Blushing

Blushing

by Katie Delahanty
Blushing

Blushing

by Katie Delahanty

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Overview

When Berkeley proposed, I thought we’d live happily ever after—we’d plan our wedding and he’d tour with the Brightside while I continued designing lingerie. Instead he dropped a bombshell: he’s starring in a movie with his gorgeous ex, Christina Carlton. And what’s more? I’ve been erased from the public eye. All anyone can talk about these days is #Berkstina.

To be together, Berkeley asked me to work on set as a costume designer—a dream come true—but there’s a catch: we have to keep our relationship secret. I’m okay with not being photographed, but the sneaking around, the lies, his love scenes; it’s not how I imagined our engagement. Berkeley is passionate and driven; it’s one of the reasons I love him. But he has so much going on—am I ready to drop everything to become Olivia Dalton?

Each book in the Brightside series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Series Order:
Book #1 In Bloom
Book #2 Blushing
Book #3 Believe


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622663095
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 02/23/2015
Series: The Brightside , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 200
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Katie Delahanty is a fashion designer turned novelist. She holds a BA in communication studies from UCLA and a professional designation in fashion design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic crisis–induced career shift from fashion designer to lingerie e-commerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that's when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She's been waking before dawn to write ever since. For more info please visit her website at www.KatieDelahanty.com. She loves hearing from you!

Read an Excerpt

Blushing

a Brightside novel


By Katie Delahanty, Karen Grove

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Katie Delahanty
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-309-5


CHAPTER 1

Mark VanCleer @BrightsideBP

For a second I was thinking Bangkok? Then I decided Phuket. #INeedAMassage

Berkeley Dalton @BerkeleyBrtside

@BrightsideBP Don't strain yourself working so hard ... wouldn't want you to sprain your slap hand. #NoOneSlapsItLikeYou #bass

Mark VanCleer @BrightsideBP

@BerkeleyBrtside Are you talkin' to me? I wouldn't want you to go straining your vocal cords. #ANiceQUIETMassage

Berkeley Dalton @BerkeleyBrtside

Direct Message > with BloomOlivia: Is this day over yet? Don't believe anything you read #BandDrama. I canceled the tour because I had to see YOU.

"Did someone who is driven by romance, art, and beauty create an emotional impact on your life?" Mom asks when she picks up the phone.

If I weren't driving, I would close my eyes and bang my head against the steering wheel repeatedly, but instead I grit my teeth and say, "Why would you ask me that?"

Ever since Berkeley gently kissed me good-bye early this morning, saying he had to take care of band stuff but he'd see me tonight, I've been trying to process everything — trying to force my lips to form the word "fiancé," though they refuse to. I haven't fully come to terms with the massive decision I made last night, and it's like I'm trying to stand steady on a rocking boat as alternating waves of euphoria and panic wash over me. How do I tell my parents their little girl is growing up? I always imagined this would be easy, that I'd eagerly announce my exciting news, but I'm surprisingly apprehensive about telling them, unable to ignore the tiny fear that my metamorphosis from girlfriend to fiancée will illuminate the passage of time we can't have back.

"It just so happens Esme and I were doing an angel card reading about you last night, and when she drew the Knight of Water card she felt a vibration that made her think an engagement was imminent," Mom says.

Clearly I didn't need to worry. "Is that so?" I grip the wheel, wishing there were less traffic so I could accelerate toward the 105 freeway interchange and find an escape route from this conversation.

CLICK! "Don't listen to her," Dad's voice bellows as he picks up an extension, returning my focus to reality. He and I always join forces when it comes to Mom and her "psychic friends" network. He's an English professor at Pitt, grounded in the written word, and to the earth (except for a slight obsession with science fiction and aliens, which is probably the existential level he connects with Mom on). "Berkeley called us yesterday to ask for our blessing. I'm guessing you said yes?"

I almost drive off the road. One point for Berkeley with the psychic assist. "He called you? When? How did he get your number?"

"He has his ways," Mom says. "Esme says he's quite magical."

