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Inside Out: Behind Closed Doors
     

Inside Out: Behind Closed Doors

4.8 17
by Lisa Renee Jones
 
From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes a brand new gripping and provocative novel that ties into her bestselling Careless Whispers and Inside Out series. You can enjoy this as a standalone, but fans of Careless Whispers and Inside Out will get an exciting glimpse of who Ella really is and some of the secrets she's been hiding from

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes a brand new gripping and provocative novel that ties into her bestselling Careless Whispers and Inside Out series. You can enjoy this as a standalone, but fans of Careless Whispers and Inside Out will get an exciting glimpse of who Ella really is and some of the secrets she's been hiding from everyone she knows.

Desperate to pay for law school, Skye tries her hand at auction hunting with her friend Ella, only to find a poker chip and a note leading to an offsite locker. The next thing she knows, Jason “Red Bull” Wise—a famous, millionaire poker player—is at her door, accusing her of blackmail. Innocent, she swears he’s wrong. He rolls the dice and believes her, impulsively inviting her along to Las Vegas. And remarkably, cautious Skye takes a risk, finding herself seduced by this dangerously alluring man, on his private jet, and finally living life to the fullest. But there is more than passion waiting for Skye and Jason in Vegas when blackmail takes a deadly turn.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781501158742
Publisher:
Pocket Star
Publication date:
10/17/2016
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
30,686
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Inside Out: Behind Closed Doors

CHAPTER ONE

“BID. BID ON this one, Skye.”

“They haven’t even opened the doors for us to see inside,” I say, glowering at my new friend Ella and wondering why I let her obsession with Storage Wars lead me to a real-life auction. Or maybe I do know. She isn’t easy to say no to, but due to my limited finances, I have no choice but to be cautious with my bidding.

She balls a fist at her belly. “My gut says this one is for you.”

I roll my eyes. “You’re too dramatic and I don’t bid on gut instinct. I’m a calculated buyer, not a spontaneous one.”

“There’s nothing wrong with spontaneous,” she insists, her words as bold as her long red hair, while mine is a basic brown that fits my far more reserved personality. “You haven’t bid on anything,” she continues, pressing, “and I bought a unit that looks great and I did it by being spontaneous. This is the last unit of the day, Skye, and there’s not another auction in San Francisco until next month.”

“That’s not a good reason to bid,” I argue.

“A chance to make a profit is, though,” she counters, and I glance up to find the thirty-something man in a cowboy hat who’s been ogling me like I’m up for auction towering over Ella from behind to stare at me. The smirk under his dark mustache says he’s enjoying our argument a little too much.

Grabbing Ella’s hand, I pull her down the hallway of the climate-controlled indoor facility and away from the crowd of bidders that has now dwindled to about twenty. “If I don’t get a unit, I don’t get a unit,” I whisper.

She plants her hands on her hips and doesn’t soften her voice, proving she is as feisty as her red hair promises. “You’re just scared. You have to have courage. Remember your goal—the whole reason you wanted to come with me. You want to save money and get out of that secretary’s chair and into law school.”

She’s right. I do, and a shortcut to get there would be nice, but that just isn’t how life works for me. “I’m waiting tables on the weekends to save money,” I remind her. “My tips are exceptional. I’m fine.”

“You’ll be ancient when you get into law school, at the rate you’re going.”

“By my calculations, I have to save for two more years and then I’ll have three years of school.”

“Like I said. Ancient.”

“Thirty is not ancient,” I say, though she’s hit a nerve. Life is passing me by and I’m ready to live it, not survive it.

“I was teasing about that, but you want to start a career sooner if you can. You can cut that down by a year and a half if you make auction hunting work.”

This is what I get for making friends in yoga class, which I started in order to curb the stress of working for an attorney who excels at being an asshole as much as he does at winning in the courtroom, not to create more stress. “Well, you know,” I say, lacing my words with the sarcasm I learned from my boss, “I guess we brunettes aren’t born with balls like you redheads. I’m playing it safe. If I don’t like how the unit looks when they open the doors, I’m not bidding.”

As if on cue, the door to the unit is lifted and a look of scary determination flits across Ella’s face. “Don’t worry, Skye honey. My balls are big enough for both of us. I have a feeling about this unit. I’ll buy it and give it to you.” She turns and disappears into the crowd, pushing and shoving her way to the front of the group despite loud protests. I gape. I only just met her two weekends ago when she talked me into doing Storage Treasures online training for this, and good grief, somehow I haven’t even asked what she does for a living. She must need money or she wouldn’t be here. And even if she doesn’t, I can’t let her spend money on me. No. No way. That’s not going to happen. And I might not know her well, but I can already see her in my mind, handing me a key to the unit and telling me I’ll be wasting her money if I don’t turn it around.

Dashing forward, I cut through the crowd and manage to get shoved and cursed at, proof these people take their auctions really darn seriously. Or that they’re rude. Or both. I try to inch forward again and end up several steps in the wrong direction. My gaze collides with my crazy cowboy, and we have a silent communication. He is going to help me—that understanding comes a second before he turns and becomes my personal linebacker. In a blink, I’m at the front of the group, and Ella’s nowhere to be seen. As I quickly try to determine what’s in the unit before the bidding begins, in a flash my cowboy goes one step beyond what he’s already done, placing himself in front of the auctioneer to talk up a storm, buying me time to decide if I want to buy this final unit. I lean left and right, seeing stacked boxes, hating the way we’re only allowed to glance inside before making our decision to spend money.

