“I really do love making love to you,” he murmurs, and when he lifts his head to stare down at me, I love the wildness of his hair and the sated heaviness of his deep green stare.

My lips curve. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” he agrees, and gives me a quick peck on the mouth.

“Don’t go away.” He pulls out of me and stands up, and I gasp from the hollow ache of his sudden absence. He gives a wicked bark of laughter at my reaction, obviously pleased with himself.

I raise up on my elbow to watch him, and yikes, the sticki-ness between my thighs assures that I’ll stay right where I am or make a mess. Oh, the joys of reality after hot sex. My gaze ixes on Chris’s naked, sexy backside as he walks to a doorway on my left. Okay, so maybe reality is pretty darn good. Who cares about sticky? Chris disappears inside a room and comes back with a towel in his hand, the full-frontal view reinforcing my feeling lucky.

He grabs a pillow from the couch and then settles back on the rug, ofering me the towel. I’ve barely had time to clean up when he pulls my back to his front, and we share the pillow.

Sprawled on the loor together, naked, limbs twined together, I’ve never been happier. Chris is dark and damaged, and I think I’m far more damaged than I’ve ever acknowledged. But together . . . together I think we can ind our way to the light.

“I am never going to look at this rug the same way again,”

Chris says, nuzzling my hair.

“That makes two of us,” I agree with a laugh, but my smile fades when my gaze catches on the sash Chris used to tie me up. We’re so close to inding true peace with each other, I don’t want anything, especially my silent worries, to ruin it.

“Please promise me that my hesitation over spanking didn’t make you doubt I can handle what you want to share with me.”

I force myself to dig deeper and face what is really bothering me. “And it’s not because of Michael. I’m not fragile, Chris. I won’t break because of some deep emotional wound, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

He rolls me to my back and his hand settles possessively on my stomach. “Baby, I’m not about to sit back and let that man be what’s in your head. I’ll give you other things to ill the space. Good things. Pleasurable things.

“But Michael aside, there was no way I was spanking you after what you’ve been through the past few days. Not when there’s a risk the experience might hit an emotional nerve.

Sometimes a BDSM-type experience helps you escape. Sometimes it takes you deeper into the pain, and forces you to face it and deal with it. You’re too new to this for that to be predict-able. You don’t know what you like, nor how you react to it, and neither do I.”

I have a sudden memory of Chris tied up in the club, screaming for the woman behind him to hit him harder, and I know why he became the master of helping others escape. He can’t give someone else control without the risk of them opening a wound and starting an emotional bleed. Not unless he goes to painful extremes. Beatings.

“We did exactly what I intended tonight,” Chris continues.

“We worked on trust, and you gave me enough to lie down na**d in the middle of this rug and completely submit to me.

Trust is everything, Sara.”

He curls around me and I shut my eyes, absorbing the sensation of being wrapped in his strong arms, and I hope that he can ind the same trust in me, and us, as I have.

I blink into the beam of sunlight from the balcony and inhale the warm, musky scent of Chris, who is still wrapped around me. But rather than feeling warm and wonderful, there’s a vague sense of unease inside me. Something feels of. Maybe it’s the new place or the time zone change, and I wonder how long we’ve been asleep.

“Chris! Oh, Chris, baby, where are you?”

The female voice echoes from the stairwell, approaching quickly, and the sound is like a bucket of ice water. I go cold, aware that this is my source of unease and what woke me.

“Oh holy hell,” the female says, and I can tell she’s at the top of the stairs now, no doubt gaping at us where we lie on the rug. “Wow. Chris. A little early in this trip for female friends, isn’t it?”

I linch at her obvious meaning and try to sit up, but Chris’s leg and arm shackle me. “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s wrong.

Please, baby. Don’t assume anything.”

I don’t have to assume—not when there’s a woman who clearly knows him intimately enough to have access to his home standing a few feet from us.

Six

I can’t lie na**d on the loor like this one more second. “Let me up, Chris,” I hiss.

“Not until you promise me not to jump to conclusions.”

He shifts slightly. I try to push against him but he holds on to me. I growl low in my throat. “We are na**d in front of her, Chris. You are na**d in front of her.”

He hesitates but lets me go. I twist around to my hands and knees to get up, and freeze. Standing at the top of the stairs is a striking, Barbie-doll-looking blonde wearing skintight black jeans and a tank top, with long, silky hair, a body to kill for, and tattoos on both bare arms. Her red “fuck me” heels are outra-geously high, which on me would ensure a certain stumble, and a wave of nausea overcomes me. Why am I here? She is everything I’m not and can never be.

“What the f**k are you doing here, Amber?” Chris demands, then drops his shirt by my hands. “Here, baby.”


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Inside Out Romance
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