Accidentally engaged. Then he dared me to make it real.
It was one freaking kiss with a stranger.
I wasn’t looking for a hero the day Brent Eden charged into my life.
He saw a damsel in distress facing humiliation.
We played pretend. Swore I was his. Baited sweet chaos.
Blew apart everything.
My dating disaster" Gone.
Our kiss" Electric. Divine. Toe-curling.
His mistake" Oh, boy.
Dropping the ultimate F-bomb: fianc".
Especially when my gossipy cousin tells the whole family.
Forget how he’s badass personified.
The ink. The leather. The abs. The smirk.
The lightning eyes and the growl I can’t resist.
Nothing changes the fact that he’s my favorite student’s father.
I’m risking it all for this charade. And I’m losing.
The closer we get, the deeper I fall.
The louder he vows to protect me.
The more we come undone.
Even my questions have questions.
What if I’m not the only one who needs saving"
What if our marriage mistake gets way too real"
From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow " two hearts, one lie, and no mercy! Plus a damaged single dad who just can’t let his Not Fianc"e go. Full length romance novel with everything Happily Ever Afters are made of.Books by Author:Nicole Snow Books
Walking Masterpiece (Izzy)
I have to bite my lip at how the silence excites me.
This is exactly what I"ve dreamed about for years. A room full of talent. Bright eyes and young souls eager to impress, bleeding creativity.
Every student deep in concentration, glancing towards the drawing on the easel next to my desk only long enough to confirm the next swoosh of their pencil. I hadn"t known what to expect when I accepted this position, other than it would bring me one step closer to my goal. Plus a little more money.
Oh, and it’s the perfect escape from the weekly family dinners. Losing those gossip-fests is worth more than the income boost any job brings.
Working with this room full of remarkable young artists is way more fun than listening to mom’s tongue-in-cheek ‘encouragement.’
Or entertaining cousin Clara’s dire warnings about how I’m destined to wind up with a house full of cats and die in my eighties, still a virgin.
That"s my future. Isabella Derby. AKA crazy cat lady.
The fact that my family believes that"s the path I"m on and insists on reminding me so often never fails to piss me off. No matter how many times I hear it.
This is the twenty-first century. Supposedly. I don"t even own a cat, and I"m twenty-three.
Not fifty-three, and pining about what might have been. I have years before I need to worry about getting married. I have ambitions. Always have.
If only everyone else in my life would see that and leave me the hell alone.
If only they’d notice accomplishments besides landing men and wracking up babies.
I rise from my chair and walk around my desk, happy to have something else to focus on besides my sad, nosy relatives.
Stopping next to her, I look down at the girl and smile. "Yes, Natalie""
She"s what some would call a child prodigy. Only ten, she has the talent of some people five times her age. Not just in fine arts either.
Her enrollment papers says she"s in eighth grade. Most kids her age are still fourth graders. I kneel next to her. "What’s up""
She gestures to my drawing at the front of the room. "Um, I just noticed…the dog you drew doesn"t have any eyelashes." Her shy voice comes out in a whisper. "Is it all right if I add some on mine""
"Of course! Your personal muse is always welcome in this class." I look at the drawing on her easel, picturing exaggerated Minnie Mouse eyelashes.
My breath literally stalls in my lungs at the detail in her creation. This little girl wouldn’t be caught dead making anything unrealistic. The collie she"s drawn looks like it’s ready to leap into the room. Just like everything she does.
It’s more like a black and white photo than a drawing. Especially one done by a child.
Every feathery line she’s sketched brings the dog to life in ways I can"t even describe.
Hell, it’s almost better than mine. And it took me a Master’s degree and years practicing to get where I am.
I glance between her dog and mine. Forget almost.
Hers is far better. A masterpiece.
I choke up as I watch the eyes on her dog come to life as she carefully pencils in a few soft lashes. "Keep going. You"re doing a great job!"
"Thank you," she whispers.
The way she"s biting the tip of her tongue demonstrates how fully she"s concentrating. I smile again, then stand, making a round of the whole room.
Only six students here this evening. The others are all high school kids. Natalie"s dad had to pull some strings to get her into this class, meant for kids at least in their freshmen year.
That"s what I was told. Since this is my first year with the district, I"m as unfamiliar with the students and their families as I am with the staff. That’ll change in time, I’m sure. We"re only three weeks into the school year.
The other five drawings look much like I expect. They demonstrate passion and promise, but honestly, there isn"t another one that comes anywhere close to Natalie"s.
I wonder if her talent comes from her father. The man I try hard not to think about every time she steps foot in my class.
If the last two weeks are anything to go by, he"ll be here soon. A good twenty minutes before class ends. He’ll stand in the back of the room with a spiral notebook, open it up, and let his big, rough hands touch the paper.
The first night, I thought he was making a list or notes. But last week, I had a strong feeling he was drawing. Sketching right along with his daughter and the rest of the class.
We"d started the dog last week, drawing the base after I’d gone over my quick anatomy lesson for animals. Tonight, I showed the students how to make the fur have shades of white, black, and gray.