Remembering my online auction-hunting class, I notice the boxes are neatly stacked and sealed, which means care was taken in packing and the contents are not likely broken. The person who owned the items seemed to care about them, and since they are sealed, the owner hasn’t come back and taken out the good stuff before the auction. It’s not a bad unit, but I feel really sad for this person losing their belongings, and I remind myself that if I don’t take the unit someone else will; this person’s life’s possessions are lost, no matter what.

The bidding starts and it quickly goes up to $300. Ella appears in the front row and raises her hand for $350. Bidding for me, I know, and I’m not letting that happen. My heart is racing, but I raise my hand and end up making it $400. From there, the bid moves to my ceiling of $500 so fast, I have whiplash. Ella raises her hand and bids again. I grab her arm. “No,” I warn. “No higher.”

“Six hundred dollars!” she shouts out, and before I can stop her, she’s gone to $700. The deal’s done. She’s bought the unit and I’m going to have to pay. She’s gotten lost in the high of bidding, in a way I can’t and won’t.

The crowd begins to dissolve and I let my face drop to my hands, dreading my return to the ramen noodles of my college days that I’d left behind last year. Ella grabs my arm and pulls it down. “Stop fretting. It’s going to be an amazing buy.” She glances at her watch. “It’s only four o’clock. We have plenty of daylight left to dig through our units after we pay.” She smiles at me. “Don’t worry. I have some cash set aside for the sole purpose of turning this into a success.”

“So is this your career?” I frown, a comment she once made coming back to me. “I’ve never asked, but I think I remember you making some comment about teaching?”

Her gaze cuts upward and back. “I have an endgame, and this is the means to that end.” It’s not really an answer, and as she motions me forward, I get the idea that she’s not eager to go where this conversation was headed. Like I’d hit a nerve. “Let’s go pay and get our keys,” she says.

Pay. Yes. We have to pay and I’m not letting her fund my unit, which means I’m going to be here all night digging through boxes to find a way to make back the money. My rent is due in two weeks and I need that extra $200 she just spent for me to write the check, without dipping into my savings, which I have a rule not to touch. And I learned the hard way that once you break your rules, you end up in trouble. And the last thing I need is more trouble when trouble is what I’ve left behind.

•   •   •

TWO HOURS LATER, I’m on my hands and knees, digging through boxes, and considering all the dirt and dust on me I’m thankful I wore my old jeans and a dark T-shirt. Unfortunately, I’ve found nothing worth $700. Frustrated, I surmise that I’m in good garage sale territory only, and by good garage sale, I’m thinking $300. Frustrated, I stand up and brush dust off my jeans. This unit is only a few months old. I can’t imagine the filth that would be built up in a unit that’s years old.

“You have got to hear this,” Ella says, walking into the unit and holding up a red leather book. “It’s a journal. And let me tell you, what a journal it is!” She sits down on an ice chest.

“That’s someone’s private thoughts,” I tell her.

She glances down at an open box. “And you have someone’s underwear.”

I sigh and claim a crate as my seat. “That’s about all I have in this unit.”

“You have tons of boxes you haven’t opened,” she says. “Once you get them to your house you’ll feel better. I can help you tomorrow if you like.”

This means renting a U-Haul I no longer have the money for. “Actually, thank you,” I say, “but I did that one-dollar one-month rental deal, so I have time. I want to go through everything I can here.”

“Are you sure?” she presses. “I mean, it’s easier to sell from your place. You can list things on eBay and Craigslist, or even have a garage sale.”

“I don’t have a garage.”

“Well, a front yard sale.”

“I live in a town house and this is San Francisco. I have grass patches.”

“No one here expects the word yard to mean grass. It’s concrete. Good is enough.” Her eyes twinkle and she holds up the leather-bound book again. “Back to the journal.” She opens the book and starts to read:

“I will remember tonight forever. Only my hands were bound and I stood in the middle of the room. He was naked and commanding, and it was in those moments that I would have done anything to please that man.”

“Stop! Stop reading. You can’t read that. It’s her private life.”

“I can’t help it. There’s something about this woman. If I read a little more, you’ll understand. She’s a woman reaching for her dreams—”

“It sounded like sex,” I say, but that part about “doing anything to please a man” hits a wound I don’t want opened.

“It’s more than sex,” she argues. “It’s her pushing her limits and being unafraid when she had been afraid, Skye.”

Afraid. It’s a word I’ve allowed myself to know far too intimately, and I wonder what makes Ella, who seems so lighthearted and fun, connect to that word. “I’ll tell you more about it later.” She glances at her cell phone. “It’s late and I have a date tonight. I’d better go change. You leaving?”

I shake my head. “I’m staying.”

“It’s getting dark.”

“It’s a lighted indoor facility, and I’m sure it has cameras. I’m fine.”

Her brows pucker. “I don’t like leaving you.”

