The steamy first installment in a new erotic romance trilogy by Jones, in the bestselling tradition of "Fifty Shades of Grey." When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she's shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry.
When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she's shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer-until the terrifying final entry.
Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca's life. Soon she's working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca's friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she's going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she's not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.
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If I Were You One Wednesday, March 7, 2012 Dangerous. For months I''ve had dreams and nightmares about how perfectly he personifies the word. Sleep-laden, alternate realities where I can vividly smell his musky male scent, feel his hard body against mine. Taste the sweet and sensuous flavor of him--like milk chocolate with its silky demand that I indulge in one more bite. And another. So good I''d forgotten there''s a price for overindulgence. And there is a price. There is always a price. I was reminded of this life lesson on Saturday night. And I know now, no matter what he says, no matter what he does, I cannot--will not--see him again. It started out as any other erotic adventure with him. Unpredictable. Exciting. I barely remember where it all went wrong. How it took such a dark turn. He''d ordered me to undress and sit on the mattress, against the headboard, my legs spread wide for his viewing. Naked before him, open to him, I was vulnerable and quivering with need. Never in my life had I taken orders from a man; most certainly I had never thought I would quiver with anything. But I did for him. If Saturday night proved anything, it was that once I was with him, under his spell, he could demand anything of me, and I''d comply. He could push me to the edge, to unbelievable places I''d never thought I would go. Exactly why I can''t see him again. He makes me feel possessed, and what is so disconcerting about this feeling is that I like it. I can hardly wrap my mind around allowing such a thing, though I burn for it. But when I saw him standing at the end of the bed Saturday night, all broad and thick with sinewy muscle, his cock jutting forward, there was nothing but that need. He was magnificent. Really, truly the most gorgeous man I''ve ever known. Instant lust exploded inside me. I wanted to feel him close to me, to feel him touch me. To touch him. But I know now not to touch him without his permission. And I know not to beg him to let me. I''ve learned my lesson from past encounters. He enjoys the vulnerability of a plea far too much. Enjoys withholding his pleasures until I am nearly quaking with the burn of my body. Until I am liquid heat and tears. He likes that power over me. He likes full control. I should hate him. Sometimes, I think I love him. It was the blindfold that should have warned me I was headed toward a place of no return. Thinking back, I believe it did. He tossed it on the bed, a dare, and instantly a shiver chased a path up and down my spine. The idea of not being able to see what was happening to me should have aroused me--it did arouse me. But for reasons I didn''t understand at the time, it also frightened me. I was scared and I hesitated. This did not please him. He told me so, in that deep, rich, baritone voice that makes me quiver uncontrollably. The need to please him had been so compelling. I put on the blindfold. I was rewarded by the shift of the mattress. He was coming to me. Soon I knew I would come, too. His hands slid possessively up my calves, over my thighs. And damn him, stopped just before my place of need. What came next was a shadowy whirlwind of sensation. He pulled me to my back, flat against the mattress. I knew satisfaction was seconds away. Soon he would enter me. Soon I would have what I needed. But to my distress, he moved away. It was then that I was sure I''d heard the click of a lock. It jolted me to a sitting position, and I called out his name, fearful he was leaving. Certain that I''d done something wrong. Then relieved when his hand flattened on my stomach. I''d imagined the sound of the lock. I must have. But I couldn''t shake the subtle shift in the air then, the raw lust and menace consuming the room that didn''t feel like him. It was a thought easily forgotten when he settled heavy between my thighs, his strong hands lifting my arms over my head, his breath warm on my neck--his body heavy, perfect. Somehow, a silk tie wrapped around my wrists and my arms were tied to the bed frame. It never occurred to me that he could not have done this on his own. That he was on top of me, unable to manipulate my arms. But then, he was manipulating my body, my mind, and I was his willing victim. He lifted his body from mine, and I whimpered, unable to reach for