Read The Real Thing Online

Authors: Cassie Mae

The Real Thing

BOOK: The Real Thing
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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Also by Cassie Mae

Title Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Also available from Rouge Romance

Copyright

About the Book

In this electrifying novel from Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.

Eric Matua has one friend – his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends – who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.

About the Author

Cassie Mae
is a full-time writer and mother from Utah. She loves being glued to the computer, thinking up new stories, and writing the day away while the kids run wild at her feet. When she finished her first novel, she started a blog that now gets more than five thousand hits a month. Her group blog is also dedicated to reaching out to aspiring authors by providing critiques and other marketing tools to help them succeed in the industry. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Also by Cassie Mae:

Switched

Friday Night Alibi

THE REAL THING
Cassie Mae

Dedicated to anyone who has weaknesses, and finds the strength to overcome them.

Chapter 1

Emilia Johnson

25 minutes ago

Today I get to see my best friend after THREE VERY LONG YEARS!—feeling excited

with Eric Matua

24 people like this

Every morning, I get a text from the greatest man alive.

Good morning, bug. When you get to the beach, touch the ocean. I’ll touch the ocean here, and it’ll be like we’re together again.

I grin just as a big fluffy pillow that smells like hairspray slams against my face, then flops down on my keyboard.

“Put that damn phone on silent.”

I’ll give my roommate a pass since A) my phone’s given off around twenty-three message alerts, and it’s only nine o’clock; B) I’m on my laptop, so I don’t really
need
the cell to
bing!
every time an email comes in, because I can see it; and C) Eve is about-to-pop pregnant. She sleeps most of the time, but if she’s not sleeping, she’s complaining about being so damn tired.

I pick up my phone and make a big show of pressing the silent button, and then type in my response.

Very lyrical for a fisherman, Dad. ;) Love you.

Eve shifts on her bed, brows furrowed in a very “I’m not amused” expression, and curls into Paul’s arms. He sleeps just fine through the cell noise, but I’m pretty sure Eve has tired him out with the late night cravings. Last night he came into our dorm room with the Cookies & Cream Klondike bars Eve was
begging
for, only to have her eat a bite and tell him it made her stomach upset. I threw Paul a “don’t worry” look, because I was on those Klondike bars like white on rice.

My computer sends out a notification—
bee-boop
—and I quickly shut off the sound before Eve blows fire from her ass. I’ve made it through twenty emails, so only a few left, and I take a big bite of my cheese Danish as I click over to read email twenty-one.

To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: Remember when

Mia,

If you opened this email, please keep reading! I want to apologize, even if it won’t do anything because I’m a total shit and hurt you so much I’ll probably never get your forgiveness. But I am sorry. And I want you to know I think about you.

A lot.

Hell, more than a lot.

I sat at one of my brother’s concerts the other night, smiling like an idiot because I couldn’t stop thinking about the last concert we went to. The poor schmuck behind us never saw your elbow coming. You were always so wild … and I mean that in the nicest way possible. The second the first chord hit, your arms went up and his nose went “crack!”

You kept telling me it was a natural reaction for guys to throw punches, no matter if the recipient was a girl or not. But no way in hell was I buying that. No one touches my girl, even if it was a “natural reaction.”

You were well worth the night at the police station, the bloody nose, and bruised knuckles. Especially when you curled up on my chest afterward, and said I looked sexy with tampons up my nostrils. (Something that stays between the two of us.)

It was the moment I fell in love with you.

I haven’t stopped.

—Scott

Um … hello, creeper spam alert! What the hell is this?
Who
the hell is this? I’ve had creepy emails before, comes with being involved in social media, but I haven’t had someone make up a past for us. I press delete, but there is a second or two when I seriously consider responding with a piece of my mind. Maybe a list titled “How Not to Impress a Girl: Your Creepy Email Edition.”

Instead of responding, I click from my email to my Facebook tab and laugh at the emoticon sticker my cousin just IMed. I type a quick response of
LOL
, then scroll through my feed looking for eBook deals. Usually my reader buddies post as many as they can find, and when I find the posts, I one-click like crazy. Better keep my Kindle stocked for this summer. My job isn’t full time, so I’ll have lots of lazy hours for reading. I consider this a
very
positive thing.

Oh! The book I’ve been waiting to get is only ninety-nine cents. I let out a, “Hell yes!” and dance in my rolly chair.