“I’m fine. Go enjoy your date. I’m going to enjoy”—I smile and motion to the box beside her—“underwear.”

She laughs. “I’m sure there’s more than underwear in here to find. Don’t forget to look inside all the books. You know people hide things in books.” She holds up the journal. “That’s how I found this little jewel.”

That’s worth no money, I think, but I don’t say it. Judging from the way it seems to have affected her, maybe it has a value beyond money. “Go have a good date night.”

“David’s pretty good at wining and dining me. I’ll call you tomorrow and see what great things you discovered. You did bring your own lock for the door like I told you, right?”

“I did.”

“Good. Be careful here alone.” We hug, and I watch her depart before heading toward a box of paperwork I’d seen earlier. We’re supposed to return legal papers to the front office, but I have to go through it first and make sure I’m not getting rid of anything of value.

Two hours later, I’ve gone through every book, file, and stack of papers I can find in my new unit, and I’ve still found nothing. Stuffing some loose pages into a box, I’m ready to call it a night when a plastic sleeve the size of a bookmark falls from between papers I swear I’ve already checked. I reach down and grab it, and frown at the tiny key and a folded piece of paper stuffed inside.

Snatching a pencil from the box, I inch the paper out of the sleeve and unfold it to find a purchase order for a locker at the bus station. Why would you keep something at a bus station that could be here, in this unit? It makes no sense. Do I dare believe that maybe, just maybe, whatever is in that locker will pay for the unit? At this point, I just want to break even. I return the slip of paper to the sleeve, holding on to it and my little piece of hope, then shrug my purse over my shoulder and grab the box of paperwork before heading to the door.

As I step into the vacant hallway the overhead light flickers, clearly ready to burn out, the eerie silence surrounding me. I set the box on the floor, shove the heavy door shut, and dig the lock from my purse to snap it into place. I struggle to get the silver clip into the hole and drop the plastic sleeve. The lights flicker again, and, feeling more than a little jittery, I bend down to grab the sleeve, when a deep male voice says, “Need help?”

Boots and jean-clad legs appear at my eye level, and I swallow hard at the idea that someone got this close without me hearing him. My gaze lifts to find a man towering over me, his shoulder-length light brown hair draping forward. Actually, he’s more jean-clad rock-star hotness than just a man, with that unexplainable edgy bad-boy quality so few of the male population possess and who a great number of women hope to find. It’s the same quality that smart girls like me know is trouble, usually by finding out the hard way. A lesson that runs deep and wide for me, and is exactly why I stick to suits and ties and—

He extends his hand, and I suddenly wonder why I’m still on the ground when a man this hot is standing over me.

I ignore his offer of help and pop to my feet. And good gosh, either I have shrunk or he’s really tall. My chin lifts and I decide he’s at least six foot three to my five foot four inches, and the already small hallway suddenly feels like a mouse hole. “Dropped something,” I explain. “But I’m fine. Thanks for the, ah . . .” The what? “Thanks. Though.” I cringe inwardly. I want to be a lawyer? I can’t even form sentences.

He bends down and picks up the plastic sleeve before standing up again, glancing at the contents, and then offers it to me. “The ‘something’ you dropped, I think.”

“Thanks, yes.” I accept the key and try not to speak for fear I’ll chew my tongue off. This makes me more awkward. And warm. I am really warm. I decide right then to name him “Trouble,” especially when his firm, full lips quirk as if he knows what I’m feeling and why—which, of course, since I guess him to be in his early thirties, he does. He’s had plenty of years to figure out how women respond to him.

“You seemed to be struggling with the lock. You want me to take a look?” The light flickers again, his gaze lifting and lowering. “Preferably before we go dark.”

“Oh, yes,” I say, stepping aside. “I do appreciate it. If you can’t get it, I’ll have to get help from the office.”

“They’re closed.” He reaches for the lock and cuts me a sideways look. “So let’s hope I can work some magic, or you’ll have to buy a new one at the corner store.”

“Closed? That’s not good.” I stuff the plastic sleeve into my front pocket. “I hate the idea of leaving the unit unlocked while I go to the store.” I wouldn’t want someone to steal my box of panties, I silently add. It’s a depressing thought and I watch Trouble struggle with the lock, hoping for his magic, only to find myself unsuccessfully trying to figure out what the tattoo on the palm of his hand is. I’ve always found the idea of being passionate enough about something to ink your body with it fascinating, and I wonder if I will ever feel that strongly about anything.

Trouble finds his magic, pops the lock into place, and turns to me. “All set, but you might want to get some WD-40 in case it sticks again. Actually, a new lock is probably a safer bet.”

It is new, but I say, “Yes. Good idea. Thanks.”

We stare at each other. Why are we standing here staring at each other? And why is he here? Does he have a unit of his own? Do I care? I mean, he helped me, but then, wasn’t Ted Bundy a good-looking guy who played hero to unsuspecting women like me? Of course, I doubt a man like this one needs to stalk women in storage units to kill them. They’d fall willingly at his feet.

The light flickers again and jolts some sense into me. Move. I need to move and be smart. Being alone in this hallway with a stranger is not safe. I bend down and pick up my box.

