"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist you must learn your craft—then you can add all the genius you like."
Phyllis A. Whitney
Thank you to Catherine Peace for
hosting me on your blog today. Cate writes 1Night Stand romances for Decadent
It's the eleventh stop of my tour today. Don't forget there are still great
prizes to be won. Enter by clicking the rafflecopter link below.
Seven years earlier, a young and serious Tessa Calitz wrote
a letter to free spirit Ryan le Roux promising her undying love. As time passed
she forgot about that letter...but Ryan did not.
When he walks back into her life, Tessa is in a
relationship and busy setting up her art gallery in Johannesburg. She has plans
to start a family, and the arrival of Ryan throws her for a spin. He is the
worst thing that could happen to her dream of stability...or is he?
When everything she clung to starts to crumble, Ryan is
right beside her to inspire her to greater things. But her compulsion for
having marriage and children on her terms alone pushes Ryan away--until she
falls in love with an orphaned baby.
What can Ryan do to make Tessa realize that being with him
is what her heart has longed for all along?
The swish of the door
opening wider and the squeak of rubber-soled shoes on the polished floor caught
her attention. A customer. Precious gold—so rare and so needed. Turning to face
her potential sale, she put on a bright smile…that turned to jelly. The breath
froze in her lungs.
“Ryan. Is that you?”
she said with a whisper.
The man who had filled
her dreams and inspired her whole art career years ago stood before her,
taller, broader, tanned, and smiling wide. She had somehow thought he’d
disappeared off the globe. Not much had changed. That slight curl to his hair,
the dark halo a perfect frame for his broad-jawed, rugged face. Thick, velvet
locks, the color of dew-soaked mountains and earth. Piercing eyes, like planets
orbiting her heart. The longing of years seemed to converge on this particular
moment. She pulled back, frightened by the intensity of her feelings.
“I like your new
She shivered and
clasped her chiffon top close to her chest. His voice had deepened over the
years. He had matured like she had grown up, changed, and moved on.
“Thanks. I’ve been open
for three months already.”
Her voice came out like
a squeak. Her palms were moist and her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.
She couldn’t keep her eyes off him. He truly was the best artwork in the
world—the way his body moved—the whole picture of him.
“May I?” He pointed to
the art she’d spent days arranging perfectly on the walls.
He paused before each
painting as she held her breath, longing to read his mind on what he thought of
them. Then he spent longer before her latest work. She moved up behind him and
stared at the misty oil canvas in muted colors of a figure standing on a pier,
overlooking a churning sea. The man appeared pensive and peaceful with the
grey, choppy waves around him and the dark, billowing clouds above him. She
followed the shape of the real man in front of her with her gaze. Who would
have thought he would come here? All these years, she’d figured him gone
forever. Buried under new dreams and desires. Little did she know her need for
him could resurrect just with a brief encounter.
“How come they’re all
“Landscapes are my genre.”
Except for those
crazy mother and child paintings stashed away at home that no-one’s ever seen.
Days and days of her spare time were taken away painting a picture of an
African mother with her newborn twins, a Chinese mother with a toddler in a
pram, and the hippie mom with her baby in a pouch attached to her middle. The
feeling bubbling inside her while she painted them had been unsurpassed by any
other. What would Ryan think of them? It was safer that he didn’t know. Better
he believe she was a landscape painter and nothing else.
He moved on to one of
the other artists’ works. Did he hate her landscapes? Why did it matter to her
so much what he thought of her art? Not like she still loved him. Not after all
these years. But he had inspired her art in a way—got the ball rolling because
she used to spend hours sketching him while he romanced her best friend and
roommate, Annie. That felt like decades ago, yet was only seven years. Ryan had
been the highlight of her waking hours then, her shy and aimless period when
she worked in a mindless job for little pay, before she realized she could
study her passion. Art.
“Where are your
sketches?” he asked.
She frowned. “They’re
at home. I stopped sketching my second year in college because that’s when I
developed my best painting style. My sketches didn’t get me top marks.”
“But they’re so
“You never looked at
“I’ve studied the one.
She turned away, her
face hot and the hairs rising on her arms in a wash of tingles. Had he come
into the gallery on purpose? She strode to her desk, reaching it in a moment,
relishing the distance between them. If Ryan could evoke such feelings in her
now when she was with another man, would she ever be free from his grip? The
heat of the room suffocated her, and she tried to take in several breaths. If
only she had the power to block out the effect he had on her. So, he’d been
thinking of the letter she sent him. The same one that disclosed her heart’s
feelings toward him. Too late to come here now and talk about it. Stir up
feelings she had no right feeling anymore. And why all the questions about her
art? As if he really cared. Ryan didn’t care. If he did, he’d have come back to
her years ago.
If you click on the Rafflecopter link below, you could
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- one for each bag.