“Possess. Have. Hold. Enjoy. Control. Dominate. Pick your verb, Ms. Fairchild. I intend to explore so very many of them.”
“Do you know what passion is?”
I blink, confused.
“Most people think it only means desire. Arousal. Wild abandon. But that’s not all. The word derives from the Latin. It means suffering. Submission. Pain and pleasure, Nikki. Passion.”
“Everyone breaks a little sometimes. That doesn't make you weak. It makes you wounded. And I will always be there to help you heal”
“I'm going to fuck you, Nikki. Pleasure? We're going to blow the roof off pleasure. I'm going to make you beg for it. I'm going to claim you. I'm going to tease you. I'm going to torment you. And you're going to come for me like you've never come in your life.”
“He is Jason and Hercules and Perseus---a figure so strong and beautiful and heroic that the blood of the gods must flow through him, because how else could a being so fine exist in this world?”
“Maybe you aren't as smart as you think you are, Mr. Stark."
"Nonsense. I'm fucking brilliant. Or haven't you heard?”
“—except for the fact that your scars mean you’ve been hurting, I am one-hundred-percent cool with having them in the painting. Some models, especially the professional ones, it’s like painting air-brushed people. Give me something raw any day.”
“Because I can. Because I want you. Because I don’t want to court my way up to our first fuck. And because I don’t want to play games.”
“I’m smart enough to know that you feel it, too. This isn’t just heat, it’s a goddamned conflagration. Not chemistry, but nuclear fission.”
“Maybe this man does have secrets and skeletons. But right now, I’m seeing his heart. And I like what I see.”
“A smile is his only answer, but it doesn't matter. I already know how, and it doesn't scare me: Damien Stark can see beneath my mask.”
“When I am no longer a limp noodle and can actually compel my limbs to function, I get off the table and back into my robe. Damien and I leave at the same time, and Jamie’s door opens as we’re passing. She looks between me and Damien, then glances sideways at her masseuse, a tall blond man with large, capable-looking hands.
“You know,” Jamie says dryly, “nothing personal, but I don’t think I got the same level of service that she did.”
To his credit, the masseuse smiles. “Come,” he says, gesturing for her to follow.
“That’s the problem,” she mutters to me as she passes, “I didn’t.”
“I don't want an icon. Not on my wall, not in my bed. I want the woman, Nikki. I want you.”
“Because Damien Stark is like crack to me. Seductive and very, very addictive.”
“Do I scare you?"
God yes, and in so many ways. Not the least of which is that Damien Stark terrifies me precisely because I feel safe with him. And I can't become complacent. It's when those walls come down that your heart gets shattered.”
“Everyone breaks a little sometimes. That doesn’t make you weak. It makes you wounded.”
“We’re kindred spirits. And you’re strong, Nikki. There’s a core of strength and confidence in you that’s damn sexy.”
“…the guy owns half the known universe. I hardly think he’d be all warm and fuzzy. More like dark and dangerous.”
“Secrets, he'd said, and I shiver, afraid that Damien's going to have to face that darkness. But I'll be there when he does, and we'll face the darkness together."
"I can. Because when Damien's beside me, I'm no longer afraid of the dark.”
“Always. Don’t argue, Ms. Fairchild, or the game stops now.”
“I want to touch your breasts, Nikki. I want to touch your nipples. I want to lower my mouth and suck until you come without me even touching your clit. Do you want that, Nikki?”
“I'd forgotten the depth of my own weakness, and it's never safe to think that you're stronger than you are.”
“Date?” I hear the hardness creeping into his voice. “I’ve escorted a lot of women around this town, and I’ve fucked a hell of a lot of them. But I didn’t date them.”
“One million dollars, Ms. Fairchild. You get the cash, and I get you.”
“No, Damien Stark is just one of those dark, quiet types. He’s like an iceberg, Texas. The deep parts are well hidden and what you do see is hard and a little bit cold.”
“I like Damien Stark. He’s not what I expected, but there’s something compelling about him— and it’s more than just the fact that he’s hotter than sin and got me worked up into quite a lather. He seems perfectly comfortable in his own skin.”
“I can go barefoot.” He chuckles. “You could. But have you looked under the camera box?” “Under?” I go back to the table and pull out the box. Sure enough, there’s something else there, wrapped in blue tissue paper. I look at him, but his expression gives nothing away. Slowly, I pull out the tissue paper. Whatever’s hidden is flat and firm. I peel back the paper until I reveal a pair of black flip-flops. I look up at Damien and grin. “For walking on the beach,” he says. “Thank you.” “Anything you want. Anything you need.”
“Dinner is just the beginning. I want to touch you,” he says, his voice low and commanding. “I want to run my hands over every inch of you. I want you wet for me. I want to finish what we started, Ms. Fairchild. I want to make you come.”
“Free will, Nikki. Tell me to stop, and I will. But tell me fast, because I’m going to kiss that damnable mouth of yours, and goddammit, Nikki, I’m doing it to keep you quiet.”
“I feel like Snow White because now I have a bunch of little dwarf friends who love me. I may not know how Scout's overalls feel but I think I know how Snow White's Shoes feel because now I know why Snow White was happy.”
“A son is a son 'til he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life. ”
“It was because all we wanted was each other's constant love and attention and for no one else to receive that love and attention, which is a selfish and difficult place to be in a relationship. We were emotionally retarded, and that was the best we could do at the time.”
“...and when you meet someone and fall in love, and they fall in love with you, you ask them "Will you take my heart-- stains and all?" and they say "I will," and they ask you the same question and you say, "I will," too.”
“The conversation was mesmerizing, not for its content but for the cadences of the talk, the rhythm we fell into when we were alone, now as before. Every conversation between friends or lovers creates its own easy or awkward rhythms, hidden talk that runs like a subterranean river under even the most banal exchange.”
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