“Where’s that going? I can take it—”

“No!” I reply a bit too emphatically. “I’m good. Thanks for the help.” I rush down the hallway and, dang it, the stupid box is heavy and I have to stop and shift the weight. Finally, though, I’m across the vacant parking lot, standing beside my new ten-year-old white Camry, thankfully parked under a streetlight.

I shove my haul into the backseat and quickly open the driver’s door. Unable to fight the urge, I turn to look back at the building, and I suck in a breath when I find Trouble standing at the doorway through which I’d departed, staring at me. And once again, I, too, just stand there and do nothing but stare at him. I’m not frightened, though maybe I should be, but I think . . . I think he’s making sure I got to my car okay. I think I want to go back to the building, thank him for his help, and find out his real name. But that would be inviting real trouble. I almost laugh at the silly play on words but they hold too much truth to dismiss them, and I force myself to turn away from my locksmith hero. Trouble is exactly what that man makes me want to invite.

I slide into my car and lock the door but don’t drive away. I sit in the darkness with this sense of being afraid, and not of the man I’ve left behind. Of always running and never being daring enough for a man like Trouble. Of always being so cautious that I’m never more than I am right now.

Ella was right. I have to take risks. I have to make things happen, or life will slip away. I pull the plastic pouch out of my pocket and work the paper free again, searching for an address to punch into my GPS.

I’m going to the bus station. I’m going to find out what’s in that locker.

•   •   •

THIRTY MINUTES LATER, I’ve parked in the deserted bus station parking lot and there are a number of reasons I’m staring at the locker key and not moving. First and foremost, this is my last chance to find a way to earn my $700 back, and how likely is it that the prize is in a bus station locker of all things? The location feels like it’s home to some nefarious secret I may be better off not knowing. However, sitting in this car and diving into the old memories and emotions Ella has inadvertently stirred up with her “fear” comments holds zero appeal. I didn’t leave Los Angeles over fear. I left because I chose to start a new life. I left because . . . damn it. He was still there, but it wasn’t about fear. It wasn’t me being a coward. I simply chose to be smart. To leave a situation that could have turned dangerous. Again. It could have turned dangerous again.

Needing out of my own head, I pop open the door and step outside into a gust of the typical San Francisco evening winds, which send a chill down my spine and inspire me to grab the lightweight jacket I keep handy in the backseat. I slip it on and decide to leave my purse in the car, lock the door, and stuff my keys and cell phone in my pocket, while the locker key is in my other hand, ready for fast use so I can get the heck out of here.

Crossing the parking lot, I assess the whole three cars parked here and there and decide it must be a slow time for travel. Entering the building, there are rows of worn blue empty seats in the middle of the room and lining the walls, and some sort of unmanned check-in counter to the far right. Spying the lockers directly ahead, I charge forward and find the number I’m looking for rather quickly, but I’m ridiculously nervous. I inhale and then try to stick the key in the hole, only to discover my stupid hand is shaking, a bad reaction to adrenaline I’ve had since I was a kid and need to fix before law school. I just really need this locker to be worth $700. I steady my hand, turn the lock, open the steel door, and stare down at an envelope. I am not encouraged.

Sighing, I reach for it and open the seal, retrieving a note card from inside that is typed with only a short note.

Jason, It didn’t have to end like this.

A chill races down my spine, a sense of foreboding with it. The past is just too present and messing with my head. There is nothing wrong and I’ve taken self-defense classes. I can handle myself now, anyway. Inhaling on that logical thought, I reach inside the envelope again and find only a Ziploc bag, which I hold up to inspect. It holds nothing but what is surely a fake World Series $50,000 poker chip.

I stare at the chip and wonder why it’s in a plastic bag. Frowning, I grab the note I’d found with it and read it again.

Jason, It didn’t have to end like this.

Something about this feels really wrong. Like blackmail? Nervous laughter bubbles from my throat. “You, Skye,” I murmur, scolding myself, “have been watching too much Law & Order.”

Shoving the plastic bag and the note back inside the envelope, I shut the door on the empty locker. I can officially say my auction hunting has been a bust. I have a poker chip you can most likely buy for about fifty cents and a bunch of someone else’s underwear. Perhaps I should have listened more to the Storage Treasures training and gone with no money my first time. Then Ella would not have been able to push me into bidding on something that didn’t feel right for me.

Okay. Yes, she would have. She’d have just made the high bid herself and given me the locker. I should have stayed home; now I’ll have to work double shifts at the restaurant for months to make up the cash I’ve lost.

Ready to get out of this place, I head toward the end of the row of lockers only to catch my jacket on the steel edge. I reach for it, and the key to the locker I’m holding goes flying from my hand. I cringe. Not again. Good grief. It bounces on the hard floor and goes under a row of lockers. I squat down, thankful I’m still in the jeans and tennis shoes I’d worn to dig through the storage unit, but I am not about to touch the filthy floor. Somehow it feels different than digging through dusty boxes. I’m also not getting the key unless I do. And why do I need the key anyway? The locker is empty.

