Excerpt:I, Holly Ellison, am an idiot.
Grinding her teeth, Holly marched down the hospital hallway, away from the emergency room cubicle where her father was being treated for a broken arm. All this time she’d been working her butt off at her father’s art gallery, and for what? She should have seen her father’s betrayal coming. And in a sense she had. She just hadn’t wanted to believe he thought so little of her. Her throat tightened. They weren’t extremely close, but their relationship was good, wasn’t it?
Her footsteps faltered. She wasn’t being the best daughter. Only hours ago her father had fallen down the staircase in his Upper Manhattan duplex apartment. No, other than a broken arm, he was fine. Besides, he had his newest girlfriend at his side. The same girlfriend who would no doubt soon be his traveling companion. Now that he’d had his epiphany that life was too short to continue to run the Ellison Gallery.
Her blood pressure rose again. But instead of passing the reins onto her, his only daughter, the daughter who had been working for him since high school, the daughter who basically ran the gallery when he was gone, he would hire a “professional” to manage the place.
A professional. What was she? A trained monkey?
She pushed open the door to the street and braced herself for the early December nighttime chill.
Sure, she’d never gone to college, but she’d learned on the job. That had to count for something. Her father had given her an office and put her in charge of various aspects of the business. Had that merely been nepotism? His way of showing affection—a pat on the head and, once in a while, telling her she’d done a good job?
A biting wind hit her, but the cold wasn’t an issue. Not tonight. She was too hot under the collar for the icy temperature to affect her. Maybe she should walk all the way to Tess’s apartment. It might cool her off, so she sounded halfway sane when she vented to her best friend. Best friend? The one who kept secrets from her. Ugh. She should go home. A glass of low-cal wine might help just as well.
She rounded the corner of the building and came face-to-face with a . . . masked man? Holy hell! Holly turned tail but got only two steps away when she was grabbed around the waist from behind. Her heart beating so hard it might leap from her chest and pound on the guy for her, she screamed and twisted in his hold as he stuffed a silver compass into his pocket and dragged her toward a parked car.
“No! Let go!” She lost her purse in the midst of stomping on his feet, kicking his legs, elbowing him anywhere and everywhere. The few times she made contact had little effect. “Help,” she yelled as her attacker opened the car door to the back seat and shoved her inside.