He paid her to paint his portrait but he really wanted to steal her heart.
Hermione is an independent, single mother who has caught the eye of Philip Haughtington, society high-flyer and well known heart breaker.
He wants to seduce her and she is determined to resist but how long will she be able to hold out against his looks, charm and firm, commanding hand?
As she bashed back whipping tree branches and picked carefully through thorns Hermione wondered why she had said yes to this posh young man. She’d like to have said it was merely for Philip’s good looks and charm but she had to face up to the fact it was the money involved that had motivated her the most.
“We’re nearly there.” His upper-class accent seemed out of place in that jungle of branches and mulch. “I told you it was a bit overgrown. It’s worth it though.”
“I’m sure it is,” Hermione replied as she dragged her bags and canvas case through the dense thicket and glared at the back of his soil-brown wind cheater. She knew the reason she’d done this and was grumpy at herself for it. Money should not dictate art but if some rich guy wanted to offer her an obscene amount just to paint his portrait in a certain placeâ€”what else could she do?
However, when she’d agreed she hadn’t realised she’d be pushing her way through overgrowth as thick and thorny as that in the fabled Sleeping Beauty story. She’d thought he was talking about a neatly manicured corner of the manor’s gardens. It wasn’t until he headed into an enclave of shady, newly-leafed trees that she began to suspect otherwise.
Philip couldn’t be completely unaware of her worries. Every tut and gasp and long exhalation had to show her less than complete enjoyment of the day so far.
“Here we are,” Philip said as suddenly the mess of twigs gave way and an obvious clearing came to light.
“Wow.” Hermione took in the vast array of different greens and was awed by the majesty of nature. Across one side was a small pond, mingled grey and green reflected in the water. At the other end a host of bright bluebells shone between the blades of vibrant grass.
“You didn’t lie, did you?” She smiled at him.
He grinned back. “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.” He sighed and stared into the vast yet stark blue sky.
“It’s very well hidden away, isn’t it?”