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Making Alysia a semi-famous Expressionist painter was a joy. I took art lessons the year I wrote this manuscript, which helped me write from the perspective of an artist who sees light, color, and shape as possibilities instead of facts. There’s a scene wherein Alysia claims not to be affected by “heroic nudity” in art, and Andrew calls her bluff. You’d better believe that was fun to write!
“One of my favorites. He reminds me of you,” she confessed. The heat of his stare was too intense; she diverted her eyes to the case of pastels in her hand.
“But I have no moustache.” Playful, but she knew he was trying to draw her out.
“The resemblance is in his form and his masculine expression.”
“But he is dying.”
“But not in despair. He is brave. He meets his fate proudly.”
His eyes gleamed with mischief. “He is naked. Surely you don’t imagine me that way.”
“As an admirer of great art I am quite unaffected by heroic nudity in the erotic sense.”
She took her book back and looked again at the drawings he found so disturbing. Admittedly, from the perspective of an objective viewer, there was indeed a great deal of emphasis on suffering.
Alysia noticed Andrew was removing his clothes. He often shed his jacket, waistcoat, and necktie in her presence, but he now had his shirt off and was unfastening his trouser buttons.
“Andrew! What are you doing?”
“You said you wanted to sketch me?” He held his arms out. “I want to be sketched. No better time than now.”
He shut the door of the salon. The turning lock echoed, a sinister sound.
“But — I… I had a portrait in mind. A decent one.”
“I mean, presentable. To the public.” She watched with wide eyes as Andrew wadded his trousers and launched them into the chair as well.
“You said you aren’t averse to heroic nudity.”
“But not yours!” She felt on the verge of panic. “Besides, what is heroic about this?”
“You are the artist with the vivid imagination. Make something up.”
He tossed his drawers into her lap, and a whimper squeaked from her throat. She heard him drop onto the settee opposite her.
Excerpt from The King of Threadneedle Street ©2013 by Moriah Densley. All rights reserved.
Length: 309 pages
Publisher: Astrea Press (April 15, 2013)
He owns three shipping companies, a diamond mine, and his own castle.
He knows Portuguese, Hindu, Mandarin and Morse code.
His assets net thirteen million.
Lord Preston wants the one thing money can’t buy… Andrew Tilmore, Lord Preston, the financial prodigy dubbed “The King of Threadneedle Street” wants the one prize out of reach: his childhood sweetheart. The papers can waste a sea of ink scandalizing over his lavender-eyed Alysia; so what if she is the daughter of his father’s mistress?
Alysia Villier learned the craft of the courtesan from her infamous mother―by osmosis apparently. A gifted artist who almost won the Prix de Rome, Alysia is not interested in following in her mother’s footsteps, since Andrew ruined her for any other man. But with her legal guardian—Andrew’s father―in control of her inheritance, she has little choice in the matter.
Keeping Alysia out of trouble and away from eager suitors becomes a cross-continental quest for Andrew. Not his old-fashioned family, the disapproval of the ton, nor even Alysia’s dedication to duty and propriety will stop him. Playing newspapers and investors like pawns, tumbling world markets, inciting riots… has he gone too far?
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