Decision made, I stand up and walk through the deserted rows of fake leather seats and past a man with ripped, dirty clothes who wasn’t here a few minutes ago and has decided to use several chairs as a bed. Coming here alone, after dark, was not my smartest decision. Who would even know if I went missing? Ella, I assure myself. And my asshole boss. Still, I’d let my fear over lost cash dictate my actions, and I’m sharper than that, but then I’ve never been to a bus station before, I remind myself. I thought it would be more like an airport, with lots of security and a food court to soothe my now extremely empty stomach.

I’m almost at the exit when a tall, broad man in a leather jacket enters the station, and while not unattractive, his features are intimidatingly hard, his dark hair spiky. He holds the door for me and instant unease splinters down my spine, but then I’m jittery after reading that note. Using the same avoidance strategy I harness frequently at the meat market that is my gym, I avert my gaze and dart past him, murmuring a “Thank you,” and exit the building without incident, to be greeted by a chilly wind.

I hunker down into my jacket and hurry forward, and it’s all I can do not to look back, but I don’t want to encourage interaction with the stranger. Thankfully the streetlights are brighter than I remembered, fully illuminating the parking lot that is now empty but for my car. I guess that means the spiky-haired guy took a bus here. Hmmmmm. Where is everyone else who was on his bus, if that’s the case? And the bus doesn’t seem to fit him anyway, which is silly, since this is a bus station and he is here. But then, so am I. He must have gotten dropped off to take a bus. It’s the only logical answer.

Finally at my car, I allow myself a peek at the door to find no sign of the spiky-haired man in leather, and I’ve just started to slide into my car when I hesitate. The only way I can prove that locker is now mine is with that key, and yes, the locker is empty, but some gut feeling tells me I need to hold on to it. What if there’s some sort of registration paperwork the key will allow me to access? What if it connects to another locker? Most likely not, but I’m not ready to rule that out as an option if it might mean money. I slip the envelope under my seat, get out, and lock the car again, then some silly instinct has me removing my cell from my jacket pocket and typing in 911 before shoving the phone and my hand back inside my jacket. I’m ready, and giving myself no room to second-guess my actions, I jog back to the station.

I rush inside and frown at the absence of the sleeping man, wondering where the heck he went to so quickly and where he might pop up.

Actually, where’s the man in leather?

Glancing at the check-in counter, I note that it’s still vacant as well. Feeling ever so uneasy, my heart races, and I quickly cut through the rows of chairs and approach the locker, stopping dead in my tracks. The man with the spiky hair is standing in front of it, and it’s open. Air freezes in my lungs. He found the key. The implication that he somehow knew I had dropped it is clear, and I am now standing right out in the open. If he turns his head he will see me. My heart leaps into my throat and I take off running. I am out of the building and hiking it to my car in a flash, and I’m not foolish enough to look back. My car keys are still in my hand, and I scramble inside the vehicle and lock the doors. I am shaking so hard that I can barely get the darn thing started. Finally, I put the gear into reverse and back up with a screech of tires, and as I do, I look at the entry of the bus station. Acid burns my throat. The spiky-haired guy is standing there staring at me. I hit the accelerator.

Meet the Author

An award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, Lisa Renee Jones has published more than forty novels spanning many romance genres: contemporary, romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and erotic fiction. In each book the hero is dark, dangerous, and sexy. You can find Lisa on Twitter @LisaReneeJones, Facebook.com/AuthorLisaReneeJones, and her blog LisaReneeJones.com for regular updates.

