A flash of green eyes, and then…he was gone.
Mysterious, secluded, powerful, seductive.
Mark Rich shows up in a gallery, and then at a party, and then in Saturday’s dreams.
Wealthy? Yes. Sexy? God, yes. But who is he? Ostensibly, he seems to be a jack-of-all-trades – a multifaceted Renaissance man.
Her artistic heart will follow him to the depths of his realm, to a world of beauty, art and desire in which she so desperately wants entry.
But Mark has a dark secret…deeper than any shadow Saturday has ever encountered.
Blinded by a craving she has never known, will she find the strength to remove the mask and look past her heart into a reality that may shatter her?
* This book is Volume 1 of a two-part series.
Behind the Blindfold: Volume 1
Chapter 2: A Chance Encounter
By: Natalie Wrye
Using the fire escape ladder, they crept back into the loft onto the floor below, where they reached a private elevator to which Mark had the key, and descended. Saturday glanced nervously at Mark in the elevator and fiddled with the hem of her dress.
He never looked in her direction, but he seemed to smile in response. Perhaps fear should have been driving her thoughts, but that wasn’t what she felt. Anxiety. She was merely anxious. Anxious to see the “secret” that Mark was revealing. Anxious: just being next to him.
They finally stopped at what appeared to be the bottom floor. Unable to keep her hands still, she picked at her glossy pink nail polish…until Mark reached over and held her hand. Saturday felt a flush creep from her head to her toes as he lead them into dimly lit hallways and finally into a dark back room. She could barely see her hand in front of her face.
Now, she was afraid.
Thankfully, Mark reached over and hit the light switch, turning on the sparse fluorescent lights on the high ceiling.
Mark’s voice came on with the light. “James’ private collection.”
He brought a raised index finger to his lips, the universal “hush” symbol. “Not for the public’s eyes.”
The walls were stark white, except for the items that were hanging at eye-level. Saturday gaped at the wall in front of her. What she was looking at was beautiful….and grotesque.
The wall was filled with black-and-white pictures, photos of nearly nude people in various stages of restraint. Tied up, tied down. Twisted and contorted, they were all in some form of bondage, their bodies stretched and splayed in countless positions.
Each body was illuminated in a single light with a background of absolute shadow. The white light in the photo bathed each body, highlighting both beauty and imperfection.
Still…it wasn’t their distorted bodies that unnerved her so. It was their faces.
It was unclear to her what the subjects of the photos were experiencing, what they were trying to convey. Their expressions were as distorted as their forms, each arranged in a way that was difficult to interpret.
Their facial expressions teetered on a thin line between ecstasy and agony. She couldn’t tell if they were conveying pleasure…or…
Saturday’s head snapped back to look at Mark when he said the word. He continued.
“And passion. They seem to be in the throes of both or either, don’t they?”
“Yes…they do,” Saturday softly commented. “It is beautiful… (she touched the edge of one of the photos)…and I’m horrified by it.”
Mark moved towards the photograph at which she stared.
“Don’t be. Human beings are never more honest than they are in these moments. Passion and pain bring out our most earnest selves. No faking…” He touched the photograph as well.
Mark’s eyes scanned the images with respect, admiration….Longing. The way Saturday looked at the Beaumont painting. The way she ached to create such beautiful artwork.
Not a photographer, eh? Doesn’t seem that way. Interestingly enough, this was the most he had ever said to her. Listening to him speak evoked images of sweet honey; his voice was so melodic.
She had heard of the strong and silent type, but now she was experiencing it up close and personal. He conveyed his emotions with his eyes, his body. But when he did speak, she felt like she never wanted him to stop.
She licked her now dry lips. “But it’s haunting. Like a dream that’s turned into a nightmare.”
“Because it is. It’s one and the same. Life is both. Love is both. Everything. Passion. Pain. You should embrace them, Saturday. They are honesty. They are truth. They are all that really matter.”
“I…I don’t know. I just…” Saturday rubbed her upper arms, looking back at the photos.
“It’s what makes James’ art so great. What makes him the artist, the photographer that he is. He embraces them. He doesn’t hide them, but puts them on display. He explores the pleasure, the pain and comes out better on the other side.” Mark was gesturing now, his hands closed into fists. He was now speaking with animated fervor; somehow, Saturday had opened some type of floodgate within him.
“Don’t you ever just want to let go, be free like this? Don’t you want to explore your pain, Saturday?” He walked toward her. She took two timid steps backwards, her heels tapping the back wall. She peered up at him, not knowing what to expect.
“Don’t you want to…explore your passion?” Mark tucked her hair behind her left ear and placed his lips where the strands formerly lay. Saturday closed her eyes, drunken with more than just the shots. Drunken by her untapped desire for Mark.
His beautiful lips traveled from one side of her delicate collarbone to the other, gently kissing and teasing each freckle along the way. Mark removed his lips from her neck and had them hover over her mouth. He placed his right hand into her hair, all while gazing intently at her pink mouth.
She knew what he wanted her to do.
*Not a BDSM novel
Buy the Book:
Behind the Blindfold: Uncovered
Releasing February 28, 2015
Saturday Blake has uncovered one of Mark Rich’s biggest secrets.
Betrayed, frightened and hurt, she tries to move on, believing that the game is over, but she is sorely mistaken.
There’s another player in this game…and they won’t play by any rules.
And Mark’s not done with her yet…
About the Author:
Natalie Wrye is a math geek by day, writer by night. She is a single, former Yankee living in Northwest Georgia with nothing but her Friends and Gilmore Girls reruns to keep her company. Natalie started writing nonsensical stories at the ripe age of 6; she hopes things have changed since then. She loves chocolate, cuddly things, and large libraries. Oh…and she thinks it’s pretty cool to talk in 3rd person.
* Talk nerdy to me at NatalieWrye.com or NatalieWrites@NatalieWrye.com.
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