Eighty Days Red

Eighty Days Red

2.1 8
by Vina Jackson
     
 

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World-renowned violinist Summer Zahova returns to London—the city where it all began. Free and single in the hedonistic capital, Summer embarks on a series of steamy affairs, embracing exciting new opportunities and traveling to Europe to fulfill her dreams. When Summer’s priceless violin is stolen, fate brings wealthy and charismatic Dominik back

Overview

World-renowned violinist Summer Zahova returns to London—the city where it all began. Free and single in the hedonistic capital, Summer embarks on a series of steamy affairs, embracing exciting new opportunities and traveling to Europe to fulfill her dreams. When Summer’s priceless violin is stolen, fate brings wealthy and charismatic Dominik back into her life. Neither Summer nor Dominik can deny the heat that still exists between them, but history has left its scars, and both realize that love and passion can’t always go hand in hand. Summer knows that if she plays with fire, she’ll end up getting burned, but then there are some pleasures that are just too hard to deny. . . .  Can Summer and Dominik finally overcome the obstacles that stand between them? And will Summer choose to follow her head or her heart? Find out in the unforgettable conclusion of Vina Jackson’s red-hot romantic trilogy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Fun, frisky, and grown-up. It’s refreshing to see female desire comes in more shades than just grey!” —Belle de Jour

Praise for Eighty Days Yellow
“It’s modern, it’s hot, but most of all it’s beautifully written.” —Elleadore.com

“Audacious and lustful: a love story that will take your breath away.” —20 minutes

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781453287286
Publisher:
Open Road Media Romance
Publication date:
11/06/2012
Series:
Eighty Days Series , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
342
File size:
910 KB

Read an Excerpt

Eighty Days Red

The Eighty Days Trilogy, Book Three


By Vina Jackson

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2012 Vina Jackson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-8728-6



CHAPTER 1

Running


My feet beat time with my heart.

Central Park was sheathed in white. Despite the relative calm within the park, I was constantly aware of the sprawling city that spread out around me on every side, like a huge open hand with a patch of countryside clutched in the middle, buildings pointing upwards like dirty grey fingers surrounding the pristine blankets of snow rolling out across the lawn.

The snow was still fresh, powdery, and I could feel it crunch lightly beneath my footsteps, cushioning my landing. The absence of colour in the park amplified all of my other senses, so that I could feel the dry, freezing cold air brushing my skin like the touch of some icy supernatural being. My breath steamed out in front of my face like wisps of smoke and the cold air burned my throat.

I had run every day for a month since discovering Dominik's book in Shakespeare & Co., on lower Broadway. I'd read it hurriedly, in the rare, snatched moments when I found myself alone in the house, wary of Simón's watchful gaze.

It had been a strange feeling reading Dominik's work. The heroine was so much like me. He'd included some of the conversations that we'd had in his dialogue, described scenes from my childhood that I had related to him, about the smothering nature of life growing up in a small town and my desire to get away from it. He'd even given her red hair.

And I recognised Dominik's voice throughout the text as clear as a bell. His particular turns of phrase, references to books I knew he'd read and music he liked.

Two years had gone by since we'd broken up. We'd had a terrible misunderstanding and I had allowed my pride to get the better of me and walked out on him, something I still regretted to this day. When I'd gone back to his apartment to try to clear the air he was gone. I had peered under the crack in the door and seen an empty room and mail piled up on the floor. I hadn't heard from or of him since.

Until that day when I'd been shopping for running shoes in Manhattan and discovered his novel in a bookshop window. Curious, I'd flipped it open, and been shocked to find that despite our tempestuous relationship and the sour nature of our parting he'd dedicated it to me: 'To S. Yours, always.'

I hadn't been able to think of anything else since.

Running was my way of beating the feelings out of my body. Particularly in winter, when the ground was covered in white and the streets were quieter than usual. In winter, Central Park was like a snowy desert, the one place that I could escape the cacophony of the city for an hour.

It was also a chance to give myself some thinking space away from Simón.

He was still leading the Gramercy Symphonia, the orchestra where we'd first met.

I'd joined the string section three years ago, playing the Bailly violin that Dominik had gifted me. Simón was the conductor, and under his tutelage my playing had improved immensely. He'd encouraged me to go solo and introduced me to an agent, and I was at the point now where I'd had a few tours and released a couple of records.

Our relationship had been professional, though admittedly flirtatious at times. I knew Simón was in love with me, and I did little to discourage his feelings, but nothing had happened between us until my row with Dominik. I had been touring at the time and hadn't had anywhere of my own to go. Simón's apartment near the Lincoln Centre with the built-in rehearsal space had seemed an obvious option, easier and more practical than a hotel.

