While at a flea market, Madeline purchases an antique oil painting of a gorgeous man. She quickly learns that when she goes to sleep, she is transported inside the old painting. Sebastian is an artist who was cursed into his painting in the year 1400. He and Madeline fall in love when she joins him inside his prison at night. Every morning when the sun rises she finds herself back in reality all alone. But they soon discover that the curse may be broken if Sebastian can paint her... every single inch of her.
Length: Short Story
Word Count: 11,897
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, August 2014
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Madeline found herself in her pajamas, standing in the room from the painting where the man had been, between the chair and the easel. She took a closer look at the painting of the beach and found it beautiful. She particularly admired the brush strokes. She reached out her hand, wanting to feel the texture of the sky.
"Please don't touch that, it hasn't had time to dry yet," a male voice said quietly.
Madeline turned in surprise and saw the man staring out a cottage window. She thought it strange seeing a whole cottage, not only the point of view from the portrait. The cottage was big and actually quite charming. She could see a table and chairs by the window, close to where the man stood. There was a bed in the opposite corner with crisp white sheets and a white fluffy down comforter piled with pillows.
"I'm so sorry. You startled me. I didn't want to ruin your painting. It's just the sky is amazing and I love that shade of blue." She suddenly realized she spoke with the man in the portrait and thought she must be dreaming.
"Cerulean blue," he murmured without looking at her.
"The color of the sky is cerulean blue," he repeated as he finally turned to look at her.
Seeing him in person took Madeline's breath away, like the air had been pulled out of her lungs. In the portrait, he appeared beautiful. In the flesh, he looked stunning.
"Am I dreaming?" She knew she must be because in real life she would never have the nerve to talk to someone as delicious as he. In the real world, she would immediately consider him way out of her league.
He didn't move a muscle.
"Yes, you are."
"I thought so. You're the man in the painting I bought today. What's your name?"
Clearly he didn't talk much and he unnerved her with his continuous stare.
"I'm Madeline, but you can call me Maddie. All my friends do."
"Can I ask you something, Maddie? Are you afraid to be here? Does it frighten you to be talking to a man you know is in a painting?" he asked in a calm voice, never taking his eyes off her.
Before she could answer, he walked away from the window, stopping directly in front of her. With him this close, she became aware of his scent, a mixture of soap, sandalwood, and the faint odor of turpentine. She also saw he stood taller than she, maybe six feet three inches. He stared at her, waiting for her response, seemingly memorizing her face, though Madeline didn't know why. She'd never had anyone look at her the way he did. She didn't think of any reason for him to be staring at her so intensely. There was nothing that interesting in her dark blue eyes or pale skin.
Her stomach knotted as a result of him being close to her. His appraisal was so intense, his presence so masculine. She had the sudden urge to touch him. His chest, his biceps, any part of him. Madeline knew she wanted to feel his skin under her fingertips. Her feelings surprised her since they were very out of character.
"What did you ask me?"
His blue eyes had erased her memory, and she couldn't break away from his stare no matter how much she tried. She realized he had the most beautiful eyes she'd ever seen.
A small smile played on his lips as if he were aware of his effect on her and found it amusing.
"I asked you if you were scared to be here."
Watching his mouth move while he spoke distracted her. She kept thinking about what his lips would feel like pressed against hers.
She shook her head. "No, I'm not scared," she finally said.
Her common sense knew she should be afraid. In real life, she would never allow herself to be in a situation like she found herself now—alone with a strange man. Perhaps her knowing this was a dream that made her feel safe. Something deep inside told her she had nothing to fear from Sebastian. If anything, she felt an attraction to him, not fear of him.
"Do you know how beautiful you are?" she blurted out.
He looked away from her, not answering. Madeline panicked and immediately wanted to take back her stupid question. Her dream had quickly become a nightmare in the blink of an eye. Apparently, she had lost her mind in this dream, because in reality, she would never ask anything like that to any man.
