Painted Soul

Painted Soul

Mary Quast

The Soul Series

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Elizabeth McAlister was only eighteen when she met the art student, Puzzola in a London nightclub and gave him her heart. Ten years later, they meet again when a summer of intense passion and dark secrets begins.

As Elizabeth falls deeper in love with Puzzola, she tries to rescue him from tortured memories he refuses to discuss. Eventually, his double life and erotic past are exposed in a local newspaper just as he is involved in a life-threatening accident.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9814739-3-2
PUBLICATION DATE: 2008
WORD COUNT: 122000
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 3 3 3
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary
KEYWORDS: Painted Soul, series, novel, erotic, romance, Mary Quast, Vanilla Heart Publishing, London
 

EBOOKS BY Vanilla Heart Publishing

EBOOKS BY Mary Quast

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Mary Quast/2008

Prologue
Sussex, England, 1983

Eighteen-year-old Elizabeth McAlister glared at her father while she watched him strut around the grand room holding his never-empty glass of Scotch. Good God, the man just buried his wife, and he walked about with his Hollywood smile as if entertaining at the millionaire’s club! Had he any feelings in his icy heart? Elizabeth watched her father accept sincere sympathy from the many guests inside her mother’s elegant country home. The arrogant man didn’t have a sincere bone in his body. Why, the word sincere was not even in his vocabulary.
“The nerve of that man,” Elizabeth said as she accepted a tissue from her best friend. “Look at my father, Lynn. He acts as if he’s doing business with these people. Well, let me tell you,” she sniffed, “most of them were my mother’s friends and they can totally see right through him! He is such a jerk!”
“Way, jerk,” Lynn patted Elizabeth on the back. “I don’t know how you put up with his Joe Attitude.”
“I just keep reminding myself of the barbaric ideas he has for me, and how I’ll screw up his plans a bit. I’m going to be a successful artist and make him eat my dust! Besides, once I’m away at school he won’t pay much attention to me. He’ll be busy driving my brothers crazy with his master plan of turning the family business, McAlister Enterprises, over to them someday.”
“Michael and Erick seem to know how to wrap your father around their little fingers,” Lynn glanced at the brothers speaking softly to a small group of guests. “And you have them wrapped around your finger! You’re lucky you know.”
“Yeah, they are pretty cool brothers,” Elizabeth sighed. “They’ve promised to keep an eye on Hampton House. This place means so much to me. It’s like I’m destined to be here, you know, for the rest of my life. I can’t wait until I can move over here and be far away from that major creep!”
“Like, here comes the creep now.”
“Come, Elizabeth," her father growled, "and meet your new neighbors.”
He grabbed her by the elbow and not so gently escorted her over to an elegantly dressed couple. She felt like a bottle of vintage wine being presented before the skewering of the cork. She stiffened her back and walked placidly with the thought of being able to throw him out of the house some day. He leaned to whisper in her ear, “He's a banker, big political influence here. So be the lady I know you can be.”
“Elizabeth, this is Mr. and Mrs. Somerby. Their estate is on the northern edge of this one," Benjamin said in a voice with hints of his Scottish heritage.
He turned to the couple “My daughter here is the sole beneficiary of my beloved Adeline’s estate.”
Elizabeth winced at the cold way he said, ‘beloved Adeline.’ Her mother was a beautiful, warm and talented woman, too independent to be a ‘beloved pet’ to Benjamin. She had left him a few years earlier, with the same desperation a drowning victim has to breathe. Elizabeth was beginning to feel the need to escape to her mother’s studio and paint away her sorrow.
“However, while Elizabeth is still in college, she’ll remain with me in New York.” Her father’s voice interrupted her mental escape. “She’s studying art. Elizabeth is very emotional like her dear mother.” Elizabeth winced again. “Oh, I will let her have her folly awhile. Some day she’ll make a smart wife, though, having a good eye for color. Why if Adeline had left me to decorate the house in New York it would have looked like the inside of a cardboard box.”
Elizabeth was too lost in her own thoughts to continue listening to her father’s prattling. The Somerbys were a handsome couple. Mr. Edwin Somerby was tall with a slender build, large shoulders and raven black hair with a flash of white at his temples. He frowned at Benjamin with obvious disgust at the way he treated Elizabeth. Mrs. Anna Somerby had blonde hair around a soft, oval face with eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea.
She remembered meeting the fine lady when she visited her mother, but being a busy youth, Elizabeth never took much notice of her parents’ friends. Looking at the Somerbys, she felt a familiar stirring in her heart, a feeling that England held a secret promise for her. They greeted her with such warm sensitivity. Under different circumstances, other than her mother’s wake, she would have enjoyed conversing with them.
“We are so sorry about your mother, dear. Our prayers are with you,” Mrs. Somerby’s smile held gentle understanding when she took Elizabeth’s hand in hers. “She told me you were a talented painter. I hope to see you do wonderful things with your gift. I look forward to the day you move into Hampton House. If there is anything you need…”
“Excuse me,” her oldest brother’s deep voice was heard at her ear as he put his arms around her and hugged her against his chest. “Father, I was hoping to take Elizabeth and Lynn up to Soho for a few days. They can stay with Erick and me at the flat. I'm sure you’ll be busy taking care of business this week and will prefer to not have them about.”
Her wonderful brother, Michael, always knew how to rescue her and fluff her father’s ego at the same time. Her father treated him as the perfect son, even though Michael could be very observant, calculating and manipulative at times. He would purposely deceive Benjamin to protect his younger siblings. Elizabeth was sure her father saw through his sons’ tricks and looked upon them becoming handsome and powerful men. But, on this day, Elizabeth saw her brothers’ sadness in their red-rimmed eyes. Their mother died suddenly of an aneurysm, leaving each with an empty feeling inside.
“I don’t know why you insist on keeping that common flat in the rowdiest part of London, my boy. You could have anything, you know.” Benjamin’s face warmed for the moment. “Go ahead, have fun. Just make sure the girls are back in the States for school.”

Within a couple of hours, Elizabeth, her two brothers and Lynn were driving to London.
“I can’t believe Father!” Elizabeth complained while searching for a favorite cassette tape. “He didn’t even seem sad that Mother is gone. He is such an idiot. Doesn’t he realize what a jerk he was to her? I bet everybody at the house knew!”
“I look at it this way,” Erick said as he grabbed a Boomtown Rats tape from her. “She’s finally free of him!”
“They never divorced because there was too much to lose with his social standing you know,” explained Michael, “Mother is happy now. After all, Father received nothing from the will and he told me he won’t contest. Besides,” he flashed a teasing smile, “he plans to marry Elizabeth to some goon. Ha, as if he could find anyone who would tolerate her!” He gave a false laugh, in an attempt to lighten the somber mood.
Elizabeth threw a tape at Michael’s head and missed.
“Hey now! None of that while I’m driving!”
In the rearview mirror, she saw his expression become serious.
“Really, Elizabeth, be glad Hampton House is yours. We’ve all had our best memories there, and we know you’ll take care of it. Even though Mother is gone, I think a part of her will always be in that house.”
“Your mother was totally awesome. She was like a mother to me since mine died when I was so young,” Lynn leaned against her. “She was like, the warmest and most charming person I have ever known. That’s worth more than money or homes.”
Elizabeth hugged her dear friend and cried.
 

 
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