The Skin Quartet
Book 1 Beneath the Skin
Ari and Melissa’s story
Ex-Olympic wrestler and reclusive billionaire artist Aristides Stavros has one mission—to rescue his sister, a popular Williamsburg, Brooklyn tattoo artist from the old enemy who has kidnapped her. But at every turn he is confronted by anthropologist Melissa Dermot. Is she just an innocent girl in over her head or is she working for the international crime boss holding his sister?
Only one thing is certain, when Ari holds the beautiful Asian-American in his arms questions of guilt and innocence fade against an undeniable fiery attraction. But can their wild passionate love survive the tangled web of long hidden secrets, intentional deceit, and murderous revenge that lie just beneath the surface?
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Beneath the Skin EXCERPT
“You.” Aristides Stavros loomed over her. “What are you doing here?”
She peered up at the artist’s twisted face and backed further down the steps. A doorknob poked her in the back. Panicked, she twisted it open and dashed into an unlit basement storeroom.
She stumbled forward into the dark, tripped over a metallic cylindrical object, and landed on her stomach. All the air whooshed out of her. Rectangular objects with sharp corners tumbled around her, jabbing her in the arms and neck. Rough cloth scrapped her skin.
On the staircase above her, the beast hovered in the doorway like a predator scenting his prey. For a second, he hesitated, then he dashed down the steps and moved toward her, huffing as he shoved objects out of the way. She pushed herself up on hands and knees and scuttled further into the dark.
“Sto diavólo. Where are you? If you destroy any of these paintings, I will have your hide or at least my lawyer will.” He came closer. “Busy man, my lawyer, and to think I almost didn’t hire one.”
She scrabbled back and touched torn canvas. Heavens, these were his paintings—the ones that sold for thousands of dollars.
She was in deep, deep trouble.