“With all the money this latest book is raking in, we’ll be able to go on an extended holiday in the South of France,” Roz Taylor remarked to Valentijn Liske after he signed the last copy. He was book signing and having his picture taken with fans at Waterstones Piccadilly. It had been a busy but very pleasant afternoon.
Valentijn didn’t reply. He stood up, stretched and donned his jacket. He was ready to escape to his home in Yorkshire. After thanking and having a few words with the organizers of the event, he left the bookshop.
“I think this is your best novel, so far,” Roz said when they were in the car. She glanced down at a copy that was on her lap. “I can see it being made into a film like the others. Can you imagine how much money will roll in? We can use some of it to buy and develop the land which is featured here on the cover. You’ve always entertained the idea of owning a home in Queensland.”
Valentijn turned to her, “You keep saying ‘we’,” he muttered.
Her head shot up and snapped to the left, her eyes wide as they met his. “What do you mean?” she asked. “This book was a collaboration.”
“I wrote it,” he informed her coldly.
“Yes, but the idea for the cover was mine. You wanted to have a dead body with a smoking gun next to it but I suggested that you have a skull lying in a field to add mystery to it.”
“And for that suggestion you think you’re entitled to everything? You’re beginning to sound like my greedy ex-wife.”
She swallowed hard. “I thought we were in this together. I thought I was more than your agent. I thought we had something…”
“Well, you thought wrong,” he snapped. “From now it will be strictly business between us.”
“I’ve grown bored with you, Roz, it’s that simple.”
Color flooded her pale cheeks and her eyes flashed at him. “It’s that little tart I’ve seen hanging around you lately, isn’t it?”
“I presume you’re referring to Alina?”
“Yes! I notice the way she’s been throwing herself at you and you encourage her.”
“She’s full of spirit which I rather like.”
“Have you and she…?”
“Slept together? No, not as yet. But I promise you it wouldn’t be long before we do–” He was interrupted by a hard slap across the face. He rubbed his smarting skin, his gaze narrowing.
“You disgust me,” Roz cried as hot, angry tears spilled down her cheeks. They were stopped at a traffic light. “Find yourself another agent. I’m through with you!” She tossed the book at him, grabbed her bag and pushed open the door, slamming it hard behind her.
Valentijn watched her go, shrugged and then, tapping the glass partition, he said to the driver, “Turn right at the next intersection. I’d like to stop by the florist.”
“Very well, Sir.”
Valentijn settled back in his seat, smiling slightly as he looked out of the window. He could just picture Alina’s face when she saw the lavender gladioli. Lavender was her favorite color and the gladioli symbolized his infatuation for her, a girl almost half his age. And the girl who had cost him the best agent he ever had. He hoped she was worth the trouble.
Infatuation is the most fragile kind of love – C.S. Lewis