Contemporary romantic fiction.
Trisha finally meets a man who is passionate and interesting. The only problem is that she has a secret she would really like to keep to herself. Adrian, however, is determined to unearth all the mysteries of the woman who makes him irrational...
Gareth smiled indulgently. He was glad he had forced Trisha to come along with him to the gallery today. He watched her staring at the painting. Her head was slanted and she was trying to read the name of the artist scrawled along the side. He went to her.
'Oh yes, it appeals to me. I like the way it looks almost abstract, but not quite. I like the bright, earth tones and the vibrant brush strokes. It makes me think of strong sensual strokes....of you know....'
Gareth laughed. 'You are a little horny today. You got all those thoughts from staring at a painting? Then you must meet Jocelyn, the artiste. She will be pleased to know that her work ignites your erotic fantasies.'
Gareth threw back his head and laughed. 'But first do you need a drink?' 'Oh yes, yes!'
Trisha rubbed her hands together in glee. Gareth laughed again. 'My, my. I must drag you to these things more often. It certainly gets your juices flowing.'
'Of course. Let's go over to the pub and get a little sloshed. That will calm me down and help me survive when I go back to my office for a long meeting this afternoon.'
Gareth smiled, 'okay, some white wine is in order?' 'Of course, of course. Need you ask?'
As they stood at the pub, Trisha turned and noticed a man standing a little behind them and realized that he had been listening carefully to their conversation. He stared at Trisha and then at Gareth, raising his eyebrows. He smiled slightly and Gareth smiled widely back at him. He stepped forward slowly, watching Trisha's eyes.
'Hey, Rod. How are you?' 'Gareth, hi. Fine, and you?'
'Yes, fine. Let me introduce you. Patricia Diason. Roderick Keyes.'
They shook hands and smiled politely at each other. Trisha liked the feel of his hand. It was warm and strong. She also liked his eyes dark, curious eyes. He was watching Trisha's face, as if trying to answer some question.
'See you around, Rod.' 'Yes, yes.'
Rod walked away and Trisha probed Gareth. 'Now who is that?'
'He is Jocelyn's benefactor. They are old friends. He is one of the partners at Keyes, Barker & Associates, you know, the accountants?'
'Ah, they are in that large, old building down Connor Street? Yes, I have heard of them. I think we use that firm for something. But he looks nothing like an accountant.'
'Oh really, why not?'
'He is too good-looking, refined and far too comfortable with himself.'
Gareth chuckled. 'Yes, he is also not very traditional. Jocelyn used to date his brother Wayne for years and when he left her and moved away, dear older brother basically took care of her. That was about three years ago and here he is, still making sure she is okay.'
'Maybe he has his own interest in the matter?'
Gareth laughed. 'Oh, Trisha of little faith! I doubt that very much. But I suspect Jocelyn would like to believe that. Just look at her now.'
Trisha turned and saw a short, pretty blonde woman standing next to him. Her eyes were wide and flirtatious and she touched his arm possessively. He simply smiled at Jocelyn and then looked up at Trisha, raising his eyebrows at her again. She smiled back at him and looked away.
'Oops, he caught me!'
'Yes, but I don't think he really minds too much. I think he is interested in you, too.'
'I doubt that. He seems a little sullen for me and he stares a lot. No, not my type, I am afraid.'
'Hush. They are coming over.' 'Shit!'
'Rod. Hi again. Jocelyn, how are you?'
'Oh Gareth!' Jocelyn hugged him tightly. 'I am so glad you came. That was so kind of you.' She gushed in an exaggerated, melodious voice.
'It is my pleasure, my dear. I brought a friend. This is Patricia.'
The two women appraised each other and instinctively Trisha felt an unease about her. She was beautiful in a glamorous kind of way, but her eyes were too shifty, too cold and they moved quickly over Trisha. She saw a nervous insecurity in Jocelyn which made her feel guarded. Something is not quite in order with this woman, Trisha thought.
'Hi, thank you for coming.' She gave Trisha a mild, cold smile.
'It is certainly my pleasure. It has been most pleasant.' Trisha replied, in the same mild tone.
'I am pleased to hear that. Let me introduce you. This is Rod, my best friend in the whole world.'
Rod smiled. 'We have met already, Joss. Now, do you want a drink? Need to get sloshed?' His eyes gleamed in mockery at Trisha.
Trisha blushed slightly and looked away. Jocelyn waved her hands. 'No, no thank you, Rod. I am hoping that you will get sloshed though.' Jocelyn laughed in a girly, giggly way and both Gareth and Rod smiled indulgently.
Trisha gulped the last of her wine and decided it was time to leave. She needed to get away from those dark eyes that seemed to follow her every move. He had a way of looking at her as if she was the only person there, as if he was asking her a personal question.
'It was nice to meet you. But I must really be getting along now. Gareth?' 'Oh sure, come. Let me walk you to your car. Jocelyn, I will be back shortly.'
He walked out of the building with her and as soon as they were out of earshot, he could not wait to ask. 'So, what's up, Trisha? Why are you running away?'
'I don't know. I just had a strong sense of ....I don't know, danger, fear, or something. There was something oppressive and dark. I needed to breathe.'
'Okay, relax. It must be the way he was staring at you. He seems a little intrigued by you. Relax. He is not a bad guy. Just not much of a talker. He is kind and quite funny when you get to know him. I suppose you are so beautiful he couldn't help himself.'