Platinum ButtonA grating roar cut through the quiet, startling the silver-haired woman in a peach suit and pillbox hat who’d stopped to peer in the gallery window. With an aghast look at the black-leather-clad man pulling up on a large motorcycle behind her, she hurried off under the graceful arches of the palmettos lining the narrow street.

Althea sighed for the lost opportunity. Not that she could make people open their tight pocketbooks and invest in art–especially with the economic downturn–but it felt as though few customers even walked into the gallery these days. More often than not, she sat alone with the lovely watercolors hanging in silent elegance, quietly nursing the desperation to somehow keep this dream from shattering too.

Motorcycle guy cut the engine, pulled off his helmet, shook out tousled dark hair and extracted a telltale portfolio from saddlebags on the back of the bike.

Just what she needed today–another wannabe artist thinking that getting to show in a gallery in Charleston’s historic district was the ticket to success. Numbers didn’t lie. Certainly her accounts told a different tale.

Failure, the totals whispered. Fail fail fail.

Platinum BCClosing her laptop with a snap, she slid it into the drawer of the fragile antique desk and smoothed her chignon. She timed it well. Just as motorcycle guy strode in the door, opening it forcefully enough that the little bell clanged instead of tinkling, Althea was self-possessed and calm, ready to send the aspiring artist on his way. She would make it quick and painless as possible. Like ripping off a Band-Aid.

After all, she knew how that kind of rejection felt.

“Althea Grant. Welcome to Chalkstone Gallery.”

He shook her hand with calloused fingers, sizing her up with a flick of his brown eyes. He wore a motorcycle jacket, faded jeans and black leather over them, like a cowboy would–and they framed his crotch in a most disconcerting way. Althea averted her eyes, feeling the embarrassed flush stain her cheeks.

“I’m Steel. Your girl, Cheri, told me to come by, show you my stuff.”

A giddy giggle rose up in her throat at that and she tamped it down, determinedly meeting the man’s eyes. His rough-stubbled chin implied he might be as hungover as her assistant had claimed to be when she called in sick. Or maybe he always looked like that. Cheri might have mentioned that she’d sent a wannabe over. Likely she’d been hitting on the guy and had forgotten all about it in her morning-after misery.

“Well, Mr. Steel. I’m afraid that Cheri–”

“Just Steel.”

She paused, resisting the urge to wipe her damp palms on her silk skirt. “Excuse me?”

“Not Mr. Steel. Just plain Steel.”

A smile stretched at her lips, not a polite one. This guy was a piece of work. “Just Steel? Like Sting or Madonna?”

His brows lowered and he narrowed his eyes at her, rocking back on his boot heels. “Or Elvis.”

“Even Elvis had a last name.”

“I don’t.”

Sapphire BCA brief, uncomfortable moment strained between them. Althea clasped her hands together. “Regardless, I’m sorry to have wasted your time. The gallery isn’t taking on new artists at this time.” She plucked a card from the scrolled holder on her desk. “However, if you’d like to take my card…”

He took it but studied her. “Your hair is the most remarkable color.”

Self-consciously, she put a hand to it. Dropped it.

“It’s nearly a pure white. Almost colorless,” he continued. His rough fingers twitched on the binder he carried. An artist’s reflex she’d seen hundreds of times.

 

 

Synopsis for Sapphire:

A successful executive, M. Taylor Hamilton is on track with her ten-year plan. Too bad her personal life consists of hitting the gym and grocery shopping. Enter the seductive Adam Kirliss. They may have a working relationship, but everything changes at an office party when he handcuffs her to the rail of a yacht. Taylor writes the adventure off as too much champagne, but when Adam challenges her to a date, she agrees to meet up with him. And follow his rules. They share a night of exquisite intimacy, brimming with both pain and pleasure. But afterwards, fearful of losing her heart, Taylor pulls back emotionally. Adam is determined to prove that she longs for the loss of control he can give her – and the passionate release it provides. How can he make her see that he wants her, and not just her body?

 

Amazon

 

 

Synopsis for Platinum:

Althea Grant is doing fine. Sure, her Charleston gallery is suffering from the bad economy, and her artistic aspirations have gone nowhere. But she’s happy enough. When rugged metal sculptor Steel rides up on his motorcycle looking to rent studio space, his infusion of cash is more than welcome. But his art is raw, visceral, sexual—and completely inappropriate for her pastel world of watercolor landscapes.

Steel, fascinated by Althea’s rare albino coloring, sees in her the key to his next piece: a metal satyr that can be used for bondage games. Moving into her gallery basement is the first step; seducing the coolly polite lady into modeling for him is the second.

As Steel peels away her careful manners and tasteful outfits, Althea begins to realize her life isn’t just fine at all—it’s as pale and washed-out as the watercolor paintings she’s failing to sell. Can she transform her life and accept her most secret desires?

 

 

JK PictureAbout The Author:

Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves.

Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training. Find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy and Twitter (@jeffekennedy) or visit her at her website http://jeffekennedy.com/.

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