A Taste of Sin Extended Excerpt — The Storm

A Taste Like Sin (Painted Sin Book 2)

Blurb:

Firmly ensconced under Damien’s roof—and control—Juliana is falling deeper under Damien’s spell.

But the promise of protection and security may come at a higher price than she’s willing to pay.

The reclusive billionaire is so close to the vengeance he craves, but his burgeoning relationship with Juliana may just send his precarious house of cards crashing down.

Extended Excerpt — The Storm

Disclaimer: The following is copyrighted material.

When I finally return to my room, I grab a robe and then creep into the hallway, inching toward that dangerous barrier that divides his half from mine. If one were to describe my assigned rooms, they might as a mocking array of posh socialite meets repressed exhibitionist—but his…

The hallway extends, opening onto a large, spacious room stocked only with an easel and a stool. Simplistic at first glance, but the atmosphere feels different in here than at his other studio. Dark walls and onyx stone flooring lend to a quieter space. Calmer. I imagine him painting something far different from the average nude muse while in here. A hint of what such subject may be reveals itself the farther I roam into the suite.

The next room contains a relatively simple bed draped in black sheets. But the walls…

Painted canvas covers nearly every inch of them. So many scenes are depicted that I wander aimlessly, observing every one.

They transport me. Into amber fields. Ochre skies. A riverbank. A sea of growing crops. Each scene is frozen in painstaking detail, creating a parallel universe fit to rival that of his greenhouse. Flowers are a tangible escape.

But in this room, he created one from memory.

Enthralled, I find myself sitting on the end of his mattress, lost in the clashing views. It’s a strange thing to be inside someone’s mind. To see the world how they do, even if it’s via snippets. Fragments. Damien Villa may be blind now, but he hoarded his recollection of the sky. The various hues of blue. The golden kiss of sunlight. How many secrets lurk behind his blindfold?

Hours must pass as I try to ponder that very question. Eventually, I feel tired enough to risk lying down—but my eyes have barely closed when I hear it. Thunder shattering the silence. Lightning flashes, illuminating the room and throwing every shadow into stark relief.

I find myself lurching upright and pacing circles until I wind up retreating to the scarlet room, drawn by a faint, musical melody. My cell phone. It rings again as I fish it from my purse, battling another monstrous roar of thunder. I reach for it and find a call from an unknown number. Only God knows who it could be. I shouldn’t answer, given the hell of this past week.

But when lightning strikes, my finger slips.

“Hello?”

“While I have kept your room free of surveillance, I feel it is only fair if I am allowed to monitor my private space.” An amused voice, slightly accented, drips into my ear like liquid sin and a breath I didn’t realize I was holding escapes in a gasp. “You were in my bed,” he adds, lingering over the possessive term. “I’m disappointed you chose not to stay there.”

“I…” I grit my teeth to keep from gasping again. “I thought you were in the middle of business, Mr. Villa—”

“I am,” he says. In the background, I hear men’s voices, discussing some unknown topic. “But when more important matters come across my radar, I must give them my full attention. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the comfort of the mattress. I fully intend to ensure you experience it thoroughly.”

“If only you weren’t so damn busy.” I feign a strained sigh as thunder rumbles, sounding fainter compared to the tenor of his voice. More lightning flashes as if fighting for my attention. “I’m sure you’ll be tied up for most of the night.”

“Unfortunately, yes…” He sounds wary. Oh my, I wonder why.

“That’s too bad,” I exhale, distantly aware of rain lashing at the window. “If you were here, I’d let you help me experience the comfort of your bed firsthand.”

“Oh?” His tone falls flat, suddenly cold. Maybe the change in demeanor has something to do with how heavily I’m breathing into the receiver? I’ll hate myself for this later. I know I will.

But when he speaks, he’s louder than thunder. Even whispered and hushed, his voice outlasts the rain. I’ll take it over silence, and later, I’ll lament over how pathetic that makes me.

“Yes. I’m sure we could give your precious mattress a thorough ‘testing.’ Maybe I’d even let you taste what I know you can’t stop thinking about since the other night.” God, did those words come from me? Apparently so.

