Release Date: January 22, 2020 Cover Designer: Wicked by Design
SynopsisRelationships are ugly, dark—destructive. They aren’t fairy tales. No happily ever after neatly wrapped in a shiny bow or sparkling diamond with a heartfelt engagement. And in their end, love was nothing but a beautiful lie told to hide the ugly truth. This is reality’s illusion.
ExcerptEmily asserted herself, testing the waters to see if I’d let her lead when she aligned me with the bed and encouraged me to sit. She wiggled her way between my thighs and forced me to spread them wider to accommodate her frame when she returned to her knees in front of me. It didn’t take her long to rectify the damage our conversation had done to my erection when she cupped my balls and stroked my cock. When my head passed those supple lips, I laid back in bliss. It was selfish and greedy, but the need to allow a woman to physically take care of me was all-consuming. My dick in her mouth removed my ability to think. It wasn’t until I heard the wrapper tearing that I realized Emily planned to fuck me, not just suck me off. A lazy smile spread across my face when I tried to sit up, but she pushed me back. “Just enjoy, Bastian.” And I did. She rode me like I was a bull in a damn rodeo, but she didn’t get off in eight seconds. Her pussy was tight and warm, blissful. Nearing the apex, her movements got stronger, faster; she was a goddamn pro. My face flushed as my entire body tensed, my ass clenched, and every thought in my head left—the lights went out in my brain. They flicked back on when the body spasms took over, and I unloaded into the condom. She didn’t stop until I was motionless. My heart pounded, and by God, I’d never felt more relaxed and sated. I also had no clue whether she’d gotten off or just gotten me off. Opening my eyes, I found Emily still poised on my dick. But it wasn’t her face that interested me. I focused on her red tuft of hair and her bright pink, swollen pussy. I had zero desire to get to know her, to cuddle her, or even want to see her again. It was good. I’d enjoyed it. And now I just wanted to leave. Jesus, I was a self-centered, narcissistic, prick. When she climbed off, I assumed she went to the bathroom to clean up but was surprised when she came back with a warm washcloth. Emily removed the condom from my now-flaccid cock with practiced ease and wiped away the mess before disposing of the rubber. Out of nowhere, she reappeared with a cold bottle of water and tossed a throw over the lower half of my body before she donned a silky robe from behind the door. She took a seat in the chair in the corner, and I tilted my head to see her from a different angle. She really was a beautiful woman. “You’d look gorgeous on a canvas.” Her demure smile told me she assumed it was the compliment I had intended it to be. “Do you use models? Your work doesn’t look like still life.” “No. I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I don’t paint from inspiration. Have you seen my work?” I wouldn’t have pegged her as the art type. That was a rather narrow-minded view of someone I knew nothing about, but she just didn’t give off that vibe. “I’ve known Ferry for a long time. A person can’t be involved in his life without knowing those he deems important.” She crossed her legs and put her hands in her lap. “So yes, I’ve seen a lot of your work. Ferry speaks very highly of your talent. He thought you were great many years ago and was saddened by your sudden flight from the community.” Emily seemed to search my expression for something, or maybe she waited for an explanation she wouldn’t receive. “But my understanding is since your return, everything about both you and your painting is completely transformed. I can’t wait to see your latest work at Le Musée on Friday.” I sat up straight. “Ahh, shit. You’re a collector?” Nervously, I found my hand in my hair, pulling on it in frustration. This was not a good way to start the weekend. “Bastian, really, calm down. I’m a woman who loves sex and art. They can’t be exclusive of each other, so why pretend like they are. We’re consenting adults. I’m thrilled to have shared pleasure with you as your work has shared with me over the years.” That wasn’t a topic I cared to discuss, and I made a pathetic attempt to go a different direction. “Who’s your favorite artist?” I couldn’t get any more fucking elementary school than that unless I asked her about her favorite color. Jesus, I just needed to get the fuck up and leave, go back to my own room. I didn’t need to have an obligatory conversation just because we’d had sex that she initiated. I was a socially awkward moron. She sat forward, eager to have a conversation. “Hmm…I’m really into photography, I love Ansel Adams. Kind of trite, I know, but I have a thing for clouds. His black and whites just give the sky so much depth. I get lost in them. But I love Kandinsky, Tarkay, Klimt, O’Keefe. It’s all about color for me, and yes, I realize the idiocy since I love black and white photography. There are tons of local artists around LA I follow as well. I try to make it a point to pick up an original piece any time I go on vacation. I frame some of them, but most stay wrapped in tubes.” She twisted her fingers in front of her as if she were embarrassed by her tastes or collection. “My trinkets from my travels.” Her left shoulder hitched in a bit of a shrug that I found adorable. She was nervous, and for the first time since we’d met, I had the upper hand. “Are you involved in the art community for a living?” She sat back, and a sort of sadness washed over her features. “No. My husband’s a very successful businessman. I don’t work.” I spat a mouthful of water across the room. “Your what?” Wiping my lips, I tried to get a hold on the situation. “Did you say your husband?” I didn’t do married women, not that I did women period, but never those in a relationship of any sort.
One of Five ARC’s for Reality’s Illusion
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About the AuthorBestselling author, Stephie Walls is a lover of words–the more poetic the better. She lives on the outskirts of Greenville, South Carolina in her own veritable zoo with two dogs, three cats, and Magoo (in no preferential order). She would thrive on coffee, books, and Charlie Hunnam if it were possible, but since it’s not, add in some Chinese food or sushi and she’s one happy girl.
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