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July 3, 2014

Naughty Nooner: My Hunger by Lisa Renee Jones

Series: Inside Out 3.2
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 7, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Star
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Erotica | Romantic Suspense | BDSM
From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, an Inside Out series e-short told from Mark’s point of view, as he battles his all-consuming desire for Crystal.

Devastated by Rebecca’s death, Mark is facing the chaos of the press and the police investigation alone, his reputation, his business, and even his freedom under threat. When a family emergency sends him back east to New York, he puts Crystal—who’s as capable as she is challenging—in charge of his San Francisco art gallery. A Master, all about control, right now he feels that he has none. With his secret sex club and his relationships of the past in the spotlight, Mark finds sanctuary in the one place he promised he would never be again—but cannot seem to resist. Crystal’s arms.

But this woman, she sees too much. She makes me do things I don't do, and desire things I don't want to.

I'm not the biggest fan of novellas but it's impossible to pass up on the Inside Out ones, the hit romantica suspense series (now being developed for TV by Starz) by Lisa Renee Jones. So many things have happened and the characters have come a long way since Inside Out was released a couple of years ago. The primary reason why you'd be foolish to pass the novellas up is because each have their own story arc and are told in the voices of the other characters like Rebecca, Chris Merit and Mark Compton. Each impacts the overarching arc somehow so you get a better purview of things when you read it. Each has it's own take on the story and mystery revolving around Rebecca's disappearance, possible murder, and how it affected the lives of those around her. Mark Compton certainly changed a lot since Rebecca came and left his life, slowly shedding his cold condescending a-hole demeanor and showing us more of his human side.

MY HUNGER is Mark's novella and told in his POV. On the outside, Mark seems cool, calm and collected but inside he's ripped and overwhelmed by so many things that are going on in this life as of the moment. There's Rebecca's death and it's impact has a big radius, encompassing not just his personal life but his business and his [BDSM] Club which can result to a huge scandal once the press gets a whiff of the entire situation. Then there's Mark's mother whom he's very close too, fighting for her life as she battles breast cancer. The straw that might break the proverbial camel's back is Crystal Smith. The vivacious, feisty and very vanilla employee of Riptide, the auction company owned by Mark's family, who's like a hurricane, leveling Mark each time he gets in contact with her. 

I love seeing this side of Mark and learning what he's not sharing with others and showing on the outside. I wasn't the biggest fan of Mark at first but these little novellas of him sure is helping me like him bit by bit. I also like where the series seems to be going, aside from the surprise upcoming 4th novel, LRJones' is also hinting/teasing that Rebecca might still be alive. LRJones is relentless when it comes to this, skillfully toying with us so it's futile to even try and figure this out at this point. 

Like I said, don't make the mistake of skipping MY HUNGER. Mark's arc is proving to be a great expansion to the series plot and I'm curious if Crystal will be able to bring the Grand Master Dom to his knees. It's becoming quite the vanilla/kink battle and I want front row center seats because shiznit is about to go down.



The Novels


The Novellas



“Hi,” she says softly, almost timidly, and this part of her is as much who she is as the one who screamed more at me. The contrast appeals to me. She appeals to me.

“Hello, Ms. Smith,” I reply.

“Make up your mind,” she insists. “Is it Crystal or Ms. Smith?”

My lips curve. “I find I’m surprisingly willing to keep my options open where you’re concerned. Let me help you with your coat.” I step behind her, my hands settling on her shoulders, my actions making my words a command rather than a question. I do not intend to ask Crystal Smith for anything.

“Thank you,” she murmurs, shrugging out of the trench coat.

Testing the tension between us, I drag it down her arms, letting my hands caress the sheer red chiffon sleeves of her dress, and she shivers. The attraction between us is a simmering heat ready to boil over, and no matter how absolutely wrong she is for me, or me for her, we aren’t through with each
other.

The waiter appears and I’m handing off Crystal’s coat when she whirls around and intercepts it. “I’ll keep it here,” she says quickly.

The way she holds it close tells me she’s preparing for a fast retreat, which means I’d been right. She ran from my hotel room.

