Brush Strokes

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Interracial
ISBN: 978-1-4764-624-2
Length: Novella
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Blurb

Tanya spends hours at a time painting renditions of the masculine—and very nude—glory that is Joe, her gorgeous blue-eyed model. The things an artist has to suffer for her craft. When he offers to help her learn how to improve her work, simple lessons in touching and learning his body, she’s willing to suffer that much more…for the sake of her craft, of course.

When tragedy strikes, her career is left dangling by a thin thread. The secret she’s harbored—that she’s been unable to finish her artwork—is exposed. Now she has little more than twenty-four hours to not only create the best piece of her life, but also finish it in time to be shown or lose everything she’s tried to build.

What began as erotic lessons in art becomes a study in love and perseverance that Joe will never let her forget.

Reviews

“Whoa, this book starts off with a seriously erotic sizzle. I loved the way it just jumped right in there…that first scene was incredibly HOT! mmm, Joe…It was really gorgeous exploring Joe’s body through her in this book. There is definitely a sexual edge to it all, but beyond that, this book is truly a glorification of the male form…This is a book about art and it has an artistic flair to it in the wording and the imagery. Overall, I really liked that feel of it…” B, Cristi, Smitten With Reading

“Dee Carney is definitely a go-to author when you want to read something you know you’re going to enjoy…I enjoyed the tale of Tanya, an artist that still has room to improve upon her skills, and her male model Joe, who is more than willing to be the tutor in this lesson. Joe is just what Tanya needs when a deadline is looming and tragedy strikes. He’s easy to fall in love with not only for Tanya, but the reader as well.” Lola Loves Books, Day Dreaming Blog

“This is a short and sexy tale with an original premise and a lovely, dreamy leading man. With plenty of sex and an engaging plot, it’s definitely a fun read.” 4 stars, Nix, Scorching Book Reviews

Excerpt

Chapter One

If Tanya looked up and met the force behind his blue eyes, she’d lose her nerve. She let her fingers see him instead. Feel every line, every ridge of muscle. Trace unyielding bone, memorize soft hairs.

Joe. She loved that his name was so simple. She wanted to hum the syllable, taste how it felt against her tongue as she learned his body. His soft breath, fragrant with the combination of spearmint and cinnamon, brushed against her face. Standing this close to him, she wouldn’t allow herself the pleasure of calling to him.

She was supposed to be concentrating. Learning how best to immortalize him, but nothing about his proposed method wanted to work. Sure, between her thighs ached with longing, her panties growing damp with need, but her role as his employer demanded she fight back the sensual urgings. To disregard her psyche’s whispers that he welcomed her touch as much as she relished delivering it. To ignore a neglected libido that demanded attention.

Her hands dropped away from his chest and she blew out a frustrated breath. “This isn’t working.”

Joe caught her wrists and dragged her quite willing hands back up until they rested on his pecs again. Firm, muscled, oh-holy-wow pecs. “Close your eyes and try harder. Stop being bashful and learn what’s in front of you.”

For two months now, the man spent two days a week, three to six hours each session modeling in the nude before her. “Bashful” didn’t exist anymore.

She did as he instructed, but the slow, methodic thump of his heartbeat beneath her palms made her want to stop and rest there for far longer than propriety allowed. For no better reason than to distract herself, she spread her fingers, sliding through the soft curls resting there. Only that was worse. The soft tickle resulted in an urge to rub against him with rough abandon. While that might alleviate the itch, what her continued exploration of his body stoked elsewhere might rage out of control.

“Joe,” she said with an edgy whine. This is killing me. “I don’t think this is helpful, at all.”

She opened her eyes in time to catch the sexy curl of his upper lip. “You haven’t even given it a chance, Tanya.”

“Whose idea was this again?” she muttered. Like she had anyone but herself to blame. Joe took her moaning and groaning about the lack of texture, the missing emotion from her paintings and offered her a new way to experience him besides just visually. He offered himself; all of him—in all of his masculine splendor.

Had he asked, he would have found out just how well she knew his body. No woman with a beating pulse could have ignored the erotic way his muscles pulled when he stretched his arms overhead. The pose he adopted for her latest painting showed off every ripple in his abdomen, each cord in his back. She enjoyed the splay of goose bumps dotting his skin on cooler days, memorized the path rivulets of sweat followed on warmer ones. When she ventured too close, the earthy hint of his cologne awakened her senses, the smell of acrylic and canvas fading away until the only thing she knew was him.

“The problem,” Joe murmured huskily, “is that you’ve relied too long on your eyes to capture images for you.” His hands came to rest on top of hers, blanketing her in his warmth. She started when he dragged her palms down in decadent languidness. “Your art has lost its luster, maybe its vividness, because there are so many other senses to enhance what you do, but you ignore them.”

She tried to steady her breathing. Focus intently on the way her rich brown sugar colored skin contrasted against the pale beige undertones of his. He guided her over the silky curls of black hair on his chest. He had the right amount of hair on him too. Just thick enough to proclaim his masculinity, but sparse enough to show off hours of work at the gym.

