Monday, April 27, 2015
Excerpt Blast: Exposing the Flesh by J. A. Howell
Title- Exposing the Flesh
Series- Love & Ink # 3
By- J.A. Howell
Published By- SideStreet Cookie Publishing
Expected Publication Date- February 12th, 2015
*Warning: Intended for 18+ only. Contains graphic language and sex, as well as depictions of violence and sexual assault that may be disturbing to some readers.*
Niall Donovan is a talented photographer. When it comes to women, he can have his pick and has. But beneath the flirtatious, joking smiles he's hiding long buried pain and traumatic memories. Memories that are breaking the surface once more. Memories that he’ll do anything to shut up. When suicide doesn’t work for him, he indulges in pills, drugs, and physical pain. They seem to help some, but they barely take the edge off.
London Black has been put through the wringer. Between a car accident that nearly killed her, months of physical therapy, and finding out the boyfriend she moved to Midtown for has been cheating all along, she’s done being the sweet wholesome girl everyone thinks she is. A one night stand with the sexy photographer she meets at a club is just the thing she needs to boost her ego. It does more than that when the explicit photos of them are the main exhibit at the local art gallery. Embarrassed, angry, and now without a prospective job, she confronts him on opening night. But when he offers her a generous deal with room and board in return for more photos, she accepts. Taking naked photos with him for a large sum of cash doesn’t seem like that horrible of an option, and besides they both intend to keep things completely professional.
When the shutter starts snapping, however, it’s hard for either to deny what's developing between them. Neither are in a good place and prefer those desires stay hidden in the dark, but the camera doesn’t lie. Baring it all may expose more than their bodies. But exposing their hearts may be more than Niall or London bargained for.
We reached the door and I saw all of the pictures of London and me blown up and hanging everywhere, tons of people crowded around them. Okay, more than a little feck up.
“Wow…” Lucy let out a low whistle behind me. I grimaced.
“I’m going to go find the director.”
I wandered away from them, keeping my head down as I pushed through the art patrons milling around. A few looked my way and I avoided their gaze as excited chatter broke out. Wonderful. I spotted the director chatting with a group of people toward the back and her eyes lit up.
“And here’s the man of the hour!” She preened, opening her arms to me. I saw her gaze dart to my shirt and her smile dulled slightly, but she brushed it off. Ever the professional. The fine-dressed individuals around her offered congratulations and kind praise but I ignored them.
“We need ta talk about the exhibit.”
“It’s wonderful! You can’t imagine my surprise when your lovely assistant brought in the negatives. I thought there would just be some drab photos of old men sitting on benches, but this! So provocative and raw! Nearly all the prints have already been sold and there’s interest for another installation! And putting yourself in the photos, well…”
Blood drained from my features. “But ya don’t understand. It was an accident.”
She snorted. “A very fortuitous accident. Everything about this shoot is just…breathtaking. Tell me, did you bring the lovely girl with? I know several people that are dying to meet your lovely model.”
“No. I didn’t. Ya see—”
“Oh you! Always kidding around.” She patted my arm as she looked behind me. “My, she’s even lovelier in person!”
“London! You don’t understand I—” Her fist connected with my jaw as soon as I whirled around, knocking me back a couple steps. The chatter in the room went silent. I cupped my jaw in reflex and she strode toward me, fists clenched. “Feck, that hurt!”
“Good! So will this!”
I grabbed her knee just before it could connect with my crotch and quickly grasped her wrist as she made another attempt to punch me. She still managed to slap me with her other hand.
I growled, but knew she had every right to be pissed. Still, I couldn’t have her assaulting me in front of all these people. As soon as she tried to slap me again, I grabbed her other arm and dragged her toward one of the offices in the back.
“Let go of me, you sick bastard! I’m going to fucking kill you!” Despite the situation, I laughed as I pushed a door open with my hips, lifting her off the floor and carrying her in. The heel of her shoe connected with my kneecap, and I hissed in pain but kept a tight grip on her.
“Oi! Calm down! I’ll let go of ya if ya calm the feck down and let me explain!”
Without warning she threw her head back and stars burst through my vision. I let out nearly every swear word I knew and cupped my hands over my nose as blood ran over my fingers. London darted for the door but I pressed my back against it, blocking her in.
“Get out of my way, asshole. I’m going to fucking ruin you! I never gave you permission to use those photos and thanks to this little stunt I won’t be able to get a teaching job around here, or possibly anywhere else if these pictures go any further.”
I blinked at her, a little surprised. “You’re a teacher?”
“Well, not now! Half the male students and the staff at St. Mary’s saw the advertisement for your little exhibit and canned me before I could even get through my interview. Now, I have zero job prospects here, no car, and am basically homeless! I’m going to have to go back home to my fucking parents in Indiana, not that you’d fucking care. I’m sure they’ll just love that!” She laughed, almost maniacally, throwing her hands up.
“Look, it was an accident! I promise. I wasn’t goin’ ta use those pictures. I’d only developed the negatives so I could look at them, but my assistant grabbed them by mistake. I didn’t mean fer this ta happen, I swear.” I kept my voice even, not wanting another assault. She was bloody strong for such a wee thing.
Her breathing was still hard as she narrowed her eyes at me, breasts rising and falling. I did my best not to look at them. That would not help matters.
“So make them take them down!”
“They don’t want ta. Nearly all of them have already sold and they were asking if we’d be doing any more shoots like that before ya came over and slugged me. I was thinkin’…now that yer here and all—”
Her gaze went wide. “Oh, fuck you! I will not!” She started for the door again but I grabbed her, pressing her against the wall with my body.
“Now, hear me out! I’ll give you half of whatever I make tonight and half of anything else we shoot…and if ya need a place ta stay, I have an extra room at my apartment.”
“I’m not going to fuck you for money!”
I growled, growing irritated, my jaw and nose aching in dull throbs. “That’s not what I’m saying! They’re photographs, it only has ta look like it. And ya’d be living with me as a roommate, not anything else.”
J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.