“I’ve never heard of that painting,” Mark said, though Nikki noticed that his body went very still with anticipation. “All the paintings stolen so far have been big ones; pieces everyone has heard of. Why would the thief take something unknown?
Mark’s blue eyes watched her carefully. The two of them were still close; enough so that when he took a small step forward she thought she could feel his body heat again, stretching across the distance and making Nikki yearn for human contact in a way she hadn’t since she’d dumped Ben. She wanted to feel the touch of Mark’s skin so badly that it scared her.
Words bunched up inside her throat and Nikki talked as quickly as possible, trying to push away her demons with jumbled sentences that laid bare for Mark everything she knew.
“Because it’s not unknown. Not to anyone truly interested in art. It’s the partner of Starry Night. He painted it while he was institutionalized. Impressionism is all about light, and that’s what The Olive Trees is. It’s… important,” Nikki said, helpless to explain properly with her thoughts snarled and tangled and her body at war with her mind. Her body didn’t want to just talk to Mark. But her mind was screaming at her to run; warning Nikki that this kind of over-investment in such a short amount of time was horribly dangerous.
She recognized that fire in Mark that had attracted her to other men in the past; that passion and drive. But brilliant, captivating men didn’t make good lovers. They made cold beds and quiet tears.
“I see,” Mark said quietly, still staring at her. “It’s the light to the other painting’s darkness.”
Something inside Nikki’s stomach tightened painfully. “Yes,” she whispered, feeling lost already.
DETECT ME is coming March 2013!