Her irritation fades, replaced by unmistakable female admiration. She wants him, badly. “S’il vous plaît, Chris.”

“Where is he?” Chris asks, seeming oblivious to her warm welcome. Chris is oblivious to nothing.

She purses her lips again. “Right to business. I see nothing has changed. This way.”

Chris’s ingers lex on my back, silently warning me to stay cool. I don’t look at him, for fear he’ll decide to usher me out of here. Which is probably smart, since I’m really pissed of.

We follow Isabel through an elegant dining room with white linen tablecloths, fancy red-cushioned chairs, and lots of art on the walls. I easily recognize several paintings as Chris’s.

The whip might have been what Chris had the afair with, but Isabel deinitely wanted one with Chris.

Isabel halts at a staircase that snakes up to another level.

“You’ll ind him in limited company.”

While I understand that a cramped city of nearly twelve million has to be built in levels, I’d be a whole lot happier if Neuville had been on this one. I’m not looking forward to being the irst to greet Neuville, especially considering my unfamiliar surroundings.

“Follow me,” Chris orders, starting up the stairs irst.

Isabel crosses her arms in front of her chest, her lips twitching like she knows something we don’t. I frown and quickly follow Chris, afraid of what might await him upstairs.

He’s already at the top and I hear him say, “Surprise—but then, imagine our surprise to be followed by someone who said they worked for you.”

“Our surprise?” a deep male voice queries. “You and who else?”

I step up beside Chris, bringing a formal dining room into view. Another painting by a famous artist is on the wall, and the walnut table in the center of the room is large enough to it a dozen people. There are only two. A twenty-something female with dirty blond hair, who would be quite beautiful if she weren’t sitting next to the devastatingly handsome Garner Neuville.

He licks me a look and then glances back at Chris, who says, “I’m sure you know Sara, since you had her followed.”

Holding Chris’s stare, Neuville doesn’t react. He just sits there in his well-pressed, pale blue dress shirt, not a strand of his thick, slicked-back raven hair out of place. “Leave us, Stepha-nie,” he inally says without looking at his companion.

She’s walking toward me in a few seconds lat, and I can’t help but wonder if Neuville is her Master. Are those the kinds of circles he and Chris run in together? They share a link to Isabel, after all.

“Would we like to sit down?” Chris asks, as if Neuville had ofered. “Absolutely.”

I ight a smirk as Chris’s hand settles on my back, urging me to the table where he sits at the end, opposite Neuville. I sit at Chris’s left.

Chris and Neuville lock eyes, and the air thickens as they prepare to match swords.


“Where’s Ella?”

I blanch to ind the piercing stare Neuville had been aiming at Chris suddenly directed at me.

“Why are you looking for her?” Chris asks before I can reply.

“Ella and I were”—he pauses for obvious efect—“involved.

I moved too fast for her and she got spooked. She took of and I haven’t seen her since.”

The many ways I can read “involved” set my nerves further on edge. The idea of this man playing dominant to Ella is not a good one. “What does you ‘moved too fast’ mean?”

He arches a brow at me, looking rather smug. “Do you really want the gritty details?”

Yes! I scream in my head, and then amend my answer to No! I might come unglued if I heard details. “I just want to know where Ella is.” I don’t try to keep the bite from my voice.

“Then we have something in common, Ms. McMillan,” he drawls.

“You’ve been quick with your answers,” Chris comments.

“Some might think you planned them in advance.”

“Others might simply say I’m telling the truth,” Neuville responds.

Chris doesn’t miss a beat. “I guess it depends on how much that person knows about you.”

Neuville arches his brow again, this time at Chris. “What exactly do you think you know about me?”

“More than who you like to f**k,” Chris replies, and I barely hold back a gasp. “When did you last see Ella?”

“A week ago,” Neuville says, as if Chris hadn’t said anything unexpected at all. “I’ve been looking for her ever since, and, naturally, when I discovered her best friend was arriving in Paris, I assumed it was to be with her. I have yet to ind that to be the case.”

“Why not ask Sara through me, rather than have her followed?” Chris asks.

“I didn’t know you were involved until I had her followed,”

is his rebuttal.

Chris doesn’t look impressed by that answer. “And yet you didn’t call me when you found out.”

I want to ask about my stolen wallet and passport, but I hold back. It’s not like the content is valid anymore, and Neuville is drumming his ingers on the table, irritation radiating of of him. “For the same reason you didn’t just call me on the phone tonight. You didn’t want me to escape before I heard you out. The same applies to me with Ella.”

This answer has my attention. I do not like his use of the word escape, any more than I like remembering how enthralled Ella was by Rebecca’s journals and the idea of a Master. If this man opened Ella up to one potential Master, could she be with another man now who might be dangerous?

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Inside Out Romance
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