“Signing a new artist, Meg?”
Ria’s head whipped around.
A tall dark-haired young man with a wide smile lounged against Meg’s office door. He was dressed in a navy t-shirt that stretched across broad shoulders, a pair of indigo jeans, and white baseball trainers.
“Adam.” Meg remained seated as he strolled into the office and eased a hip against the corner of her desk.
He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Meg’s cheek. “Meg…always a pleasure.” Easing back from her he smiled across at Ria. “We haven’t met have we?”
“No you haven’t,” Meg said in Ria’s place, and made a quick introduction. “Ria, this is Adam Kelly. Adam, Ria Ofor.”
Adam extended his hand and Ria shook it, still uncomfortable under his piercing gaze. His eyes seemed to be everywhere but he smiled, and that relaxed her.
“Pleasure to meet you, Ria. Go out much?”
She blinked. “I-uh, no. Not really.”
“No? Well, I know a lot of artists. I can introduce you if you like? It’s good to get in with the right crowd.”
“Oh uh…” Too surprised to respond, she glanced across at Meg, but the agent’s expression was unreadable.
“I can ease you in slowly,” Adam continued kindly. “I know loads of great artists who love to meet other artists.”
“What brings you over, Adam?” Meg asked. “We’re not scheduled to meet till next month.”
He gave a winning smile. “I found myself in the area and thought I’d swing by, say hello. Also to see what Layla was up to this weekend. I didn’t see her at reception?”
“She’s at home, recuperating from dental surgery.”
“Oh.” His dark brows arched over light blue eyes. “And…have you had a chance to convince that gallery I want to sign with?”
Seeing Meg’s mouth tighten, Ria focused on her portfolio, no longer self-conscious, but uncomfortable all the same.
“Be back in a minute, Ria.” Meg rose from the table.
Ria watched as Meg gestured for Adam to join her outside the office. Ria continued to look through her portfolio as Meg and Adam spoke quietly for a few minutes before reentering the office.
With a smile Adam sauntered back to stand beside Ria. “Want to exchange numbers?” He pulled out his phone. “You might want to change your mind about coming out? I know lots of artists who’d love to meet you.”
“Really?” She couldn’t imagine that.
“Well…”Torn between fear and longing to stop being afraid of everything, she hesitated. She should accept, and be like everyone else, she told herself. They’ll be artists like you, she told herself. They’ll be kind. They won’t stare, point, or grimace. Pulling out her phone she exchanged numbers with him.
Adam returned his phone to his jean pocket, then taking her hand, kissed it exaggeratedly. Caught between surprise and amusement, Ria laughed.
“Are all the artists you work with like that?” she asked Meg once he had left.
Meg retook her seat. “Oh, I assure you, Adam’s in a class all by himself.”
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