Chasing Serenity (River Rain #1) by Kristen Ashley



Still…

I knew Pierre was like me.

So this whole thing was a big sham.

All of it.

Including his promises to me.

As I looked at his dark, loose, long locks, the perfection of his nose, the breadth of his shoulders, his gangly frame, for the first time I saw through him.

He was a sham.

A fake.

A pretender.

Maybe even worse.

A wannabe.

And I had to admit to more than a little concern that my affections for him shifted so quickly.

But they did.

I could walk away…

No.

I was going to walk away.

And what worried me was…

I didn’t care.

I decided to think about this later and moved to begin packing, at the same time my mind swung to considering my next step.

Hotel for a few days while I found a flat to rent (and did the work it took to convince my parents I needed to rent a flat in Paris, and they needed to allow me the use of my trust fund to do that, or better, not allow me and instead, simply give the money to their darling daughter in order that she get the most out of her discovering-herself time in Europe).

One thing I knew, I wasn’t leaving France.

Not on my life.

When I dragged out a piece of my luggage (there were three), Pierre was there.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Packing,” I said in a bored tone, one that I didn’t affect.

I was, indeed, bored.

Done.

Over this.

On to the next adventure.

“Packing? Just like that?”

I turned from unzipping and opening my suitcase to him.

“You need to get that painting back,” I told him. “And you need to destroy the other one. You also need to give me all the pictures you took of me and erase any digital copies you have.”

His mouth dropped open.

He then used it to say, “That is not happening.”

“You don’t have my permission to use my image, Pierre. It’s illegal for you to sell those paintings or use those images for monetary purposes without my permission.”

I was no Hollywood starlet rushing into the latest hip club, ripe for any paparazzo’s lens, needing it at the same time feeling it wholly an invasion of my privacy.

I had posed for Pierre for the thrill of it. I’d done it because I had feelings for him. I’d done it because I loved his work and wanted to be a part of it. I’d done it because it was fun, and I thought it was cool. I’d also done it because I thought he wasn’t going to sell them.

But bottom line, I’d acted as his model.

And first, he needed to pay me if he was going to make money off me.

Second, he needed my permission.

“That’s rubbish,” he bit out.

“Do you know who I am?”

It wasn’t arrogant posturing.

But for God’s sake, he knew I was Imogen Swan and Tom Pierce’s daughter. America’s sweetheart and one of the best tennis players ever to walk on a court.

They were two of the most famous people on the planet.

Of course I knew what I’d just said was far from rubbish.

And he knew it too.

“They are my paintings,” he asserted.

“It’s my body. My face,” I fired back. “I own them, and you cannot use them unless I grant you permission. And I’ll remind you, I posed for you because you said you were never going to sell the paintings you painted of me. ‘Never’ for you lasted less than three months. But the true meaning of never is never, Pierre. Which means you lied to me about your intentions when you took those pictures and did that work. Now, if you don’t want to turn over or destroy all you have, you can give me a million euros. I think that’s fair compensation.”

His eyes grew huge.

And the French rolled off his tongue.

I was learning the language, but I didn’t catch even half of it.

“English,” I demanded.

“I am not giving you a million euros, Chloe. I am not getting that painting back. I am not destroying the rest. And you are not leaving.”

“Oh, I’m leaving,” I confirmed. “And I advise you rethink your course of action.”

This time, his eyes narrowed. “Are you threatening me and leaving me at the same time?”

“Well, it’s not exactly a threat, but for the most part, yes.”

Now, as he took in my tone, actions, and demeanor, it hit him.

I was, in fact, leaving.