#ThrowbackThursday: The Edge of Control by Lou Kelly


For today's #ThrowbackThursday, we're traveling back in time to June of 2016 with an excerpt from Lou Kelly's The Edge of Control

From the Blurb:

When passion pushes David Carlson into dangerous territory will he walk the razor’s edge between life and death in order to be with the man he loves?

As the youngest Chief of Medicine at Southside General Hospital, David Carlson has no business lusting after the most hostile nurse on the ER staff. A professional, hard-working, over-achiever, he’s finally realized his life-long dream of promotion, and the last thing he needs now are complications.

But he can’t help being intrigued by the enigmatic Ian James. Not only is Ian flat-out gorgeous, he’s also mysterious. And he awakens in David a passion that he hasn’t felt since … well, ever.

Unfortunately, Ian James is a man with a dangerous past and an even more dangerous present, and loving him will come at a cost. Can David trust him? Is he willing to put his entire career on the line to protect a man who might be playing him? Is Ian capable of loving and trusting him back?

Discovering the truth will take David into the heart of blackmail, corruption, and scandal. Straight to the edge of control.

The Edge of Control is a stand-alone, full-length novel with NO cliffhanger!


By the time I pulled my tired body out of the shower, it was past nine o’clock. Before I'd allowed myself to return home, I’d holed up in my office for hours, dealing with the mountain of paperwork I’d been neglecting over the last few weeks.

It was as much a punishment as a necessity.

Idiot. You stupid, desperate, sex-starved idiot.

I was finding it difficult to forgive myself. How much time had I wasted fantasizing about Ian? How had I allowed myself to be taken in by him when he was so openly hostile to begin with? I’d ignored every fact, making up my mind that he was more than his surface appearance. But sometimes people were exactly the way they seemed. Sometimes men who appeared angry and dangerous were exactly that: angry and dangerous.

The Littinger connection got to me the most. It wasn’t as if Ian was directly responsible for the man’s suicide. Even if they’d had an affair and Littinger later regretted it, that didn’t mean it was Ian’s fault that Littinger had decided to shoot himself. But Littinger’s involvement made Ian a chronic adulterer. A man who lead other men – older, more powerful men – into bed.

I stretched out on my leather couch and closed my eyes. I hadn’t yet pulled a shirt on, and my back was still damp from the shower, sticking to the leather upholstery, but it felt good to lay there in my loose cotton pajama pants, bare feet resting on the arm of the sofa, a soft pillow beneath my head. I was so exhausted I might have drifted off to sleep, but a knock at my door pulled me awake again.

My first thought was Caroline, but she never knocked softly. With her it was always loud, incessant pounding in rhythm to whatever song she’d been listening to last.

“Hang on.” I shuffled my way to the door and opened it, wondering if one of my neighbors had locked themselves out again.

It wasn’t a neighbor.

Ian stood in the hallway of my apartment building, hands thrust into his blue jean pockets, one foot kicking absently at a loose thread on the hallway runner. He looked up at me with that familiar expression that repelled and invited simultaneously.

“Is this a bad time?” he asked.

I leaned against the door frame and watched as his eyes moved over my bare chest, waiting for my answer. 

“That depends,” I said. “Are you in trouble?” I fought to keep the coldness out of my voice, and I could see the confusion leak into his expression as his eyes moved up to scan my face, searching for something that was no longer there. He turned. “I should go,” he said.

I should let him.

But what if I was wrong? I cursed under my breath. “Wait.”

Ian stalled in the middle of the hallway.

“Come in,” I said at last.

What the hell was I doing?

He paused, then turned and followed me inside. I couldn’t decide if his demeanor exuded relief or reluctance. I was generally good at reading people. Part of my job as a physician inevitably involved spotting liars: people lying about their pain, lying about their addictions, lying about their relationships. Body language was as familiar to me as the internal workings of the human form, yet with Ian I could never deduce his true motivations. He always seemed conflicted, as if he didn’t know for certain what he’d do until he was actually doing it.

As soon as he was in my apartment, his gaze lit over every surface in a practiced kind of surveillance – the kind people did out of ingrained habit rather than conscious intent. I couldn’t help remembering what Bruce had said about him having a record. A record for what? Breaking and entering? Burglary?

Not that I was worried Ian was there to rob me. We worked together for Christ’s sake. It was more that I was seeing him clearly for the first time. Seeing his nervousness for a man playing up his mark.

I wondered what attracted Ian to the men he chose. Was it their money? An illusion of power? It certainly wasn’t based on looks. Bruce was a nice looking man for his age, but Littinger had been small and rail thin with a horrible comb-over and chronic body odor. I tried to see myself – my furniture and possessions – through Ian’s eyes. Would he see something worthwhile here? A turn-on? Had he come here to seduce me? Could I resist him if he had?

I fought back my rising attraction. Despite everything, there was a rabid thrill to having the man I’d fantasized about step into my apartment, at night, looking like –

Fucking perfect.

