For the Love of a Photographer

(2 customer reviews)

Running is the only way she knows how to cope.

Broken by a family that only had one use for her, Janie runs. Her solution to every situation that scares her is to run.

When she takes a job with the one man who understands her better than she understands herself, Janie discovers there are consequences for her actions. Can Joshua convince her that she is worthy of being loved and cared for after all she has endured at the hands of others?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary romance contains a theme of power exchange.

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Sample Chapter

Janie

“Janie, with all the complaints, we can’t keep you here.”

“What?” My voice rising above the clatter of dishes.

“Six tables lodged complaints tonight. I can’t afford to have negative reviews because of you,” Carlos, the manager of the diner, clarifies.

Shaking my head, I move my hands to my hips. “It’s not my fault the cook is slow or people think I should spend more time at their table. I get their orders and serve the food as soon as it’s done. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”

“You could show some cleavage, be nicer to them.” He raises his eyebrows then gives a wink.

“This is a diner, not a dating site, Carlos. Just because Rita and Peggy do that, doesn’t mean I have to.”

“But Rita and Peggy get more tips, have no complaints, and still get their jobs done.”

“So, you are firing me unless I have my boobs hanging out, is that what you’re saying?”

“No. I’m firing you because six complaints in one night is five too many.”

My hands fly up into the air amid a huff. I rip the tail of the string holding my apron and wad it into a ball on my way into the kitchen.

“Hey, Janie.” The dishwasher follows me into a small room.

“What, Simon?” I ask, my voice cracking.

“Don’t forget your dinner.” He thrusts a box into my hands.

“Thanks.”

“He’s wrong, you know.”

“Huh?”

“He just wants his waitresses to flirt with everyone because it turns him on. If there were complaints against you, he’d be screaming about them to everyone in the kitchen.”

“Whatever.” Grabbing my bag and the box, I shove the door without a flinch when it bounces off the wall.

Random streetlights provide just enough light to see the sidewalk. Trudging toward home, I mumble with every step. “Carlos hates me. Let him wait on those tables, I don’t care. I shouldn’t have to show my boobs like they do. We aren’t the same.”

My toe kicks a rock. Following its journey, I weave toward the wayward rock, kicking it again and again until it disappears down a storm grate. Turning down the alley, I cut through a driveway and make my way up the steps leading to my loft apartment. Unlocking the door, I lift my lips into a smile when the tuxedo cat greets me as the door swings wide. Kicking it shut, I flip the lock with a sigh.

Meow. The black and white feline presses his head along my leg. Weaving between my shins as I move into the room, he lets out another meow.

“I’ve got it, Bernie, just wait.” Dropping the bag on the counter near the door, I slip off my shoes and drop my apron into the chair. Pulling the Styrofoam container out, I open it and tear off a piece of steak then hold it out to the demanding cat. My lips part and the corners lift as he takes it.

With him occupied, I pull out a plate, knife and fork. Transferring the fish and broccoli from the container, I pop it into the microwave. Cutting up the steak, I slide some onto a small plate. Bernie jumps up on the counter, sits down and waits, bright eyes watching every move. Setting his plate on the floor, I turn to the microwave, tapping a nail while the machine hums.

My eyes drift from the drab walls, old futon sofa covered with a well-loved blanket, and the table someone set out for the trash; the furniture fit into my price range, cheap. The rug clashes with the blanket, but as long as it muffles my footsteps, who cares. It’s not like anyone is coming up here to visit.

The ding draws me away from the mishmashed room. Pulling the plate from the machine, my lips turn down a bit before I carry the food to the table and sit down. Bernie, smelling the fish, jumps up on my lap. Turning a circle, he meows.

“No, Bernie, you had your dinner. Get down.” Lifting the feline, I set him safely on the floor before turning my attention to the plate. Breaking off a bite of the fish, I pop it into my mouth and chew.

“I have to find a new job. Where do you think I should look? Hmm, Bernie? I guess it needs to be someplace I can get good food for you. Should I try the grocery store?”

The cat watches, his head following my every move while I eat. Pulling a piece of the fish off with my fingers, I offer him a bite.

“Pretty good, huh?” I continue the one-sided conversation.

Taking the dishes, I run some water into the dishpan and drop them in. With a few drops of soap on a sponge, I wash off the plates and silverware, rinse them all using the least amount of water possible, and set them in the drain rack to dry.

I move to the apron, pull out the tips for the night and deposit them in a pile on the table. There isn’t any sorting of denominations, all I have are ones. Counting them out, I release a heavy sigh.

“I guess it’s not bad, Bernie. We got thirty-five dollars tonight. Damn,” my head shakes, “I need to get my last check from Carlos. Remind me, will ya?”

Taking the bills, I move to the cabinet near the sink. Pulling down a can, I open it and drop the money inside. Per routine, I write down the amount and add it to the total on the paper then deposit it on top.

“Well, we’ve got the rent for another month but need to come up with money for the electric and food.”

Bernie remains on the floor, wide-eyed.

