THE PAINTED HEART
A WOMAN WHOSE HEART WAS AS FIERCE AS IT WAS FRAGILE….. AND THE MAN WHO BOUGHT HER TO WIN IT.
The enigmatic Hurley Twins were selling her…and Miss Elspeth James had no choice but to accept. As governess to the Canvases, she prepared the girls to be sold as living art, prepared them to become legendary Painted Sisters to some of the world’s most influential and powerful men, The Collectors. She would have walkout out, left the Hurley twins, her beloved charges and the ridiculous proposal but the girls were in serious danger. There were whispers a diabolical outlawed sect, a Skinner…of secret bidding, astronomical prices for the beautiful tattooed skin minus the girl. If she accepted the deal to become his Painted Sister, the arrogant, cold and infuriatingly handsome Mr. Blackburn, she could do something to protect the girls, to protect her friends. That, was worth doing the unimaginable for. That was worth fighting the way he made her body feel even as he hated him.
Mr Blackburn, a rudely wealthy self-made man, had connections at every level of society and he wanted more. Having a Painted Sister would rise him higher in the elite world of ‘The Collectors’, men who like him operated over and above the rules of society. Yet on meeting Miss James…. he wanted more. He pushed her to sign over her virtue as well as become his Painted Sister, pushed her to override her distaste for him and taste what passion felt like.
The trouble was… she made him hunger for something he’d never wanted and never believed in … Could she love him? Would she ever reach out and touch him with the same need that thumped through his veins every moment of every day since the first time they met?
THE HEART DOESN’T RESPOND TO THE MIND AS A MASTER TO A SERVANT, IT WALKS ITS OWN PATH….IT DEMANDS EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING A PERSON IS AND EVERYTHING THEY THOUGHT THEY’D LEFT BEHIND.
“With the third installment of her Velvet Basement series, Holland takes readers once again on a tantalizing tour through the darker side of Victorian England. Both well-written main characters are compelling: Elspeth is compassionate and a fighter, while Blackburn’s compassion lies deep beneath his haughty exterior, and readers will delight in their similar backgrounds as they fight their obvious attraction to each other. The story provides a gothic take on the tattoo fad of the late 19th-century. This stand-alone novel, with its steamy, super-hot romance, is sure to seduce new readers to Holland’s work.” 4 HOT Stars – RT Book Reviews
“Officially the best book yet!! – Best book by Elsa Holland so far! I love how she can create a world that sucks you in instantly and never lets you go. I found myself reading this at every opportunity, and thinking about it when I wasn’t.” Amazon Reviewer
“Oh my! This book is so good that you just don’t want to leave the world that Elsa Holland creates. Its my favourite book so far, and I say so far because I think this author is going to keep surprising me and I can’t wait. Overall the book is a sublime mix of gothic, sensual and clandestine overtones – it’s a must read.” Amazon Reviewer
“This is a marvelous addition to the Velvet Basement Series. Each story captures your attention and the sensual journey to a happy ending makes these books a pleasure to read again and again. Enjoy!” Amazon Reviewer
“This is easily the best book of this series. The world of the Velvet Basement explores different areas of sexual interest. This book includes living canvases, living art – full body tattoos – that are owned and shown off to other wealthy collectors. The Painted Heart is the first book with a plot that extends outside the kink and the couple and the first book to include a mystery. Both are wonderful.” Amazon Reviewer
THE PAINTED HEART
Here is a Pinterest board that reflects some of the ideas and mood as I was writing.
A Snippet from the front of the book
This is at the very start of the book when Miss Elzpeth James, Governess to the Hurley twin’s collection of girls, is showing her charges to a potential benefactor, Mr Blackburn a self-made man climbing up the rank of the elete group called The Collectors.
Elzpeth stepped back, took out the small note pad she kept in her pocket and wrote what she hoped would be helpful advice.
‘It works best if you ask them to come forward and tell you a little about themselves.’
She passed the note off to a servant stationed at the side and then moved back into position at the back of the viewing platform.
Mr. Blackburn’s eyes flicked over to her as she moved.
That gaze was sharp, a harsh and penetrating force that sent shards through her chest and pierced her to the spot.
She was saved from his perusal when her note arrived.
He opened it, read it and then screwed it up letting it drop by the chair as he looked at her again.
This time there was something far more disturbing about the way he looked at her, something she couldn’t quite understand that made her skin feel suddenly hot and tight over her bones.