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Inside Out: Behind Closed Doors 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is hot and sexy and so thankful there wasn't a cliffhanger I was ready to hire Miss Jones down if there was. This is definitely a must read and it does give you a little insight into Ella. Hmm a must read. Marianne Mitchell
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review Stars Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4 Familiar in the lead in, this story starts with Skye and Ella and a storage unit. Those familiar with the LRJ series Inside Out and Careless Whispers will know of Ella, and recognize the common thread of a storage unit, but we are moving on here and Skye seems to be taking the lead. Oh there are wonderful nuggets about Ella, pieces that haven’t yet been shared from either her own series or with Sara’s reminiscences. The girls are hoping to strike it rich in an auction of abandoned property, and Skye finds a key to an offsite locker. In this locker is a poker chip worth $50K and a note... apparently someone up to no good once owned the locker until Skye bought it. This chip is apparently the center of a blackmail scheme, and when Jason tracks her down, he’s convinced SHE is at the center of it all. Oh Jason –just a tall, sexy poker player who has enjoyed great success following his instincts. And his instincts tell him to fly Skye to Vegas with him, believing that her entrance into the blackmail plot was as she said. A couple of issues that need resolving- this is loosely tied to the series I mentioned earlier, but is a complete start to real finish novel in one part. Like others by this author, the characters are solidly drawn, Jason a bit brash and gruff at first, Skye a bit stuck in a rut and wholly uncomfortable with the unknown. And Jason stirs up plenty of unknown! When the blackmail rears up again to play a role, and things are getting more dangerous, Jason and Skye are getting closer and learning to depend on one another. With some information dropped that help to fill in more of Ella’s character and her deeply hidden secrets yet to be revealed – there is plenty to thrill fans of the other books and more to entice new readers. Narration for this book is from Elizabeth Louise, and she’s a narrator that I’ve encountered more and more of late. Her voice is well-suited to the characters of Skye and Ella, and she does a good job narrating Jason and others without over-taxing or over-acting which would result in a jarring listen and take you out of the story. Pacing was steady, she took the time to allow the personalities of the characters to penetrate her pitch, tone and delivery, and never moved too fast for clarity. A solid performance from a narrator that is sure to become very busy indeed. A solid, if not the best, title I’ve experienced from Lisa Renee Jones, it was nice to have the tidbits from Ella and a setting change to Vegas. I received an Audiobook copy of the title from Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved seeing that glimpse into the real Ella!!! Jack and Skye were perfect together. Lisa cant write a bad book!!
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Suspense, drama and the air of mystery had me hooked on this fast paced read. Skye is trying to find a way to pay for law school and ends up buying a storage unit but gets more than she bargained for. Great characters and an excellent read. I loved it!
Naughty_Book_Blog More than 1 year ago
Lisa Renee Jones is one of those authors that I just can't get enough of. She takes sexy & suspenseful and elevates it to a whole new level! I know that Jason was a secondary character in the Inside Out series (which I haven't gotten to yet), but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of this story one little bit! Red hot chemistry, intense drama and secrets and just a hint of insta-love. The best part was I got a little bit of insight into Ella from the Careless Whispers series, which I'm DYING to finish. A nice little interlude while I patiently wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another twist for the reader!
dshutters More than 1 year ago
Another great story ! I love the characters Skye & Jason and what happens with them both have problems and have to work out . They try to fix each other and end up falling in love. You get get to know more abut Ella ( from the careless whispers series ). This story has drama, intrigue, suspense, romance, sex & love. Wish this book was also available in print. I love the way Lisa has connected some of here books together thru characters and plot lines. Each book & its storyare different.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Whew!! This is a lightening fast, hot, steamy read! Ella purchases an abandaoned storage facility unit in hopes of finding much needed treasure. Instead, she found a hot poker player and a stolen chip! Ella meets Jason in the midst of a blackmail scheme. In her efforts to help him find the culprit, she and Jason win each other over, on and off the felt. They are one hot duo in the face of danger. I adore Jason. He is smart, rich, talented and BOY, is he FINE! Ella is a woman trying to improve her life situation. She is wanting to become a lawyer but she needs more money than her two jobs can give her. When she meets Jason she realizes she is tougher than she imagined. I love how she can throw caution to the wind...I could not do that...not in my DNA. She is a character I admired as the story developed. The ending of this tale seems a little rushed and some details are missing . Maybe there is a sequel or more to the story is to come. I received this novel from Simon and Schuster as part of #XOXperts.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
Jason and Skye are thrust together when Jason learns that someone is out to get him and is willing to blackmail him to get what they want... and something leads him to believe that it is Skye. Showing up on her doorstep and accusing her of being his blackmailer probably wasn't his best idea, but after spending a few heated moments with her and using his keen people reading skills he soon decides she is not the person out to get him. Once he realizes she is not the enemy he knows he needs to walk away, but the magnetic happening between them has him wanting to hold on a little longer... The minute Skye opens her door to a very intimidating, but oh so sexy, millionaire poker player she wants to slam the door in his face... he's making accusations and is certain she is involved with the blackmail scheme being waged against him. But after some convincing, and a heated exchange he soon decides to believe her and invites her to tag along to Vegas. She reluctantly accepts his offer, and soon finds her quiet life filled with danger, unexpected romance, and wondering what the hell she has gotten herself into! Once again Ms. Jones has created a literary gem that is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats and gasping for air!! From the moment I started this seductive little tale I was hooked, and knew there was no way I was walking away until I devoured every last page, and boy was it GOOD!!! No one does romance quite like Ms. Jones, she creates these breathtaking stories that invade your thoughts, take complete control of your emotions, and leave you in a state of incomparable literary bliss! Highly recommend you give this one a try, you will not be disappointed!!! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this title