I motion to the seat, silently suggesting we sit, but she doesn’t immediately move. Of course not. That would suggest a hint of submission, and she doesn’t intend to submit. And since I don’t intend to ever convert another woman who isn’t already living the lifestyle, we have no options. We cannot fuck again, no matter how much tension is in the air.

So we stand there, the seconds ticking by, and I arch a brow. Her sweet little pink tongue flicks over her lush, red-painted lips, and I think of how close I’d been to having that tongue and mouth on my cock. I slide into the booth, noticing how Crystal sits far from the center, where lovers might gravitate. We, though, are not lovers. We are “just a fuck.” Not even two.

The waiter returns and offers us menus. Crystal accepts hers, opening it, and glances across the table at me. “Do you have a recommendation?”

“We’re both virgins tonight,” I say.

She laughs, mischief in her eyes. “I’m pretty sure you weren’t a virgin even when you were born, Mark Compton.” The waiter chokes and Crystal flushes, as if she’d forgotten he was there.

I cut a look at the college-age waiter, who is looking like a deer in the headlights, not sure if he should go or stay. “Do you have a recommendation?”

Looking relieved, he quickly replies, “Best burger and fries in New York City.”

“Just fries for me,” Crystal says. “And a Diet Coke.” She slides her menu across the table. “The diet drink makes up for the grease.”

This somehow perfectly fits the logic I’m coming to expect from her. “I’ll take the burger with my fries,” I say, also offering my menu to the waiter. “Well done, with bacon and cheddar cheese.” My lips quirk. “And a Diet Coke to combat the grease.”

He snatches up our menus and departs. Crystal smiles at me. “I’m a good influence on your diet.”

“Had I known Diet Coke killed grease, I’d have given up my gym routine and healthy eating for burgers and fries a long time ago.”

She sighs, and the tension I’d sensed in her seems to be fading. “Truthfully, I normally force myself to order a salad, but I’m just too exhausted to care tonight.”

“I trust you had our contracted courier handle the delivery of the auction items?”

“Yes. They should arrive tomorrow.”

“And I’ll head back to San Francisco tomorrow. They hope to release my mother from the hospital on Thursday, so if all goes well I’ll be back by then.”

“Don’t worry about Riptide. I’ll take care of the auction house and let you know if I have a problem I need help with.” Her tone sobers. “You can count on me, Mark. Nothing is going to change that, and I’m very attached to your mother.”

“As she is to you.” My curiosity about why she doesn’t work for her family’s computer empire gets the best of me. “Are you close to your mother, as well?”

“I love her very much, but we’re very different. I think I bond with your mother because we’re so alike.”

“Driven and hard-headed,” I comment. “I’d have to agree. And your mother is . . . ?”

She seems to consider her choice of words before saying, “Submissive.”

“Submissive,” I repeat, reminded of a few other comments that make me wonder if she’s more familiar with the BDSM world than she’s let on. “To your father?”

“To him and to everything. It’s her personality.”

“Then you inherited the dominant gene from your father, I assume.”

“I’m adopted, so what I inherited are overly protective, loving parents and two brothers. If they all had their way, I’d work for the family business and I’d live in a luxury apartment I didn’t earn myself. They’d examine the resumes of any men wishing to date me and ask for a medical report on anyone I slept with, and in general my world would be those roses and chocolates I mentioned.”

Her words seem playful, but there’s something dark in her eyes, something vulnerable—and if I’m right, there’s pain. “How old were you when you were adopted?” I ask, choosing my questions cautiously.

“Fourteen, and yes, it’s an old age to get adopted.”

I know what it’s like to bury something that hurts that you don’t want to be known, and I know when I see it in someone else, as I do now with her. Suddenly there’s so much more to Crystal Smith than there was before, an explanation for why I’m drawn to her.

About to ask where she was before the adoption, I silently curse when the waiter appears and places our drinks on the table.

“So,” Crystal says the instant we’re alone, as if she’s trying to direct the conversation away from whatever I might ask next. “You mentioned wanting to talk to me about something. What is it?”

Seeing no point in waiting, I reply, “I assume you know what happened with my gallery back in San Francisco?”

“I know your sales rep Mary was arrested for trying to move counterfeit art through Riptide, and shockingly Ricco Alvarez was involved. I’m not sure what makes a famous artist worth millions do such a thing.”

