years he’s still crushing on Charlee May, the girl who’s too good for him.
When this cruel twist of fate ties Charlee’s family and Dexter’s reputation together, Charlee and Dexter wonder if their feelings are reciprocated, while Dexter discovers his dad is trying to steal the May’s millionaire fortune.
But like an addiction, one look, one touch, one taste—they’re hooked no matter the consequences.
From a note tucked under her pillow:
Dexter Hollingworth “killed” my parents.
As per all the fourteen- to eighteen-year-olds at our school, I started crushing on Dexter Hollingworth around the age of fifteen. There was one girl who hated him, but she was into girls.
From the football field sidelines to graduation day and beyond, my best friend Rosa and I have wanted him. But guys like Dexter don’t notice girls like us who spend most of our time talking about cool people like him.
At twenty years old, I still “love” him.
I love the way his body personifies what a male God should be without looking like Fabio.
I love the way his perfect tanned skin is inked and how he wears those aviator sunglasses and how he’d use up his lunchtimes to teach the little kids in our school guitar lessons.
But I hate the way I love him.
I hate how Dexter was the one controlling the ski lifts at Mason’s Ski Resort the day my mom was killed because it also put me here, in this position, praying to a God I’ve never believed in to spare my dad’s life.
In this hospital room, the air is as quiet as the still of night and my dad’s languid breathing and drawn-out, heavy movements remind me that my perfect family life was never meant to be forever.
If I’m being honest, it seems like things are already over. Dad’s skin keeps a yellow color—at best—from the IV drip. His meds help with the simple tasks his heart and other organs can’t. My thoughts wander again. I don’t let myself consider the alternative—that maybe it’s wishful thinking. I go with this:
“Dad,” I say, jealous my little brother, Darcy is holding our dad’s hand—the hand he can squeeze with. “Look at you.” I wink.
“Is she okay, Dad?” Darcy asks, sounding as though he’s confused.
“Charlee?” The confusion is contagious, but Dad’s patient zero—not Darcy.
There are bars that raise and lower around Dad’s bed, and they’ve been raised forever. Surely they must be there because they’re too hard to put down in their scratched, old state. My dad doesn’t need silly bars around his bed! My dad owns Roycroft Engines.
“I think you’re squeezing Darcy’s hand too tight,” I say.
“Wha-at?” Darcy says. He’s staring at me with squinted eyes, probably thinking what’s wrong with my sister? She’s supposed to be the adult.
It hurts smiling like this, the creases halfway up my cheeks. But maybe it’ll work. “Isn’t that right, Dad?”
Dad’s eyes are like I remember them now. There’s vibrancy in the rich brown color, like my eyes. I bet he’s thinking is his daughter crazy? He tilts his head to the side—
Injured people don’t understand things like this. Injured people don’t get what’s unsaid. Dad’s not that injured.
—as it clicks. Dad shakes out of Darcy’s grip and waggles his finger at him. “That nurse…”
“Lisa Hollingworth,” I say.
“Yes, Lisa. That nurse Lisa said motor function is good. Squeezing someone’s hand uses up a lot more strength than you think, son.”
Darcy’s mouth flops open and stays that way. He checks out Dad, who’s nodding, and me—should I nod?—so I nod also.
“Squeezing your hand probably takes Dad twenty muscles and millions of brain cells just to do something like that.”
“No way!” Darcy grins and punches the air. “Dad, that’s cool.”
And just like that, Darcy has that same face on as he had when Mom told him she had to wait three hours in line to buy Desert Warcraft and yeah, she really, really got it for him.
That face is why I haven’t downed twenty sleeping pills yet. God knows these last weeks have felt like months, which actually felt like years. That makes me the most ancient twenty-year-old alive.
Why, Dexter? Why did it have to be you in that seat, in that room, at that time?
Buy the Book
Best New Adult fiction
It’s a given. I guestimate that New Adult novels take up over 50% of my reading and being the New Adult junkie I am, I wrote a little book called Drowning in You. I remember what made me write it: Beautiful Disaster and Easy.
New Adult has a special place with me. When I wrote the first draft of Drowning in You, I was 21. I’m now 22 and these characters in these sorts of books are around my age and though I’m more of a mature, old woman inside than some part-animal freak, they’re going through a similar stage of life as I was at that stage: discovering love, life, careers—what is my purpose?
So, I wanted to share my favorite New Adult literature. Some are wildly popular, selling 500,000+ copies and some are lesser known, but after reading them, all deeply touched me. All 5+ stars in my eyes.
And, no. I won’t do a ten to one countdown because I can’t order my favorites. Sheesh!
Here are my equal favs:
Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire
This book was loved or hated because of Travis’ bad ways and Abby’s acceptance of him. For me, when I still have a book hangover nine months after reading said book, I know it’s a special one. I loved Travis as per so many others in the female population.
Easy, Tammara Webber
One of the first ever New Adult books I read, and what an introduction to the genre! Lucas is one of my top book boyfriends, and I so adore the mixture of not only sexual chemistry between Lucas and Jacqueline, but also the emotional punch this story delivers and the serious message behind it all.
[Anything by Colleen Hoover], Colleen Hoover
Need I explain myself? All three of Colleen’s novels—Slammed, Point of Retreat and Hopeless—are standouts in fiction. I find myself saying “butterflying” and “I live you” in my life when non-book-junkies think I’m simply crazy. Colleen has wormed in her way as part of my life.
The Edge of Never, J.A. Redmerski
Part of the wonder of this book is the slow, creeping-up-on-you romance. It changes from contemporary to romance to almost erotic to break-your-heart and by the end, author Jessica had drained all my emotions. I was so connected to Andrew and Cam’s story.
Ten Tiny Breaths, K.A. Tucker
What a creeper! I put off this book for no reason for almost half a year. God, I wasted so much time! *sulks* Author Kathleen has a way of writing some serious punch across many platforms. I laughed (even snorted), cried, and had to turn on my fan for many of hot, hot scenes.
(Thompson Sisters series), Charles Sheehan-Miles
This man can write like a woman. Better than most women! It’s strange, in retrospect, that I realized two of the strongest female characters I’ve ever read are written by a male author in both his books in the series, Just Remember to Breathe and A Song for Julia. Lovee.
The Sea of Tranquility, Katja Millay
Blew me away. I couldn’t think straight for days? Weeks? I pre-ordered the paperback, like, 130 days before publication. Josh and Nastya are two of my favorite characters both separately and together. TSoT made me ugly cry and after much torture, awwww.
The Enchanted Orchards, Kristin Maddock
I found this little book on a random Amazon search for a romantic literary novel. Like I do with Hopeless, I can’t help but rant and suggest (force) my bookish friends read this. It’s told in a direct style and a poetic voice that had me in love with it from the prologue.
(The Dark Duet series), C.J. Roberts
What a cruel human being. I am disgusted in myself since becoming a C.J. Roberts fan. I love Caleb, the torturer. I like the hot, erotic scenes with him and the beautiful, Olivia. I love everything, which hurts a damn lot considering C.J. loves to torture her readers. Gawd! Just wow.
Charade, Nyrae Dawn
Did NOT expect to cry and fall in love with this book in any way as significantly as I did. Chey and Colt turn out to be such an amazing couple from what started out as lies. It turns from fun, to heart-breaking and romantic and definitely gave me a similar OMG-I-adore feeling as The Edge of Never did.
If I may be so bold, I’d recommend Drowning in You for fans of Hopeless and Charade, as it gave me a similar feeling when I wrote it. :)
About the Author
She writes stories that are a bit sexy, and straddle the line between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her stories, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.
Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.