Posted On May 5, 2011 by Print This Post

Brenda Novak: Excerpt, INSIDE

Enjoy this sneak preview of New York Times Best Selling Author Brenda Novak’s June release, INSIDE. Brenda will be joining us for a live chat tonight at 8 p.m. Central time.

Don’t forget to check out Brenda’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research, which runs through the end of May. Brenda has raised over $1,065,298 for diabetes research so far!

Brenda Novak - Inside

Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s finally been exonerated, but he can’t escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They’ll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can’t get to Virgil they’ll go after his sister and her kids.

The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that’s taking control of the state’s most notorious super max. Virgil’s the perfect candidate–and he’ll do it in exchange for his sister’s protection.

Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe–and it gives him someone else to lose.

Here’s the set-up for the scene:

It’s the middle of the night and Virgil is at Peyton’s house because she’s hiding him until they can slip him into the prison as a “transfer” after the weekend. They’ve been going over various members of the gang he’s supposed to infiltrate, which has forced them into close proximity and their attraction is sizzling. Still, she’s trying to keep a lid on her reaction to him. Getting personally involved with him could jeopardize her job, the investigation, maybe even her life (since the gang goes after those he loves if they can’t get to him).

Here’s the excerpt:

Her chest rising and falling much too fast, Peyton stood in the middle of her office long after Virgil had stalked out. She knew she needed to calm down, but she couldn’t. She was caught in a web spun by her own emotions and desires—one that challenged every instinct she possessed regarding self-preservation, not to mention sense of duty. She’d hoped to achieve some sort of equilibrium with this new person in her life. But she couldn’t. For one thing, he wasn’t someone she could talk to and simply explain how she felt–because he understood more than she wanted him to understand, looked far deeper, to the hard truth, blanching at nothing. For another, in all her years in corrections, she’d never encountered anyone so at war with himself. That made everything more complicated. He understood that she was attracted to him. She’d made that obvious enough. He also understood that she was fighting it–that she wouldn’t, couldn’t, take a chance on someone like him–and he couldn’t help resenting it.

He’d said, You know what I want from you. If you want it, too, you don’t have to make me dinner. You don’t have to view me as an equal. Hell, you don’t have to do anything at all. Just ask. But somehow, he’d raised the bar. Now he acted as if he would accept nothing less than her soul.

Squeezing her eyes shut, she counted her own heartbeat. Bu-bump. Bu-bump. Bu-bump. It hammered away, refusing to slow down.

Go back to your room, close the door and lock it.

She promised herself she would. But once in the hallway she turned to the guest room and, swallowing hard, lifted her hand to knock.


Virgil’s whole body tensed when Peyton came to his door. “Go away,” he snapped.

“That’s it?” she said.

Yes. No. God, he had no clue. He liked her and he hated her. Or maybe it was all she stood for that he both liked and hated. He barely knew her, and yet she represented everything he couldn’t have and everything he wanted all at once.

He’d be better off keeping his hands to himself. That was the one course of action where he couldn’t go wrong. So he gritted his teeth and clung to his control. “Yes.”

He heard the weight of her footsteps as she left. Then his stomach knotted and his hands curled into fists because he longed to hit something, something that would send enough pain through him to crush the physical longing.

Pulling the pillow over his head, he ordered himself to let her go. But it wasn’t fifteen minutes later that he got out of bed and descended the narrow stairs leading to her room. “Peyton?” he called, once he reached her door.

It took her a moment to answer. He got the impression she couldn’t decide whether or not she owed him that much. “What?”

“I’m sorry.” He didn’t know what else to say; he sure as hell couldn’t explain his actions or his emotions.

She must’ve believed he was sincere because her pained expression dissolved and she began toying nervously with the bottom of her T-shirt.

Once he allowed his gaze to fall lower than her face, he realized that the sweats she’d worn earlier were gone. Bare legs extended to bare feet, the sight of which sent a fresh charge of testosterone through him.

“I can’t figure out how to help you,” she whispered.

“Maybe I don’t want you to help me.”

“Then what do you want?”

For her to see him as a regular man. To desire him as a regular man.

“Take off your clothes.” His voice sounded so raspy he almost didn’t recognize it. There was far more going on inside him than lust, but whatever else he craved was like an itch he could never scratch. He figured he could be happy with pure sex. Being able to make love to a woman, a woman like Peyton, was far more than he’d expected to achieve before returning to prison, wasn’t it? So why had he tried so hard to resist?

She stood as if transfixed. Would she refuse? He’d made his request an order because part of him hoped she would. That she’d save him, since he couldn’t save himself. The other part felt as if he’d die a little inside if she shut him down….

“Why do you have to tempt people, challenge them, into not giving you what you want?” she asked.

His chest burned; he wasn’t sure why. “This isn’t a psychoanalysis session. Are you going to take it off or not?”

“No. Forget it. Just get out of here.” She started to turn away, but she didn’t close the door, and he caught her elbow.

“Don’t say no,” he murmured.

She stared at him as if she was just as lost as he was. Then she lifted her T-shirt over her head and let it drop to the floor.

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6 Responses to “Brenda Novak: Excerpt, INSIDE”

  1. Great excerpt and peek into INSIDE! Looking forward to tonight’s chat.

    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | May 5, 2011, 4:47 am
  2. woohooo!!!! I’ll be there tonight – it’s going to be a blast! =)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | May 5, 2011, 6:51 am
  3. I’ve been a fan of Brenda’s for years – I’m VERY excited to read this book! Be sure to check out Brenda’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research – and look for Romance University’s one-day auction special on May 17:

    Posted by BeckeMartinDavis | May 5, 2011, 8:31 am
  4. Love the premise behind this story – talk about some hot conflict!

    I’m so glad Brenda’s chatting at RU tonight!


    Posted by Kelsey Browning | May 5, 2011, 1:26 pm
  5. Thanks for the warm welcome. Can’t wait to chat with you!

    Posted by Brenda Novak | May 5, 2011, 2:05 pm

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