When I read Cynthia Young’s story, “An Eye for Love”, I knew it had to be part of the collection. It’s sexy, fun and full of twists. Very clever, actually, especially since she accomplished so much in so few words! Enjoy the excerpt! And if you’d like to discover exactly what an “eye miniature” is, check out Cynthia’s blog here: Eye Miniatures — An Anonymous Token of Love
A lady’s desires reawaken when she hires a private investigator to recover a treasured miniature art piece stolen from her collection
Henry Theodore Branson stared at the case file on his desk, adding the final notes before he had it filed away, when there was a knock on his door.
“There is a Lady Olivia here to see you, sir. I know you don’t like to be interrupted in the morning, but she said it was a matter of urgency.”
Henry dropped his quill, splattering ink across the page where he’d been writing notes. Lady Olivia? It wasn’t possible. “Who did you say?”
“Lady Olivia. She’s waiting in the drawing room. May I also add that she arrived without a chaperone?”
Henry stood. “Thank you, Owens. I’ll be there shortly.”
“Very well, sir.” The butler bowed and left.
Why would Lady Olivia come—unchaperoned—outside of normal calling hours? The woman barely spoke to him.
He drew out a handkerchief and rubbed the cloth on his ink-stained hands in an attempt to remove the smudges. A futile task. He left the study and strode to the drawing room.
Lady Olivia faced away from him. She was bent over, examining a cloisonné jar which sat on a small table.
He froze. What would it be like to have her bent over him in such a fashion? Immediately, the blood began to pound through his veins. He shook his head. If he didn’t regain control of his thoughts, his attraction would become quite obvious.
He coughed to clear the knot that had formed in his throat. “Lady Olivia, this is rather unexpected. To what do I owe this honor?”
She straightened and turned to face him, her eyes wide. “I didn’t hear you come in.” She gestured awkwardly around the room. “You have some very interesting items.”
None of the items in the room interested him as much as the woman before him. Lady Olivia was dressed in a light blue walking dress and matching bonnet. A large white feather curled around the bonnet toward her face, bringing attention to her cornflower blue eyes.
“During my travels, I always made a point of collecting unusual items as a reminder of the location. That piece is from the Ming Dynasty.”
“The detail on the dragons is amazing.”
He stared, mesmerized, as she traced one of the dragons with an index finger.
“Perhaps on another occasion I can show some of the rare antiquities I have acquired. I’m certain that is not the purpose of your visit today.”
A blush stole into her cheeks. “No, that is not why I’m here. I’m here because I need you to recover a stolen item.”
He put his hands behind his back and rocked back on his heels. Lady Olivia had come on her own without a member of her family accompanying her, risking ruin if she were caught in his home. She was always very proper and never did anything that would cause scandal. Whatever was stolen must be of great value.
“It’s an eye miniature, and it was taken by Lord Comstock.”