Mark has come back to New York after closing Allure in San Francisco. Ava is on the loose and he knows that she will come for Crystal. His mom is still getting treatment for her cancer. He is frustrated that he has no control over anything. But being with Crystal makes him feel better. Is she the one?
I loved this story. We find out more about Mark because Crystal pushes back at him as much as he pushes her.
From the author:
Being that person, that man is how I define myself, how I allow the rest of the world to define me as well. And now, with a terrible loss shredding me inside out and someone trying to destroy my family to punish me, control is more important than ever. It is everything. It is what I need. It is all I need. Or maybe I just need…her.
Crystal . . .
I’m standing next to Dana Compton at her bathroom mirror, staring at our reflections. My long blond hair touches my shoulders; her short blond hair teases her chin. “I hate that I had to cut it,” she whispers. “Damn cancer and that blast of chemo they gave me before my mastectomy.”
Yes, I think. Damn cancer. But I stay positive, hoping she will, too—a feat that’s getting harder every day. “That blast of chemo kept you from losing ground when the blood infection made you too weak for your cancer treatments. Besides,” I add, “I think you look good with your hair this length. You have such a gorgeous face we can see now.”
She gives me a sad smile. “Now you sound like Mark. He said the same thing.”
I smile inside at the soft side her son has for his mother; I’m fairly certain I’m one of the few people who have been privy to the real man beneath the hard shell. Except maybe Rebecca. Of course Rebecca. He’d loved her—not that he’s confessed such feelings, but the deep, cutting pain in his eyes, the desperateness in him when he touches me but wishes for her, tells me he did.
“Your son loves you,” I say. “And he wishes he were here. He tried. He flew me to San Francisco to close the Allure gallery for him.”
“I know,” she assures me. “And he did the right thing sending you back here when Ava escaped last week. What if she’d targeted you for attack, because you were working at Mark’s gallery? We don’t know what sick reason she had for killing Rebecca.”
She doesn’t, but I do. It was for the same reason a brilliant, wealthy artist like Ricco Alvarez had created the counterfeit-art scandal at Allure and the Riptide auction house, not caring about the many lives and employees it would affect: jealousy over Mark and Rebecca.
“Ava needs to be caught and punished,” she continues. “Rebecca was a sweet girl.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” I agree. “Like something from a horror movie.”
“Yes, it is.” She glances back into the mirror. “Speaking of horror movies, I’ve gotten so thin these past two weeks, it’s going to terrify Mark when he sees me. And I need to get these roots done so I’m blond again before he comes home. I’ll look more like myself then, and that might lift my spirits.”
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