Authors: Synithia Williams
Tags: #contemporary romance
Show Me How to Love
Caldwell Family Book 1
Copyright © April 2015 by Synithia Williams
Edited by: Yolanda Barber
Cover Art by: Mae Phillips at
Cover Fresh Designs
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission from Synithia.
Mikayla Sanders was never one to get drunk at weddings, but this wedding might make her consider getting rip roaring drunk. She quickly made her way to the bar setup in the lobby of the expansive estate. When a family hated each other this much, putting everyone together on a mountain for a weekend of wedding festivities made no sense. The various factions of the Caldwell family were half a step from strangling each other, and the luxury of the surroundings did not make up for the hostility.
She’d finally escaped the bride, who’d gone bat shit crazy about the wrong color ribbons on the two hundred bottles of bubbles. Mikayla flexed aching fingers after helping switch them out. Her shoulders were tense from listening to the bride-to-be complain about Mikayla’s bow tying ability, and her jaw in pain from clenching it to keep from telling bridezilla where to go and what flaming vehicle to take there. Especially considering Mikayla was the only one who offered to fix the bow fiasco.
As soon as she sat down at the bar, the bartender came over with a highball glass in one hand and a bottle of bourbon in the other. The unofficial Caldwell family drink.
“Care for a drink?” he asked.
Mikayla held up her hand. “Just a ginger ale.”
He raised a brow but turned to get her soda. Something stronger would be better. But a stronger drink would lead to an urge for a cigarette. She’d overcome that habit a year ago. Bridezilla and her family were slowly pushing Mikayla off the wagon.
The click-clack of heels against the marble floor came up behind Mikayla.
“Hey, Mikayla, I’ve been looking for you.”
Mikayla turned and smiled as her best friend, Renee Caldwell left one of the salons. “Well, you found me.”
Renee glided over with a natural grace Mikayla couldn’t imitate. “I was hoping you’d be with Ryan.”
The bartender gave Mikayla her ginger ale which she accepted with a smile. “I haven’t seen him since this morning.”
Renee sat on the stool next to Mikayla. There wasn’t a strand of Renee’s perfect pixie cut out of place. She wore full face of makeup, Mikayla had never seen Renee without makeup, but she always looked natural and flawless. Renee’s genuine heart and smile only enhanced the caramel glow of her friend’s beauty. “You two should be sneaking off into a secluded corner or at least still wrapped up in each other’s arms in bed.”
Heat spread through Mikayla’s cheeks. She clutched the glass of ginger ale and took a sip. Of course, Renee would expect for her and Ryan to be off making love. It would mean Renee’s matchmaking skills had once again proven effective.
“How you talk about your brother’s love life without feeling grossed out is beyond my comprehension,” Mikayla said shaking her head.
“Oh please, Ryan’s my twin we tell each other everything. Besides, it would be nice if at least one of us could find some romance this weekend.”
The bartender came over and gave Renee the same bedazzled smile most men got in her presence. “Can I get you a drink?”
Renee raised a sleek, arched brow. “What Malbec do you carry?” She turned away from Mikayla to peer at the wine list he pulled out.
While Renee drilled the guy on the wine selection, Mikayla gave thanks for the interruption. After three years of working with Ryan, becoming friends with him and Renee, and pushing aside not only his advances but the hope from the rest of his family that she and Ryan would work out, she’d finally agreed to date him and be his plus one at his cousin’s wedding.
The moment Ryan invited her she’d known the offer was an excuse to finally get her in bed. She was procrastinating and hadn’t gone to bed the night before until after she’d figured he was asleep. Having sex would make them really real. So real, there would be no turning back.
Maybe tonight she’d have her head fully wrapped around the fact that they were in a relationship. Once she overcame the shock of believing that she, former tomboy and fashion police repeat offender, was actually dating the hot rich guy so many women chased after.
Don’t sell yourself to get what you want.
Her dad’s words rang through her head. She promptly pushed them aside.
When Renee turned back to her, Mikayla spoke up before her friend continued the previous line of questioning. “What did you want with me and Ryan?”
Renee’s eyes lit up and she clapped her hands together. “I was hoping you and Ryan would want to escape this place with me. My family is driving me crazy.”
“Maybe later, I want to lie down for a few minutes. My fingers need a break.” Mikayla stretched her aching hands.
Renee’s froze in the middle of taking a sip of the wine the bartender set before her. She placed it back on the bar with a resounding thud. “You didn’t help her with those stupid ribbons?”
“I did.” Over an hour removing perfectly good grape, a.k.a. dark purple, ribbons from over a hundred bottles of bubbles and replacing them with passion, a.k.a. light purple, ribbons.
“Why?” Renee asked.
“Because if someone hadn’t jumped in to change the ribbons your cousin would have had a major break down. Or destroyed the entire mansion in a fit of bridezilla rage.”
Renee rubbed Mikayla’s shoulder and spared a better-you-than-me smile. “You should receive a medal, sainthood, and a star named in your honor for doing that.”
“Either way, you can’t leave,” Mikayla said. “Isn’t there something else on the wedding itinerary?”
