DK McGiven’s dreams are close to coming true. Finally coming into her own as a fine artist, she melts metal to her wishes and creates sculptures that have her fans clamoring for more. Only one thing is holding her back from completing her current masterpiece: her own insecurity in the passion department. Her girl tribe’s suggestion? Find a sexy guy and learn what she’s been missing—without engaging her heart of course.
Worldly and willing Vince Cassidy seems to fit the bill. Bored with his successful writer’s life, he heads to the mountains for some entertaining distractions. He’s happy with the friends-with-benefits perks DK offers. Maybe a little fling with a local artist will be just what the doctor ordered.
But for these two hungry hearts, love has a way of wearing away resistance. Now Vince wonders who the woman he calls “Red” really is—a siren or an innocent. And he’s falling for her either way. Trapped together in their agreement to stay passionate but detached, can they weld something new out of their deeper feelings?
When keeping things simple is impossible, sometimes love is the flash of fire that results.
And here's an excerpt!
Prologue - Chicago Over Twenty Years Ago
“Patrick, settle down and eat your dinner. Your father will drive you to practice as soon as you’re done, and you’re already late, so hurry up!”
“Ma, I don’t want to…”
“Quiet! You’ll do as you’re told! Elisabeth, that science project won’t build itself! Mary Margaret, the piano is waiting – at least 45 minutes now, mind, or you won’t be ready for your lesson with Miss Christine. Michael, have you finished your confirmation assignment for Father Esposa?”
The chorus of voices continued throughout dinner, Ma and Dad directing and demanding, her siblings complaining because they didn’t want to do what they were told. She could sit among the confusion and be completely overlooked. Her brothers and sisters were always busy doing something, practice for sports or music, their catechism lessons, studying for school. If she stayed quiet, Ma would pass right by her since she didn’t seem to take to anything. It helped to be the middle child too, and with an older sister and brother and a set younger, there were few expectations put on her.
They thought she was shy and afraid of the world, so she was regarded with something akin to pity when she wasn’t being teased by her brothers. Her sisters liked to boss her around, even the younger one, but they were all protective too.
She played with the stew in her bowl. If she turned the chunks of beef just so, she could create a pattern with the potatoes and carrots, making a nice design.
“Diane! Diane Kathryn! Stop playing with your food and eat it. There are children starving in Africa who would appreciate that fine stew. And don’t forget to study your spelling tonight! You got a C on your last quiz, and you need to do better than that.”
She cringed to hear her full name, which meant she was in trouble again. Shoveling in a spoonful of dinner, she sighed. She hated spelling, math too. She was completely lost in science class and was sure she only passed because her teachers felt sorry for her. They knew that her brothers and sisters got the brains in the family.
School was a painful chore, except when she got to art class. She loved art! From the time she could hold a crayon, she knew inside that this is what she was meant to do. She could draw well even before she could recite the alphabet. Give her clay or paints, and she was in heaven, producing fanciful things that her teachers loved.
But her parents, they were another story. They didn’t believe that art was a real skill, something that could earn her a living when she grew up. And that was their focus, hoping that each of their children would go to college and be successful in some field that didn’t involve manual labor. To them, playing with clay and drawing had no future.
“Diane Kathryn! That’s it, you obviously aren’t hungry. Up to your room. I will come up in one hour and we will see if you’re ready for that spelling test tomorrow. And stop chewing on your nails.”
Her mother was staring at her, expecting compliance. Then her mother’s expression softened. “You want to go to college, have a good job, don’t you? Just like your brothers and sisters? You need to study, my girl, so that you can have a profession when you get older.”
She didn’t want to go to college, but she would do as she was told. She’d end up going wherever everyone else wanted her to go, and she’d muddle through as she always did. A career, a profession? She had no clue what that would possibly be. The only thing she was any good at or interested in was art, and her parents had already been clear that they didn’t consider that a way to make a decent living.
Diane picked up her bowl and took it to the sink, rinsing it out before placing it in the stack. It wasn’t her turn to wash up tonight, but she liked doing that sometimes. The bubbles could make some pretty colors if the lights hit them just right.
She took a moment to look at her nails, chewed to the quick when she was nervous. Hanging her head, she shuffled to the doorway that led to the front hall and the stairs. Conversation resumed behind her, her father prompting her brother to get a move on it and her mother now intent on her other brother’s religious studies.
No one noticed her as she paused and looked back at them. She was, again, forgotten and invisible.