“Relax.” Rising from the sofa, Troy went to grab some materials, tools and a chair from his dining room table and brought them back to where Aris was working. He positioned the chair and sat facing her. “Forget the mannequin. For now, just paint. On me.”
A smile played at Aris’s lips.
“Don’t act like you haven’t ever used me before.”
She laughed. “Okay. Twenty-minute sprints?”
“Yeah, I’ll clock it.” Troy set the timer on his phone.
“No rules, baby doll. Just work.”
Her eyes lit up. “Okay.”
“Burn.” Troy watched as she quickly arranged her tools. “Latex. Lube. Cotton. Alcohol. Tissue paper. Ground coffee.” He waited again as she rushed around his apartment to collect the materials.
“Ready?” he asked when she returned.
Nodding, she bounced around in excitement.
“Forearm.” He lifted the sleeve of his shirt. “Go.”
Aris worked frantically for the next fifteen minutes and when Troy’s phone beeped that her time was up, she stepped back and listened eagerly to Troy’s in-depth critique.
He added a few more items as Aris gathered them quickly and arranged them on the table along with her tools. After a final check, she nodded her readiness.
“Throat.” Troy set the timer. “Go.”
While creating an impressive slit throat, Aris sang and bounced around. She joked and laughed with Troy as a welcomed sense of contentment from her sprints replaced the tension she arrived with over an hour ago resulting from the fight she had with Luke.
“Feeling better?” Troy asked.
Aris looked up and winked, then dipped her head to continue working and singing until the phone beeped.
Only this time, it wasn’t Troy’s timer.
He raised a brow and glanced at her phone. “You need to answer that?”
“Nope,” she replied, not caring who was trying to reach her…even if it was Luke. “I’m working.”
Being in love? REALLY loving someone?? Two totally different things…
Aris Collier is a masterful artist but, when it comes to the art of love, she couldn’t be further from her comfort zone…
For Luke and Aris, it’s all fun and games until their work and general differences get in the way. Soon, Aris is falling from cloud nine into the reality of a live-in life with Luke where she’s failing forward almost every day. On the flip side, Aris is thriving in her new career. It’s much easier to navigate and a lot less complicated…especially the synergy she finds with Troy Murphy, her partner-in-art whose mere presence begins to undermine her life with Luke.
As Aris struggles to maintain a practical balance, she learns that loving Luke Donovan is effortless…but maneuvering the nuances of a real relationship? Not so much. It’s a simple truth that she quickly discovers the hard way, forcing Aris to either confront the contradictions within herself or continue to take unnecessary gambles that just may end up costing her the love of her life…