Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Why Love A Brooding Artist In A Gothic Mansion?
Because he's absolutely drool-worthy. :) Trust me, I mean this. If I had the ability to bring a character to life and marry him myself, Traevyn Whitelaw would be mine. lol.
Received 5 Stars at Manic Readers!
By six o'clock Evie was tired, but pleasantly so. She had spent the entire day strolling leisurely through the small town of Cambria shopping, drawing, relaxing. Every year she stopped to reflect on the day she had first started considering herself an artist. She thought of how far she had come, what she had accomplished and what her goals for the future were. It was her day.
She sighed as she walked up to Traevyn's door, wondering how he had fared with Seth all day. She was just reaching for the knob when the door swung open, and Traevyn stood before her in a black suit with a loose, black neck tie. It wasn't a formal tie, just one of those ones that resembled a modern day cravat. He looked stunning. Stunning in a way that made her make sure her mouth was closed for fear she might drool all over herself. "Geez," she breathed. "Where are you going?"
He smiled devilishly and offered her his arm. "Come with me."
She frowned, but obeyed and allowed him to lead her inside. She let out a little shout of surprise. Most of the furniture had been cleared out of the living room, and the dining room table had been brought in and set in the center of the room. The lights were dim and there was a candle in an amber holder on the table, which was set for two. A white tablecloth covered the top, and wine glasses were turned upside down next to cloth napkins held together with elegant napkin rings. The dark, medieval tapestries were gone from the walls and several Mediterranean paintings hung in their place. Italian music played softly in the background.
"What's this?" Evie murmured.
"Italy," Traevyn replied, "or the next best thing." He guided her over to the table and pulled a chair out for her. "I figured that, until I have the time to show you the real thing, this will have to do." He pushed the chair in as she sat and leaned over her. "Happy anniversary, Evie," he whispered in her ear.
She shivered at the feeling of his warm breath against her skin and stared at him in wonderment. "How did you know about that?"
He grinned and sat down across the table from her. "Seth told me."
Her eyebrows shot up. "I didn't even know he knew about that." She looked around again, dumbstruck. No one had ever given her such a thoughtful surprise. "This is incredible. Where's all the furniture?"
"In the kitchen and dining room."
"I feel so underdressed." She glanced down at her teal, hippie-style skirt and black tank top. She'd dressed for a casual day in an artsy, coastal town. She had even used a matching teal scarf as a headband. Sure, she imagined she looked okay, cute even, but Traevyn was dressed so upscale and she definitely didn't want to feel "cute" in the midst of all the splendor he had created.
Traevyn raked his eyes over her and smiled. "You look perfect, Evie."
She met his eyes, then looked down shyly. "Why did you do this?"
"An artist should always celebrate the birth of their creativity."
She turned her eyes back up to him and grinned.
Just then, Seth walked in from the kitchen wearing a white dress shirt, black slacks and a black bow tie with a white apron around his waist. His usually spiked blonde hair was slicked back and he had a bottle of white wine nestled in the crook of his elbow like he was carrying a child. In the crook of his other elbow, he held a bottle of red. "Good evening," he greeted.
Evie took once glance at him and burst out laughing. She covered her mouth and dissolved into giggles.
Seth kept a straight face. "Could I interest you in a glass of wine? We have our finest—" he looked down at the bottle of white "—Pe-nut griggio."
Evie had to bite down on her lip to keep from guffawing.
Seth looked at the bottle of red. "Or we have…" He glanced at the label and let
out a little huff. "Shy—razz."
Traevyn winced. "Give the lady a glass of white and me a glass of red," he
Seth filled both Evie and Traevyn's glasses. "I will be back shortly to take your order," he said suavely before sauntering back into the kitchen.
Evie glanced at Traevyn, who watched her with a smile on his lips. "That is fantastic," she said. "How did you get him to do that?"
"His idea," he replied.
She just stared at him. "Are you serious?"
He nodded and his lips turned up in a wry smile. "Guess I should have told him how to pronounce wine titles before I gave him the job."
