Blue Velvet by Christy Poff by Christy Poff - Read Online

About

Summary

When Ethan Kingsley loses his wife to suicide, he virtually gives up on life and love until he meets an elegant but wild beauty with a velvety touch. Roni Carlin is wild though she keeps this side of her personality a secret until she meets a man who brings the not-so-velvety side out. Now Ethan and Roni have to fight past demons in order to hold onto their blue velvet love . A Fallen Angel Reviews Reccommended Read!
Published: Torrid Books on
ISBN: 9781593747022
List price: $3.99
Availability for Blue Velvet
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Reviews

Book Preview

Blue Velvet - Christy Poff

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

Chere—thanks.

Prologue

He remembered every single word.

He remembered every second of the day it happened. Why?

It had been a beautiful sunny day in September. A light breeze blew in from the ocean cooling their Malibu retreat. She’d been happy—or so he thought. They’d had a light brunch and had plans to walk the beach, less crowded since the tourists had left to go back to their jobs, schools and lives.

Afton had gone upstairs to change clothes. She’d told him she wanted to go in the ocean if the water was warm. He remembered smiling at the vision of his wife in a tiny bikini. He waited for her to come back, his body crying out for her nearness. He loved this woman more than life and hated being away from her, especially when she went on tour and he could not accompany her.

Then came the sound which forever changed their lives. He ran up the stairs taking them two at a time.

Afton? he called. Are you all right?

He stopped at the door to their bedroom, frozen in agonizing pain. Unable to move, he stared at the sight in front of him and screamed.

Noooo!

On her favorite chaise lounge near the window overlooking her beloved Pacific, Afton lay dead. Her hand had fallen to the floor, a small gun lying beneath it. She wore the bathing suit she’d told him she’d wear, her body gorgeous save the gaping hole from the bullet in her chest.

He dropped to his knees, sobbing.

Slowly, he crawled to her side taking her other hand and pressing it to his cheek.

Why, Afton?

At her side, he found an envelope addressed to him. He eased the note out of the envelope and read it through watery eyes.

My dearest Ethan,

I can no longer take what God has dealt me. I am not strong enough to deal with this disease and a career but most of all, what it will do to us. I can not put you through this.

I hope one day, you will understand why I decided to handle this as I have. I honestly don’t know what else to do.

Please remember our life together and that I love you now and always will.

My eternal love and devotion—A

Ethan Kingsley held the note and her hand tighter, sobbing. He knew they had a long, hard road ahead of them but never had suicide even been discussed. He had been ready to take on the challenge of the demands the disease would make on them—anything for the woman he loved. He thought they’d been handling it well. Her attitude had been phenomenal—one of the keys to living with it, plus her doctor had been pleased.

Why? Why couldn’t you have told me? Why this?

* * * *

The funeral later took its toll on him. Everyone from the music world attended, especially her contemporaries. She ruled the top of the charts, her music flowing in several genres between pop, adult contemporary, jazz and country on occasions. Fans lined the sidewalk outside Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church where they had the services.

Ethan looked around him, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. In one of his more lucid moments, he left instructions for all the flowers to be sent to a nearby hospital. Hell, the house wouldn’t hold all of them to begin with.

After the church service—one he’d had to plead for, considering the Church’s view on suicide—he left the sanctuary. He slid on his sunglasses, then his Stetson before going out into the bright sunlight. He watched her coffin as the pallbearers placed it inside the hearse, then headed to the limo waiting behind it.

He remembered his conversation with Father James. The man had been extremely enlightening because unknown to Ethan, Afton had sought the priest’s counsel. Father James knew more about Afton’s state of mind than her own husband did—one of the reasons the father gave permission for the Catholic rites. Why could she talk to him and not me?

Ethan looked at the crowds along the cortege’s route to Westwood Cemetery. She had loved roses, so he would have her buried in the Garden of Roses. He’d also made arrangements for a constant delivery of roses to be made to her grave each week. He wiped the tears from his eyes, hating himself for his inability to keep from breaking down.

He remembered back to when she’d been first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She’d taken the news with a positive outlook, knowing firsthand what the disease would do to her because of her cousin having it.

You did one hell of a job fooling people, but why me? Why didn’t you talk to me?

He felt her note in his pocket, going over every word she’d written again in his mind. She blamed a lot on herself but somehow, he felt he had failed her in some way. For the life of him, he did not know why he felt this way but the feeling overwhelmed him.

Ethan did a lot of thinking during the drive from Malibu to Westwood. During the graveside service for family and close friends only, he stared at her coffin. A floral blanket covered it while a huge bouquet of red roses stood at the head of the grave—his tribute to the only woman he ever truly loved.

Once the service concluded, he stood in the same place he had since arriving. People spoke to him but he couldn’t be sure who he’d spoken to. Ethan remained long after everyone else left, unable to pull himself away. When he finally did walk away, he went back to the limo and instructed the driver to take him back to their house in Bel Air.

All Ethan Kingsley wanted—to be alone.