What made her ask him that? Her cheeks turned cherry red and she wished she were invisible. No such luck.
"Did I say that out loud?" she offered jokingly, trying to save face, but she knew it was a futile attempt. This might be the most embarrassing moment of her life, dream or not.
Sebastian finally looked at her and his expression made her melt inside. She had never seen such an intense look of desire directed at her.
She no longer had bones, merely hot molten lava oozing through her veins. Could the cottage be getting hotter?
He took another step towards her and bit his lower lip. Finally he leaned down to whisper, "Maddie, can I kiss you?"
Not expecting his question, her stomach flipped as if she had plummeted over the highest crest of a roller coaster.
She became a little breathless; the air suddenly seemed thinner inside the cottage. As he reached to touch her face, she noticed he had the hands of a painter. They were speckled and smudged with different colors and dried paint under his fingernails. His finger skimmed her temple and lightly traced it down past her eyebrow, eye, cheek, to the edge of her mouth.
Her lips involuntarily opened a little and a slight whimper escaped. She had to fight the urge to suck on his finger. His caress was so gentle. She thought she'd love to feel his hands over her entire body. Her heartbeat quickened and an ache started between her legs.
His finger moved to her chin and tilted her face up towards his. He moved in slowly, his mouth almost touching hers. "Can I kiss you?" he breathed onto her, again asking her for permission.
She thought her body might ignite in flames from the heat that radiated from him. He had the power to instantly incinerate her, to leave her as a pile of ash on the floor.
"Yes" she replied, not even sure if she had actually spoken the word aloud.
Their lips finally met. Their kiss stopped time, soft and gentle. His soft curls brushed against her face like delicate butterfly kisses. They both drew back and gazed at each other.
He traced her bottom lip with his index finger and this time she couldn't resist the urge to kiss it. He smiled at her and she saw he had a dimple she hadn't noticed before. She reached up and touched his face. Feeling the stubble on his jaw, which tickled her open palm, sent chills up her arm.
Cupping his cheek, she leaned in to kiss him again. The ache she had before, between her legs, ignited into a small fire deep in her core. She couldn't believe this was happening, even in a dream. She'd never been this bold with a stranger in her entire life, and as a rule, she only kissed a man once on a first date.
They kissed again, this time with more intensity, passion escalating. They could communicate without speaking a word. It seemed as if they were both able to sense what the other wanted. They danced an erotic dance they never danced before together, yet they knew all the steps to keep it fluid.
She took his face in both her hands as his arms went around her waist, pulling her closer so their bodies almost met. His tongue licked her lips, silently asking her for entry. She permitted him, and when their tongues met, it was like fire touching fire. They rubbed and stroked each other, getting bolder with each delicious probe.
Maddie's body released a small shudder. She was so aroused by him and she knew she couldn't keep control of herself. She experienced no inhibitions and it didn't matter that she didn't know him. All she knew was she felt safe with Sebastian and desperately wanted him. She nibbled his bottom lip and….
Maddie woke to the sound of her alarm clock blasting the traffic report. She lay in bed staring at the ceiling, her mind and heart racing. She tried to remember every detail before the dream started to fade away. Aggravated, she reached over and turned off the alarm clock with a slam of her palm.
That had been the most intense dream she ever had. She was so incredibly turned on by Sebastian. It had all seemed so real, smelled so real, and tasted so real. She looked at his portrait and her whole body hummed, sensitive from her want of him. Her nipples were erect, begging to be caressed, and she ached for him with a wetness between her legs.
As she walked to the bathroom, she wondered what would have happened if the alarm hadn't gone off. How far would she have gone with him? She turned on the bathroom light and reached for her toothbrush. As she looked at herself in the vanity mirror, she stopped with a gasp. She leaned closer to the mirror to get a better look. On her face where Sebastian had traced his finger, she saw dried paint. Cerulean blue.