She laughed. "Yeah, I've got to say, I've never heard of Peanut Griggio before."
Evie shook her head. Despite his lack of finesse, her brother was really surprising her lately. She looked up as he came back into the room with a basket of bread and a dish of olive oil.
"Olive oil with garlic and rosemary," he announced.
Evie grinned so wide that she thought her face might split in half.
"All right, may I take your orders please? We have some excellent choices for you this evening. We have chicken marsala, chicken marsala, or may I suggest my favorite, the chicken marsala?"
Evie had to fight not to laugh in a very undignified manner. She resorted to a giggle instead. "Hmmm," she teased. "I think I'll take the chicken marsala."
Seth nodded. "Excellent choice. And for you, Sir?"
Traevyn was grinning more than Evie had ever seen as he nodded at Seth and replied that he wanted the same.
Seth nodded. "I'll bring that out shortly."
Traevyn glanced over at Evie as Seth disappeared again. "I think he's enjoying
She nodded. "It's scaring me a little. Please tell me he didn't do the cooking."
He made a face. "Lord, no. I wasn't looking to kill you tonight."
She giggled and met his eyes across the table. She sobered and shook her head slowly. "This is very overwhelming."
He shook his head. "Enjoy it, Evie. Seth told me you celebrated this every year alone because no one else understood. I understand. I wanted to celebrate with you."
She averted her eyes, fighting sudden tears. No one had ever validated her passion except for the deBoers and, even then, they only supported her and believed in her. Traevyn truly understood her.
He stood suddenly as a slow, Italian melody started to play and he offered her his hand. "Would you care to dance?"
Her breath hitched at the seductive note his voice carried. She knew he hadn't done it on purpose. His voice resonated sensuality all on its own, but that almost made her reaction to it even more powerful. She braved a look up at him and her mouth went dry. He was so amazingly elegant, even more so than usual. She had thought it before and it came roaring back to her like a tidal wave. Traevyn Whitelaw was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
She reached out slowly and placed her small hand in his, remembering the warmth of it from the night in the car. He smiled and led her out to an empty space on the floor, pulling her into his arms so that Evie had to close her eyes and remember how to breathe. She had tried to forget almost everything about the night they had been stranded. How she had kissed him on instinct, how having him sleep so close to her felt so right, how his touch made her heart beat in strange and erratic patterns. She had tried to write off all those things as being caught up in such an emotional moment, but they came flooding back to her at the warm contact of his body against hers.
"I wanted to thank you for the painting," Traevyn murmured.
She frowned in question.
"The one of mine that you finished."
"Oh…" She looked away, her face flaming. She had done that on impulse and had almost immediately thought it had been too bold. He had never said anything to her about it, which had been more than okay with her, but she had wondered what he had thought. She shook her head. "It was just—" She made a face. "It was nothing really."
He stopped dancing and lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. "Nothing?" He shook his head. "Evie, it was everything."
She stared up at him and her eyes scanned his gorgeous face. They came to rest on his perfect lips and she realized that she wanted to kiss him very badly. That alarmed her. It was easy to deny feelings in normal, day to day life, but in a setting like this… When had she come to care for him so much? The realization that her affection for him was much deeper than she thought swamped her and she had to look away. What was the matter with her? Was she out of her mind? Like Traevyn Whitelaw would actually go for someone like her. His ex-wife had been a goddess. He had said so himself. Elegant and sophisticated. She was anything but elegant and sophisticated. She was loud and opinionated and definitely not goddess-like. Plus, he was almost ten years
older than her. He probably thought of her as a child. Was she completely stupid?
She looked up at Traevyn, who was frowning in concern.
"Evie, you're trembling." He ran both of his hands lightly across her shoulders
and down her arms.
Oh right, like that was going to make things better. "I—uh—" she stammered. "I
"Dinner is served," Seth announced, returning to the room.
Read more in Dark Masterpiece, available at www.forbiddenpublications.com