Book Title: The Artist
Author: Shealy James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Katherine “Kitty” Peters is done doing what Daddy says…
When Kitty rebels against her wealthy father, he issues an ultimatum. She has one month to agree with his plans for a suitable marriage, or find her own way without the benefit of all he provides for her. Taking full advantage of those precious weeks, Kitty escapes her suffocating world for a more colorful one…where she meets a tattooed maverick who captivates her with one sexy smirk.
Adam Vaughn doesn’t play by the rules…
His good looks and bad-boy persona always get him what he wants, but he’s also an artist, a painter, and deeply sensitive. Lately, however, only one thing inspires him—the stunning Kitty Peters.
Passion flares, but a family crisis might douse the flame…
Adam needs help, and Kitty’s father has connections. As the end of her month approaches, Kitty’s deal with the devil is far more complicated than simply submitting to her father’s will.
Can she walk away from the man she loves in order to save him from pain?
Even if it means living the rest of her life without him?
A bartender sauntered her way over to me almost as soon as I sat down. She was something to look at; that was for sure. Her hair was colored a light blond, almost white, on the top, and black underneath, and her teased-up ponytail displayed that and her neck tattoos perfectly. Her tight black tank top left nothing to the imagination. I figured putting her double Ds out there for everyone to see probably earned her better tips. If I were being honest, my almost B-cups might have been a little jealous that she had that much to display.
“Whatcha drinking?” she asked when she made her way to me.
“Grey Goose and tonic,” I told her and laid a hundred-dollar bill on the bar. “Keep them coming.”
She looked unruffled by my request and went about making my drink with practiced efficiency. Grey Goose and tonic was my mother’s drink of choice. I knew it had fewer calories than most cocktails, which was the only reason she allowed herself to drink her meals.
The bartender set down my drink and moved on to the next thirsty patron. I hadn’t so much as taken a sip of my drink before I felt a hand on the back of my stool where my coat lay. “You here alone, sweetheart?” a man asked. I could smell the whiskey on his breath and cheap cologne on his shirt.
“Not interested,” I said without turning around.
“Aw, come on. Let me buy you a drink.”
“No, thank you. I have one, and I’m more than capable of buying my own drinks.”
He scoffed at my reply. “No need to be a bitch. No wonder you’re here alone.” I felt his hand move from my chair, and the stench of whiskey and too much spritzing disappeared.
My first drink was quickly emptied and replaced with another, and then another by the booby bartender. She was doing exactly as I asked, so I thanked her politely then turned to take in more of the scene. The crowd was a mix of scantily dressed women and grungy men trying to get laid, to business types in their weekend casual taking advantage of the freedom. It was interesting to say the least.
I was busy watching a short, Italian-looking guy try to pick up what could have been a supermodel when something at the back of the bar caught my eye. I turned fully in my stool to take in the back wall of the bar. It was a mural depicting a band and people dancing. The detail and depth reminded me of Maverick and his coffee shop scene. Suddenly, the music was no longer loud enough to drown out my thoughts.
It occurred to me in my alcohol-infused brain that I no longer had to worry about what my father thought. I could take Maverick up on his offer of lunch now. Hell, I could screw Maverick right here on this bar if I was so inclined, and my father would have no say, because he was writing me off anyway. It was becoming easier by the minute to see the pros of telling my dad to shove it. Maybe it was the alcohol talking, but becoming homeless, car less, and fashion less didn’t seem so bad if it meant I could have a little fun with Maverick.
“I guess you found another one,” a familiar deep voice shouted. I turned to find Maverick himself standing on the opposite side of the bar from me as if my dirty thoughts had conjured him up.
He nodded toward the painting on the back wall.
“Ah. I was wondering.”
He smirked his terribly sexy smirk that made me want to do things to him that were not suitable for public. “Were you now?”
“Yes. The details are similar. The way you make it look like an extension of the room, the timelessness of the people. It’s your style.”
He leaned his elbows on the bar and moved closer to me. My body instinctively matched his position and leaned in as he said, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you paid close attention to my mural at the coffee shop.”
“Perhaps,” I responded with a smile.
His smirk disappeared and seriousness replaced the flirtation. “What are you doing here, Duchess? This isn’t your scene.”
I didn’t like where this was going, but Boobs saved me with liquid courage. I picked up my new drink and lifted it in a toast. “Drinking to freedom. What are you doing here? You work here or something?” It was really a dumb question, considering he was behind the bar, but I wasn’t exactly on my A-game right then.
“Or something,” he replied. “How much have you had to drink tonight, Duchess?”
I ignored his faux concern and opted for flirting instead. “I thought we already established my name is Katherine, not Duchess.”
“Okay. Katherine, how much have you had to drink?”
I rolled my eyes. “Not enough. That’s for damn sure.”
“I’m not sure I agree with you,” he said as he took my empty glass and dumped the ice into that secret place behind the bar where bartenders dump the sad leftovers of people’s drowned sorrows and liquid courage. Boobs McGhee brought my next drink to me, but Maverick, the thief, took it from her before she could set it down.
“Hey! That’s mine,” I whined. Boobalicious looked just as surprised, but with one shake of Maverick’s head, she shrugged and moved on to other empty glasses. “I paid good money for that drink you just poured out, Maverick.”
“You’ve had enough, Katherine,” he said sternly. He sounded like my father, and I’d had enough of being told what to do. I had just gotten rid of one controlling man from my life; I didn’t need a replacement.
Shealy James is a Georgia native who teaches math by day and writes romance at night. As an avid reader, expert on romantic comedy films, and lover of realistic characters who could be her best friends if only they really existed, Shealy appreciates when humor mixes with drama to guide her imaginary friends to their happy endings. And there must always be a happy ending. Shealy openly eats enough candy to feed a small nation, drinks sweet tea by the gallon, hopes to hit 10,000 steps each day, and lives every day with her amazing daughter.
“Kitty really came into her own as the story unfolded and I was so happy to finally see her take the bull by the horns and make the supreme sacrifice to protect the man she loves.”
- Kristen Luciani, Author of Unlikely Venture
“I would highly recommend this book. It smashes a lot of the stereotypes we see in life and is ultimately a very brave and inspirational book. Though there were a lot of tough times in the story, it was the message from the whole book that was fab. Such a great read, I finished it in one sitting.”
- Bri Wignall, Natural Bri – Pursuits of Life Blog