Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PAINTED PASSION on All Romance Ebooks, Amazon & Barnes and Noble

PAINTED PASSION now appears on All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.  In honor of the event, a new excerpt is below.


Trella placed her sketchbook on Francois’ desk while she waited for his return. The offer to show her paintings at his gallery couldn’t have come at a better time. Paris had eased her grief, and the camaraderie of the art world helped her heal. Now she was ready to get on with her life.

Moments later, Francois returned to his office, shutting the door behind him. “We have a month to prepare for your show. I know you can handle the deadline crunch, but it’s not a lot of time for you to get it together, my dear.” He pinned her with a hard stare. “You’re holding back.”

Knowing he was right, she didn’t respond. The average buyer wouldn’t notice a lack of depth in the work, but an experienced art connoisseur would.

She smoothed the front of her dress. “The drive to create is returning,” she acknowledged.

He adjusted black, square-framed glasses on his aquiline nose. “You can’t run from processing grief. You love what you do. Passion”—he waved his hands around in his usually demonstrative way—“cannot be faked. You are either born with it, or you’re not.” He pointed at her. “You were born with it. Stop trying to control it, temper it. If you hurt, paint the hurt. You have a right to feel. Passion must be free to breathe, to be alive and affect others.”

He removed a set of keys from his pants pocket. After unlocking a door, he motioned for her to follow him into a smaller room. He flipped on a light. Francois pointed at five canvases. Instead of her usual intimate settings of bedrooms, dressing rooms and cars, for which she had achieved critical acclaim, her latest works featured landscapes.

“None of these portray the warm palettes people are accustomed to seeing from you.”


He shook his head. “They are not representative of your best work. You need a key piece, and you have not provided it yet.”

“I can’t paint what I don’t feel.”

“True.” He nodded as he studied the canvases. “Maybe you needed to exorcise the pain before moving forward.” He stroked his chin. “None of these are your key piece. The last time you showed. I was so moved I cry, no?”

She nibbled her bottom lip as she studied the painting of an old palm tree, half of its fronds a muted green, the remaining a sullen brown. Sadness and remorse emanated from the canvas. 
“Grief does strange things to people, Francois.”

“True. The reason the landscapes don’t work isn’t because they aren’t good. Your emotions seeped through, but I can sense you feel you have to show what people have come to associate with you.” He tugged her to him then folded her in his arms. He tilted her chin, forcing her to look up at him. “The young woman who first waltzed into my gallery was eager to take on the world. Bring her back. Paint with abandonment. One doesn’t control a fire. It either flares into bright flames or is extinguished.”

Didn’t he understand she wanted to have her old mojo return? She eased from his embrace, wrapping her arms around her middle. “Nothing I’ve tried works,” she whispered.

He sighed. “You’re trying too hard. Art needs space to create.”

“The loss of Louis—”

“He died. Yes, it is sad. But you didn’t die. No one blames you for living.”

Francois shooed her from the room, back into his office, before locking the door behind him and returning the key to his pocket. He picked up her sketchbook from his desk, flipping the pages one at a time before closing it with an audible snap. He didn’t say anything, and she glanced at him.

He held a hand over his heart. “Your key pieces,” he whispered. “Why are you hiding these?”

She froze in sudden shock. She’d forgotten to remove the drawings of Carlos.

“Look.” He flipped to a page. He held it up for her perusal. “The longing, the wanting. I feel it from the sketch. This is it!”

She bit her bottom lip as she studied the rendering of Carlos, naked and proud. If Francois recognized the latent desire she possessed for her husband’s former partner, would anyone else?

“Why the gloomy face?”

She sighed. “I’d rather not use any of the drawings.”

He tapped the page. “These must make the show.”

He couldn’t be serious. If, by some miracle, Carlos did agree to be used as a model, could she withstand the pressure of people dissecting what they’d believe to be the intimate nature of their relationship? “I can’t. I never used a painting of Louis.”

“It’s no one’s business why you never used your husband as a subject. I figured you didn’t want to display your marriage to the world’s perusal.”

She nodded. Everyone assumed that, including Louis. In her soul, she knew her paintings of her husband wouldn’t be on par with her other work.

“Francois, this man…I can’t.”

He perched on his desk. “I’ve been where you are, Trella. Art does not lie. There is no subterfuge. You cannot pretend what doesn’t exist.”

But could she pretend what existed, didn’t?

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