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
This is a great book; this is the first book in the Behind Closed Doors series written by Lisa Renee Jones. This is a brand new series and it is just as good as her other series. Desperate to pay for law school, Skye tries her hand at auction hunting with her friend Ella, only to find a poker chip and a note leading to an offsite locker. The next thing she knows, Jason “Red Bull” Wise a famous, millionaire poker player is at her door, accusing her of blackmail. She swears she is innocent. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night and you will not want to put this book down until you finish. This was such a great read and full of surprises. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. This book has been provided by the author with no expectations and that in no way influences my review.
astroyic More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! Couldn't put this captivating, suspenseful, romance, down. It was filled with intrigue, betrayal, lies, blackmail, secrets as well as lust, hot, passion and sizzling, desire. The writing and plot are well crafted and captured my attention immediately. I was enthralled with this story from beginning to the end. I love the delicious, narrative that Lisa Renee Jones is such a master of, as she takes the reader away into another exciting, dangerous and mysterious world. Skye is desperate to pay for law school, so with her new friend Ella's urging she goes auction hunting, only to find a note leading to an off site locker and a poker chip. Soon she finds herself being accused of being part of a blackmail plot by a sexy stranger at her storage unit she just bought the contents to. And although she doesn't trust him with what she has found, the connection between them is filled with energy and heat. Jason "Red Bull" Wise is one of the top earning poker players on the planet, known as a player in and out of the bedroom with a no strings, one night fling attitude that has been his motto. But although he believes Skye may not be in on the blackmail, he is not about to let her get away from him. These two characters have some sizzling chemistry, passion and desire between them that will leave your heart racing and you breathless, but will they make it out of the tangled web of deceit, secrets and blackmail together. You don't want to miss this fantastic stand alone novel. I could've read this for days and still I would have wanted more. Loved it! Highly Recommended!! Received an ARC through NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed this with my own thoughts of this story.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
NOTE: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a complete, full sized novel. REVIEW: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is the October 2016 installment in Lisa Renee Jones’s contemporary, adult CARELESS WHISPERS romantic suspense series. This is professional poker player Jason Wise, and Skye Montgomery’s story line. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. For followers of the Careless Whispers series, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS reveals a little bit more information about that series’ heroine Ella Ferguson. Told from first person point of view (Skye) BEHIND CLOSED DOORS follows Skye Montgomery as she is pulled into a blackmail scheme targeting professional poker player Jason Wise. With Skye’s recent auction acquisition of a storage unit our heroine finds a high-stakes poker chip in an off-site locker that will immerse her into the world of Jason Wise. There is something in the storage unit that Jason wants, and our hero believes Skye knows exactly what that is. What ensues is the building relationship between Jason and Skye when Jason gives Skye the opportunity to accompany him to the championship tournament in Vegas. When Jason’s blackmailer follows the couple to Las Vegas, all bets are off as Jason is determined to protect the woman with whom he is falling in love. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ties together Lisa Renee Jones’s INSIDE OUT SERIES, and its’ spin off counterpart series CARELESS WHISPERS as some of the background information about Ella Ferguson slowly begins to reveal. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a sexy story line of insta-love, insta-attraction with a happily ever after for two people pulled together by a woman whose own life is beginning to unravel. There is a little bit of mystery and suspense; intrigue and betrayal; sexy times and falling in love. The premise is entertaining and enjoyable; the characters are animated and passionate; the romance is intimate and fated. I did have an issue with the rush to the finish and the eventual reveal of the person blackmailing our hero. The convoluted path involving Ella Ferguson was a vehicle to introduce some background information for the ongoing Careless Whispers series but I struggled with its purpose to the current story other than to connect the two together. Perhaps the association will be more apparent with the release of SURRENDER (Careless Whispers #3) in January 2017.
LRSternfeld More than 1 year ago
Loved this novel!! Behind Closed Doors, written by Lisa Renee Jones. The story of Skye, and Jason is so well written and entwined with The Inside Out Series as well as Careless Whispers and Tall Dark and Deadly. Skye noticed Jason at the storage unit and aptly calling him Trouble. Of course he has a name for her as well, he calls her Baby. I loved how the storyline progressed for these two characters. Learning how the international game of Poker is played was an added bonus. I also loved how the storyline handled Ella and Skye's characters so easily." I was given an ARC by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review. Thank you for this opportunity!! Linda-Rose Sternfeld
hockeymom4 More than 1 year ago
It all starts here, a fantastic addition to both the Inside Out and Carless Whisper Series! A MUST READ! Well, I fell in love with Lisa's books when I read If I Were You, still my favorite series ever is the Inside Out Series..... and this book is how it all started.... You get to see how the story comes to life and get a little background on how Sara got her hands on Rebecca's journals.... WOW... I LOVED the backstory! I am also SO excited to read the final book in the Carless Whisper books, Surrender with what you learn about Ella in this one! Very interesting backstory on Ella and who may be! Ella and Skye, friends who are both looking for some extra income. Skye, new to the San Fran area is not sure about the idea of buying other people's stuff to sell, however she goes with Ella to see what this is all about. Little does she know, this unit that Ella buys for her because she is not ready to make the sale will bring "trouble" into her life in the form of a sexy high rolling poker player..... Jason "Red Bull" Wise meets Skye at the final sale of a storage unit, she know from first glance he is true trouble. She does not really understand what this kind of trouble means..... He is a controlling high stakes poker player who charges after what he wants in life, she is a newly on her own and a control freak trying to save money for law school, she plans everything in life. He is trying to figure out who is blackmailing his family and he thinks the answers are in the storage unit she just bought, she is trying to make a few bucks. He needs information in the storage unit, she does not trust him. Will a weekend in Las Vegas change anything? This book is a stand alone book, can be read if you have never read any of Lisa's books and is a hot, sexy read, where limits, trust, lust and love all come into play and will be questioned as the mystery of who is Blackmailing Jason "Red Bull" and why they are targeting this down to earth, womanizing, family oriented guy....Will they be able to trust each other and the feelings they have? GREAT book! and if you have not read the Inside Out or Careless Whispers books yet, PICK THEM UP AFTER THIS ONE!
