Sweeter by the Second
First book in Maybe This Time short stories by CP Santi
When paintings conservator Rina David arrives for the Arts Festival in the heritage town of Jimenez, she’s reunited with Tony, the guy she once loved and lost. Now vice-mayor of Jimenez, Tony wants Rina back in his life and will do everything he can to convince her that they belong together.
“I like seeing you in my bed.”
I frowned at the man who stood by the foot of the bed, a smug look on his face. “You like seeing me bedridden?”
Tony laughed and sat down. “Oh, Rin. I’ve forgotten how literal you are.” Shaking his head, he traced the bedcover’s crochet patterns with a finger. “No, I mean I like seeing you here . . . in my house, in my room. Not bad after what—ten years?”
I smirked. “Talk about delayed wish fulfillment.”
“Well, you’re here now.” Tony looked me straight in the eyes and smiled.
At that moment, I swear I felt weak at the knees.
Er . . . not entirely true. I’ve been feeling rather weak for the past three days—the effect of a bad case of food poisoning (damned roadside shawarma craving).
Ignoring the way my heart hitched in my chest, I rolled my eyes at him. “I knew it. This was all a plot to get me here.”
Tony chuckled. “Nu-uh, this is all on you, Miss Piggy . . . wandering off by yourself . . .”
“I wasn’t alone. Mimi was with me.” I was defensive. I’d just wanted a few hours by myself—to cope with Tony’s sudden reappearance in my life.
“Refusing my offer to drive you . . .”
“You had work!” I protested.
“And eating street food when a perfectly good dinner was waiting for you here.”
“I’m paying for my sins now. Happy?” Believe me, visiting the toilet every few minutes was torture.
“Tonying, stop pestering Rina.” Manang Dalma, Tony’s housekeeper came in the room and put a tray of steaming lugaw on the bedside table. “Here hija, see if you can keep this down.” She helped me sit up and handed me the bowl and a spoon. Frowning, she shooed Tony off, “Go and eat or your breakfast will get cold.”
“Opo.” Tony saluted her before he turned to leave. “Take good care of my girl, Manang.”
Laughing, he ducked to escape the balled-up napkin I threw at him.
Book trailer link:
Sweeter by the Second
C. P. Santi is a Filipina author based in Tokyo, Japan. She is a wife to an engineer / indie songwriter and a full-time mom to two energetic boys. She loves cooking and baking, and enjoys feeding people, gorging on chocolate, watching J-doramas, belting it out in the karaoke box, and running around the house playing tickle tag. She also loves dreaming up stories about the people she meets.
In another life, she is also an architect and academic.