Jealousy over Rebecca. “The important thing is that you’re prepared for customers who might have read about it and have questions.”

“Your mother and I discussed how to handle press inquiries and customer concerns.”

There’s one problem solved. “Do you know about Rebecca?”

“The last I heard, she was on a leave of absence.”

A band seems to tighten around my chest. “She was.”

Brow furrowing, Crystal asks, “Was? She’s back or . . .” Her eyes go wide. “Oh no. Was she involved in the counterfeit situation, too? Your mother seemed to think so much of her. That would destroy her.”

She’s right. My mother was fond of Rebecca, much like she is of Crystal. “She wasn’t involved. She’s dead.”








33 comments:

  1. Ha! Vanilla Kink battle lol

    Probably not for me but I've been enjoying novellas lately. They're so much better than they used to be.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. True, even the serials have kicked it up a notch or two

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    1. I know! I can't wait for the TV series!!

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  3. I gotta read the rest of this series. I read # 1 , need to get all those novella's under my belt. I know you love this series, I just need to find some time to get it DONE! :D

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    1. I feel you, every time I see a review that's on my TBR, I panic!

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  4. This sounds good and I actually have the novels on my wishlist. I will be sure to add these novellas too!

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    1. They're essential to the series, don't make the mistake of passing it up.

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  5. I've only read one naughty book like this, need to read more!!

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    1. One naughty book a month keeps things with the BF hot ;)

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  6. Ahh I so need to get caught up. I LOVE Mark. She really does a great job with the novellas. That's for sure. Glad you're enjoying them too Braine!

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    1. Weee!! Yeah, I kinda hate/love LRJones of making me like Mark, I'm set in my ways like that, I dislike having to love an antagonist. I hold grudges!

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  7. I haven't started this series yet, but I'm glad you think they're good.

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    1. Thanks for checking them out, Sophia!

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  8. I should really get caught up on this series! I liked If I Were You and Being Me a lot. I'm interested in mark's arc too.
    Thanks for the review!

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    1. You're welcome, I hope this review gets your butt in gear! Start reading Revealing us or The Master Undone, I think that one's 2.5 so you're on track.

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  9. Wow, you had me at the cover. I actually like erotica better in novella form. I guess I can only handle so much sex in one sitting. lol.

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    1. What?! Did you just say that?! I can't believe my eyes! I remember you reviewed one book and complained there wasn't enough sex, LOL

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  10. That cover is HOT! Plus, all of the stuff you said in your review bodes well too. Hehe And, I like my erotica short and sizzling, so this is perfect. Lovely review!

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    1. Do you read erotica? I have yet to see a review in Rabid Reads but as I know you love action, LRJones is a good compromise. She doesn't write straight up contemporary romance, she's so so good with romantic suspense. So she keeps your heart pumping from the action in and out the bedroom.

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  11. Great review!!! I loved My Hunger and I can't wait for more of Mark and Crystal!

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  12. Love hearing about Max as a hero. I pass on a lot of novellas as well, but some like you, I can't resist.

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    1. I never pass up one that impacts a story. Thanks for stopping by, Brandi!

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  13. I'm worn out with this series...I will enjoy this one through your reviews Braine ;)

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    1. Take a break, come back to it later. This is what happens when one follows a "trend" if you know what I mean...

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  14. I have heard very good things about this author, just haven't had the time to fit them in. Hopefully I can read something of hers one day. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

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    1. She's great with romantic suspense so if you get an itch for one, try her books for size

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  15. And you've motivated me yet AGAIN, Braine. I have never read a Lisa Renee Jones book/novella/anything, but I know I have Inside Out, and I'm pretty sure I have the second book too. That this series is so good it gets even you to read the novellas is all the sale I need ;)

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    1. Girl, you do the same to me with your fantasy reads, which btw is much harder to go through coz it's longer and more "heavy" than your average contemporary book. Tit for tat, Jessica!

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  16. I'm just getting back to this series, Braine and I haven't read the novellas yet...but it's my understanding I should read them in between the novels. I'm looking forward to reading them all - this story just sucked me in!! :)

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