He wore a black, button-down shirt, untucked from a pair of form-hugging jeans. His hair, slightly on the longer side and usually tousled, was combed back, away from his face, tucked behind his ears, and my fingers ached to run through it.

God damn. He took my breath away.

It had been a mistake to invite him inside.

“So?” I prompted, deliberately forcing my thoughts back to the conversation with Bruce. Forcing myself to imagine Ian in bed with Littinger. Anything to fight my raging, testosterone fueled hard-on. The hard-on he must certainly notice beneath my cotton pajama pants.

I was standing against the wall that divided my living room from the kitchen. He was three steps away, and at first he didn’t say anything, shifting his weight nervously, but then he stepped towards me – one, two, three steps – and just like that his mouth was on mine, his tongue tracing my lips before moving down my neck to my nipple, probing gently before sucking it between his teeth.

The shock of his touch was indescribable. His hands slid across the skin of my chest to my back as he licked from one nipple to the other, and the moan that came out of me could not be stifled. Ian’s mouth returned to the hollow of my neck as his hands released me, and his fingers undid the buttons on his shirt. He released them one by one, his lips never leaving my skin, and the whole time he was sinking to his knees, his tongue trailing down my abdomen, stopping only when he pulled his shirt off, leaving it on the floor behind him. Then his fingers, firm yet supple, were untying the drawstring of my pants.

Without meaning to, my hands raked through his hair and I felt sure I’d never let him go. This was the point of no return. One fraction of an inch further and nothing would enable me to turn back.

My entire career flashed before my eyes, and I pushed him away with an explosiveness that surprised us both. “Fuck! Stop.”

He fell backwards, regaining his balance as I straightened my pajama pants, but the shock in his eyes was immediately mingled with terror. He pushed himself away from me until his back slammed into the couch. Then he was cornered, and his instinctual cringe wasn’t something anyone could fake. This was a man who’d been hit in his lifetime. A lot.

I held up both hands, trying to catch my breath and regain some composure. My heart was pounding out of my fucking chest.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to –”

He didn’t wait for me to finish. The second my hands were up he grabbed his shirt off the floor and bolted to his feet. His eyes searched frantically, obviously looking for a weapon.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” I kept my voice soft. “You surprised me. That’s all. We can talk about this.”

I would’ve given a million bucks to be able to read him right then. Whatever was going through his mind was either too conflicted or too concealed for me to decipher. Was he angry? Humiliated? He turned away and for a moment I thought he might run, but when he turned back again, bare chested, clutching his shirt, his eyes looked hurt. But was that the truth or simply a mask slipping into place?

“I thought … I thought you wanted me to – You gave me your address.” He glanced out my living room window again, as if longing for escape. Strange choice considering the door was only a few feet away, unlocked. His terror seemed to be diminishing, but his overall fear was still palpable. I kept both hands in the air, feeling distinctly like I’d been taken hostage in my own apartment.

“I gave you my address because I was concerned about you. I thought you might need help. Obviously, I’m attracted to you.” I couldn’t deny I’d had a massive erection practically from the moment he’d walked through the door. “But giving you my personal information wasn’t a ploy to get a blow job.”

Now Ian’s gaze shifted to the door, and I could see how badly he wanted to leave. He seemed torn. Leave through the door and resume a normal life, whatever that meant for him, or cast himself out the window to oblivion. He ran both hands over his face and closed his eyes.

Decisions, decisions.

“I could make you feel good,” he said at last. “No strings attached.” He paused for emphasis. “I promise you, it will feel good.”

Shock rendered me incoherent. I hadn’t realized that decision was still up in the air, and I had to give Ian credit. He never said what I expected.

“No,” I sputtered, nearly laughing at the absurdity of this moment. Who turned down a blow job from their personal walking wet dream? “I already said no.” Idiot. Careful, repressed, boring, idiot! Take it back! My penis was screaming at me.

Ian’s fists clenched and unclenched. “Don’t you like me?”

He blushed. How could a man be on his knees ready to give his boss a blow job without any apparent reservations, but the mention of actual liking (as opposed to licking) brings forth a bashful blush?

“I do like you,” I said carefully, as if I’d stumbled into the psych ward at Southside. Or maybe the psych ward had come to me. “Of course I like you.”

If he only knew how much.

“But there are some things we need to clear up. About Bruce and … Littinger.”

The moment I said the name, I knew Bruce had told me the truth. If there was a tiny part of my brain that had doubted – hoped – that Bruce had been lying, this part was now convinced by the look on Ian’s face.

He took a step backward, closer to the door. “How do you know about –”

“I know a lot of things.”

Ian shook his head. “I have to go.”

“Don’t leave like this.” I tried to make my voice sound commanding. “We need to talk. I mean it. Don’t –”

But he was already stepping away, his eyes never releasing mine. He opened my apartment door, bolted out, and then sprinted down the hall. The elevator door opened, and he was gone before I could call his name.


The Edge of Control is currently available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.