Read all about him in Dark Masterpiece.
Art student Evie Austin has spent the last several years idolizing the famous and elusive painter, Traevyn Whitelaw. After an agonizing final report on the man, who also happens to be the most private and secretive person Evie has ever tried to do research on, her professor picks her for the once in a lifetime opportunity to be Traevyn Whitelaw's apprentice for the summer.
Ecstatic, Evie knows that her summer is going to be amazing, filled with lengthy discussions on art and beautiful things with the man she admires above all others. What she doesn't expect is to get stuck taking her sullen, sarcastic, seventeen-year-old brother with her at the last minute, and she definitely doesn't expect Traevyn Whitelaw to live in an isolated Gothic mansion by the ocean. What's worse is that the man she imagined to be so cultured and refined is no more than a sinister, snarling ogre who acts like having Evie and her brother in his home is the worst intrusion imaginable... He's also the most gorgeous man Evie has ever laid eyes on.
There is more than meets the eye to the dark, brooding artist with the painful past, and spunky, outspoken Evie plans on finding out just exactly what the man is made of…if she can only figure out how.
The road took her down toward the cliffs overlooking the ocean, and the trees began to get denser and more foreboding-looking, their thick branches jutting out in awkward positions
that looked like gnarled fingers. Wisps of fog slithered through the branches like serpents and Evie suddenly felt like she had ventured into a horror movie. She continued to
drive, the fog getting thicker as she went along.
“Dude, Evie, this is kind of creeping me out,” Seth muttered.
Evie rolled her eyes. “It’s just fog.” But she did have to admit, everything felt dark and foreboding, and that was an ominous feeling.
Without warning the road widened out and an enormous, Gothic-looking house came into view. Evie gasped in surprise and slowed the car to a stop as she stared at the structure. It
was dark, nestled in a grove of eucalyptus trees, sitting like a lonely sentinel. The architecture much resembled that of a sixteenth-century manor and she briefly felt like she’d traveled
“Holy crap,” Seth said. “What kind of guy is this? A friggin’ warlock or something?”
Evie shook her head to regain her senses and unbuckled her seatbelt. “Come on, he’s an artist. It makes sense that his home would be artistic.” But she couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something horribly lonely and tormented emanating from the dark edifice.
She got out of the car and started toward the front door, shivering as the eerie ocean breeze blew gently across her skin. She heard the forlorn cry of a seagull as she approached
and, behind it, the rhythmic pounding of the ocean waves. The breeze rustled through the leaves of the eucalyptus grove. Evie had to take a deep breath to calm her nerves
before she knocked on the heavy, oak door.
“Seriously, Evie, let me go home,” Seth whispered, stuffing his hands in his jacket pockets. “I can hitchhike, or take a bus, or something. If you want to stay here in Edgar Alan Poe land, that’s cool, but I’d rather not if you don’t mind.”
Evie scowled and shushed him just as the door swung open. She raised herself taller and prepared a smile, but it promptly faded upon seeing the man in front of her. He was very tall and had thick, black hair that fell in shining strands all the way past his waist. His hair alone made her stop and marvel. She had never seen such long hair on a man. At least not on a man who wasn’t a sleazy, old biker, or a Native American. Then again, maybe he was Native American… She wouldn’t know… And his hair wasn’t frizzy and scary like those eighties rockers. It was shining ebony that looked like it would feel like silk.
“Can I help you?” he queried.
Evie opened her mouth, but nothing came out. He was absolutely, breathtakingly…beautiful. Beautiful like art, like the covers of fantasy books with the rugged, manly, yet gorgeous hero. His features were harsh, all hard lines and sharp angles, undeniably masculine, but there was a strange, elegant beauty around his sensual lips and light green eyes that made Evie feel like she was looking at a living masterpiece.
Seth cleared his throat discreetly, which brought Evie out of her stupor, and she gave a nervous cough. “Excuse me, I am looking for Traevyn Whitelaw,” she murmured.
His facial expression remained impassive, and he merely shifted his weight in a lazy manner. It was a languid movement, like a jungle cat stretching. He sighed. “And you are?”
“Um…I—I’m Evelina Austin,” she stammered. “I’m—uh— supposed to be studying with Mr. Whitelaw for the summer… As his apprentice.”
His pale eyes seemed to look her over for a moment before they fixed on her own. “I am Traevyn Whitelaw,” he stated.
“Who is your companion?”
“Oh, this is my brother, Seth.” She flashed a nervous smile. “My parents dumped him on me last minute. There was no one else to watch him all summer. I called Professor Roth and he told me it should be okay if I brought him with me.”
His dark eyebrows drew together in a frown and he stood up straight. “Oh he did, did he?”
It was almost a snarl. Evie retreated a step as his presence seemed to suddenly fill the entire world.
“It is most certainly not okay,” he spat, his voice a menacing growl. “Let me make one thing perfectly clear to you, Miss Austin. This apprenticeship program was not my idea, or my doing. Professor Roth approached me with it, and it was out of respect and gratitude for him that I reluctantly accepted. If not for him I would never have made it to where I am now. So, yes, you will be my apprentice. I will teach; you will learn what you will. What you do with that knowledge is entirely up to you. It is not any fault of mine if you fall flat on your face in your desired career. Professor Roth recommended you, so you must have some talent, but I want to
get one thing straight, Miss Austin. I have better things to do than entertain a starry-eyed college student and her delinquent brother.”
Seth frowned. “Hey,” he protested.
“I am doing this out of obligation,” Traevyn finished, “not by choice.”
Evie stared at him, dumbfounded. He moved quickly, making her jump, and motioned her inside. She hurried to obey, grasping Seth’s wrist and hauling him in after her.
“Follow,” Traevyn commanded, shutting the door.