But then Dominik disappeared, and a couple of nights with Simón had quickly turned into a couple of years.

I'd drifted into it happily enough. Simón was an easy person to be with and I was fond of him, loved him even. Our friends greeted the idea of us being an item with immediate enthusiasm. It made so much sense, the young virtuoso conductor and his up-and-coming violinist. After spending years either determinedly single or with someone that my friends and family suspected wasn't the right man for me, I suddenly fitted in.

I felt accepted. Normal.

Life slipped by in an ongoing sequence of rehearsals and performances, recording studios, the excitement of having my first album released, and then another. Cosy parties, Christmases and Thanksgiving dinners spent with friends and relatives. We even appeared in a couple of magazine articles listed as New York's musical golden couple. We'd been photographed in Carnegie Hall after a concert, standing hand in hand, me resting my head on Simón's shoulder, my curly red hair mingled with his thick dark locks. I was wearing a long black velvet dress with a low back.

It was the dress that I had worn for Dominik the first time that I had played for him, Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, at the bandstand on Hampstead Heath.

Dominik and I had struck a deal. He would buy me a new violin – my one at the time having been wrecked in a fight in Tottenham Court Road tube station – in exchange for a performance on the heath, and another more private performance where I had played for him entirely nude. It was a brazen request from a stranger, but the idea of it thrilled me in a way I couldn't explain at the time. Dominik saw in me something I had yet to see in myself. A wantonness and desire that I hadn't even begun to explore. A side of myself that had since brought me both pleasure and pain.

And true to his word, Dominik had replaced my old, battered violin with the Bailly, the instrument that I'd had ever since and still played at all of my gigs, though I had other spares for rehearsing.

Simón had wanted to buy me a new one. He favoured modern instruments with a cleaner tone and thought that I should try for a change, something crisper. I suspected that he just wanted me to be rid of all the parts of Dominik that still flavoured my life. Certainly I'd had enough offers from musical patrons and instrument manufacturers that I could have replaced the Bailly ten times over.

But Dominik's gift felt like home to me. No other instrument had the same tone, the same ideal weight that rested in my hand, the perfect fit beneath my chin. Playing the Bailly inevitably brought Dominik to mind, and thinking of Dominik made me go into that place that I went where I played at my finest; a mental disappearance act, my body taking over from my brain and my mind retreating into a waking dream where the music came alive and I didn't need to play any more, just experience my dream while my bow hand moved across the strings for me.

A woman stared at me in surprise. She was dressed in a heavy jacket with the hood pulled tightly around her face to ward off the cold and was pushing a bright blue pram with a heavily bundled child inside. A fellow jogger kitted out head to toe in bright yellow thermal gear with reflective stripes gave me a knowing glance as he passed.

Simón had bought me running clothes for Christmas, amongst his other gifts. Perhaps as a sign that he planned to stop nagging me to join a gym instead. Simón hated my jogging in Central Park, especially in the early mornings or late evenings. He quoted statistics about female joggers in Central Park and how likely they were to be attacked. Apparently, most likely when blonde, wearing a ponytail and running around 6 a.m. on a Monday. That almost entirely ruled me out, I'd told him, as I'm a redhead and never out of bed at 6 a.m., ever, but he still nagged me.

He'd given me a pair of designer thermal gloves and matching long trousers, shirt and jacket, and the most expensive pair of running shoes on the market although I'd just bought myself a pair.

'You're running on ice, you'll slip,' he'd said.

I wore the shoes to keep him happy, though I replaced the white laces with red ones for a splash of colour. And I wore the gloves. But most days I left the thermal jacket at home. Even in winter I preferred to run wearing just a singlet. It was viciously cold at first. The wind bit into my skin like a bed of nails but I soon warmed up, and I liked the feeling of the fresh air, and the cold wind which encouraged me to run faster.

By the time I reached home again my skin would inevitably be bright red and sometimes my fingers swollen despite the gloves, as if I'd been burned by the cold.

Simón would take me into his arms and kiss me to warm me up, rubbing my bare arms and shoulders until my skin hurt.

He was warm in every way, from his coffee-coloured skin, courtesy of his Venezuelan heritage, his big brown eyes, his thick curly hair and his big body. He was nearly six foot two and had been very gradually putting on weight since we moved in together. He was by no means fat, but eating dinners together and sharing bottles of wine on the couch over a DVD had taken him from lean to burly and the slight padding on his body gave him an additional sense of softness. His chest was covered with a thick mass of dark hair which I loved to run my hands through as we lay in bed together, after making love.