“It’s one thing to memorize anatomy,” Joe continued, “but another altogether to recreate its majesty. Every time you put your brush against the canvas, that’s what you are doing. Recreating.”

She finally found the courage to look into his eyes. Watching what her hands were doing on him made her head swim, so she dropped her gaze again. “You make me sound like I’m playing God or something.”

He chuckled, a sound that vibrated through his chest. “All I’m saying is that you need to close your eyes if you’re going to learn me well enough to capture me on canvas. Give your other senses a chance. Touch. Smell. Taste…”

“Taste?” Her gaze rose to meet his.

“Taste.”

Her throat dried with anticipation, her mind whirling with the suggestion of what he wanted. What she wanted too. His gaze dropped to her mouth, and he leaned closer. “Taste, Tanya.”

She took an involuntary step back despite a little voice in the back of her mind urging her forward. “Uh, maybe I should start with baby steps.”

Something—anything—to slow this down. Why hadn’t she foreseen where this might lead from the second he proposed helping her out with a tactual technique? Except, maybe she had. Now that the reality of taking things further with Joe stared her in the face, her nerve lost ground.

His enticing smile morphed into a wicked grin. “Baby steps? Okay then, I think I can handle that.” He kept up the delicious slide of skin on skin contact. “The first step, a tiny one, can be touch. Are you okay with that?”

She laughed, the tremor in that sound an instant betrayal of her true emotions. Did he have any idea whatsoever how he drove her to distraction like this? “I guess,” she conceded.

“Good. Now concentrate this time.”

Maybe if she kept her eyes open, arousing thoughts wouldn’t flood her mind. If she stared into clear blue eyes, blinking slowly, noticing the fine flecks of silver in his irises…or if she studied the fine structure of his nose that tapered down before dropping off to make room for lips ready with a quick smile. A mouth when parted encouraged her to use her tongue to explore it.

She shook loose the thoughts.

Perhaps eyes closed were in order.

Oh yes. Closed. This way allowed her the privilege of skimming his warm skin. Rounding where his abdomen met his back. Touching each bump along his spine, the angled frames of his shoulder blades. Back down to narrow hips. A thin waist.

Joe stepped closer. Perhaps maybe an inch of space separated them. Without opening her eyes, her instincts, some part of her that defined femininity recognized the shift in her environment. Grasped on to the electric static generated between their bodies.

His presence wrapped around her like a familiar blanket until her breathing eased. It matched the slow rise and fall of his chest, she realized idly. His breath fanned over her cheek. Suddenly, her dry lips needed her moist tongue to run over them for some sort of relief.

“Are you starting to get it now?”

“Mmm,” she hummed, almost unwilling to break the hypnotic spell. Elastic skin. Fine hairs. Strong muscles. And when she drifted lower, his stomach expanded and contracted. The rhythmic movement lulled her erratic heartbeat into developing a smooth, easy pace. She pressed her fingers harder, enjoying the synchronization of his breath and his body’s autonomic motions. A rich pathway of curls snaked down his mid-abdomen. She dragged her finger through its density, stopping when his hair fanned out.

She’d been staring at this man for too long, far too intently to not recognize the pubic thatch resting above a well-formed cock even without spying it now. Some of her previous models leaned toward shaving most, if not all of the hair there, but Joe kept himself as God intended. She loved that; not just as an artist hoping to recreate the beauty of man, but as a woman, who didn’t go for men who needed to prove their feminine sides with manicured nails and shaved eyebrows. Au natural suited her just fine, thank you very much.

“Why’d you stop?”

His voice yanked her out of her thoughts. Tanya exhaled slowly. “There’s more to explore here.”

“Ah.”

Joe’s amused one word response sent a rush of heat over her cheeks. They both knew damned good and well why she stopped. Did he really expect her to touch down there? Never mind that she’d pay an arm and a leg to do so, but come on, they were both supposed to be behaving as professionals.

Her hands trailed over gooseflesh as she stepped around him to his side, the pads of her fingers ran over his hip and then met the small of his back. She’d already traced ridges on his spine, her fingers searching for some of them hidden beneath his flesh, so she moved to the tip of his crease, right between his rounded buttocks. While she didn’t quite have the nerve to touch his sex yet, this she would enjoy with great relish.

Spreading him apart, one of them moaned first, but she couldn’t quite tell who. Blood rushed through her ears, filling the quiet space of her mind with an incredible hum. A pulse in her neck beat with unrestrained excitement. At the same time, she held her breath and her head swam.

She squeezed those gloriously fleshy globes, his body tensing and then relaxing in her grips. This freedom he allowed her, to explore and to feel, God, it was a treasure. Because he offered her himself, she decided she would take his gift. All of it.

She released him long enough to let a single digit trace small circles at the entrance to his cleft. With one hand resting on his shoulder, the small shudder that gripped him didn’t escape her attention. “Second thoughts, Joe?”

