I Belong to You - Inside Out Series - Book 5
Being that person, that man, is how I define myself, how I allow the
rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss
shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to
punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is
what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need...her.
Amazon - http://amzn.to/O729s4
Now optioned to STARZ for cable TV — read about it HERE
INSIDE OUT EXCERPTS
IF I WERE YOU
We are almost to the gallery, and a knot has formed in my stomach at the prospect of an awkward goodbye, when he suddenly grabs me and pulls me into a small enclave of a deserted office rental. Before I can fully grasp what is happening, I am against the wall, hidden from the street and he is in front of me, enclosing me in the tiny space. I blink up into his burning stare and I think I might combust. His scent, his warmth, his hard body, is all around me, but he is not touching me. I want him to touch me.
He presses his hand to the concrete wall above my head when I want it on my body. “You don’t belong here, Sara.”
The words are unexpected, a hard punch in the chest. “What? I don’t understand.”
“This job is wrong for you.”
I shake my head. I don’t belong? Coming from Chris, an established artist, I feel inferior, rejected. “You asked me why I wasn’t following my heart. Why I wasn’t pursuing what I love. I am. That’s what I’m doing.”
“I didn’t think you’d do it in this place.”
This place. I don’t know what he’s telling me. Does he mean this gallery? This city? Has he judged me not worthy of his inner circle?
“Look, Sara.” He hesitates, and lifts his head to the sky, seeming to struggle for words before fixing me with a turbulent look. “I’m trying to protect you here. This world you’ve strayed into is filled with dark, messed up, arrogant assholes who will play with your mind and use you until there is nothing else left for you to recognize in yourself.”
“Are you one of those dark, messed up, arrogant assholes?”
He stares down at me, and I barely recognize the hard lines of his face, the glint in his eyes, as belonging to the man I’ve just had lunch with. His gaze sweeps my lips, lingers, and the swell of response and longing in me is instant, overwhelming. He reaches up and strokes his thumb over my bottom lip. Every nerve ending in my body responds and it’s all I can do not to touch him, to grab his hand, but something holds me back. I am lost in this man, in his stare, in some spellbinding, dark whirlwind of…what? Lust, desire, torment? Seconds tick eternally and so does the silence. I want to hold him, to stop whatever I sense is coming but I cannot.
“I’m worse.” He pushes off the wall, and is gone. He is gone. I am alone against the wall, aching with a fire that has nothing to do with the meal we shared. My lashes flutter, my fingers touch my lip where he touched me. He has warned me away from Mark, from the gallery, from him, and he has failed. I cannot turn away. I am here and I am going nowhere.
*MALE name removed as to prevent SPOILERS
The idea that I’ve convinced myself he is less controlling than he is has my heels colliding heavily on the driveway. I charge toward his car, the same car I’ve let myself drive instead of holding on to my own identity. I don’t look his direction but damn him, I can feel him all over, everywhere, inside and out, and in intimate places I can’t convince my body he isn’t welcome. It’s beyond frustrating to know that anger this potent isn’t enough to stop the thrum of awareness that just being near him creates.
Not for the first time, I feel Rebecca’s words from that first jour- nal entry I’d read deep in my soul. He was lethal, a drug I feared. I relate to her, and I understand the inescapable passion she felt and lost herself inside. I don’t want to be her. I’m not her. And for the first time since my initial first few encounters with this man, I wonder if I am drawn to him because I’m self-destructive, and he to me for the same reason.
Suddenly he is there, at eye level, as he had been the first night we’d met, when I’d spilled my purse. My gaze lifts and meets his, and a blast of awareness shakes me to the core. My breasts are heavy, my thighs achy. My skin tingles. A fine line between love and hate, Alvarez had said, and I understand them in this moment. I stare into his eyes and I wonder if he too is thinking about the night we met and the many ways we’ve made love.The many we have not and I want us to, when I should not. I should be seeking space, independence, and my own identity, which he is threatening by taking over my life. It makes no sense how I feel in these eternal moments. How can I be this furious with him and still powerfully, completely lost in him?
“We have a lot to talk about, don’t we?” he asks, breaking the spell. His tone is low, and the rasp of anger in his voice is impossible to miss. It jolts me back to reality. He showed up at my client’s house and he’s angry with me?
My temper overpowers all other emotions in me and I reach for the key. His hand closes over mine and heat races up my arm and over my chest.“Don’t do what you did tonight ever again, Sara.”
The sharp command in his voice hits a bull’s-eye on every physiological male dominance issue I own, of which there are many. I try to pull my hand back but I am captive to his grip, leaving me with words as my only weapon.“Ditto to you. And yeah.We have a lot to talk about—somewhere other than my client’s front yard.”