“Ugh, Mia,” Eve grumbles, scratching the top of her pink-blonde hair. “Aren’t you supposed to leave soon?”

“I don’t have to leave till, like, eleven,” I say, scrolling through my Amazon recs.

“It’s 10:58.”

What?

I slam the lid to my laptop down and slide it into its case. “Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap …” Tossing the strap over my head and grabbing the handle to my large suitcase, I lean over Eve and pepper her forehead with kisses. “Love you, love you, love you … call me if you need
anything
.”

“I will. Have fun with your high school sweetheart.”

“Eric’s not a sweetheart,” I say, double-checking the front pocket of my luggage to make sure I have all my chargers. “Well, he’s a sweetheart, but he wasn’t
my
sweetheart.”

“You talk to him
all the time
. I sure as hell hope he’s something.”

My cheeks warm, and I can feel my lips forming a dorky grin. “He’s my best friend.”

“Whatever!” Eve kisses my cheek and then smacks it. “Just have fun and get out of here.”

I laugh and zip the pocket on my suitcase back up. I will be so happy to have not-pregnant Eve back. “I will. Love you, again!”

Paul snores from behind Eve and mumbles, “I love you too, baby.”

Eve rolls her eyes, but a smile forms on her face as she rubs her boyfriend’s hair. “Love you,” she mouths to me, and I roll myself and my suitcase from our dorm, last time I’ll see it till school starts up again.

I’m going to be so late. I should’ve packed my laptop earlier, because it sucks me in every time. I lose track of the clock, and a “quick check on my Facebook” becomes an hour or two of social networking. I can’t help it. It’s the only time I really feel connected to people. With Dad moving to Alaska when I jetted off to college, I got used to being alone. I keep in contact with my high school friends via the Internet, though.

Most of them flitted away, too busy with their own lives to mess around online, but Eric was one who didn’t. My big, cushy, smoking-hot, ready-to-drool-just-thinking-about-him Samoan best friend. Eric played linebacker on the high school football team. Well, backup linebacker. Damn, I wanted him.
Badly.
But he had a girlfriend, and I was too scared to tell him how I felt.

After his graduation, Eric went to Samoa to spend time with his uncle, and I trudged through my senior year, constantly checking my Facebook just so I could talk to him. I told him to take pictures and post them, and he did, but never of himself. Eric’s a little self-conscious about his weight. His profile pic is the cover of a Dr. Seuss book, which he changes every once in a while. Currently it’s
Hop on Pop
.

When he told me he was watching his mom’s beach condo on the Florida coast for the summer, I squealed so loud I may have scared a few people in Starbucks. An IM conversation later, I have an entire summer with my best friend—with serious hope for more, since I’m pretty sure he’s not taken now—at his condo, right next to my job at the SnoGo on Daytona Beach. Since Dad will be spending the summer on the Pacific Ocean fishing, I found this alternative
much
better. I’m okay spending it on land
by
the ocean. But never will I set foot in the water. Nope. Couldn’t pay me enough to do that.

My piece-of-shit Camaro needs gas, and I mutter “Damn it” under my breath. I’m going to show up even later than I’d planned. I told Eric I’d be there at oneish, and according to Google, it’s going to take three hours and twenty-seven minutes to get from Keiser to Daytona. I pull my phone out after I’ve shoved my heavy-ass suitcase into the trunk and IM Eric, hoping he looks at it before I get there.

Running late. So sorry! Be there more like 2ish. Can’t wait to see you!

Now if I can just stop myself from looking at my Facebook feed again before getting on the road.

* * *

My excitement level peaks when I pull into the condo parking lot. It’s 2:34, so I’m
still
a little late, but I blame the stupid tolls. My phone buzzes in my pocket, and I’m tempted to check it, but I’ll wait till the car is at a complete stop since I have no idea where the hell I’m going.

The building numbers are faded and cracked, but I think the one I pull up to is building 14. Eric said he’d be waiting outside, but I don’t see him. And honestly, he’d be easy to spot … from what I remember.

I slap the Camaro in park and yank out my cell. My shaking finger is on the Call button when a tap comes at my window.

“Holy shit!” My phone flies from my hand, and I squint at the cute guy smiling at me through the window. It takes way too long for me to realize this cute guy is
… my
cute guy.

I pop the door open and Eric swings it the rest of the way, sticking his hand out to help me from my seat.

BOOK: The Real Thing
9.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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