Authors: Lisa Renee Jones
Tags: #Romance, #General, #Suspense, #Contemporary, #Fiction
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Don’t forget to click through after
Rebecca’s Lost Journals, Volume 2: The Contract
for an exclusive sneak peek at Lisa Renee Jones’s sizzling beginning to the Inside Out trilogy
If I Were You
Available from Gallery Books
Journal 5, entry 1
Thursday, February 17, 2011
aster. Submission. A contract that says he
me for his personal pleasure. It’s my decision whether to dare to tread that path or not. Sitting here on my bed in fluffy pajamas with a glass of wine in hand, these things seem like they are meant for someone else’s life, not mine.
Truly, I’m surprised that this decision wasn’t the only thing on my mind at work today. I was certain that it, and the man involved, even the call to Dr. Kat, would consume me all day. But art is a gift to this world that I’m passionate about, and its allure enticed me away from my fretful worries about handing over control to a man I barely know but find impossible to resist. Being able to separate him from my art is actually quite comforting. I don’t have to lose who I am to be a part of who he is.
By midmorning I wasn’t even thinking about the contract points I wanted to discuss with him, or of having been tied to his bed. Or all the wicked things he’d done to me while I was tied there, or even all the wicked things he might do to me in the future. A customer gave me a tip about a man in Seattle who had a rare masterpiece he was thinking of letting go for a steal. It took me hours to track him down, but I actually managed to get through to him. I talked him into meeting with Mark about auctioning it off through Riptide. Mark was in NYC at Riptide today, so I had to call him. I’m smiling just replaying the way the call went. I do enjoy verbally sparring with my new boss.
“Ms. Mason, this better be important.”
I replied with a happy gloat. “If you call a chance to get an original ‘Mercury’ worth a cool million for only half of that important, then I guess it is.”
He was silent a moment and then said, “Are you certain?”
“I spoke with the owner myself. He’s in Seattle and he’s agreed to see you.”
“Why would he let it go at this price?”
“He wanted 600k. I told him I could get him 500k within the week.”
“You’re very confident with my money.”
“I’m very confident in how much money this can make us both. His business is in trouble and he needs the cash.”
“He told you this?”
“People tell me things. I’m a much better listener than talker.”
“Indeed,” he surprised me by agreeing. “Email me the details.”
“I already did.”
He was silent a moment. “I’ll say good work if I get the painting for 500k.”
“I’m looking forward to it, Mr. Compton.”
If that painting sells for a million, I’ll make 10 percent! It’s too good to be true. How can this be my life? Of course, the auction is six months from now so I won’t get my hopes up, but it’s truly amazing to have the potential to make this income.
But now, it’s time to think about the contract in front of me. It’s long. It’s scary. It’s so not me, so why am I reading it?
Dr. Kat said to talk through my limits, and the first four items on the contract all bother me. That doesn’t seem like a good start.
• I accept that I shall be placed in and kept under strict discipline without time limit.
Without time limit is a No Go for me.
• I accept any form of punishment meted out to me while under discipline.
What is punishment? And why the hell would I say yes? Hmmm—the flogging had been rather erotic. Is that what is meant by punishment?
• I accept any form of restraint without time limit.
No time limit is a NO.
• I agree to obey my Master in all respects. Mind, body, heart, and time belong to him.
My time belongs to him? My mind? No.
• I will have the right to operate at work, in my daily routine, without this agreement interfering. I may dress, communicate, and function as the job dictates necessary.
Well, that helps a little, but not much.
• I accept the responsibility of using my safe word when necessary, and trust implicitly in my Master to respect the use of that safe word.
This, I believe I can live with. So we have one thing I’m okay with. One. This isn’t going too well.
• I will always speak of my Master in terms of love and respect. She will address him at all times as “Master.”
This will take getting used to, but I’ll figure it out. So I’ve found a second thing I can live with.
• I agree that my Master possesses the right to determine whether others can use my body and what use they may put it to.
This bothers me more than anything. How can he care about me if he wants to share me? Who would he share me with? Am I kidding myself to think he would care about me? This is sex. Just sex. In so many ways, it’s what I want. No ties. No emotions. No interference in my job and career goals. Yet he wants to own my mind, time, body, and heart. It’s very confusing.
• • •
hat’s even more confusing is that I’m not saying no to this. Why would I allow myself to be a submissive, a slave to another person?
But I know the answer: because it’s him. There is something about him. What, I don’t know. It’s almost as if I feel like he can complete me in some way, and I’m not even sure how that is. This terrifies me. I don’t want another person to be what completes me. And sharing me . . . Do I want to be shared? It’s hard to imagine being with more than one person. Would I do it to please him? Would it please me? I’ve never thought of such a thing.
I don’t think I can do this. No. I can’t. I’m going to tell him no.
