I’m counting down the days until Release Me hits the shelves with a page reveal. Two or three pages daily, in order, from the book!
Today’s excerpt starts right after yesterday’s left off! You can find all the posted excerpts by going to the Release Me Page Reveal category of the blog!
I cross the entire room before I pause, my heart pounding wildly in my chest. Fifty-five steps. I counted every one of them, and now that there’s no place left to go I am simply standing still, staring at one of Blaine’s paintings. Another nude, this one l
aying on her side across a stark white bed, only the foreground in focus. The rest of the room—walls, furniture—are nothing more than the blurred gray suggestions of shapes.
The woman’s skin is pale, as if she’s never seen the sun. But her face suggests otherwise. It reflects so much ecstasy that it seems to glow.
There is only one splash of color on the entire canvas—a long red ribbon. It is tied loosely around the woman’s neck, then extends between her heavy breasts to trail down even farther. It slides between her legs, then continues, the image fading into the background before meeting the edge of the canvas. There’s a tautness to the ribbon, though, and it’s clear what story the artist is telling; her lover is there, just off the canvas, and he’s holding the ribbon, making it slide over her, making her writhe against it in a desperate need to find the pleasure that he’s teasing her with.
I swallow, imagining the sensation of that cool, smooth satin stroking me between my legs. Making me hot, making me come . . .
And in my fantasy, it’s Damien Stark who is holding that ribbon.
This is not good.
I ease away from the painting toward the bar, which is the only place in the entire room where I’m not bombarded by erotic imagery. Honestly, I need the break. Erotic art doesn’t usually make me melt. Except, of course, it’s not the art that’s making me hot.
I do, however, want you.
What had he meant by that?
More to the point, what do I want him to mean by that? Which, of course, is a bullshit question. I know what I want. The same thing I wanted six years ago. I also know it will never happen. And even the fantasy is a very bad idea.
I scan the room, telling myself I’m only looking over the art. Apparently this is my night for self-deception. I’m looking for Stark, but when I find him, I wish that I hadn’t bothered. He’s standing next to a tall, lithe woman with short dark hair. She looks like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, vibrant and beautiful. Her small features are alight with pleasure, and as she laughs she reaches out and touches him in a casual, intimate gesture. My stomach hurts just watching them. Good God, I don’t even know this man. Can I really be jealous?
I consider the possibility, and in the spirit of tonight’s theme, I deceive myself once more. Not jealousy—anger. I’m pissed that Stark could so cavalierly flirt with me even though he’s obviously enthralled by another woman—a beautiful, charming, radiant woman.
“More champagne?” The bartender holds out a flute.Tempting. Very tempting, but I shake my head. I don’t need to get drunk. I need to get out of here.
More guests arrive, and the room overflows with people. I look for Stark again, but he has disappeared into the crowd. Audrey Hepburn is nowhere in sight, either. I’m sure where
ever they are, they’re having a dandy time.
I sandwich myself between a wall and a hallway cordoned off with a velvet rope. Presumably it leads to the rest of Evelyn’s house. Right now, it’s the closest thing to privacy I have.
I take out my phone, hit speed dial, and wait for Jamie to answer.
“You will so not believe this,” she says, skipping all the preliminaries. “I just did the nasty with Douglas.”
“Oh my God, Jamie. Why?” Okay, that came out before I had the chance to think about it, and while this revelation about Douglas is not good news, I’m grateful to be dragged so forcefully into Jamie’s problems. Mine can wait.
Douglas is our next door neighbor, and his bedroom shares a wall with mine. Even though it’s only been four days, I have a pretty good idea of how often he gets laid. The idea that my best friend is another ticky mark on his bedpost does not thrill me.
Of course, from Jamie’s perspective, he’s a mark on her bedpost.
“We were by the pool drinking wine, and then we got in the hot tub and then . . .” She trails off, leaving “and then” to my imagination.
“He’s still there? Or are you at his place?”
“God, no. I sent him home an hour ago.”
“Jamie . . .”
“What? I just needed to burn some energy. Trust me, it’s good. I’m so mellow now you wouldn’t even believe.”
I frown. Like a girl who collects stray puppies, Jamie brings home a lot of men. She doesn’t, however, keep them around. Not even until morning. As her roommate, I find that convenient. There’s nothing quite like meeting an unshaved, unshowered, half-naked man staring into your refrigerator at three in the morning. As her friend, however, I worry.
She, in turn, worries about me for precisely the opposite reason. I’ve never brought a man home, much less kicked him out. As far as Jamie is concerned, that makes me sub
This, however, isn’t the time to get into it with my best friend. But Douglas? She had to go and pick Douglas? “Am I going to have to avert my eyes every time I see him in the complex?”
“He’s cool,” she says. “No big deal.”
I close my eyes and shake my head. The mere thought of being naked like that—emotionally and physically—overwhelms me. Not a big deal? The hell it’s not.
I hope you enjoyed! Come back tomorrow for more!
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