When I’m With You: Part I
When We Touch
Restaurateur and self-exiled heir Lucien Lenaultâ€™s first look at the breathtaking young chef trainee for his trendy Chicago restaurant is a shock. Sheâ€™s Elise Martin, daughter of a wealthy French fashion designer. Sheâ€™s also the holder of a secret that could explode his carefully laid plans.
Notorious for her flagrant exhibitionism, and for flouting the respectable faĂ§ade of her aristocratic background, the coquineâ€™s wild streak shocked most people. Not Lucien. He was tempted by it. It was a deliriously punishable offense as far as Lucien was concerned. But taking on Elise is more than a game. Sheâ€™s a catastrophe waiting to happen, an inferno thatâ€™s burned many a lover. Lucien isnâ€™t most men, however, and he wonâ€™t allow her to manipulate him. In order to control the defiant beautyâ€”in order to see her submitâ€”heâ€™s going to have to willingly walk in the flamesâ€¦
Includes a bonus excerpt of Beth Keryâ€™s Because You Are Mine, now available.
More to come. Don’t miss When Iâ€™m With You, Part II, available 3/12
The Because You Are Mine Series reading order:
1. Because You Are Mine
2. When I’m With You
3. Because We Belong
Read an Excerpt
â€śWho are you to say I canâ€™t live here? Did you buy the city or something?â€ť she fired, forcing herself to ignore the flicker of delicious sensation between her thighs, a direct effect of his touch . . . his nearness. Her anxiety mounted at his droll, unmoved expression. â€śYou need a chef! Let me fill in for you at least until you find someone else.â€ť
â€śNo. Thatâ€™s out of the question. Iâ€™m sorry.â€ť
Anger rose in her, stiffening her spine and making her stand tall. How could he sound so resolute? Was she that disgusting to him? â€śI wonâ€™t have you ruin everything Iâ€™ve planned,â€ť she declared.
â€śI wonâ€™t have you doing the same to me.â€ť
â€śWhat?â€ť she asked, set off-balance by his rapid-fire response. â€śHow could I possibly ruin anything for you?â€ť
He leaned against the bar, displaying lean, honed muscles to optimal effect. â€śThat night at Renygat? In my office?â€ť he prompted significantly.
She flushed with heat. After they were alone, sheâ€™d confronted him about what sheâ€™d overheard in regard to Ian Noble. Heâ€™d been furious about her eavesdropping, and their angry exchange had turned heated. The tension had segued to the sexual variety. Sheâ€™d broken his rigid restraint that night . . . momentarily. Heâ€™d kissed her angrily and completely, fully acknowledging the fact that the girl heâ€™d known was now a full-blooded woman. She knew sheâ€™d pushed him too hard with her flirtatious taunts. She just hadnâ€™t realized how fearsome Lucien could be when his control broke. . . .
She noticed Lucienâ€™s narrowed gaze on her.
â€śOf course I remember,â€ť she said. She suddenly found it difficult to meet his stare. â€śI donâ€™t see how that relates to me ruining anything for you.â€ť
â€śI have enough distractions in my life at the moment. I donâ€™t need you adding to the mix.â€ť Her heartbeat escalated. Was he suggesting he was attracted to her? Or was he referring to that overheard conversation she could make no sense of whatsoever? Elise couldnâ€™t decide if she should be flattered or offended by his declaration.
â€śIâ€™m not going to distract you. I came to Chicago for one reason and one reason aloneâ€”to get the training I need to be an excellent chef. Iâ€™m very good at what I do.â€ť
â€śI have no doubt of it. But youâ€™re forgetting one thingâ€”thereâ€™s no longer a chef here to train you, ma fifille.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t care. Iâ€™ll find another chef in this city. I came to this place to start a new life, a fresh start, and I wonâ€™t let anyoneâ€”not even you, Lucienâ€”set me off track. And Iâ€™m not a little girl,â€ť she added fiercely, referring to the French endearment heâ€™d given her as a child.
His nostrils flared slightly as he shoved himself off the bar with a graceful, sinuous movement. Her heart started to throb in her ears as he reached for the silk wrap sheâ€™d draped over a stool earlier. He was going to send her away. Again. She remained frozen in place when he held up the garment, a challenge in his gray eyes.
â€śYou are a child. A beautiful, stubborn one, but a child nonetheless,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s time for you to go, Elise.â€ť
Fury ripped through her like lightening. â€śYou bastard,â€ť she hissed. She grabbed the wrap out of his hands. â€śI should have known youâ€™d never help me.
Youâ€™re as selfish and narcissistic as your father . . . as any of our darling, beloved parents.â€ť
He caught her arm in an iron grip as she stormed past him toward the doors. â€śIâ€™m not like my father,â€ť he grated out. Elise balked at the evidence of his sudden, potent anger, but she rallied. She jerked at her arm, but her reaction was just for show. Lucienâ€™s restraint triggered a completely different response than Marioâ€™s had.
â€śLet go of me,â€ť she said shakily, not sounding convinced it was what she wanted, even to her own ears.
â€śYou should be glad I do let go and worry about the day I donâ€™t.â€ť
Her chin went up, pride and anger and hurt battling for room in her consciousness. â€śIâ€™m not afraid of you.â€ť
He pulled on her, drawing her closer, so that her body brushed against his hard length and the fullness behind his fly. He scorched her with that almost otherworldly stare. She waited on a sharp ledge of anticipation, her breath burning in her lungs, when he lowered his head until their mouths were just inches apart.
â€śYouâ€™ve always tested me. Youâ€™ll always be that girl I remember, foolishly poking at a sleeping snake. Youâ€™d better get out of here. Youâ€™ve been begging without words to be disciplined since you were a girl, and you have no idea how much Iâ€™d love to give you what you so richly deserve . . . what you need.â€ť
He noticed her wide-eyed, shocked expression and smiled grimly. â€śNot so sure of yourself now, are you?â€ť he asked, his voice a low, purring threat.
â€śWhat do you say? Do you want to stay with me and get what you need, ma chĂ¨re?â€ť
Something in his low, rough voice made her flesh prickle with excitement and adrenaline to run in her blood, but mostly she was confused. Hating to show vulnerability in front of a man like Lucien, she fell back on the brittle armor of pride.
â€śI said to let go of me,â€ť she repeated.
When he released his grip, she staggered several steps in her heels, not because heâ€™d pushed her, by any meansâ€”heâ€™d actually been quite gentleâ€”but because her mind was reeling. Something had happened to her at Lucienâ€™s touch. His words. It was like a sealed door inside her had been thrown wide open, and what she saw in the depths of her being had excited and bewildered her in equal measures.
Her heart raced faster yet as she recalled the words uttered in Lucienâ€™s low, silky tones. She headed toward the doors. Out of pure habit, she threw a rebellious glance over her shoulder.
She took flight at what she sawâ€”an angry, aroused, prime male animal. She hoped Lucien didnâ€™t notice how fast she moved as she scurried out the door, feeling as if the devil truly was on her heels.
Read the Reviews
When Iâ€™m With Youâ€¦promises to be fun, intense and very, very sexy with lots of conflict in store. My cup of tea!
Book Pushers Reviews
Another eight weeks of addictive, delectable reading.
USA Today HEA blog
SO ON THE HOOK for this smoking HOT, BDSM romance with a dash of cosmopolitan flair.
4.75 stars, Book Crack Reviews