Friday, February 18, 2011
didn’t deal with my submissive/Master scenario today. The timing just wasn’t right. I had too much going on at the gallery, and Mark was in Seattle to meet with my potential seller. I kept hoping to hear from him, but I didn’t. I don’t know what that means. I’m climbing the walls, wondering if he bought the painting for Riptide. Surely he knows what a big deal this is to me? But then, Mark seems to enjoy making me squirm. I must have asked Amanda a hundred times if he’d called in. I finally left him a message. He didn’t call back. How am I ever going to sleep with two huge open issues?
Saturday, February 19, 2011
he minute I walked into the gallery today and found out from Amanda that Mark was in, I started for his office, only to be told that Ricco was with him. It just about made me crazy to have to wait; I’ve been dying to know what happened in Seattle. Then I started to worry about what Ricco and Mark might be talking about. Two hours passed and they still were in Mark’s office, which made no sense to me. They don’t even seem to like each other all that much. I had no idea what they could have been talking about and still don’t.
When they finally came out of the office I was with a customer, and Mark and Ricco left together. Mark didn’t return by the time the gallery closed and I couldn’t help myself. I called him. He didn’t answer. He texted me instead with:
I sent him a contract.
He’ll want his attorney to review it. Expect this to take weeks.
Weeks! And a contract! I almost choked when I read that part of the message. Once again, a contract stands between me and the prize.
Monday, February 21, 2011
hris came into the gallery to see Mark today. The two of them seem to share a mutual respect, and maybe a friendship. It’s hard to tell with two such controlled men. They are so alike and so different, those two. Mark is hard on the surface, while Chris jokes with the entire staff and everyone seems to like him. But they share the same underlying strength and power. Each commands the room when he enters. I want to be like them, to be that confident, that in control. So how could I be a submissive to a Master and ever be those things? And why am I still thinking about this, when I already decided I wasn’t going to sign the contract?
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
osh showed up at the gallery today and Mark didn’t seem pleased. No. That’s an understatement. He was pissed. Josh actually interrupted me while I was with a customer and wanted to talk. The customer wasn’t pleased. Mark ordered Mary to take over the client and directed me to his office. I can still see the gloating look on Mary’s face that said she was thrilled to see me in hot water. And I was in hot water. The conversation with Mark wasn’t a good one.
“Your ‘boy’ needs to visit on breaks or lunch, not while I have a millionaire on the floor trying to buy art.”
“I didn’t invite him.”
“Nor have you controlled him. Deal with him, Ms. Mason. That will be all. You can leave.”
Talk about feeling smacked down. He dismissed me that fast. I stood there and weighed my options. The truth seemed my only defense, so I said, “I’ve tried and failed. I don’t understand why, but he just won’t go away.”
He arched a brow at me. “Are you telling me he’s stalking you?”
“No. I don’t want to say that, but it is getting a little creepy.”
“Do I need to handle this for you?”
“God, no. I’ll handle it. I will.”
“But you haven’t?”
“I was worried about hurting his feelings.”
“So you haven’t handled it at all.”
“I told him I wasn’t interested.”
“Tell him so he knows you mean it.” His voice turned to pure ice.
I didn’t even know what to say to that. I simply assured him I’d handle it and started to leave.
“Ms. Mason.” I paused at the door with dread in my stomach before turning back to him. “Ricco Alvarez sent you flowers. He’s stopped by several times. You might not see it, but the rest of us do. He’s temperamental and goes off the deep end in a blink. I do not want this ability you have to draw unstable male attention to cost me an artist.”
“The flowers were a welcome to the gallery gift,” I said defensively, and I immediately thought of the long meeting he’d had with Ricco. Had Ricco said something to him about me?
“No man sends roses on Valentine’s Day as a welcome gift. You’re smarter than that, Ms. Mason. Open your eyes.”
I doubt Mark would send a woman flowers for any reason, but I bit my tongue, knowing I might regret a rebuttal later. “I’ll handle Josh and Ricco.” I turned to leave again and he let me.
The rest of the day, I just wanted to be out of the gallery for the first time since I started my job. When I got home, I stood in front of the mirror and stared at myself, taking in my light brown hair and green eyes. Staring at my image, I thought of Mark’s comment and wondered if there was something about me that drew unstable men. Not that I think Ricco is unstable, as Mark had implied, though clearly, Josh is a little off his rocker. And I’m not used to all this male attention. Women like Ava get male attention. She’s gorgeous and I’m . . . average. The girl next door who wishes she was the beauty queen.
And here I am, sitting at my kitchen table in my oh-so-glamorous cotton PJs and eating cereal. With the contract next to me. The one thing I keep thinking is that when I was with my would-be “Master,” I felt beautiful. I felt safe. I felt like I was his world. I had an escape from things like today’s stresses.
That escape had to be (is?) the allure of the relationship. I’ve considered the punishment clause and it doesn’t bother me all that much now because I do feel safe with him. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s how I feel. But the sharing thing—that still bothers me. What if it was with another woman? How inferior would I feel? How incapable of pleasing him?
I just need to tell him this won’t work. I don’t know why I haven’t already.
He won’t come to me, he’d said when he’d given me the contract. I have to go to him, he’d said. I have to make the willing choice to pursue him as my Master.