He was overtly masculine in his appearance and deeply affectionate in his manner. Our two years together had been like relaxing in a bubble bath. Falling into a relationship with him was like coming home after a long day at work and slipping into flannelette pyjamas and old socks. There's nothing like the company of a man who loves you utterly and without question. With Simón I was cared for, protected, soothed.

But I was also bored.

I'd managed to quell the undercurrent of dissatisfaction in our relationship with a barrage of hobbies. Working like a demon. Playing the violin as though each performance was my last. Running the New York marathon. Running, running, running, all the time running away but always going back home again.

Until I had read Dominik's book.

Since then I'd heard Dominik's voice in my mind almost constantly.

First in the words of his novel, as if instead of reading it I was listening to an audio book.

Then memories had risen up like a tide.

Our relationship had been coloured by sex, but not the frequent, affectionate sex that I had with Simón.

Dominik was a man with darker desires than your average, and being with him had been like having a light go on in my life. With Dominik I'd taken great pleasure in the realisation of fantasies that I previously hadn't dreamed of. He had asked me to do things for him that other people had not even whispered. It was not so much the adventurousness of it but his insistence that I allow him to use my body for his pleasure, submit to him in a strange game that was more mental than it was physical and in which we were both complicit, though it would seem to any outsider as though I was allowing him to rule me.

Sexually, Simón was virtually the reverse of Dominik. He liked me to be on top, and I spent most of our evenings together grinding against him from above, trying to prevent my mind from drifting away into daydreams of work and shopping lists, or staring at the glossy white wall behind the headboard.

My phone buzzed in my trouser pocket and I jumped in surprise, almost slipping on an icy patch. Few people had the number, and I didn't often receive calls. When I did they were from Simón or my agent Susan, and Simón knew that I was running, so was unlikely to call unless he wanted me to pick something up for breakfast, one of the sugary doughnuts that he loved to dip in his coffee from the deli on the corner of Lexington and 56th.

I hurriedly tugged off one of my gloves. My fingers were so frozen from the cold that I could barely grip the handset. It was a New Zealand number, though not one I had programmed onto the phone already.

I pressed the call answer button with some trepidation. I very rarely spoke to my family on the phone. We just weren't the type for frequent communication and preferred to email or use Skype. And it would be late in the evening over there.

'Hello?'

'Heya, Sum, how's tricks?'

'Fran?'

'Don't tell me it's been so long you don't recognise my voice, sis?'

'Of course I do, I just didn't expect to hear from you. What time is it over there?'

'Couldn't sleep. I've been thinking.'

'Don't make a habit of it.'

'I want to come and visit you.'

'In New York?'

'I'd prefer London to be honest, but any port in a storm. I'm getting bored of Te Aroha.'

Those were words that I had never expected to hear coming out of my older sister's mouth. She stuck out like a sore thumb in our home town, Te Aroha, and didn't strike me as a small town person at all, but despite that she had lived there her whole life, nearly thirty years. She'd been working at the local bank since she left high school. Twelve years or so in practically the same job. She'd started as teller and moved up to team leader and then financial advisor, though she hadn't had any formal training besides that which was offered in-house. I was the only one in my family who had gone to university, though I'd dropped out after the first year.

I could picture her easily. It was a Saturday morning for me so would be late Saturday night for her. She'd be sitting in her cottage, dressed in denim shorts and a bright neon ripped T-shirt, eighties punk style, and fidgeting as she always did, running her hand through her short, cropped bottle-blond hair or wrapping a lock of her fringe around her finger. It was mid-summer there so probably hot, although her old house was draughty and Te Aroha always seemed to have a chill in the air, as if the entire town lived in the shadow of the mountain.

'What's brought all this on?' I asked her. 'I thought you'd be there for ever.'

'Nothing lasts for ever, does it?'

'Well no, but it's a bit of a change of heart for you. Has something happened?'

'I'm not sure if I should tell you. Mum told me not to.'

'Oh for God's sake, you're going to have to now. You can't leave me hanging.'

I had slowed down to a quick walk and without the momentum of a run pushing me along the ice I was slipping with each footstep, and freezing cold without the heat of the heavy exertion to warm me. The fingers of my ungloved hand were bright red from the cold and beginning to throb.

'Fran, I'm in the middle of Central Park and the temperature is sub-zero. I need to start running again and I can't run and talk so spit it out and I'll call you back when I get home.'

