Falling in love was never supposed to be part of the picture.
Kyrissa Spears was born with a powerful, and deadly, gift. When she paints, she captures emotions so strong they can kill. Desperate to find a teacher capable of helping her unlock and control her abilities, Kyrissa’s search leads her to an artist who may be able to help her. And he’s the one person she can’t accidentally kill.
After five centuries of pain and loneliness, Robert Shoalman craves release from his immortality. He’s all but given up hope until he meets the beautiful and intriguing Kyrissa. She could paint his death and break the curse, but at the cost of destroying her gift and being lost to him forever—none of which will matter if the demon hunting him finds them first.
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“You would not dare, Miss Spears.” Robert held his hand out in front of him.
“Not only would I dare, Mr. Shoalman.” Kyrissa inched closer. Her arm extended without her control, slapping the wet brush across his arm. “I would do.” Not sure whether to laugh or run, she reloaded her paintbrush with paint.
“Well.” Robert paused. He grabbed a gray cloth from the table and wiped the meadow green wetness from his forearm. “It seems I have underestimated your ability to fight dirty to prove your point.” Kyrissa stilled, waiting for Robert to make a move. “But I believe,” Robert flattened both his hands into two puddles of wet paints, one blue, the other a mixture of yellow and brown, “You have underestimated my need to win an argument at all costs.”
“You wouldn’t.” Kyrissa scampered to the other side of the worktable, backing away until she impacted against the brick of the studio wall.
Trapped in the corner of the studio, Robert darted towards her, both hands raised and poised to strike his target—her. “Oh, but I would.” Robert smirked. “And I will enjoy every moment.”
Kyrissa bit her lip as Robert slowly stepped towards her. Body poised, her gaze locked on chocolate brown eyes full of mischief that glistened like the wet paint. She lunged and her paintbrush made contact, smearing bright purple across Robert’s cheek. Before she could further her assault down the tight navy t-shirt she wished he wasn’t wearing, his fingers wrapped around the wrist holding the paintbrush. Soft and gentle, but tight enough that made her unable to escape his grasp.
“Oh yes,” he said, lifting his other hand to her face. “I am most definitely going to enjoy this.”
Holding her breath, she let his slick, warm palm spread on her cheek. Linseed oil and Robert’s cinnamon flavor mingled when she finally inhaled again. He swiped along her jaw, down her neck. She only wished she had worn a v-neck t-shirt so she could feel his touch spread over her chest. If only he knew how deeply he had inserted himself into her heart, he’d know exactly how far she’d let him push this moment.
“I can’t say that I’m not enjoying this myself.” She laughed. Her wrists were now a swirl of colors and Robert steadily added more to her neck. “I used to like this sweatshirt.” She smiled.
“If you are looking to save that sweatshirt you have exactly three seconds to remove it,” he warned. “Because this masterpiece is not done yet,” he said, sliding his hand over the puddles of wet paint until new colors covered his hands again.
Kyrissa threw the garment over her head as fast as she could even though she didn’t really care about the sweatshirt at all. Heat rose in her chest as she exposed herself to him. Shaking his head, he sauntered closer, each step making her heart pound louder. He didn’t seem to notice her state of undress, or if he did, he didn’t show it.
“Now I believe the challenge was that I would not allow myself to let go enough of my control to have fun while painting.” Robert slid one hand under her tank top, the fabric sticking to the wet paint in a way that was both comfortable and not at the same time. “I think I have won this argument.”