(CK#1) Christian’s Promise Excerpt

“Give me your thoughts. I would love to hear an artist’s interpretation.” He put a finger to his lips, Christian interested in the subject. She watched him scan the painting as if searching for something within those thick, ancient layers of paint.

“In this piece, he captures a moment of love for all eternity. Stilling such a tender moment and showing us the passion they must have felt. The animalistic lust overtaking them at that moment before they…” She released a wicked chuckle, her eyes ticking to his, but her gaze didn’t stick. She flirted in a sweet, playful tone. “Consummated their love.”

“More like devoured,” Christian said with a devilish chuckle. “With that look in his eye—” As he spoke, he motioned to the painting. “—he wants more than consummation.” He moved to hold her again, Christian squeezing her hip.

“A trademark of a Hamstein,” Addison added with a tender grin, her voice so soft, it was almost a whisper. She redirected the conversation. “I love all the vibrant colors. It ignites such strong emotions. And his overpowering use of that velvety red? It gives it such drama, such depth. There are no words to describe how beautiful this painting is.”

Addison’s gaze bounced over the masterpiece. “It’s so perfect. Lifelike. Like if I touched it, I could feel the softness of her skin. Maybe even the heat, as well.”

He chuckled as he said his words, “The heat you feel—that may come from the lights. Good effect though. In this light, with darkness surrounding it, the piece commands your attention and you can’t look away. We are like moths, are we not?” He stared at her, Addison feeling the heaviness of it. He said his next words in a deep, smooth tone, “Drawn to beauty?”

Swallowing hard, she fought the urge to spring forward and kiss him. To accept his advance. Addison narrowed her brow, as she turned back to the painting. “Though like real life, from a distance, it looks this way, but if you were to touch it, you’d feel the rough texture of the paint—the ugliness that hides behind fabricated beauty.”

“A romantic interpretation,” Christian whispered. “And though I like your view of it, I believe it is not the true subject matter of the piece.”

“What are your thoughts?”

“It’s about rape.”