"He's a rock star, Kat, not a superhero," Dad says. "And he called last night around seven our time. I'm sure he has people to figure this stuff out for him."

"He does." I sigh. "But you said yes, even though you've never met him?"

"He seemed pretty down-to-earth on the phone. Said he knew this was sudden, but he wanted me to know his intentions," Dad says. "I told him it wasn't my decision, that if he made you happy, then I wasn't going to have much choice —"

"And I've met him," Mom interjects. "He gives the best hugs, he really does. Hugging him you feel this profound energy. It radiates out of him. I can't even imagine what it's like to —"

"Enough!" I stop her before she can take it any further. "I don't want to hear any more."

"But you manifested this, Liv," Mom says. "I think the lotus crystal I sent cleared all the negativity out of your fourth chakra. The fourth chakra needs to be open in order to feel deserving of unconditional love, and as soon as you were ready for it, Berkeley proposed."

"Give it a rest, Kat," Dad says. "We don't even know if she said yes ... "

"I know," Mom says.

Of course she does. They wait expectantly for me to respond while I turn into the driveway at work and park. Letting the car idle, I take a deep breath. "Yes. I said yes. I'm engaged." It's my first time saying it out loud and the E-word sticks in my throat, but I manage to croak it out. Must practice.

"And you're sure this is what you want?" Dad asks.

A little shot of doubt tickles my throat, but I overcompensate for it with a resounding, "Yes."

"Then congratulations, Liv. This is wonderful news. We look forward to meeting Berkeley in person," Dad says.

I cringe, picturing the inevitable hug and my mom sprinkling us with some sort of fertility oil. This is going to be so awkward ... "Yes, we'll have to arrange that, I guess," I say quietly. And for Berkeley's parents to meet them. Maybe I can give Mom a sedative first. "Hey, guys, I just got to work and need to go, but can we keep this quiet for now? Shar, Berkeley's publicist, is really sensitive, and I don't want word to get out until she's ready. I'll let you know when it's public knowledge."

"Not a problem," Dad says.

"Namaste, Liv," Mom says, without promising her silence.

I want to force her to agree, but I'm already late for work. "Namaste." I sigh.

Hanging up the phone, I turn off my car, and a sparkle catches my eye. I stare at the diamond on my left hand. Berkeley didn't give me any instructions for sharing our news, but I make a decision. Slipping it off, I dig the box it came in out of my purse and place it safely inside.

Telling myself I'm hiding it because I'm waiting for instructions from Shar, I head into the office.

CHAPTER 2

Olivia Bloom @BloomOlivia

@IsIndulgent @SuperSpinstress Emergency courtyard cocktail meeting! Your mission is to meet me with a garnish for champagne. #DontBeLate

Parker Mifflin @IsIndulgent

@BloomOlivia Oooh ... You are so cryptic, my angel. Mission accepted, but I want to be Farrah.

@SuperSpinstress

Blair Hamilton @SuperSpinstress

@IsIndulgent I think your 1970s crime dramas are crossed. But you're totally Farrah.

@BloomOlivia

Parker Mifflin @IsIndulgent

@SuperSpinstress They'd be so boring if they were straight! @BloomOlivia


"So how did this happen?" Blair asks. We're settled in the courtyard, enjoying pomegranate champagne cocktails, and I've just revealed my news. "It wasn't enough for him to declare his undying love for you in front of the whole world on TMI?"

"Of course not," Parker replies. "He's smitten and almost lost her. Like any good prince, he raced to her side to protect her from the lies the wicked Christina is spreading."

"What's up with her?" Blair asks. "Did he tell you why she announced to the world that they're back together?"

I shake my head. "We had other things to talk about ..." I drift, losing myself to last night, remembering the shock of seeing him in my living room when he was supposed to be in Jakarta and the weight of all that was unspoken between us.

"Like ..." Parker prompts.

Recalling how the evening ended, I stall, taking a sip of champagne so I don't have to answer.

"Did he get down on one knee?" Blair asks.

"Both knees," I admit, smiling before again falling silent, replaying his proposal song in my mind, remembering the magnetic focus in his eyes as his words found me, almost certain I dreamed it.