My evening routine continues with a shower and flossing and brushing my teeth. Pulling on the old t-shirt I’d won at a ball game several years ago and a pair of shorts, I make my way to the futon. Bernie, on the arm of the makeshift bed, licks his paw and wipes his face.

“Well, Bern, let’s get some sleep and hope tomorrow’s a better day.” I give the fur ball a half hug and brush my lips on the top of his head before turning off the lights and crawling under the cover.

 

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2 reviews for For the Love of a Photographer

  1. Redrabbitt

    NOTHING IS IDYLLIC—IT’S ALL A FRAME OF MIND

    I had a love-hate relationship with this story and the characters. Overall, it is an interesting and unique tale of a dysfunctional family, relationships, dreams, fear, and taking chances. It is two people, Joshua and Janie finding each other by happenstance—he has a job opening, and a friend refers her. The story is about their relationship, the people in their lives, and how they handle them.

    Janie Lynn is a young woman who is a prisoner of circumstances. She had dreams and started college to make them happen—but a date rape has made her a prisoner in her mind and her actions. Her only support is a cat named Bernie. She left college, was working at a diner, but has been fired—if it weren’t for one friend, Simon, she would not know what to do. She trusts no one but herself—and even that is lacking. Fear and running are her escape.

    Joshua is a photographer and finishing up his doctorate. He has a wedding of dear friends approaching and is without a helper until Simon refers Janie. Joshua is a unique individual, dominant, controlling, and even at times manipulative. I went back in forth on my feelings about him.

    The story’s plot will have Joshua agreeing to Janie working with him for the rehearsal and wedding of friends. When he sees the pictures she takes with a small camera, he is impressed at what she captures—but she is a woman who doesn’t handle compliments, assuming there is an ulterior motive. Joshua has his work cut out as he wants to teach Janie more about the photography business, editing, etc. While she is a quick study, she is as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room of rocking chairs—she is evasive with answers, and quick to run, which concerns him.

    “Something about her begs for shelter, protection, love.”

    “Call it a hunch. My first inclination toward him is to run. Is that because of the cologne or is it because he is the one who can fix me and I don’t want to be fixed.”

    Introducing her to his friends comes with a sexual introduction into D/s and power exchange. The relationship escalates quickly in areas of dominance and submission with discipline, but not sex—he wants that to come later, with more trust. She is suffering from information overload, denies being submissive, and confused because her body and mind are in a battle. Because of how skittish and evasive Janie can be, Joshua sees the need to take charge—what starts as coercion to move Bernie and her to his home for a few days becomes permanent—and she feels trapped—more a prisoner than before. Joshua is manipulative in how he handles Janie, and while she is submissive, he is controlling, taking choices from her.

    “Sweetie, I don’t want to control you. I want to keep you safe and help you grow. You are my heart, my soul. When you came into my life, it was like a whirlwind that picked me up and carried me right into your orbit, and for the life of me, I have no desire to leave it.”

    “We aren’t the same. You keep me here, in this prison, unless you are going out or you want me to bond with people. That isn’t keeping me safe. That’s making me your prisoner.”

    Sandy: “You need the control Joshua exerts over you as well. I know it’s hard to admit but if it wasn’t him, you’d be searching for a man just like him and wouldn’t be happy with anything less.”
    Janie: “It doesn’t make sense. None of this makes sense.”
    Sandy: “Don’t try and make sense out of it, just accept what you know is real and move on. What would you do if Joshua let you go right now? Quit thinking with your head and start listening with your heart.”

    Several couples in the story are secondary characters but play vital roles, plus Janie’s brother, Dani. There is a mysterious past to Janie’s childhood that will explain some of her issues and fears. In the end, Joshua and Janie do marry, but that doesn’t mean her insecurities go away—she is a haunted woman with severe trust issues—but he is a patient man, and when words aren’t enough, he has other ways of bringing her under control.

    “Life is too short to second guess everything.”

    Overall, it is an interesting story, but it has gaps that never are explained or handled, even though they came up multiple times in the story. While some things seem to drag out for periods of time, others that seem to be detrimental to the story just seemed to be glazed over. As an avid reader, I read word for word and find myself questioning missing pieces and why it wasn’t resolved. The story has an ending, which is satisfactory—along with dominance, submission, and power exchange.

  2. Stats23

    This is a very well written story dealing with some very serious issues, not the least of which is “date rape”. Janie has suffered that indignity and understandably has severe trust issues with men. She also has a very non-supportive family, with the exception of her brother Dani, and has suffered extreme abuse from that aspect of her life as well! When Josh enters her life, via a potential job offer, it becomes even more complicated for her. She has been isolating herself with her cat but Josh appears intent on bringing her out of her shell. However, his approach is very controlling and causes Janie even greater anxiety. His circle of friends and their very open alternate lifestyle also raises her concerns. There are lots of triggers in this story, and some may find it too hard to read, but there are also many redeeming factors that work well in building toward the final chapters. There are some spankings, some graphic & erotic sex and even some very kinky piercings to spice up the action! All in all a very good read with an awfully hard fought for HEA. 5 Stars
    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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