Delicious Torment by Linsey Lanier

Delicious Torment by Linsey Lanier

Author:Linsey Lanier [Lanier, Linsey]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9781941191002
Publisher: Felicity Books
Published: 2014-01-11T05:00:00+00:00

Chapter Twenty-Three

He led them to a staircase that took them three flights up, to a roomy loft that was sparsely furnished and cluttered with canvases and easels. The large, open area seemed to serve as both living quarters and studio. A worn desk in the corner was overspread with brushes, palettes, tubes of paint. A single couch sat at the far end behind a coffee table littered with half-eaten fast food, still in the wrappers.

As they crossed the room, her heels clicking against the boards, Miranda sniffed, just to see if she could catch a whiff of Mary Jane. But the only smells were oil-based paints, turpentine, and stale whiskey.

Beneath the general mess, the place was elegant. Hardwood floors. Fireplace. A small kitchen with slate and limestone accents. The rent must cost a pretty penny. Desirée’s money, she’d bet.

But what stood out most were the images of Desirée Langford.

They were everywhere. Desirée on a horse. In a field of daisies. Nude in a big, four-poster bed. The variously sized portraits took up most of the space. Looked a lot like an obsession.

“Quite a few paintings of Ms. Langford,” Parker observed as they reached the kitchenette at the far end of the dwelling.

Usher waved a hand, grandly gesturing toward the canvases. “My late wife inspired much of my work. To me, she was more than a woman. She was an enchantress. My Medea, as I tried to explain downstairs. Temptress, seductress.”

Vindictive witch? Miranda wondered, considering the artwork. Desirée’s expression in these images was determined, but not as intense as in the Medea painting downstairs. The woman in that picture had evil in her eyes. These were tamer, sweeter. Maybe Usher had painted them before she left him for Kennicot.

The artist reached for a bottle of Kentucky bourbon on the granite counter. “Would either of you care for a drink?”

Miranda shook her head.

“No, thank you,” Parker said.

“Did you and Desirée live here?” she asked.

Usher retrieved a shallow glass from the cabinet, some ice from the fridge, poured himself some whiskey. He took a swallow. “We moved in about three years ago when the gallery opened. I’ve had many productive hours here.”

She strolled to the nearest image. One of Desirée on a chestnut horse. Could that be Calypso? “Did she pose for you?”

“Oh, yes.” His lips twitched but there was pride in his tone.

“Even after she, uh,” she waved her hand, as if searching for the right word, “began staying with Kennicot?”

He pressed his fingers to his temple, Kennicot’s name must have given him an instant migraine. “Desirée was interested in my work. No matter how rocky our relationship became, she was always willing to pose for me.”

Miranda played with the pearls at her neck. “But her work was at Aquitaine Farms.”

He ran a hand through his long hair, took a swallow of bourbon, and nodded. “Even when we were married, she lived there part of the week.”

And developed her relationship with Kennicot there. Miranda turned to face him, rocked on her toes.


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