No one knows you like I know you now, no one sees you like I see you now, no one loves you like I love you now ...

"Liv! Come on." She interrupts my reverie. "You're killing us."

"Okay, okay." I relent and give them the short version, hoping it will satisfy them. "He played guitar and sang me a song he wrote, and then he got down on his knees and asked."

Blair and Parker stare at me expectantly. "And?" Parker asks.

"And that's it," I reply. It's not that I don't want to tell them — I do — they're my best friends. It's just that I want to keep the moment for Berkeley and me alone a little bit longer.

"Olivia Bloom," Parker says, standing and pointing at me. "You owe us this. We're your butterfly guides — we led you here. Now spill it."

"Parker, don't start with that," I say. "You're as bad as my mom. Apparently my fourth chakra needed to be open in order to feel deserving of unconditional love, which sounds very 'butterfly guide' to me."

"Maybe she's right," he says, tapping his foot impatiently. "As your guides we deserve to know the details."

"You're impossible," I reply. "And you know I don't believe in that stuff. Besides, for once I'd like to refrain from spilling."

"Fine," he says, crossing his arms over his chest and turning his back on me. Chin held high, he marches off toward my apartment.

"Where are you going?" I call after him.

"To get tequila. Clearly this will require truth serum."

"Parker! Stop!" Leaping out of my chair, I chase after him, not wanting him to go inside, but it's too late. He throws open my front door and comes to a halt in the entryway, staring, taking in the dozens of construction paper hearts, moons, and stars dangling from the ceiling.

Paper chains twist in the doorways, pinwheel bouquets litter tables, and though the candles have burned out, the air is still spicy with their scent. Glimpsing the room awakens the butterflies I've been trying to subdue in my stomach all day. Proof. Berkeley Dalton is my fiancé. How quickly life can change ... All of the cushions and pillows from my couch are on the floor next to an empty Point of Grace wine bottle and two squat juice glasses, where we lay, talking into the night, staring at a heaven of his making.

"Oh," Parker whispers. "He's good. I might need to borrow this for The One."

"You will do no such thing for that tawdry show," Blair says, coming up behind us and looking in awe. "This is beautiful, Liv. He did all of this?"

"He did," I reply, trying to picture him cutting out paper hearts all day. "Pretty rock 'n' roll, huh?"

"Super rock 'n' roll." She laughs. "Don't worry, though, rule number five; his secret is safe with us — and we'll be extra careful with you now that you've made it to the top."

"I'm hardly an A-list celebrity," I say, closing my apartment door and shooing them back to the courtyard.

Parker makes a face but obeys.

"But I appreciate you keeping the engagement quiet. I don't want to incur the wrath of Shar by leaking any news. Besides," I say, reclaiming my seat, "I'm definitely over the paparazzi. I'm going to try to stay out of the spotlight, thank you very much. Being a topic of discussion gives me major anxiety."

"Good luck with that," Blair says. "Every media outlet is going to run with this. Berkeley dumps America's Sweetheart Christina Carlton again, and for a girl no one ever heard of? This is going to look bad for her."

"I wouldn't say 'no one' has ever heard of me. I did make a fool of myself on national television, after all. Who could forget that?" I cringe, the memory of my verbal miscues on the red carpet and the bold statement I made declaring my happiness for the falsely reunited "Berkstina" making me sick.

"As mortifying as that was for you, you need more than fifteen minutes in the spotlight to create a lasting impression," she says. "I can barely find your statement on YouTube, and the love letter Berkeley posted for you on TMI has disappeared. The only mention of it I can find is an article saying it was a hoax, and even Berkeley's tweets at you are gone. Everyone has moved on to the 'Tux Nicholas soliciting a sixteen-year-old girl on Instagram' scandal. You're going to come out of nowhere for a lot of the public."

"It is weird that stuff is gone." Erased. Shar's voice pops into my head, reminding me of her power. Ignoring the twinge of fear she incites in my gut, I quickly dismiss her with a glance at the diamond sparkling on my left hand. "I'm glad I took a screenshot of the letter so I know it existed."