Brigittehf More than 1 year ago
Although this ties in with the Careless Whispers Series, it can be read as a standalone. It sure piques interest about the secretive Ella. Jason aka Red Bull is a self made millionaire through playing professional poker. He is the best player on the circuit and is either admired or resented for his success. He has a loving relationship with his parents but doesn't allow himself to get attached to any woman in particular. He makes sure that they know where they stand. Skye works two jobs in order to achieve her goal in obtaining a law degree. She has a humble and honest life. Having been badly let down, relying or trusting anyone is not her forte. She is befriended by Ella who talks her into attending an auction where she might just make a quick buck! Jason eavesdrops on Ella's and Skye's discussion about bidding for a unit and then makes sure that Skye notices him. Skye is taken aback by her reaction to him and decides that he is trouble with a capital T. It's just as well that they won't see each other again! Skye is just about to give up on the value of the contents of her bid when the most unexpected item lands in her hand. She goes to investigate and realises that she might have uncovered something which spells danger and is unsure of where to go from here. She doesn't have long to ponder as Jason turns up on her door steps accusing her of being a blackmailer. It so happens that what she has just found and the blackmail are related. They now have to work towards gaining each other's trust. Skye is introduced to the Poker world and learns more about Jason through the people within that circle. He is nothing like what she imagined. Jason is good at reading people and he suspects that Skye has been through some sort of ordeal. This is where his compassion and understanding shine through. Finding the blackmailer is proving to be more difficult than anticipated. The main suspect has become elusive and at this point it could be anyone. It's a dangerous situation where lives are at risk if the wrong moves are made. I love the way the relationship between Skye and Jason gradually builds up and the connection between them is electrifying. The author keeps the suspense going right up to the end. I found myself completely immersed in this fantastic story. It's thrilling, sexy, tensed and so romantic. I was kindly issued with an advanced ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
PennieM More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book so much it was hard to put down! Jason, AKA Red Bull, is a world class poker player who is being blackmailed. Skye is a hard working woman who just bought the storage unit of the person who apparently is blackmailing Jason. BAM this brings them together! The chemistry with these two is off the charts and cannot be denied. What starts off as a quick overnight trip to Vegas turns into a weekend and then much more. The mob gets involved and we have Ella in a whole new light. Catty dialogue from the peanut gallery while watching the matches to hot and steamy sex, this book has it all! Even if you have not read the rest of the series, you will enjoy this one! **Received this book from the publisher via NetGalley**
MBurton More than 1 year ago
Lisa Renee Jones is becoming one of my must read authors! I've read a small handful of her books now and they do not disappoint. She's really good about keeping you guessing until the end, which I love. It keeps me engaged and makes the story more intriguing. I've noticed she doesn't throw in other women/men drama, no cheating and HEA's. While this book has characters from other series, it's a standalone, so you won't get lost. I highly recommend! ARC provided by NetGalley.
ZR1000 More than 1 year ago
Mystery, intrigue and a sexy romance in the professional poker arena… This is a stand-alone with tie-ins to the Inside Out and Careless Whisper series. Skye Montgomery has a plan that will get her the much needed funds for law school. Letting her new friend Ella talk her into auction hunting as a way to make that happen sooner, she now regrets having done so. Spending more money than she’d intended there is nothing inside the unit but a key to a bus station locker which contained a note and a high value poker chip. The note, which is worrisome, seals her decision to take what she found to the police the next day, but before she can do so, a sexy poker player, a man who’d also been at the auction confronts her in her home, and accuses her of aiding his blackmailer. What has she inadvertently gotten herself into? Why does Trouble, as she’s named the gorgeous man, have to be so damn sexy? She doesn’t need his kind of temptation but being the fair person that she is, she’ll hear him out and pray she isn’t making a mistake. On the trail of the woman who is blackmailing him, Jason “Red Bull” Wise watched the property of the woman he’s seeking being auctioned off to Skye hoping the buyer will lead him to his prey. His instincts at reading people tell him she’s innocent of involvement when he confronts her but he needs access to the storage unit which she’s not willing to give a stranger making demands even if he is a celebrity on the poker circuit. He’ll have to prove his allegations against the owner of the unit and earn Skye’s trust to get her assistance. There is something about the beautiful Skye that makes him break his rules, the chemistry between them is palpable to both of them and he invites her to a tournament in Las Vegas. Skye hasn’t had an easy life, her hardships have defined her and trust is not easy to give but the more time she spends with Jason she sees that he’s a good man in a precarious situation. Jason is not one for commitments but he wants more than a weekend with Skye to see where what they have can go. As the game gets more dangerous Skye’s put at risk just for her association with him and the need to find the blackmailer becomes urgent, but who really is the blackmailer? Is he friend or foe? This was a highly enjoyable read, though not as dark as some of the author’s other series the storyline was quite seductive, there’s mystery, intrigue and a sexy romance in the professional poker arena. The main characters are quite likable, it was easy to become invested in their outcome. Jason is charming and protective, patient and understanding yet he exudes confidence even when he doesn’t feel it, you can never let them see you blink in poker or blackmail. Skye is smart and feisty, totally dedicated to her goals but a bit repressed, meeting Jason lets her wild side come out to play. Though physically attracted to each other quickly their relationship develops to more at a nice pace. The story is told in Skye’s point of view but there were times that this reader wished that Jason’s thoughts had also been included. An advanced reading copy was obtained from the publisher via NetGalley. 4.5 stars