Relax into him. Like I had in bed. I nod. “Yes.”

Slowly, he lowers his head and I feel the warm trickle of his hot breath a moment before his mouth closes down on my clit. I gasp as his hand leaves my leg and my body shifts forward, but then his fingers are inside me, and that arch of my body is like sweet, unbearably necessary pressure. I am on the edge in a flash of seconds and Chris is wrong, so very wrong. I won’t beg. There isn’t time. I’m going to come and there is no question, none whatsoever, that this man owns me and I can’t think of a single reason why that’s a bad thing.

• • •

Forty-five minutes later, I’m still wearing nothing but Chris’s shirt and standing in the kitchen, watching while he downs the cup of coffee I’ve poured him as if it’s not scalding hot. His hair is damp, finger tossed, and sexy, and he’s wearing a light blue T-shirt with Spider-Man on the front that one of the kids he’s seeing at the hospital gave to him, with black jeans. I’m eager to discover what has inspired such fierce dedication to this charity and wish I had more time to ask him about his involvement.

“Did you sleep at all?” I ask, and I try not to let my insecurity run wild. But if he wanted me in his bed, why wasn’t he in it with me?

“I don’t sleep much at night. That’s when I paint.” He reaches for the cup I’m holding and sips some of my coffee. “I had something I wanted to paint for one of the kids. He’s a bit of a movie fanatic like I am so we’ve bonded over a few favorites.”

“How old is he?”



He nods, his expression tightening. “Leukemia. Late stages. It’s destroying his parents. They’re good people forced to watch their child die.”

My chest pinches painfully. “You’re sure he’s going to die?”

“Yeah. He’s going to die. And believe me, if there was an amount of money or medicine that would change that, I’d make it happen.” He runs his hand through his fast-drying hair and turns away, walking to the phone and calling for a cab. I can see the tension ripple along his shoulders. I can’t imagine what it must be like to know someone you love is dying and be powerless to stop it, but I think Chris does. I mean, didn’t he watch his father slowly drink himself to death? I suddenly wish I was going with him and decide right then to try to get Saturday off, even if I have to use the charity event as publicity for the gallery to make it happen. And I’m darn sure going to make Mark open his thick wallet for a big fat donation.

Chris hangs up the phone and turns to me and I don’t get the chance to ask why he’s taking a cab. “Come with me,” he says. “I didn’t cancel your reservation.”

Knowing more about the charity only makes my reply harder. “Not this time.”

He does not look appeased by my inference that I would accept a future invitation. “That’s not the right answer.”

“It’s the only one I have.”

He scrubs his jaw and turns to the counter directly beside me and presses his hands to it. His head falls forward and he just hangs there for several seconds, tension rolling off him in waves.

I reach over and run my hand through the spiky blond of his hair. He lifts his head, and the concern in his pale green eyes glistens in sunlight beaming from the bay window behind us. “I’m going to be out of my mind with worry. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to leave you like this?”

“It’s hard for me to let you leave.”

He registers my words, and I know I’ve pleased him, but his mood shifts, his jaw tenses. “I need you to do something for me, Sara. I need you to lock those journals in the safe in my closet and leave them there. I’ll give you the combination.”

My heart begins to race and I lean against the counter to see him more fully. “You’re worried someone will try and take them? I thought you said the apartment was safe?”

He rotates around to face me. “It is safe. That’s not what I’m worried about or else I wouldn’t be trying to talk you into going with me. I’d be insisting instead. What I’m worried about is you reading the damn things and then reading into them. I’m asking you to put them away while I’m gone. Save your curiosity until I’m present and have the chance to explain whatever you read if you somehow relate it to you and me like you did last night.”

“It’s not about curiosity, Chris. It’s about finding Rebecca.”

“Let the private detective do his job. I’m going to put a call into him this morning to talk about what happened last night and see if he can get anything from the storage facility about the incident that we couldn’t.” His hands slide down my hair. “Please, Sara. Lock up the journals.”

I swallow hard against the refusal that wants to spurt from my lips. This is important to him, and there is nothing in the journals I haven’t read at least once before. Reluctantly, I nod. “Yes. Okay. I’ll lock them up.”

Approval crosses his face. “Thank you.”

My lips curve at his thank-you.

He arches a brow. “Why are you smiling?”

“Because most macho control freaks don’t say ‘thank you.’ I like it.”

“Enough to agree to fly up to Los Angeles Saturday after work and help me survive being stuffed in a tuxedo at a gala that evening?”

I wiggle an eyebrow. “I get to see you in a tuxedo?”

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Inside Out Romance