eBook Details

Shutter

By: Rhonda Laurel | Other books by Rhonda Laurel
Published By: Etopia Press
Published: Feb 22, 2013
ISBN # 9781939194671
Word Count: 29,380
Heat Index   
EligiblePrice: $4.99

Available in: Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat

Categories: Romance>Contemporary Romance>Interracial

Description
Sometimes a camera can capture love...

Photographer Antonio De Soto’s life is out of focus. Everyone in his family thinks it’s time for him to settle down. He doesn’t want to be strong-armed into domesticity, even if he does feel the bachelor lifestyle is starting to wear thin. So when his friend invites him to do a pictorial on the community theater, Antonio’s prepared to do his thing and follow his normal womanizing M. O. Instead, he finds himself sparring with the resident artist, Lucy Marceloni. Lucy’s dime-store analysis of his love life—and him—leaves him angry and shaken, but it’s too close to the truth to dismiss. The quirky artist is not his type, but their passionate fights generate a deeper heat between them he can’t ignore…

Lucy wants a man who’s sensitive and intellectual, the exact opposite of Antonio De Soto. The moment she meets the handsome photographer she pegs him as arrogant and self-centered, but that doesn’t protect her from the sizzling chemistry between the two of them. Being drawn to the rogue’s charm and subtle seduction tactics is the last thing she wants. Working with him on the community theater fairytale production could prove to be more than she can handle...
 
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Sensuality Rating:   lipliplip
Excerpt:
Chapter One



Antonio De Soto gazed at the rumpled picture of Lauren he pulled out of his wallet. Sure, the picture was three years old, but he liked this one of her. Bliss permeated through her that day. She looked almost angelic, her eyes shining, showing that shy yet mischievous smile he’d come to love. Being a photographer for many years, he thought there was no bigger crime than someone mishandling a photograph. But he knew the bigger crime was carrying around a picture of Lauren Miller-De Soto, his brother’s wife.

As he shifted in his first-class seat he glanced over and sighed. Fate had seated him next to an older gentleman who couldn’t seem to get settled in his chair. He would have preferred a young, nubile woman to pass the time with.

The older man attempted to adjust his seat for the fourth time. “Sorry about that, young man! Can’t seem to get comfortable,” the old man said with a smile.

“No problem,” Antonio returned, half listening to him.

“She is beautiful.” The man leaned over nosily to see what was clutched in Antonio’s hand.

“Yes, she is.”

“So how long have you been married?”

“Not my wife,” Antonio murmured.

“Oh.” The man cleared his throat. “How long do you hope she’ll be married?”

Antonio laughed. “She’s not getting divorced in this lifetime. And why do you think I’d want her to get divorced?”

The older man paused for a moment before answering. “That picture looks like it’s been looked at quite a few times. I have pictures of my kids in my wallet that don’t look that worn.”

“Well, this is my brother’s wife. They are happily married and have three kids.” Antonio was waiting for some look of condemnation, a snort of “you idiot” or some other indication that this man thought he was a wretch. Because it was the way he felt. After everything that transpired with Alejandro, he still felt a buried longing for Lauren that he kept tucked away for the sake of his renewed relationship with his brother.

The older man looked at him. After a few more moments he said thoughtfully, “You must love your brother very much.”



* * *



When he visited he got to spend time with his gorgeous niece and nephews, bond with his brother as an equal, and spend time with Lauren. Alejandro and Lauren were a lot more honest in their relationship and in turn Alejandro was more honest with him.

“I trust her and I love her. I love you. You’re my baby brother. I am going to trust that the two of you won’t screw me over,” his brother declared to him one night while they were out picking up takeout.

For so long he’d had a battle of wills with his older brother. Alejandro had bossed him around most of his life and he resented it. But after finding happiness with Lauren, his brother mellowed out and made an effort to respect him. Who would have thought five years ago they were tangled in a bizarre love triangle? The honesty exhibited by his brother now, uncloaked by machismo and bossiness, was refreshing and it was all beginning to be too much for him. In this place of honesty he found everyone had moved on except him. He kept himself in a constant flood of sensual gratification chasing women, but each time he looked into the eyes of a woman he couldn’t see what he saw in Lauren’s eyes. She was patient with him, trying to encourage him to go deeper than a cheap one-night stand. He had what his cousin Yesenia called the curse of the De Soto men.



* * *



“You know, that camera of yours is a phallus. If you stop aiming your lens at every woman you see, you could find the right one,” Lauren joked one night while they were playing Scrabble. Alejandro was upstairs trying to give the twins a bath.

“Do you think I’m shallow?”

“Yes,” she blurted out.

“Really?” he said with a hint of hurt in his voice.

“Yes you are. You objectify women. Then you select the pick of the litter in the immediate vicinity and hit on her. She usually says yes because she’s equally vain and flattered that you picked her. I get it with you hot, beautiful people. I’ve never understood it, but I grasp the feral concept of it all.”

“Some of the hot women that I’ve met…didn’t have much under the cap. They were agreeable enough so that they lulled me into a false sense of happiness. And then the game would begin.”

“But you get what you want and the game ends just as quickly. There has to be a time in your life when you slowed down and actually wanted to know a woman for more than sexual reasons.”

Antonio glanced down at his letter tiles and realized he had the letters J, E, R, and K. He laughed to himself. Either they had some serious honesty mojo in the house or his treacherous thoughts were being channeled through the Scrabble board.

“I did once.”

Lauren looked down, then surprisingly back up at him. “I think I owe you an apology.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Yes I do.” She reached over and took his hand. “I kind of dismissed what you felt for me because I didn’t want to deal with it. Alejandro and I pretended like it never happened. But I know it was more than that. We had a connection at that time and we still do. It’s just a different kind of feeling now. It had something to do with pissing him off in the beginning, but I knew after we went to that festival together that it wasn’t about him anymore.”

“I know it was wrong, but it was real. How I felt about you. A little misplaced but it was real,” he said quietly.

“I know.”

Shutter

By: Rhonda Laurel
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