In the Shadow of the Gods
“I fucking hate these people,” a familiar gravelly voice says from behind Janice, taking her breath away. A flush spreads across her chest, bringing the nerve endings of her body to life and igniting the smoldering embers of her desire.
She takes a deep, steadying breath, and turns around. “You’re here.” The reaction of her body does nothing to dispel her belief that any entanglement with Salt remains doomed before it begins.
“It’s the social event of the summer.” He wears a cocky smile and custom-fit tux. Broad shoulders fight against the confines of the jacket, emphasizing the strength beneath, but not enough to require the next size. “I noticed your name on the donor list and bought my way in.” He steps closer, hands hovering at his sides, ready to reach out.
She studies his hands and relishes the memory of his touch on her waist, the grip of his embrace.
“You didn’t come back to the bar.”
“I told you this won’t work.”
“I can’t stop thinking about you.”
“Please....” Janice moves to turn away, but he takes her hand in his. His grip is loose—not intended to restrain, but more of a plea.
“I don’t understand what happened. Whatever it is, I can fix it. Just don’t walk away again.” Vulnerability in a man usually turns her off, but his sincerity speaks directly to her soul, reminding her of what it means to feel.
“It’s nothing you can fix, because it has nothing to do with you.” She is mesmerized by the green of his eyes, the shadow of yesterday’s beard, and the soft lines around his mouth. “I can’t tell you more than that.”
“Then don’t.” He tightens his grip on her hand and pulls her closer.
She is forced to step forward, due to the precarious balance required to walk in these heels.
“Don’t tell me anything.” He gently parts his lips and they breathe together, their movements so perfectly in sync one could believe they were one body, one breath. “How about we don’t talk, just dance?”
Before she can respond, he sweeps an arm around her waist and guides her to the crowded dance floor. In his arms, she relinquishes control, allowing him to lead her across the room, through the crowd, and into a dream. His embrace is warm and familiar, and though she knows she should walk away, she finds it impossible. The green of his eyes shines bright in the glow of their closeness, and for just a moment, she wonders if it might be possible. His hand rests on the small of her back, directing her movements with subtle firmness. The rest of the room fades away, black surrounding the spotlight of his gaze, until they are the only ones who exist.
She presses closer, removing her hand from his and setting them both on his shoulders.
His breath catches and he tilts his head down toward her. Music swells in the background and the lights dim. He releases his hold on her and steps back, leaving his hand on her back.
The presenter announces it’s time to take their seats, but Salt doesn’t move; instead, he quirks his eyebrow, posing the question.
She knows this can never be, but the air has left the building and she’s intoxicated with the thought of his lips.
He drops his hand from her back, and takes her hand.
Before she can answer, he strides forward, leading her out of the banquet hall, past the private exhibit, and out into the dimly lit hall.
Hand in hand, they navigate the maze of the empty museum without a word, taking in the blur of surrounding art. He stops to look at a painting, and she drops his hand to skip ahead to the Greek and Roman displays.
A massive, fluted column stands in the center of the room, its base lined with delicate carving, showing an elaborate, scaled pattern. She studies the piece, struck by its size and beauty. What a display of power and worship.
“It’s from the Temple of Artemis.” He speaks in a hushed tone appropriate for the low lighting. Reverence fills the room as they gaze at the sculpture. “Goddess of childbirth and virginity.” He wraps his arms around her middle, pulling her against his strong chest.
The air conditioning chills her arms, but his embrace invigorates her pulse. “And of the hunt.”
“Like all women.”
“Like you.” He turns her around in his arms and stares at her parted lips.
She sucks in a breath, anticipating the sweetness of his mouth.
“You make me hunt you.” With brutal force, he leans in and kisses her, holding her close in his strong, determined arms.
She struggles against his hold, but only enough to free her arms, reach up around his neck, and pull him closer. She nips his lip and then submits to his need, opening her mouth and drawing in his tongue.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Janice aka Ms. Necia, runs the Sugar House. She spends her free time going to speed-dating to pick up her next conquest. Only this time she meets a man that goes by the name of Salt. He’s different than all the rest and she wants him more than just once. The only thing is, her career goes against everything his stands for. Can this couple make it work?
This makes for quite the interesting story line. It’s like if you were a drug dealer and found out your new boyfriend works for the DEA. Not exactly a match made in heaven. I really enjoyed the story line, the chemistry between the two was hot. And who doesn’t love a good threesome (whom by the way one of the main characters was not present for) and a little sexy time in a museum? But I have to wonder, is that why the book is classified as Erotic? Or is it because Janice runs a brothel? To me the erotic part of the book was lacking and that was a little disappointing.
Besides the aforementioned issues, this book was a good little quick read. I enjoyed the “show” at The Gilded Lily (ok, so I guess that was erotic, but not the erotic sex I was looking for). I think it would be cool to see one in real life, just as long as I’m not brought up on stage like Salt was.
I loved the mystery of who Salt was, he totally would have had me hanging onto his every word if he were my date. And he’s from South Africa, who doesn’t love a sexy man with an accent? Janice was pretty cool. She was just a lonely girl with a past and present that her family doesn’t approve of. I suppose most family would look down on their own, running the kind of business that she does. But that doesn’t mean she deserves to be unhappy or unloved. I hope Janice and Salt find their happy ending. And I’m really hoping we get more of them in the rest of the novella’s in the series, because I was definitely left with wanting more of them.