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small tables, beside cans of turpentine, lacquer and old paint rags. A
half finished nude adorned one of the heavy easels. There were a few
water color sketches laying around as well as several oils.
"Want to see some of your favorite models?"
He nodded numbly, and she drew open a drawer in the table and pulled out
four fairly large oil paintings done on commercial painting boards.
The first two were of Beth, one a nude and the other a semi-nude, with
only her lovely breasts exposed. The second two paintings were of a girl
who was not familiar at all. In the first picture, a portrait, she was
seated before a table, contemplating a vase of flowers. A rather good
looking girl with jet black hair and a soft, warm looking face. The next
painting was of the same girl, but this time she had been painted as a
Hawaiian dancer and her skin was a trifle darker. She was a pretty girl,
but her face and nicely formed body didn't ring a bell.
"Who is she?" He asked.
"Her name is Janet Holman. She lives about four or five miles from here,
on her father's farm." Beth nodded toward the green filing cabinet in
the corner. "You have her file over there with your records. Doesn't any
of this ring a bell, darling?"
She looked at him sadly, her face mirroring the way she felt. "I hope
it'll come back, darling."
He reached out and pulled her to him, holding her tight. "It'll come
back," he whispered. "C'mon. I want to build a fire in that fireplace.
It's cool in here, even if it is summer."
They went back out into the front room and, while Beth found some
kindling, Nick wadded up some newspapers and stuffed them in the
fireplace. When she brought it in, he lighted the stuff and after it was
going good, he added a couple of logs. He snapped off the light and
grinned at her.
"I like firelight," he told her. "It's restful."
She smiled back at him. "Restful? I think it's sexy." She had kicked off
her pumps and was lying before the glow of the hearth on the thick rug.
He arranged the mesh screen before the fire and laid down beside her.
"Uh huh. I don't know, darling ... the warmth of the fire warms me up, I
He grinned and dropped his head to the cushions of her breasts. Her
fingers played in his hair.
"I'm glad," he told her.
"You used to be. That used to be our favorite way of spending an
"Laying in front of a fire?" Nick asked.
"Not just _any_ fire, darling. This particular fire, sans clothes."
"Sounds like fun," he mused and rolled over to kiss the ripe redness of
her lips. Her tongue stabbed a blade of passion at him and her arms
pulled him close; then, after a moment, she shoved him away and stood
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