Harsh, heavy breaths fan into the speaker, distorting all other noise. “Is that so?”

.” I try to mimic the sultry tones of his accent—a low grunt from his end is my reward. I roll onto my back, ignoring what my free hand does as I let it drift along my thigh—but my body’s reaction betrays me. My breathing falters. Then quickens to match the suddenly rapid rate of his. “Very much so.” My fingers make contact with sensitive flesh, which draws a moan from me that isn’t faked. Isn’t part of the game.

“Damn.” His teeth clip the word. “I’m giving your proposal serious consideration.”

“If only you were here…” Another brush of my finger over heated skin elicits another moan voiced into the speaker. Thunder. Flashing. Darkness. All of it threatens to ruin the facade even the illusion of his presence wraps me in. “I need you here—”

“Gentlemen.” It takes my brain a second to realize that he’s no longer speaking to me. “I’m terribly sorry. We’ll have to reconvene at another date.”

I hear muttered voices and shuffling of what sounds like furniture. Then his voice returns, aimed only toward me.

“You got your wish,” he warns, sounding more as though he’s promising my doom. “I’m on my way to collect in full what I’m owed.”

I gasp. “You’re joking—”

“Far from it, Ms. Thorne,” he growls.

Which means he really just ended what sounded like a meeting for me. Because of sex. Even so, he doesn’t hang up right away. I can tell he’s moving. Quickly.

“I suggest you hurry, Mr. Villa.” I’m not playing fair, but I’m beyond caring.

I’m warm instead of frozen for once. On fire instead of shivering. Thunder rumbles, but I feel damn near invincible instead of fearful. Lightning crackles, but I barely even hear it. Just the promise conveyed in every curse he mutters under his breath as my fingers stroke and my breaths quicken in response. It’s unfair that he can do this to me.

“I can’t stop thinking of how you felt inside me—”

“Son of a bitch.” Rapid breathing stutters through the receiver. Is he running? The blaring sounds of traffic flood the background before I can be sure. Then the sound of a door opening. Slamming.

“I want you inside me like I’ve never needed anything else.”

“Maddening woman.” More cursing diminishes his usual polished persona. He sounds harsher now. Vulgar. “You don’t know what you’re—”

“I can’t stop imagining how your tongue would feel on me.”

Utter silence comes from his end and I know I’ve crossed a line from which there is no turning back.

I bite my own tongue, but it’s no use. It’s like he said. I’m fucking mad. “Tell me how it would feel.”

He groans. “Like heaven, sweet girl. I’ll show you.”

My heart stutters at the promise. Hopeful. God, I’m going insane.

“I’ll show you how badly I’ve craved your taste. And there…you’re already moist for me, I bet. Dios mío, woman. I’ll show you.”

He doesn’t whisper. His driver must hear him. And he doesn’t care.

With every grated word, fingers stroke the tiny bundle of nerves that has me seeing stars. One. Two. A galaxy of them. “And then what?”

Mierda,” he swears, his voice rasping. “I’ll have you on your knees, dulce niña. You’ll regret this little game.”

But therein lies the joke. For the first time in so long, I’m not playing someone’s game. The rules have been forgotten. I’m on an island unto myself. And with every uttered word, the further I remove myself from any hope of redemption.

“Damien,” I whisper, dropping the pretense. My voice shakes and I squeeze my eyes shut against another startling flash of lightning. “I…need…you…here now.”

He bellows something, presumably to the driver amid a smattering of honking horns. Another door slams followed quickly by the delicate chime that sounds like that of an elevator arriving.

He never stops speaking to me. Harsh words too filthy to process—but the twisted promises aren’t what makes my heartbeat stutter. All that matters is his tone. Thick. Gritty. Desperate.

Even the world’s best actor couldn’t fake the tremor in his voice.

Finally, I hear the door to the suite itself open and slam. I lurch upright, straining my ears to track the surge of footsteps marching toward my room.

Seconds later, a monster appears at the foot of my bed, dripping rainwater onto the floor. His hair fell out of its usual ponytail, his blindfold slightly askew.