him. Again silence. And the whisk of fabric. More strange sounds. Long seconds ticked by, and I remember the chill that snaked across my skin. The feeling of dread that had balled in my stomach. And then, the moment I know I will die remembering. The moment when the steel of a blade touched my lips. The moment that he promised there was pleasure in pain. The moment when the blade traveled along my skin with the proof he would be true to his words. And I knew then that I had been wrong. He was not dangerous. Nor was he chocolate. He was lethal, a drug, and I feared . . . A knock on my apartment door jolts me from the seductive words of the journal I''ve been reading to the point I darn near toss the notebook over my shoulder. Guiltily, I slam it shut and set it back on the simple oak coffee table where it had been left by my neighbor and close friend Ella Ferguson the night before. I hadn''t meant to read it. It was just . . . there. On my table. Absently, I''d opened it, and I''d been so shocked at what I found that I hadn''t believed it could really be my sweet, close friend Ella''s writing. So I''d kept reading. I couldn''t stop reading, and I don''t know why. It makes no sense. I, Sara McMillan, am a high school teacher, and I do not invade people''s privacy, nor do I enjoy this kind of reading. I''m still telling myself that as I reach the door, but I can''t ignore the burn low in my belly. I pause before greeting my visitor and rest my hands on my cheeks, certain they''re flaming red, hoping whoever is here will just go away. I promise myself if they do, I won''t read the journal again, but deep down, I know the temptation will be strong. Good Lord, I feel like Ella seemed to feel when living out the scene in the journal--like I am the one hanging on for one more titillating moment and then another. Clearly, twenty-eight-year-old women are not supposed to go eighteen months without sex. The worst part is that I''ve invaded the privacy of someone I care about. Another knock sounds, and I concede that, nope, my visitor is not going away. Inwardly, I shake myself and tug at the hem of the simple light blue dress I still wear from today''s final tenth-grade English class of the summer. I inhale and open the door to have a cool blast of San Francisco''s year-round chilly night air tease the loose strands of my long brunette hair that have fallen from the twist at my nape. Thankfully, it also cools my feverishly hot skin. What is wrong with me? How has a journal affected me this intensely? Without awaiting an invitation, Ella rushes past me in a whiff of vanilla-scented perfume and red bouncing curls. "There it is," Ella says, snatching up her journal from the coffee table. "I thought I''d left it here when I came by last night." I shut the door, certain my cheeks are flaming again with the knowledge that I now know more about Ella''s sex life than I should. I still don''t know what made me open that journal, what made me keep reading. What makes me, even now, want to read more. "I hadn''t noticed," I say, wishing I could pull back the lie the instant it''s issued. I don''t like lies. I''ve known my share of people who''ve told them, and I know how damaging they can be. I really don''t like how easily this one slipped from my lips. This is Ella, after all, who in the past year as my neighbor has become my confidante, the younger sister I''d never had. Together we are the family neither of us has or, rather, neither of us wishes to claim. Uncomfortably, I ramble onward, a bad habit brought out by nerves, and guilt, apparently. "Long day of classes," I add, "and I had piles and piles of paperwork to finish up for the summer. Lucky you got to avoid that this year, though I had some great kids I enjoyed." I purse my lips and tell myself I''ve said enough, only to find I can''t help but continue. "I only just got home a few minutes ago." "Well, thank goodness you have some time off now," Ella says, lifting the journal. "I brought this over last night when we''d planned to watch that chick flick together. I wanted to read you a few of the entries. But then David called, and you know how that went." Her lips tilted downward, guilt laden in her tone. "I deserted you like a very bad friend." David being her hot doctor boyfriend. What David wanted from Ella, he got. Now, I know just how true that is. I study Ella a moment. With her dewy youthful skin, and dressed in faded jeans and a purple tee, she looks like one of my students rather than a twenty-five-year-old teacher herself. "I was tired anyway," I assure her, but I''m worried she''s over her head with this man ten years her senior. "I needed to get to bed to be ready for today''s classes." "Well, they''re over now and yay for that." She indicates the journal. "And I''m so glad to get this back before my date with David tonight." She wiggles an eyebrow. "Foreplay. David is going to love this. This thing is scorching hot." I gape in utter disbelief. "You read him your journal?" I''d never have the courage to read a man such intimate personal