* * * *

Early in October, Afton’s lawyer paid him a visit to bring him her Last Will and Testament. Straightforward, she’d left Ethan the bulk of her estate, aside from several personal bequests. Ethan listened to the lawyer go over the list, one item puzzling him. Why did my wife leave a priceless oil painting we bought together—one I particularly favor—to one of the musicians while the others received nothing?

He let it go, telling the lawyer he had no objections and wouldn’t dispute any of his wife’s wishes. After signing several documents, the attorney left. Ethan put the papers in the safe, leaving the list of personal gifts out. An hour later, he had everything put in a box—all neatly wrapped and labeled. The painting he took care of last.

Carefully removing it from the wall in their den, he wrapped it in brown paper, then placed it with everything else. He knew her attorney would be by sooner rather than later to get everything so he could close the file on Afton Kingsley.

Ethan pulled out his cell and called a friend of his, needing to talk to someone. Kent Martin and he went back to childhood, both growing up in Brentwood, both sons of rich fathers and both rebellious. Neither one followed in their father’s footsteps, though both became wealthy in their own rights. While Ethan worked as a highly sought after graphic artist, he had several contracts with major record labels, publishing houses and some movie work, Kent made his money in Silicon Valley before jumping ship and starting his own computer company while doing some private investigating on the side.

Kent stood for Ethan at his wedding, then by his side at Afton’s funeral. Ethan knew he could depend on Kent for support and anything else he needed.

Martin...

It’s me. How about a steak dinner?

Sounds good.

Several hours later after polishing off two thick T-bones, the two friends sat on the terrace overlooking Ethan’s olympic-sized pool.

So what’s up? You invite me to dinner, then don’t talk?

Sorry, something’s nagging the crap out of me.

What?

I understand all the personal bequests but I don’t see why she gave the painting to Kirk Lambert.

Who the hell is he?

"He played bass guitar for her. Kind of a letch—if you ask me. In fact, he struck me as a Dan Fielding type—always after anything in a skirt and a quick lay."

"Night Court—I loved that show."

Yeah, and it’s the only way to describe the guy. He always hung too close to her when I was around. She passed it off as nothing so...

And what did you think?

Honestly, I didn’t. I trusted Afton, you know that.

Should I do some investigating?

I don’t really know at this point. Once he gets the painting, he’ll be out of my life. I hear he’s trying to get in with Connick.

Doubt that. Connick’s band is like a well-oiled machine. He’s not looking for new talent.

True. Let me know if you do...

Thanks, but I don’t think I’ll need to.

The offer’s always open.

* * * *

Damn it! Why is he still breathing and enjoying freedom? She’s dead because of him.

Kirk Lambert paced, beside himself with grief and hatred. He’d been this way since hearing the news of Afton Kingsley’s suicide. He refused to believe she’d taken her own life—he thought he knew her.

After the funeral, he swore on his mother’s grave to prove Ethan Kingsley’s guilt in her death. No way would a vibrant woman like the love of his life kill herself.

He remembered the times they shared, ruing the fact they would never be together again.

Kingsley, you will pay for this—one way or another!

Chapter 1

Two years later...

Ethan Kingsley ran up from the surf, his surfboard under his arm. Since selling the house in Malibu the year before, he’d taken to surfing the waters at Santa Barbara, unconsciously refusing to go back to where tragedy overtook his life. Usually not one to run from anything, it had become an easy out when dealing with her death.

Mister Kingsley, can I get you anything?

Not today, I’m fine, he told the boy from the surf shop. For the last several months, the kid had been an apprentice to the owner of the shop. Ethan liked him because he really tried to make it on what he wanted to do with his life.

Ethan had made it but, even though he sat at the top of his profession, it meant a great deal less having no one with whom to share it.

Lugging the board to his Range Rover, he slid it onto the roof rack, then secured it. He returned to the shop, bought some wax, then left for the drive to Bel Air and home.

His cell phone buzzed.

Kingsley, he said, the voice-activated system taking over. The moment he could, he’d had the hands-free system installed in the Range Rover and his Jaguar.

Ethan, it’s Wade. Have you decided on the final presentation on the Bloom account?

It’s all on my desk and ready to go.

Great, Wade said. How do you do it?

Do what?

"Run Kingsley Designs and surf?"

Sheer talent and dumb luck, my friend—plus I have an excellent staff who makes me look good. Seriously, everything you need to make the presentation is ready for you. I trust you to do a hell of a job for me—as always.

Thanks, boss.

Wade, trust me. I wouldn’t do this with anyone else.

I know. It’s just the office isn’t the same without you coming in.

I’ve been in.

Yeah, but not enough. I’ve heard rumors somebody’s interested in taking over.

Who?

Don’t know.

See what you can find out and get back to me.

You got it, boss.

Ethan called Kent next, asking his friend to see what he could learn about the mysterious takeover bid.

Of course I’ll look into it, Kent assured him.

I can tell you smell blood.

"Yeah and