I Belong To You
Inside Out Series- Book 5
By Lisa Renee Jones
Being that person, that man, is how I define myself, how I allow the
rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss
shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to
punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is
what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.
I squeeze my eyes shut as Crystal’s voice stirs an odd sensation in my chest that somehow eases the ache in my gut. Desire rockets through me, and I tell myself it’s about fucking and control. I need it, and she’s my safe zone outside of the club.
“Are you okay?” she asks when I do not speak.
When our gazes meet the jolt is as unwelcome as it is intense. She feels it, too. I see it in the slight widening of her eyes, the way she curls her fingers into her palms on the counter across from me.
“You were furious with me a few minutes ago,” I say. “Why are you standing here now?”
“I’m not one-dimensional. I can be furious and worried at the same time.”
Unable to squash my intrigue over the unknowns of her past, I agree. “No, you aren’t one-dimensional. Nor are you simply a rich girl who wants to prove something to daddy.”
“Thank you.” She crinkles her brow. “I think.”
We fall into silence, a hum of electricity charging between us. “I still go back to you saying ‘The End’ to me a few minutes ago. You meant it this time, too. That doesn’t translate to you standing here.”
“Neither does much of what you do, where I’m concerned.”
“You’re absolutely right. It doesn’t. What does, though, is sticking to ‘The End.’ What doesn’t is how badly I want to drag you into another room and fuck you right now.”
She shakes her head. “It’s not me you want. It’s someone who’ll sign a contract and be your outlet and bridge to control. You left that bedroom thinking about the impossibility of a reason for Rebecca’s death, beyond your self-blame and guilt. You need that bridge.”
There is banked pain lacing her words, and a hint of the earlier anger I’d seen in her eyes. I could make those things go away by telling her what she’s said isn’t true. I could tell her she’s gotten under my skin. But I don’t even know who the man beneath the surface is right now. I’ve destroyed two women. Crystal doesn’t deserve to be number three.
“Is everything okay?” my father asks from the doorway, repeating Crystal’s earlier words.
“Yes,” I say, my gaze lingering on Crystal before I push off the counter, hands going to my hips. “We’re ready to talk to Mom about what’s been going on.”
“We are?” Crystal asks, sounding surprised. “Tonight?”
“We can’t risk her finding out from somewhere else,” I explain.
“She’d feel betrayed,” my father adds.
Crystal gives a choppy nod. “Yes. I can see that. But I am not looking forward to telling her.”
“None of us are,” my father says. “Right now, though, she wants us all to eat together. And since it’s the best chance we have of getting some food down her, I say we wait until after we’ve finished. I don’t want to jeopardize her appetite.”
“I’m all for getting food down her,” I say. “She’s skin and bones.”
“I’ve been force-feeding her what she does eat,” Crystal adds. “The nurse suggested some high-calorie protein shakes. I tried that, but she hates them.”
My father starts to turn, then pauses. “By the way, Crystal, Larry Prescot called me just before you got here. You won him over. Thanks for calming him down before he got to Dana.”
He disappears into the hallway and I grab Crystal’s arm. “How okay is Prescot?”
“How can you be sure?”
“I threw out my father’s name—something that I normally would never do.”
“I was on the phone with my father when the receptionist buzzed to tell me that Prescot had arrived for our meeting. My father overheard and insisted that I drop his name. I reminded him that I’m adamant about succeeding on my own merits. But I’m also not one to foolishly ignore resources when backed into a corner, and I was. Prescot was being a total jerk. I knew we were about to lose the business.”
“So you broke your rule.”
“I did. And it was an amazing turnaround. Prescot suddenly remembered the many ways people have tried to paint him as a monster in the media, and became sympathetic rather than judgmental. I called my father afterward, and it turns out that Prescot enjoys the benefits of his secretary beyond her exceptional organizational skills, and his wife of twenty years doesn’t know.”
“But your father does.”
“Yes. And now, so do we.”
My lips curve. “Sounds like I owe you and your father a thank-you.”
“All you’d get in return from my father is a demand that I quit my job. He hates me working for anyone but him, especially now with all this bad press.”
“Is he afraid it will overflow to him?”
“No. He’s afraid I’ll get hurt.”
Me too, I think. Me too. “And what did you tell him?”
“I told him I’m his daughter, not his possession. He doesn’t own me any more than you do, and neither of you gets to claim responsibility for my happiness. That’s all mine.”
As she leaves the room, I stare after her in silent agreement. I’m not responsible for her happiness. But I’m not going to be responsible for her misery, either.
some of my favorite books, filled with twists and turns, mysteries, romance, intrigue, and danger. It is literally hard for me to put these books down when I’m reading them, because they are just so compelling. Lisa Renee writes great characters, angsty and real, that draw me in to their worlds, and storylines that hook me every single time. I BELONG TO YOU, the final chapter in Mark Compton’s and Crystal Smith’s story, was no exception.
Over the course of the series, we have come to see the different sides of Mark, but he has always been, without exception, in control. He is a Master, after all, careful to keep his emotions in check, even to the point of losing his beloved Rebecca because of it. In the novellas THE MASTER UNDONE and MY CONTROL, we began to see glimpses of a different Mark Compton, as his relationship with Crystal Smith awakened feelings in him that he kept buried deep down. Crystal also has a past that shaped her and made her a woman determined to forge her own way. She challenges Mark in every way, in the workplace and in the bedroom, refusing to hand over control.
I did not particularly like Mark in previous books. He was aloof, condescending, and very much in charge, and he took great pleasure in letting everyone know that he was the boss. Recently, though, the realization that his actions with Rebecca put her in a position that led to her death, and his feelings of helplessness around his mother’s illness have begun to change him. As his relationship with Crystal evolves and they become a real couple, learning each others’ secrets and earning each others’ trust, Mark emerges as the man that he likely would have been all along, if his past hadn’t taken such a painful turn. This is a Mark Compton that I could actually appreciate, as he has finally come to a place of peace.
Lisa Renee has done a nice job of weaving all of the pieces of this series together to get to the point where we understand the cause of each character’s pain, and are looking forward now to their continued growth. The final book in the series, ALL OF ME, releases in February 2015, and I am looking forward to seeing how she will wrap everything up for all the characters and answer any remaining questions. I would easily recommend both I BELONG TO YOU and the entire Inside Out series as some of my must-read books.
Inside Out – Reading Order
Rebecca’s Lost Journals Boxed Set (Includes Bk 3.1 & 3.3 and Master Undone)
I Belong To You – Book 5 -Coming November 18, 2014
All Of Me – Book 6 – Coming February 22, 2014 –
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.
Watch the video on casting for the INSIDE TV Show HERE
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at on her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.
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