“You don’t even understand how important the meeting you derailed was.” He laughs while shedding his coat, leaving it at his feet. “It will take months to rebuild those connections. Perhaps even years. And yet…I’m here—and not for sex,” he clarifies, inching a step closer. “I could hear the tremor in your voice. I knew you were afraid—”

“No,” I start to argue. “That’s not why I wanted you—”

“I know.” He nods, shrugging off the concern. “But I’m still here regardless.”

And even he doesn’t seem to know why.

Neither do I.

“You could always leave,” I pitch halfheartedly, hating the hitch in my voice. “I’d hate to think I interrupted some massive criminal undertaking—”

“Come here.” He crooks a single finger, beckoning me closer.

I shed the silken sheets and rise to my knees. Even from the slight distance, I see his nostrils flare, his tongue tracing his lower lip.

Dios mío, I can smell you already,” he growls, inviting with a crooked finger. “Now, sweet girl. Tonight, you show me firsthand how to touch you.”

Heart hammering, I inch closer and he extends his hand, heavy palm upright. A tremor racks my spine as I lie back and guide him between my legs. I’m groaning before I even feel him. He cups me roughly and the friction negates the softness of his skin.

“Spread your legs for me. Wider—sí, like that.” With every word, he flexes his hips, rubbing himself against me—but never inside. So close to what he promised.

It’s torture. It’s sin. I moan against him without a damn given for anyone who could overhear. Still, I let him set the pace. I let him control the intensity of sensation, barely fucking enough.

It’s raw fire against tender flesh and all I can do is bite my tongue against the onslaught.

“No,” he growls, easily maneuvering above me. “You let me hear you. You moan when I touch you.” His thumb slips inside me, triggering an echo of what he craves. “And when I fuck you, sweet girl…you scream.”

His knee nudges my legs farther apart, and he grips my hips, positioning me. The rasp of his undone zipper teases the air before I feel him. Taunting at first, sliding a pulsing ridge of flesh between my legs. Sinful, raw friction next. Nowhere near enough. Then, without warning, he thrusts hard. Deep. Strangled noise rips from my throat.

“Like that,” he groans, rocking his hips to almost draw free before slamming back in. “Mierda, like that.”

He bucks, thrusting deeper. Unhurried. Air thickens. The world fades. My hands clutch his shoulders. My knee curls, fighting for leverage against his thigh. His nearness triggers every memory from the other night. The soreness. The pleasure.

My brain is reduced to a senseless thought on an infinite loop: Need more.

He’s trapping me in this memory, more vibrant than any painting hanging on his walls. I’ll never forget the taste of him on my tongue. The words he growls into my ear as my breaths quicken and the tension building inside me overflows.

Afterward, I don’t know how long we lie still, his arms around me, his mouth at the base of my throat. Clarity returns only as he shifts easing back as a disappointed pang shoots through my belly.

“I won’t go far, sweet girl,” he says thickly. Sure enough, he only snatches up one of the sheets kicked toward the bottom of the bed. “I may require your assistance,” he says, a wry smile tilting his mouth, visible even in the dark.

I help him unfurl the blanket and he draws it around us both, resuming his previous position of holding me.

“You’re shaking,” he says, running his hand along my arm.

“It could be shock,” I playfully counter. “I think I’m relaxed for once.”

Despite everything. All I feel is his heat sheltering me from another storm raging beyond the confines of the suite.

Hunted by a murderer who has terrorized her since childhood, Juliana Thorne is forced to seek protection from a powerful enemy.

But Damien Villa is a far cry from an ideal savior.

The mysterious billionaire harbors his own sinister plans for revenge, and if Juliana isn’t careful, she may just find herself playing right into his hands.

Firmly ensconced under Damien’s roof—and control—Juliana is falling deeper under Damien’s spell.

But the promise of protection and security may come at a higher price than she’s willing to pay.

The reclusive billionaire is so close to the vengeance he craves, but his burgeoning relationship with Juliana may just send his precarious house of cards crashing down.