|“Are there rules?” Mona asked of her mysterious suitor. “Expectations of me? Requests?”
Malcolm held up one finger, telling her to sit and wait. She sat. She waited. He walked to her bookshelf and perused the titles, the hand on his chin again like the first night. At last he seemed to find what he was looking for. He pulled a large white book from the shelf and leafed through the pages. Then he returned to her desk, bringing the book with him.
“That,” he said, laying the book open on the desk and pointing at a photograph of a painting. “I would like you to wait for me thusly.”
The painting in the photograph was one she knew well—Manet’s Olympia, a portrait of a young girl, naked, lying on a bed with her head up and staring directly at the viewer. It was an infamous painting, Manet making mockery of the tired old Venus-reclining-on-her-bed trope. Olympia was a prostitute and a shameless one at that. When it was first displayed, the crowds found it so vulgar they wanted to tear it to shreds.
“So I’m to be your Olympia.”
“For what I’m paying you, you’ll be everything I want you to be.”
She looked up at him, met his eyes. For the first time since they met, he touched her. He laid his hand on the side of her face, stroked the arch of her cheekbone with his thumb. Such a large warm hand. She truly believed she would regret making this agreement. But she didn’t regret it now.
“You were meant to do this,” he said softly. “You’ll see.”
“Why me?” she asked. “Millions of women in this country, millions in yours…why me?”
“Millions of paintings in this world. Only one Mona Lisa. Billions of women in this world. Only one you, Mona Lisa St. James.”
Then he left her in the office, blushing and shivering and undeniably aroused. She’d just agreed to become a prostitute to save her gallery.
Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother’s art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it’s in the red.
Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.
The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting…but surely her mother didn’t mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red…
The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.