"That Christina is a jezebel," Parker says. "She must be stopped. All those tweets about how she and Berkeley belong together, how they're 'Team Adventure'— how dare she. What is Berkeley going to do about her?"

"I don't know. We haven't talked about it. He should be here any minute — he's been dealing with the band all day, issuing apologies because he canceled the rest of the tour. The official press release says it was doctor's orders, that he has to rest his voice. I guess that sounds better than 'my girlfriend is freaking out and I need to fly home to stop her from making a fool of herself.' They're going to reschedule for next winter."

"You had every right to freak out. We're being sabotaged, and it's not fair our relationship has been under such public scrutiny." Berkeley's voice sounds from behind me, and the Vicente's gate clangs shut.

I jump, my skin heating. Standing, I turn to face him as he walks toward me. His face is pale and his eyes are rimmed red with exhaustion, but somehow they shine brighter than usual. When he reaches me, he pulls me against his chest and holds me there, one hand drifting to the back of my neck. Wrapping my arms around him in response, I breathe him in, pressing my body as close to his as possible, grateful to touch him.

He squeezes me tight as if he's making sure I'm real, too, before releasing me and lowering his face to mine with a gentle kiss. "Hi."

"Hi," I whisper, trying to keep my legs steady.

Behind us, Parker sighs, reminding me we're not alone.

I turn to face him and Blair while Berkeley slides his hand around my waist, keeping me close.

They're sitting side by side, champagne glasses in hand, grinning at the intimate moment, and my face flushes at my apparent disregard for public displays of affection.

"I wish I could have taken a picture with my eyes just now!" Parker says. "Adorable."

"She is." Berkeley smiles. "But no pictures. I've got to watch out for this one — I don't want the world falling in love with her any more than they already have. She's mine." He glances at me and squeezes my hip, sending a little thrill through me.

Embarrassed by his compliment, I try to lighten the mood. "And I can really funk up a situation. Maybe Psychic Mom can cast a pap-straining order spell on all paparazzi cameras so they break whenever they're within a five-mile radius of me."

"That's a terrible name for a spell." Parker grimaces. "Her wand might miss, and I don't think you want any straining going on down there."

I wink, and Berkeley laughs. "Believe it or not, you'll get used to being in the public eye at some point. And the truth is I want to share my wife-to-be with the world. I wouldn't deprive them of Olivia Bloom."

Before I can protest, Blair jumps in.

"Yes. Congratulations are in order," she says. "Champagne?" She raises her glass to Berkeley in offering.

"Thanks," he says. "Maybe in a little bit. If it's okay with you, I'd actually like to borrow Liv for a few minutes. I need to talk to her."

"Don't let us stop you. I'm sure you two have lots to say," Parker says, a glint in his eye.

I shoot him a dirty look. "We can go inside," I tell Berkeley, anxious to be alone with him. Taking his hand and dragging him toward my apartment, I call over my shoulder, "We'll see you guys later."

"We won't wait up," Parker says.

CHAPTER 3

Felix Sheridan @TMINewsNow

It's official. Berkstina has reunited! And it feels so good.

Christina Carlton @Celebrightly

What a day!!! The press is crazy! Why is my love life so interesting? Well I guess it is hahahahaha!

"We need to talk," Berkeley says once we're inside.

The room goes cold. He wants to talk? "Sure," I say, locking the door behind us, trying to keep my confusion from showing.

Berkeley crosses the room and starts picking up cushions and pillows, reassembling my couch. Somehow his actions make me think he's unraveling the previous night's events, resetting the stage, taking us back to before he asked the question that would forever change our lives, and my stomach knots.

Taking a seat, he pats a cushion, and I move to join him.

Swinging my legs underneath me, I sit, pulling a pillow into my lap and watching him.

He takes a deep breath, and when his eyes meet mine, their intensity frightens me. "Liv, I have a confession to make."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Blushing by Katie Delahanty, Karen Grove. Copyright © 2015 Katie Delahanty. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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