Beneath These Lies (Page 38)

“Better?” he asked.

I ignored his question and asked one of my own. “Are you naked in my bed?”

A single short nod was his only response.


“Because I sleep naked.”

“Which begs the question why you were sleeping in my bed?”

“Because you didn’t answer my texts last night.”

“Sure, I did.”

He shook his head slowly. “Not with the answer I wanted.”

“You were just worried that I was out with the cop again,” I said, delivering the challenge before I could think better of it.

A harsh laugh came from Rix. “Reminding me of that while I’m naked in your bed might not be your best bet.”

“Why, what are you going to do?”

My taunt was more than ill advised. Rix sprang out of bed and wrapped a hand around my wrist, dragging me back to the mattress and pinning me down. Beneath him, I struggled, but there was no way I could move over two hundred pounds of man unless he wanted me to.

Note to self: Beware of people with lightning-fast reflexes.

“I’m gonna keep you here until I have answers to my questions,” he said. “Starting with, did you see him again last night?”

“No, I didn’t. Not that it’s any of your business.”

“You’re my business, duchess, so I’m gonna have to disagree with that one.”


His face came closer to mine. “Do whatever I want to you? Is that what you mean?”

I struggled under his hold. “Of course it’s not. Now, let me up.”

He shook his head. “Don’t think so. I want answers. You seeing him again?”

“I don’t know,” I said, protest ringing from my words, and my struggles increasing.

“Easy, you know I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Why should I make it easy for you?”

“When have you ever?” He lowered his lips almost to mine. “And for some reason it just makes me want you more.”

Heat surged within me and I tugged my hands free. Not to get away, but to pull him closer.

He wanted me? Well, I wanted him. The clear light of the morning was all the illumination I needed—along with the realization that I liked waking up and finding him next to me. It was dangerous. Forbidden. But this morning I would take it.

“Kiss me,” I said.

“You begging yet?”

“Shut up and kiss me.”

Rix hesitated a few more beats before our lips connected. Kissing him was a full-body experience. Zings of energy ripped from my head to my toes, bouncing off all the important places in between.

How could a single kiss unleash so many sensations? I didn’t know, but I strongly suspected that whatever it was made Rix even more dangerous to me.

He took, seizing control, and the kiss went on for long minutes before he pulled away and sat up.

“Can’t stay in this bed without wantin’ inside you, and you’re not beggin’ for it yet.”


My protest died on my lips as I caught sight of the curve of his naked ass. I’d seen it before, but I couldn’t get over it. The man’s ass was perfection. He turned and reached for his jeans, giving me a side view of his erection and the muscles bunching in the rest of his body.

I want to paint him. Naked.

My brain not functioning completely quite yet, I blurted it out.

Rix turned and stared at me. “You want to do what?”

“Paint you. Naked.”

“That’s what I thought you said.”

“Will you let me?” I was already mentally mixing the colors. I’d already done it once before, and I was eager to do it again with him in front of me.

Rix didn’t answer, just watched me as I sat up and belted my robe more tightly.



“You gonna sell it? In your gallery?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess that would be up to you.”

“The only way I’ll let you paint me is if you put another painting of yours—any painting—in your gallery.”

The request made no sense. “Why do you care so much?”

He shook his head. “Because you need a push.”

“And you decided you’re the one who should be pushing me?”

“Whatever it takes, I guess.” He shrugged. “Let’s do this.”

I’D NEVER PAINTED A LIVE subject before other than myself. And when the live subject was Rix . . . it seemed that all bets were off on my ability to concentrate. It took me forever to mix my paints. I agonized over how much and which shades, and could feel his stare resting on me like a heavy weight.

“Nervous, duchess?”

I dropped another tube of paint. Was that four times so far? “What gave it away?”

“You’ve got nothing to prove. Just chill and do your thing.”

Something about the sound of his voice and his words calmed my shaking hands. “Keep talking.”

“’Bout what?”

“Whatever you want,” I said, repositioning the canvas on my easel. I was ready to start. “Anything, actually.”

“I don’t like you seeing that cop.”

I stopped before my brush touched the canvas. “That’s what you want to talk about?”

“You said anything. I’m going with that.”

Rolling my eyes, I began to paint. “That’s not really your decision.”

“Pisses me off, though. Knowing he can take you out to dinner, in public, and I can’t. It fuckin’ bothers me.”