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Slow Satisfaction (Struck by Lightning #3)
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James has finally pushed Karina beyond her limit–not her limit for kinky sex play, but for his extreme secrecy. She has had enough and breaks things off. But James won’t give up on Karina and will do whatever it takes to get her back. He’s ready to share his deepest, darkest secrets, but is Karina ready to hear them?
James offers Karina not only the truth but a place at his side… onstage. He wants Karina to star in his final musical production and enter his life and his world fully and completely. As the two work together, they rekindle the trust and love they’d lost. But James’s world is full of deceit. When he is blackmailed by an unscrupulous music industry executive, James must give in to unreasonable demands or risk exposure of his and Karina’s secret sex life.
Will Karina and James’s love be strong enough to withstand the many obstacles being thrown their way?
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Your Mother in a Whirl
I have no idea if you’ll read this. I hope you will. I decided to sit down and write because whenever I try to explain myself to you in person, either my passions get the best of me or my fears do. Perhaps sitting down in a quiet place to compose this, without the distraction of your presence, I can put my feelings into words.
First, an apology. I regret many things, but none more than how much I hurt you. I have no excuse. My past is my past. My baggage is heavy, and perhaps now you can see why I wanted a fresh start with you, as if I had no past, no attachments, no burdens. And you gave me the freedom to be myself and to love you without reservations. I wish I had been able to keep my past and my demons at bay for one more day back in April, and I wish it again now. I’m sorry. I let my fears get the better of me that night at the ball, my suspicions and my paranoias blinding me to what I had right in front of me.
The love of my life.
I’m a fool. Maybe that means I don’t deserve you. Stefan, who has never said a word out of line in all the time he has worked for me, even told me I had made a mistake.
I hope you will let me apologize in person. I have so much more to tell you, so much that I dare not put in a letter. I want to tell you everything. Everything you want to know, anyway. It might take years. But I want to spend years with you. I want to share my life with you. Whatever life I will have going forward from this moment, I can’t imagine it without you.
But I cannot lie: that life is about to get very complicated again.
I thought I had put a whole chapter behind me when we met. I thought my contractual obligations had been fulfilled and I thought the false obligations had been dissipated, but it was not so. I cannot say more in a letter, but please let me tell you in person.
I do not know what will happen from this point. I would disappear completely, into anonymity in some distant country, perhaps, except for you. There is no other woman like you in the world and I was a fool not to love you as you deserve.
Please let me try.
Yours, heart, body, and soul,
James Byron LeStrange
My hands trembled a little as I read the e-mail from James on my phone, while the taxi picked up speed on the highway, hurrying me toward the hospital. Why did I read it then? Why? I should have at least waited until I was alone, but there had been three texts from him on my phone when I had landed, all saying some variation of “I’m sorry” and promising to explain more. And if there was one thing I wanted most from James it was an explanation. When I’d looked into my e-mail to pull up the name of the hospital my sister had sent me, I saw the message from James there, and I’d been unable to resist.
Unable to resist. That was my second beef with James. He seemed to be able to manipulate me too easily. How else could you explain how much I missed him, how much I wanted him, even though I was trembling with rage at him?
He probably thought his message was as apologetic and conciliatory as possible, but it only made me angrier. Any apology was meaningless without an explanation after all the secrets he had kept from me, so an apology that still kept all his secrets intact was as fake as the aliases he used. Did he truly not understand that? After failing to tell me who he was during our affair in New York until I forced it out of him, failing to tell me about the secret BDSM society in England he was a member of, failing to tell me he pushed Damon, a member of that society, to “test” me, and then failing to tell me that he might be married? Failing to tell me anything about what the hell was going on while throwing out phrases like “love of my life” and “love you as you deserve” was insulting.
Part of me wanted to believe him. Part of me wanted to forgive him immediately and kneel at his feet and wait for him to tell me all about it. Surely he would… If he really loved me… But damn it, he didn’t deserve my devotion or my submission the way things were right now. He was going to have to earn it back.
If I let him.