Published by: Dangerous Press
Publication date: September 28th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Wealthy. Reclusive. Dangerous. Emerson LeBlanc doesn’t enter society much. He only ventures out in pursuit of new art for his collection. It starts with a haunting painting. Then he meets the artist…
Innocent Daphne Morelli is more exquisite than anything he’s ever seen. He becomes obsessed with her. It doesn’t matter that she’s a living, breathing person with her own hopes and dreams.
She’ll be the perfect addition to his collection.
I knew she was hiding something. All those dark waves—how could she not be? It’s in my head. It’s all that ends up on the canvas. She was talking about the ocean. Her secrets. I never imagined they would look like this. My heart races. Her wide, dark eyes are too innocent for a scene like this.
Or perhaps they’re not.
Need cuts into me like the crimson slashes on the canvas. In this case, her art obscures. Whatever this is, I want to hear it from her. Drag it out of her body in tears and shudders. At first it was some commentary about how the water hides things, and how it’s never the same twice. No. Her painting is what hides her. Daphne’s art reveals only the surface, but it pretends it’s telling you everything. I discover both hands are over my mouth and put them back into my pockets.
“This piece is mine,” I tell the attendant for Daphne’s piece. He leans in, his expression neutral. “I’m buying it under my corporation.” The name I give him is an anonymous shell. I don’t care if this painting skyrock- ets in value—Daphne is priceless. What I care about is buying myself some time. This piece is too personal to announce I’ve bought it without some consideration. “Anyone meets my bid, raise it by five thousand dollars. It’s mine at the end of the night. Do you understand?”
“I do, Mr. Leblanc.” He understands enough to stand perfectly still while I tuck a thousand dollars into the front pocket of his suit jacket.
“Emerson,” someone says. They’re circling now. Waiting to see which pieces I pay attention to. “No.”
I don’t stop to see whether they’re taken aback or not. I want her in my sight. All the cryptic text messages. The worried tone seeping through the words on the screen. This painting.
Daphne Morelli is not all right.
All my attention goes to finding her. She is the guest of honor at this event. She’ll be where the important people are. The richest bastards among us. My head aches from staying aware of all the people in the space while I look for her. It’s the worst of all worlds. The renovations have made the carved-out rooms too large, but they’re still too crowded.
I find her in a ritzy gathering in front of a low stage that won’t be used until it’s time to announce the winners of the silent auction.
I find her with a man.
A boy, my mind supplies. A fucking boy. Someone who has recently graduated, if I were to guess. Someone who has his hands on my little painter.
Amelia Wilde is a USA TODAY bestselling author of steamy contemporary romance and loves it a little too much. She lives in Michigan with her husband and daughters. She spends most of her time typing furiously on an iPad and appreciating the natural splendor of her home state from where she likes it best: inside.
Amelia is a USA Today best selling author from northern Michigan. Be her friend!