Nathan’s eyes were trained on Emma. As she approached, she watched them turn from warm to heated instantly and she flashed that dazzling smile in return. He was glad he was leaning against the pergola, otherwise, his knees might have dropped from under him.
Straightening he strolled toward her. He reached out and taking her hands in his, drew them to his lips, placing a feather-light kiss on each one. “Emma. I’m pleased you made it.”
“No place I’d rather be.” Her reply was flippant, but he’d momentarily taken her breath away and she was suddenly lost for words. She shook her head bemused by her own reaction to him. Metaphorically kicking her butt, she coughed then said, “Do I get the grand tour?”
Tucking her arm through his, Nathan nodded, “It would be my pleasure.”
Wandering through the exotic smelling pergola, they accessed what appeared to be a side entrance that flowed directly into a beautiful kitchen. Staff was busily preparing a meal. She felt their discreetly watchful eyes visit their movement through the room.
This wasn’t just a kitchen, it was a chef’s delight containing every modern convenience imaginable with plenty of counter and island space upon which to work. Placed off to one side was a beautiful stone fireplace with a curved hearth flanked on either side by modern art that brought the gardens inside. Masterful paintings of some of the flowers and blossoms she’d seen outside, graced the walls, each six to eight feet high. The overall effect was elegant and inviting. Snippets of the pergola and gardens surrounded them in equally beautiful smaller paintings. As she glanced at each one, it was as if she were standing in the garden outside. She could almost smell their exquisite aroma. Emma couldn’t take her eyes off of the artwork.
“These are remarkable.”
“It’s a hobby.”
“Wait, you mean to tell me these are yours?”
“I’ve been painting since I was around eight or nine. Nothing on this scale, but, it’s like breathing to me.”
She had no idea he painted. Still, these were museum-worthy, extraordinarily beautiful, exquisite in detail and form.
“Most people I’ve met take those kinds of talents for granted since it comes easily. It always surprises me, why, when you are that talented, you wouldn’t pursue it. Most feel unless they have to work and slave, it’s worthless. Not true in my opinion. I’d give anything to have that kind of talent,” she nodded toward the paintings.