Esther Powés, a young woman living with oscillating anopsia, a condition that robs her of sight during moments of stress, finds her life forever changed when she crosses paths with Sullivan Narok. When Esther saves Sullivan's enigmatic eight-year-old daughter, Bloom, from a would-be trafficker, she unwittingly becomes entangled in their world. Bloom, an eight-year-old with a unique perspective, believes Esther is her soulmate. She tries to bring them together, but her plan goes awry, leading to guilt and danger. Sullivan never anticipated that his feigned attraction to Esther, meant to amuse his daughter, would evolve into a profound love. As danger lurks around every corner, he questions whether keeping Esther close was the right choice, questioning the line between love and security.View More
Esther's lips twitched as she read Dahra's text the next morning:"Your boss is hot!!!"Followed by a series of lewd emojis.Esther sighed and dropped her phone as she remembered the events of the previous night. During dinner, she had been nervous, expecting a few questions, but she was barely noticed. His cold gaze acknowledged her entrance, and that was it. He didn't notice when she dropped her fork or when she left the table.Returning to her room, which, by the way, was nearly the size of her studio apartment, she couldn't sleep. She lay in bed staring at the swirling curls of the ceiling.Unsure when she would start working, but assuming it would be tomorrow, she tried to get to bed early. But sleep was far from her.Her stomach grumbled. She sighed in resignation and stood up from the comfy bed. Pulling her room door open a smidge she peeped through the crack, the hall was empty and dark. Her room was on the second floor while the kitchen was on the first. She stepped out and g
With Bloom's insistence, Sullivan waited for the arrival of the painter. Vito had told him that she found the painter herself and even wrote up a contract. She really put in a lot of effort; honestly, Sullivan found it weird. As a child growing up, she had lost her childish innocence long ago; Sullivan didn't hide the dark part of his world from her. He had a lot of enemies, and it would be best if she didn't grow up as a sheltered dove. But still, she was his princess. When had she ever had to do anything by herself? Because of this, he didn't dare take this lightly. What his baby wanted, she would have.A knock sounded on the study door. It was pushed open, and a maid walked in. "Sir, Miss Powés has arrived."Sullivan nodded and followed her to the receiving room. The first person he saw was a large black woman. She was dressed in simple blue jeans and a red floral shirt; she wore no shoes and instead explored the room in gray and white polka-dot socks. Sullivan frowned in confusion.
Esther was in her studio when her phone rang. She had her headset on, listening to a song when the call interrupted her. It was an unknown number. She frowned and dragged the decline button, relaxing again as the song resumed. She mixed two colors and tested them on the canvas when the song stopped again.She cursed under her breath and picked up the call."Hello," she snapped.There was silence on the line. She frowned in annoyance. Fucking prank calls. She disconnected the call and blocked the number. She took a deep breath; when she was calm, she continued mixing and painting. Less than five minutes passed, and another call interrupted her.She picked up and yelled into the phone, "Do you think it's funny messing with me? If you call my number again, I swear I will track you down and string you like bloody cheese, okay!"The caller was silent, but she could hear breathing. Who the creepy fuck was messing with her this early in the day?"Miss Powés, it's a pleasure to meet you too."
Bloom ignored her father's stare as they ate dinner that night. She reached for the shrimp dish, but he moved it away. Sighing, she attempted to grab the chicken, only for it to be moved as well. Exasperated, she closed her eyes for three seconds and continued eating her rice."So, no explanation for what happened today?" He asked, pushing the dishes back to her.Ignoring him, she picked up the roasted fish beside her."Bloom."She grabbed another piece of fish and stuffed her mouth."Fine, then I'll find them and get an explanation myself." He stood up and walked out of the dining room.Bloom paused, staring at his back. Would he really search for them? Her mind flashed to her father's methods of extracting information.Shaking her head, she dismissed the thought. No way he would kidnap and torture innocent people just to be petty. She took a big bite of her favorite shrimp, but it tasted like sawdust. A second later, she dropped her spoon and chased after him."You can't touch her!"
Esther had been lost in a world of paint and canvas all day, her creativity carrying her away from reality. As the clock ticked on, she focused on adding delicate strokes to her artwork, completely absorbed in her craft. Suddenly, her phone chimed with a reminder.It was an alarm she'd set earlier: "A Date with Doc Mcstuffins - Don't Be Late!" Esther's eyes widened in alarm. She had lost track of time while working, and her date with Riley was just around the corner. She groaned, this is why she hated appointments.With grudging urgency, she barely had time to wash off the paint that stained her hands and face before slipping into a simple dress and rushing out. Her heart raced during the train ride, and she was grateful when she spotted the diner where they'd planned to meet. But something caught her eye.A man in brown overalls was bent, talking to a little girl. Initially, Esther thought they were related because the girl looked unharmed, even smiling. However, her relief turned to
The woman, Adelaide, was extremely annoying. She hovered around Bloom the entire party, talking about how Bloom's hair had such beautiful curls or how her eyes were smart and expressive. It couldn't be very expressive if the annoying witch couldn't tell that Bloom loathed her presence, or maybe she could tell but chose to ignore it.Grandmother still found a way to arrange a date for her dad and the woman. Grandmother called it a 'get-together' and emphasized that she and the woman's mother would be there, but Bloom was sure they would leave early with some lame excuse. Her dad agreed, with one condition—Bloom had to come along. She rolled her eyes when he said, 'I've been so busy, I hardly spend time with my baby. This will be a good opportunity.'She knew he just wanted to use her as a cupid shield. She'd make sure he paid for that—five hundred silver Galands, to be exact.On a Saturday evening, they were seated in a luxurious private room at Salem Restaurant. An exotic spread of del
Someone giggled. Esther turned to the source, but all she could see were blurry outlines against the light. She held her bag close and prayed the train stopped at her station soon. She should have taken a cab straight to the hospital instead of taking the subway just to save a few bucks. When she had left home that morning, although her sight was a bit blurry, she could walk just fine. But now she was bumping into everything. The speeding train slowed down, and she sighed as people exited the train, and more people got in. Just two more stops to her destination. She dipped her hand into her bag, rummaging for the familiar bottle. When her hands closed around it, she brought it out; it was so light. She shook out the pills; only two bounced onto her palm. She would need to get a refill after today's treatment.Thirty minutes later, she walked into the hospital just as her sight finally failed."Aiyaa," someone sighed.Esther smiled at the comforting familiar voice. She held out her hand
"What is that?" Sullivan asked in disgust. His best friend and right-hand man, Vito, held out the screaming infant wrapped tightly in white swaddling cloth."A baby," Vito droned.Sullivan glared at him. "I can see that. The question is, why do you have the infernal creature with you?"Vito shuffled uncomfortably, still holding out the baby. "Just take it.""Tell me, who owns the child?""Take it first." Vito dropped the child onto Sullivan's desk. The baby released a petulant scream and kicked until it rolled to the edge of the desk. Sullivan caught the bundle before it toppled over. Vito had retreated to the door.Sullivan glowered. "Where the hell do you think you're going?""The child is yours, Sullivan."A heavy denial was on Sullivan's lips when his eyes widened. "Laura?" His face twisted in anger. "You believed that cheating whore?" He looked ready to toss the now silent baby into the trash."Curb your anger, Sullivan. I'm no fool," he fished out several pieces of paper from his
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