5 Dec 2013
Town and Country: a Guest Post by KD Grace/Grace Marshall
One of the best parts of writing The Exhibition was the wonderful contrast between scenes set in the city and scenes set in the wilderness of the Northwest and the chance to mix the two all up. Stacie Emerson owns a successful gallery in New York City. She’s opening a second one in Portland, Oregon. The woman has all the big city polish and panache to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers in the art world and make money doing it. She also has a secret darker than any of her friends could ever imagine.
Harris Walker is a brilliant wildlife photographer, and our opening shots find him up in a tree photographing great horned owls in the wee hours. Harris is also the editor of Wilderness Vanguard, an environmental watchdog magazine that exposes companies and businesses with bad environmental records. In addition to taking world class photos of wildlife and nature, Harris also photographs the resulting desolation of the misuse of the natural world — oil slicks, clear cuts, landfills. The man is the best at what he does. Could two people be more polar opposite? To add to the total opposition, Harris doesn’t like Stacie. He blames her for nearly breaking up the relationship between his best friend, Dee Henning, and powerful, eco-conscious CEO, Ellison Thorne. Never mind that she was actually trying to play match-maker.
It’s only when Stacie finally convinces Harris to exhibit his work in the grand opening of her west coast gallery that he begins to suspect, he doesn’t know this woman at all. It’s not his pretty pictures she wants to exhibit. But why is Stacie so interested in Harris’s ‘Armageddon photos?’ And why is she tromping around in secret, taking pictures of the worst clear-cut in the history of the Northwest?
Stacie believes art is the conscience of a culture, and Harris very soon discovers that Stacie is willing to act on those beliefs, no matter what the personal cost.
From a gala art auction in New York, to tracking mountain lions along the Crooked River in Central Oregon; from a clandestine meeting in a Portland café with views of Raymond Kaskey’ colossal sculpture, Portlandia to treading the eroded desolation of a clear-cut in the Cascade Mountains, The Exhibition is a novel full of contrasts. Like the first novel, An Executive Decision, The Exhibition is a battle to save what’s worth saving and preserve the natural world for generations to come. But this time the battle is personal, far more personal than Harris could have ever imagined from a city girl.
Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?
Excerpt The Exhibition:
He tossed between the covers, shoving and punching at the pillow. Thinking about the clear-cut and the danger in which Stacie had put herself definitely took the edge off his arousal. It was chilling to think what could have happened. And that was only what he knew nature could have thrown at her. Add to that whatever Stacie was afraid of, and he shuddered to think. The room felt stuffy and close. Because Harris seldom spent time inside when he could be out, he kept as many of the windows and doors open as he could when he was home. He’d only closed his bedroom window to keep the deluge from blowing in. He shoved back the blankets and crawled out of bed, nearly tripping over his discarded jeans. He bit back a curse then moved to open the window and let some real air in. The sky was clear and the stars now reflected off the obsidian surface of the water. The sliver of the waxing moon looked as though it were floating suspended there. He threw open the window, and for a second he stood just breathing in the cool, rain-washed air. He was about to grab the camera he kept handy to take a few night shots, then the hard-on was back with a vengeance.
Below him on the dock, wrapped in a blanket, stood Stacie, looking out over the water. And in spite of his body’s overwhelming desire for her, he felt something other than lust stirring, something that had been easing its way into his brain ever since he’d made such a fool of himself the other night at Ellis’s place. It was respect. This woman was completely at home in New York City. No one could deny that Stacie Emerson was polished to a cosmopolitan sheen. And yet the passing of a storm would draw her outside to see the world without city lights, to listen to the quiet, all the layers of quiet that were practically their own symphony outside on Harris’s lake.
Almost before he knew what he was doing, he slipped into his jeans and moved quickly on silent feet down the stairs and through the darkened house to where the French doors led to the decked balcony and then down to the dock. But just before he reached her, she dropped the blanket, and he was afforded an exquisite, if all-too brief view of her long legs, rounded buttocks and the slender curve of her back, rendered porcelain-pale in the diminished light. Then she stepped off the dock into the lapping water.
Once again, he reacted without thinking, quickly stepping out of the jeans and leaping off the end of the dock with a splash, which resulted in a squeal of surprise and a mad swirling of the water from Stacie.
‘It’s me,’ he manages before swallowing a good-sized mouthful of the lake as he lunged to touch her arm reassuringly. But her panicked flailing dragged them both beneath the surface. For a second he felt his own panic rising as he desperately tread water, one of his shins brushing the mooring of the dock. Then they both surfaced coughing and sputtering. ‘Stacie! Stacie, it’s me,’ he said. She clung to him, shivering and sputtering water. ‘Are you alright?’ He slipped his arms around her hips for support.
He could feel more than see her nodded response. ‘Sorry,’ she gasped. ‘I didn’t mean to drown you. I woke and the storm was finished and the stars were beautiful over the lake. I couldn’t resist. Sorry I disturbed you.’
His embarrassed laugh forced his belly and other parts of him into her delicious, totally naked, personal space. ‘You didn’t disturb me. I think if anything it’s the other way around. I interrupted your communing with nature, which is almost an unforgiveable sin in my world.’
He felt her breasts pressed hard-nippled against his chest in the little laugh of her own. ‘It isn’t necessarily a given that I wouldn’t welcome your interruption, that I wouldn’t want to share the pleasure with someone who appreciates it as much as I do.’ In her efforts to tread water, she kicked him in the thigh, but before she could apologise, he kissed her and felt her breath catch as he trapped her leg and slid it around his waist.
‘Harris,’ she breathed his name. ‘We can’t — ’ But he stopped her words with another kiss and lifted the other leg so that both her thighs gripped him around his waist, his hands supporting her bottom, his legs treading to keep them both afloat.
‘Sh! Stacie,’ he whispered against her throat. ‘Sh.’
‘But we talked about a clean slate, and we said we’d –’
‘Maybe I don’t want a clean slate.’ He kissed her harder and to his delight, she responded in kind, curling her fingers in his hair and eating at his mouth. ‘Maybe I like our slate just the way it is. What do you think of that?’ And then he heaved her up onto the floating dock, causing her to gasp and mumble a protest that ended in a little whimper as he pulled her close to the edge, pushing and shoving her legs open until his mouth could find the warm wet depth of her, open and inviting.
Buy The Exhibition Here:
About K D Grace/ Grace Marshall:
K D Grace believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?
When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She enjoys martial arts, reading, watching the birds and anything that gets her outdoors.
K D has erotica published with SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available. She was nominated for ETO’s Best Erotic Author 2013.
Find K D Here: