by Lisa Renee Jones
File Size: 871 KB
Print Length: 332 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0985817003
Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (September 13, 2012)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Barnes & Noble
About the book
The steamy first installment in the Inside Out erotic romance trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones, in the bestselling tradition of Fifty Shades of Grey. When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry. Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.
We stare at each other and our lighthearted mood shifts, the air thickening with the mutual attraction our hot window encounter has done nothing to sate and everything to expand. Sitting here, studying him, I’ve officially confirmed in my mind what I’d thought earlier. While I don’t doubt Chris really is lighthearted and fun, it’s not effortless either. He buries whatever he doesn’t want me to know about. This man is far more than he appears to be on the surface and the glimpses beneath intrigue me.
My gaze drops to his arm, to the red, blue, and yellow of the dragon tattoo. I scoot closer to him, and my leg presses to his, sending an instant charge over my skin.
I swallow hard, and I reach out, letting my fingers caress the dragon design. His muscles flex under my touch and it is incredibly powerful to think I might be affecting him.
Slowly, my gaze lifts to his, and his is hot coals with simmering embers. “It’s very…sexy.” I’m surprised at how easily I say the words. I suck at flirting but there is something different about me with this man.
“I’m glad you think so.”
My palm glides down his forearm and he catches my hand in his, as if he doesn’t want to break the connection. “Why a dragon?”
“It represents power and wealth, two things as a very young man I knew I wanted.”
“And you wanted money and power at such a young age?”
I want to ask why, but it feels too probing. “And now?”
“I have those things and with them comes security.”
I think of how he’d used that power with Mark, about the darker side I’ve seen of him tonight. He does like power, not in the abstract way Mark does, but he owns it in his own right.
“My first paintings were dragons. They’re in my personal collection. I never sold any of them, or even tried.”
“Here?” I ask eagerly. “I’d love to see them.”
“Oh.” Of course. Paris is his true home. I glance at his arm again. “The artist is quite talented.”
My chest tightens. A woman who he let create art on his body, who seems to have inspired him to create some of his own.
Gently, he brushes hair behind my ear, and I barely contain a shiver. “What do you want to know?” he asks.
About her. I want to know about her. “You’ll tell me what you want me to know.”
Surprise flickers in his eyes. “You are never quite what I expect, Sara McMillan.”
“Neither are you.”
His voice softens. “The tattoo artist was someone who got me through a hard time.”
I’m holding my breath, and I don’t know why.
“She’s the past,” he adds. “You’re right now.”
Air trickles slowly from my lips. I think he means this as a good thing but the words ‘right now’ don’t sit well. I have no clue why they bother me or why my stomach has knotted up. Right now is all that matters. I’m thinking too much. I don’t want to think. I climb onto his lap and he shifts to sit with his back against the couch. Boldly, I straddle him, my hands on his shoulders.
“I’m here now. What are you going to do with me?”
For several seconds he sits there. He doesn’t touch me. Tension radiates off of him, seeps into me. He doesn’t react and I begin to feel self-conscious for the first time all night. Suddenly, the fingers of one of his hands curl around my neck and he pulls my mouth near his. “Do you know what happens when you push a Dragon? They burn you alive, baby. You’re playing with fire.”
My fingers curl on his cheek and all self-consciousness is gone, forgotten. “I’m not afraid of whatever you’re talking about. I think you keep warning me away because you’re the one who’s afraid.”
His fingers knot in my hair and I gasp at the unexpected bite of his grip, holding me steady. “Is that all you got?” I demand, shocked at how much I want more. How much I want whatever is beneath his surface. I’m not scared. I’m aroused. I’m ready.
His eyes probe mine, his expression hard, intense. “I thought you were a good little school teacher.”
“You’re corrupting me,” I declare, “and I seem to like it.” I barely issue the challenge before he’s pulling my mouth to his, and he is kissing me with unrestrained, burning passion. I taste the part of him I want to know, the part he’s afraid of, and I burn to know more. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am playing with fire, but I cannot stop myself. Beyond reason, I will push him until he reveals everything.