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The Wedding Secret

Written by Kianna Alexander

Chapter Four

Walking through the New Gallery of Modern Art, Renata paused to view the artwork on display. Located on The Green in the museum district, the gallery boasted a wide variety of works by a diverse cross section of artists. The quiet interior provided a welcomed escape from the crowds and noise of downtown Charlotte.

Looking at the colorful piece before her took her breath away, and she spent several long moments studying its intricacies. The abstract painting, done in oil, featured broad strokes of rich color punctuated by strategic white space.

Amir’s deep voice cut into her thoughts. “It’s really breathtaking, isn’t it?”

She turned his way, found his gaze waiting. The sensual energy radiating from him shimmered on her like early morning sunlight. “It is. I love the style, the use of color.”

He brought his hand up to scratch his chin, as his gaze shifted from her face back to the painting. “What do you see when you look at this image, Renata?”

Grateful to have his piercing eyes off her face for a moment, Renata thought about how to answer his question. “It makes me think of sunset on a beach. See the way the colors are positioned, with the oranges, reds and yellows at the top, and the blues and greens at the bottom?” She gestured toward the image as she spoke.

He nodded, his expression thoughtful. “I can see that. I also see it as an inner struggle.” He used his hands to form a frame around the painting. “If the reds and oranges represent heat and passion, and the blues and greens represent logic and practicality, then it could be about our constant effort to find balance between being staid and responsible all the time and letting our passions have free reign.”

She slowly looked toward him, lifting her eyes up to meet his. “Wow.” She couldn’t recall ever being in the presence of a man like him. His insight into the painting amazed and impressed her, as did his willingness to join her in the gallery in the first place. None of the other men she’d dated had loved visual art the way she did, and most didn’t even bother to feign interest.

He smiled, turning her way again. “Now, one more question. What do you see when you look at me?”

She didn’t mince words. “Trouble. But I have to admit, I’m intrigued.”

His brow furrowed. “Trouble? Why do you say that?”

She searched for the right words, because she didn’t want to reveal too much. “I’m just coming out of a relationship, and it didn’t end well.”

“Will I at least see you at the wedding tomorrow?”

“I’ll be there, but…” She didn’t finish her sentence. Should she tell him she looked forward to seeing him? “I can’t promise anything.”

“You’re a hard nut to crack, I see.”

“That can happen when you catch your man making out with your employee.”

His expression held a mix of sympathy and surprise. “What about this—we agree to remain on a first-name basis. No last names, no contact information, no strings. How’s that?”

What the hell, why not? “Ok. I can get with that.”

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Kianna Alexander

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