His eyes glint fire a moment before he releases my hand and helps me to my feet.There is a possessiveness to his touch that has me leaning into him when I should be shoving him away. He notices, too; I see it in the slight narrowing of his eyes, the gleam of satisfaction in their depths that I both hunger for and reject.
“I’ll follow you to my place,” he informs me.
“I have no doubt you will.” I click the key clicker to unlock the car. I’m about to open the door when his hand comes down on it, and he leans close, so close his breath is warm on my neck and ear. That woodsy scent of him, which I could luxuriate in for a lifetime, permeates my senses, tearing down my already weak defenses.
His hip nudges mine.“Don’t think for a minute that when we pull up to my apartment, you’re going to ask for your car and leave.”
It is all I can do to fight him when he touches me. Purposely, I do not look at him, certain all my resolve to distance myself from him will crumble.“If I decide to leave, you can’t stop me.”
“Try me, baby.You’re coming up to my apartment.”
I whirl on him.“I don’t want—”
“I do,” he vows, and before I know his intent, his fingers twine into my hair and he pulls me into his arms, against his hard, warm body.
“Let go,” I hiss, my hand flattening on his chest. I intend to push him away, but the heat of his body seeps through my palm, radiating up my arm. My elbow softens, and I am instantly closer but not close enough.
“Not a chance,” he promises, his mouth closing on mine, firm with demand. His tongue licks into my mouth with one brutal, commanding swipe followed by another, and I have no resistance left. I’m weak, so very weak, for this man. As always with him, he demands my response and I helplessly respond. I am instantly wet and wanting, my nipples tight points of aching need.
I try to resist the lure that is this man, but the taste of him, familiar and almost brutally male, mixes with his anger and mine, and the effect is explosively passionate. I want to shout at him, push him away, pull him close, strip away his clothes, and punish him for what he is doing to me, what he takes from me. What he makes me need.
When his lips part from mine, too soon and not soon enough, I barely fight the urge to pull him back. “Was that for the cameras?” I pant at him, furious at myself for such weakness.
“That was because you scared the shit out of me when you didn’t answer your phone. I don’t give a damn about the cameras.” His mouth comes down on mine again, and his hand slides under my jacket, over my backside, pulling me flush against his thick erection.
I whimper, impossibly aroused, and my hands slip beneath the thick leather of his jacket, wrapping his waist. His hand caresses up my back, molding me tighter to him, branding me with heat and fire and sizzling passion that threaten to steal all the reason I possess. No man has ever made me forget where I am, forget why I should care.
“That,” he says roughly, when he pulls back again, “was for the past twelve hours that I should have been thinking about business. Instead, I was incessantly thinking about pink paddles, butterfly nipple clamps, and all the places I’m going to lick, kiss, and now, you can bet, punish you when we get home.”
I almost moan again from his words and have no idea how I manage enough coherent thought to issue a warning, but somehow I do.“If you think sex is going to make this argument go away, you’re wrong.”
“You couldn’t be more right, but it’s a good place to start and end the enlightening conversation you can bet your sweet little ass we’re going to have.” He sets me back from him and away from the door enough to open it.“Let’s go home where I can fuck what you’ve made me feel out of my system and you can do the same.”
Staring up at him, a million things I might say or do are wiped out by the word home replaying in my head. He keeps using that word, and it affects me when he does; it affects me in a deep, painfully real way that leaves me raw and vulnerable. He leaves me raw and vulnerable.
When I don’t move, he pulls me close again, caresses myhair,and gives me a quick kiss on the lips.“Get in the car, Sara,” he orders softly, and as always—though I’m fairly certain he’d disagree—I do as he tells me.
I twist around to find Chris standing in the doorway, his hair a damp mess, droplets of water clinging to the black Harley jacket he wears with the same ease he does his power. The en- tire room seems to suck in a breath at the same moment, waiting for what will come next. Waiting for him.
His attention fixes on me, and it’s as if no one else were in the room. He sees me. He’s dismissed them.
“I told you I was close, baby,” he drawls, seemingly unaffected by the situation. He saunters into the room, and while he’s all casual coolness and sexy swagger, there is a lethal, primal quality just beneath his surface. I might be trying to take control myself, and I want to, but it’s a beautiful thing watching Chris be Chris.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which has sold to more than ten countries for translation with negotiations in process for more, and has now been optioned by STARZ Network for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland).
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 30 books with publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Avon, Kensington, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley and Elloras Cave, as well as crafting a successful indie career. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.