Love the Way You Lie (Stripped #1)By: Skye Warren
A dark romance about the lies that lead us down…
I’ll do anything to get safe, even if that means working at the scariest club in town.
I’ll do anything to stay hidden, even if it means taking off my clothes for strangers.
I’ll do anything to be free. Except give him up. When he looks at me, I forget why I can’t have him. He’s beautiful and scarred. His body fits mine, filling the places where I’m hollow, rough where I am soft.
He’s the one man who wants to help, but he has his own agenda. He has questions I can’t answer. What are you afraid of?
Thank you for reading the first book in the Stripped series! You can join my Facebook group for fans to discuss the series here: Skye Warren’s Dark Room. And you can sign up for my newsletter to find out about new releases at skyewarren.com/newsletter.
Enjoy the story…
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I used to think there were things I’d never do. Never take my clothes off for money. Never sell my body. Never fuck a stranger just to survive. I’d never sink that low.
I’d rather die.
But it’s hard to die, to lie down and let it happen. Not to fight. Not to reach toward the surface for air when you’re drowning. It’s almost impossible. I’m proof of that. I’m a living example of how low a person would go, if they have to. If they’re desperate enough.
If they’re staring at the black barrel of a gun, counting their breaths.
I hold my breath as I sweep red across my lips, stark against powder-pale skin. My eyes are already finished with heavy gold liner and shimmery shadow. A stranger blinks at me from the mirror, her eyes wide. She doesn’t look sad. Or lonely. She doesn’t look terrified, so the makeup’s done its job.
On a Wednesday night, the changing room is empty. Even half-priced appetizers can’t keep the club full in the middle of the week. No one would dance tonight unless they had to. That’s why I’m here. Because I have to be. Like Candy, who’s onstage. And Lola, working the floor. We’re doing what we have to do. We’re counting our breaths.
I stand and shake out my wings, making sure they’re still in place, attached to my bra. It only has to last until I strip it off. The song out there is getting louder and faster, and I know it’ll be over soon. My turn next. Lucky me.
And I am lucky. I know exactly what the alternative is.
I smooth my panties into place, making sure they’re covering the important parts. For now. Panties is a generous term for the scrap of fabric designed to tear apart when I tug.
I turn—and freeze. My breath leaves me in a whoosh. Blue is standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame. His thick arms bulge, stretching his T-shirt, tattoos covering the skin I can see. He’s ex-military, but whatever sense of honor he might have had is long gone. He’s still got discipline though. And power and force. He’s the club’s own mercenary.
How long has he been watching me?
I ignore the chill that slides down my spine. I ignore him as I walk toward the door. Maybe he’ll move and let me pass. Maybe he won’t harass me. And maybe pigs will fly. He grabs my arm.
Which is just as well. It’s not like I could have gotten past him without shoving him or something. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not suicidal. So I stand there with his hand on my arm, feeling creepy-crawly tingles all up and down my skin. I don’t look him in the eye. I don’t like seeing the darkness there. Instead I stare past him, into the dark hallway.
“Not even going to say hi?” He smells like smoke and sweat and alcohol. At only eight o’clock in the evening.