'Mr van der Vliet died.'

She said the words softly, as though she was gently releasing a weapon.

'Your violin teacher ...' she added, filling the silence between us.

'I know who he is!'

I stopped completely and let the ice in the air wrap itself around me like a steel blanket.

Fran was silent at the other end of the phone.

'When? What happened?' I finally managed.

'They don't know. They found his body in the river, where his wife died.'

Mr van der Vliet's wife had died the day that I was born. She had been driving through the Karangahake Gorge on her way home from Tauranga when her car's wheels had slipped in the rain and she'd misjudged one of the tight corners and collided with a truck coming the other way. The driver of the other vehicle had been fine, not even a scratch, but Mrs van der Vliet's car had flipped and plunged over the side of the treacherous road and into the river. She had drowned before anyone had been able to reach her.

'When?' The word stuck in my throat like a mouthful of cotton wool.

'Nearly two months ago,' Fran whispered. 'We didn't want to tell you. Thought it might upset you, affect your performances. Mum and Dad didn't want you to drop everything to come home for the funeral.'

'I would have come back.'

'I know. But what difference does it make? He'd still be dead, whether you were here or not.'

Fran, like most of the other New Zealanders I knew, was practical and pragmatic. But her hard logic didn't stop the vice-like sensation that was gripping my heart.

Mr van der Vliet would have been in his eighties now, and I didn't think he'd ever got over the death of his wife. But quiet and unassuming as he was, he'd been like a rock in my childhood. His voice, still thick with a Dutch accent despite having lived in New Zealand for most of his adult life, would be gentle but firm as he corrected my grip on the bow or praised me for a successful performance.

I'd learned most of the craft of violin playing by watching him. The way that his tall and painfully thin body became so alive and graceful when he took up an instrument. He played as if he had stepped through a door into another place, becoming a different man altogether, with none of his usual awkwardness. I'd tried to mimic the way he seemed to live the music and soon found that by closing my eyes and absorbing the melody with my body I could play far better than I could just by reading from a sheet.

Mr van der Vliet was not the reason why I had begun to play in the first place. My father and his vinyl records had to bear responsibility for that. But Hendrik van der Vliet was certainly the reason why I kept at it. He had seemed such a stern man on the outside, yet had a streak of softness that came out occasionally and I'd spent most of my childhood and teenage years doing everything that I could to elicit his rare praise by practising and practising until my fingers were raw.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Eighty Days Red by Vina Jackson. Copyright © 2012 Vina Jackson. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Vina Jackson is the pseudonym for two established writers working together. One is a successful author; the other a published writer who is also a financial professional in London.

Vina Jackson is the pseudonym for two established writers working together. One is a successful author; the other is a published writer who is also a financial professional in London. 

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Eighty Days Red 2.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
CyanDragon More than 1 year ago
A perfect continuation to where we left off in Eighty Days Blue. I found this installment to be a bit calmer than the other two in the series, not as rough in the BDSM scene and the sex is mellower. There are still plenty of erotic scenes, some F/F action, multiple partner scenes, BDSM elements and the anticipation is there just as in the others and it’s still an intriguing read that sucks the reader in its pages just as the others. Any reader of the erotic genre will also get sucked into Summer and Dominik's story. We get to see a softer side to Dominik and bask in his glory since he finished his book and it’s been published with great success. He’s now working on a second book and taking a different direction this time than he did with the other, or at least trying to. It’s difficult for him to focus on his writing or anything else with the constant distraction of Summer on his mind. He really does miss her. Much more than he will admit to even himself, everything about her, and he seems to unconsciously look for some of her in every woman he interacts with. Is Dominik really in love or is it something else, like infatuation? Summer has come a very long way since Eighty Days Yellow. Her and Dominik were on again, off again, never exclusive and now have been apart for a couple of years with absolutely no contact. Both living their own separate lives, that is until Summer returns to London and runs into Dominik once again. The chemistry is still there between them and undeniable. But is he available any longer or has he moved on and settled down for good? This series was a great emotional ride that I was more than happy to experience. I'm sad to see it end and wish for more to come of Summer and Dominik’s final relationship. The ending left me wanting and wondering if it is actually finally a happy ever after for the two :)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bought the book but it will not load...frustrating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
would love to finish out this series but it will not load on my nook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This product will not load on my nook color. I would buy it if I can read a sampling of the book .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*****WILL NOT LOAD!! BLANK PAGES!!******
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really wish i could actually read the book. No text on the pages. :(