“No.” He fooled no one. The strain in that single word, his unwillingness—perhaps his inability—to say more than that provided all the evidence she needed. It didn’t stop her from tightening the circle, her finger transitioning into an up-down motion that should have tickled his skin.

“Are you sure?”

His shoulder lifted when his chest expanded. Running her finger over the crease in his ass forced a deep breath from him. A sigh of apprehension…or could it be, anticipation? “I started this. I’ll finish it.”

“But this wasn’t what we had in mind when you agreed to model for me,” she said softly, her voice almost dropping into a murmur near his back. Even as she gave him a chance out, a way to stop her before they proceeded much further, she dipped into his crack. He gasped and the sound sent a jolt to her ever dampening pussy.

“Jesus,” he hissed. It took him a moment, but he found his words again. “I wouldn’t allow this of just anyone. You know that, right?”

“Bend over.”

“Tanya…I…”

“Finish it, Joe. Bend over.”

She opened her eyes in time to catch him still, as if weighing his options. She used his hesitation to study him closer. The view from back here was spectacular. Broad shoulders. Wide back. Tapered waist. And that ass. His fabulous, wonderful ass. She’d been very fortunate he’d responded to her ad. Not too tall or too lean. Not too bulky or too flabby. He provided exactly what she needed to complete the commissioned series.

Never before had she attempted to be the sexual dominant. She didn’t try to kid herself into thinking they hadn’t crossed a line from detached, professional interest to something just shy of foreplay any longer. But really, she liked this feeling. This ability to make him acquiesce. Perhaps because she had to order him into different appropriate poses during their times together, plying him to her will came easily now. Stand like this. Put your hand here. Tilt your face toward the light. Bend over.

His back rounded when his shoulders descended, his body kowtowing to her demand. He adopted a position of complete submission. By the time he rested in a final stance, his hands gripped his calves.

She could have done what he imagined she would. She had the opportunity to explore his dark rosette opening, but that had never been her intention at all.

Tanya bent slightly, grazing her fingers over the taut skin of his testicles, relishing the tightness of the sac. Heat radiated from his skin, warming her cool fingertips as she traced the fine line dividing his treasure. This time she succumbed to licking her lips, her mouth now a desert of moisture from the moment she began to explore his sensitive details.

“Tanya.” His voice trembled, turning her name into a plea.

“Finish it,” she soothed, moving her hand to the stiffened column of his cock.

Later, she might not be able to say what prompted her boldness. Why she felt the need to stroke over him, but the surge of power that ripped through her veins when he bucked encouraged her. She wrapped one hand on his thigh, the muscles there flexing, and used the other to travel his length until she met the spongy tip. Joe choked out a low groan while her fingers glided over the drop of moisture gathered there.

She rested her head against him, letting her face brush against his leg. His hair prickled her cheek, a new sensation she’d tuck away for later use. Now, she focused on touching his sex. Learning it.

The skin was smooth, velvet-like. Each time she moved her hand down, stopping only when she reached the base, her movement coaxed the skin into following her path before it released into its original position again. She’d never focused on this before. Never put so much concentration into memorizing the ridges on a cock. The place where the tip flared out, the rim of sensitive skin. The leaking opening.

So many places for her fingers to explore.

“Tanya, please.” He swallowed, the sound breaking his gulp for air. “Please…”

“Please?”

He shifted and she thought she might have gone too far. Hell, she knew she’d gone too far, but since she already stood on the ledge of a cliff, might as well jump with both eyes open.

Joe’s hand covered hers and together they stroked him harder. Faster. His thigh rubbed against her face, his hips chasing the pleasure they brought him. She slid her other hand down his leg, then back up his thigh. Her hand found the place where his leg hair thinned, right beneath the curve of his ass. He moaned, a coarse guttural sound that sent a shiver down her spine. “I’m close…”

“Show me, Joe. Show me how to touch you.”

Her husky tone, maybe her words, were enough to send him over his own ledge. Joe’s body tensed before he cried out. His cock swelled, a subtle change she almost didn’t notice, before intense heat and wetness spilled into her palm. He pulsed twice more before he collapsed to his knees.

She pulled her hand free, at first rubbing her fingers together, testing the smooth stickiness. Joe turned his face up to look at her. His face was flushed, his blue eyes dark with arousal. Something about seeing him this way doused some of the fires raging in her blood, though. Her stained and spattered smock became the recipient of the remnants of his essence when she wiped her hand against it.

She wanted to capture this moment in color and pencil. In vivid brightness and delicious sensuality. Now. Had to get it sketched out before she lost it. To capture the sound of his release, his erotic groan, and somehow translate it for the world to witness and enjoy. Everyone deserved to know the way he felt beneath her hands, to know what it was like to feel a man share himself so intimately.

With barely a look back at him, she walked to the easel and sat on the waiting stool situated before it. As he’d promised, she’d discovered new textures and wanted to immortalize them before the memory faded. Her attention squarely on the canvas, she called to him, “You can see yourself out. We’ll start at eight on Thursday.”

Silence met her ears, but she didn’t linger on that fact. The painting called to her.

So much to do.