Because You Are Mine Part III: Because You Haunt Me

Because You Are Mine Part III: Because You Haunt Me by Beth Kery Read Free Book Online

Book: Because You Are Mine Part III: Because You Haunt Me by Beth Kery Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beth Kery
surprise, an elegant man with salt-and-pepper hair immediately answered when Ian knocked on the thick wooden door.
    “Mr. Noble,” he greeted with what appeared to be a mixture of pleasure and respect. They entered, and the man closed the door behind them before tapping his fingers over a keypad. Francesca heard a lock click loudly. A green light began to blink on what appeared to be an elaborate security system.
    “Alaine. I can’t thank you enough for this special favor,” Ian greeted warmly when the other man turned. The two men shook hands within a dimly lit, white marble entryway as Francesca glanced around, confused but curious. This was
an entrance on the public tour.
    “Nonsense. It is nothing,” the man said in a hushed tone, as if this were some kind of clandestine nighttime mission.
    “How is your family? Monsieur Garrond is well, I trust?” Ian asked.
    “Very well, although we are both like displaced cats at the present moment as we have major renovations done on our apartment. We’re getting too old to have our routines disrupted, I’m afraid. How is Lord Stratham fairing?”
    “Grandmother says he’s a bear following his knee surgery, but his stubbornness is an asset in this case. He’s recovering well.”
    Alaine chuckled. “Please give both of them my regards the next time you see them.”
    “I shall, but you will likely see them before I do. Grandmother plans to attend the opening of the Polygnotus exhibit next week.”
    “We are fortunate,” Alaine said, beaming, and Francesca couldn’t help but feel he meant it entirely. His gaze landed on Francesca with polite interest. She clearly sensed his intelligence and curiosity.
    “Francesca Arno, I’d like you to meet Alaine Laurent. He’s the director of the St. Germain.”
    “Ms. Arno, welcome,” he said, taking her hand. “Mr. Noble tells me you are quite a talented artist.”
    Warmth rushed through her at the knowledge Ian had complimented her behind her back. “Thank you. My work is nothing to what you come into contact with every day in your work here. I loved coming to the St. Germain when I was an undergraduate studying in Paris.”
    “It’s a place of inspiration as well as art and history, no?” he said, smiling. “I hope the piece that Ian shows you tonight will provide its own special inspiration. We are quite proud to have her here at the St. Germain,” he said mysteriously. “I will leave you to your own devices then. I have everything arranged for you. Please be assured that you won’t be disturbed. I have shut off surveillance of the Fontainebleau salon for your short visit to afford you some privacy. I’m working in the east wing, if you should need me,” Monsieur Laurent said.
    “We won’t. And I want to thank you again for this consideration. I know it was an unusual request,” Ian said.
    “I have complete faith that you wouldn’t make it without excellent reason,” Monsieur Laurent said smoothly.
    “I will call you when we are finished with the viewing. It won’t be long,” Ian assured.
    Monsieur Laurent gave a slight bow that seemed completely natural and graceful and walked away.
    “Ian, what are we doing?” Francesca whispered heatedly as he started to lead her down a dim, arched passage in the opposite direction from which Monsieur Laurent had departed.
    He didn’t immediately reply. It was difficult to keep up with his long-legged stride in her stiletto heels. They quickly started to penetrate the passages into the bowels of the huge, venerable building, eventually entering museum areas that she recognized. It was a salon-style museum versus a gallery. The St. Germain’s interior as a palace residence had been preserved. Walking through the rooms gave the impression of going back in time to a posh, elegant, lived-in seventeenth-century palace showcasing priceless furnishings and incredible pieces of Grecian and Roman art.
    “Do you want me to paint something else for you, and the

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