“Don’t remind me.” Renee dropped her hand from Mikayla’s shoulder and reached for the wine. “I didn’t come to this wedding and expect to have my entire day planned out down to the minute.”
Mikayla sipped the ginger ale and grinned. “You know all brides make demands?”
A burst of laughter came from the opposite end of the lobby. They both glanced that way. Three teenage girls stood huddled near a closet in the corner. They were a set of Caldwell cousins Ryan had introduced to her the night before
Renee’s smoky brown eyes narrowed. “Most brides aren’t my crazy cousin.”
“As if you and Ryan aren’t just as demanding. No wonder you all don’t get along.”
Renee twisted in her seat and peered at the girls. They continued to giggle and had moved closer to the door of the closet.
“It goes beyond demanding,” Renee said. “That side takes family feud to a different level. I still can’t believe my dad and uncle came from the same parents.”
Mikayla didn’t argue. The total cold front that occurred whenever the two men were in the same room validated Renee’s statement.
“Plus they’re stuck up,” Renee continued. “The money they spent on this wedding is obscene.”
“Everything is nice,” Mikayla said in a voice that tried, but failed, to hide how much she agreed with Renee.
“Nice is a tasteful country club wedding with a few family and friends,” Renee said not taking her eyes off the giggling girls. “Opulent is renting out a mountain estate for three hundred of your closest friends, importing wine from France, flowers from Brazil, and hiring a celebrity chef to cater.”
“It’s not as if your side isn’t wealthy.” Renee’s father started Caldwell development twenty years ago and quickly grew it into one of the top builders in the United States.
“True, but when Ryan or I get married, we won’t be giving out iPads as wedding gifts.”
Mikayla laughed and raised her ginger ale in a salute. “Point taken.”
Renee spared no expense on clothes, accessories and beauty products, but Mikayla would be the first to admit there wasn’t an arrogant bone in her friend’s size four body.
The girls laughed again. Renee motioned to them. “What are they up, too?”
“Being teens laughing at something silly.”
“They’re probably laughing at someone instead of something. You never know with Aunt Joleen’s kids. Those girls are spoiled rotten.”
Renee tilted her head to the side “I wonder what’s behind that door.”
“A broom closet.”
Renee shot her a how-do-you-know-look that she ignored. She gulped her drink, but the liquid did nothing to stop heat from spreading up her face. No way would she admit Ryan had tried to convince her to have a quickie in that same closet. She’d left him pouting in order to help bridezilla reorganize her seating chart.
“Those kids take pleasure in tormenting people.” Renee broke through her thoughts. “They’ve probably locked someone in the closet. I want to see what’s going on.” She grabbed Mikayla’s arm and pulled her along.
Arguing with Renee when she thought someone was being bullied was useless. Nothing angered her friend more than a person taking pleasure in another’s suffering.
“What’s so funny?” Renee asked when they reached the girls.
The three teenagers jumped and turned. They looked like cut outs from the latest reality show, makeup that made them look like little adults instead of teenagers, long weave down their backs and clothes that probably cost more than Mikayla’s monthly salary. Their giggling hadn’t bothered her in the least. She’d missed the opportunity to laugh in corners with girlfriends growing up. Her dad focused on making sure she passed her classes and knew how to change a flat tire.
The oldest of the three twisted her glossed lips. “Somebody’s getting it on in the closet.”
Renee and Mikayla’s jaws dropped. The other two girls burst into laughter.
Mikayla pressed her hand to the side of her face and shook her head. “You can’t be serious.”
The oldest grinned. “I know what sex sounds like. And somebody is definitely going at it in there.”
Renee grabbed the arms of two of the girls and attempted to pull them away from the hall. “Then you don’t need to stand here listening. Go find something else to do.”
“Oh, no. I want to know who it is.” One of the girls pulled out of Renee’s grasp and crossed her arms. “I’m staying here until they come out.” The other two followed suit.
Renee sighed and looked at Mikayla. “It’s the middle of the day. Who’d do this?”
Mikayla shrugged. “Maybe they’re mistaken.”
A rhythmic thud against the door along with the unmistakable sounds of a woman’s moan undermined her words. The teenagers erupted into another fit of giggles.
Renee rubbed her eyes. “This is a disaster.”
“Why are you so upset? It’s not your wedding.”
“I’m cool with ignoring the itinerary, but watching my cousin have a full blown meltdown because someone is tacky enough to screw in a closet is more drama than I want to deal with.”
The thumping increased. Mikayla cringed. “Maybe they’re finishing up.”
“What’s going on over here?” A deep voice said from behind.
Mikayla turned and met the ebony eyes of Renee’s cousin Andre. Her heart did a traitorous thump in her chest. Andre was from the other side of the Caldwell family. For him to bother coming over and ask what they were doing was surprising. He’d been brief and cold when Ryan introduced her the night before.
Growing up around a lot of guys didn’t give Mikayla many opportunities to feel feminine. But Andre towering over her all dark and imposing made her feel downright dainty. A reaction she surprisingly liked. His dark grey sweater clung to broad shoulders and dark jeans fit just enough to hint at muscular, strong legs. Add to that a voice that would put the late, great Barry White to shame and it was no wonder her body reacted.