About the Book
Title: Stolen Obsession
Author: Marlene M. Bell
Genre: Romantic Suspense
PEOPLE DIE, BUT LEGENDS LIVE ON.
Manhattan antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury dreams of a quiet life on the family farm among the sheep she loves, when her best friend is murdered. The police assume robbery is the motive because her friend’s expensive bracelet is missing. But the 500-year-old artifact is rumored to carry an ancient curse, one that unleashes evil upon any who dare wear the jewelry created for the Persian royal family—and Annalisse believes her friend is the latest victim.
Weeks later, Annalisse sees a necklace matching the stolen bracelet at a gallery opening. Convinced the necklace is part of the deadly collection, Annalisse begs the gallery’s owner to destroy the piece, but her pleas are ignored— despite the unnatural death that occurs during the opening. With two victims linked to the jewelry, Annalisse is certain she must act.
Desperate to keep the gallery owner safe, Annalisse reluctantly enlists the owner’s son to help—even though she’s afraid he’ll break her heart. Wealthy and devastatingly handsome, with a string of bereft women in his wake, Greek playboy Alec Zavos dismisses Annalisse’s concerns—until his parents are ripped from the Zavos family yacht during their ocean voyage near Crete.
Annalisse and Alec race across two oceans to save his mother, feared dead or kidnapped. As time lapses, the killer switches mode and closes in on the man who’s meant for Annalisse with the lifestyle she wants most.
But when it’s her turn as the hunted, will she choose to save Alec and his mother, or sacrifice everything to save herself?
Alec lifted her hand seductively and kissed her knuckles like they’d just met. Greek men were so different. She felt the urge to curtsy, but buried the impulse with a smile. She didn’t want to feel anything for Alec, and wished she were home, safe from the schoolgirl thuds banging away in her chest. She wasn’t ready to date yet. Not since they found Sam.
“Now, what do you think of the necklace?” Generosa twirled her arm toward the case in game show host style.
Annalisse loved the way Generosa’s gestures followed her words. A modest woman whose confidence and positive attitude had rescued Annalisse from more than a few scrapes with Harry.
“It scares me, Gen. I’d like your permission to cover it tonight.”
“Nonsense, bambolina.” Generosa escorted Alec to the display.
“It’s a bad omen. Where’d you find it?” Annalisse balled a fist and banged her hip.
Generosa clicked the glass with her acrylic nails. “Doesn’t the motif remind you of your beautiful horses, son? I know we shouldn’t have copied Sam’s bracelet, but I had to have one. We added filigree next to the acorns for a modern touch and redesigned it in fourteen karat.”
Annalisse peered inside the case then slowly met Generosa’s gaze. “You are one of the most special people in my life, so please don’t take this the wrong way. There’s no filigree, and it’s not a recent piece.” She lowered her voice. “I beg you— shove it in a safe deposit box. I don’t care, lock it away, but don’t tell anyone you have it, and never wear it.”
“Why?” Alec stepped between her and Generosa.
“Sam. The curse this necklace carries—the same destiny as her bracelet.”
“Pooh.” Generosa tsked.
“What curse?” Alec leaned closer.
With the speed of an open water faucet, Generosa’s words ran together. “I know every painting and artifact in this gallery. I sell only new jewelry, Annalisse. I’ve planned this event for months. Must we do this?”
“It’s from ancient Persia. The ruling Mushasha had ordered death to the wearer of any collection piece. Sam bought her bracelet just before she died. I know her killing wasn’t random.” Annalisse touched Generosa’s wrist. “And I won’t stand by while this necklace hurts you.”
“Mu-what?” Generosa’s lips soured in a pucker.
Annalisse’s breathing intensified into short bursts. Marble statues mocked her with their stares. If Generosa made a copy, then someone switched her necklace with the true artifact. But, taking a fake and leaving the real one in its place made no sense.
“Do you have the matching ring, too?” Annalisse swayed. When she stumbled, Alec caught her around the waist. “I’m okay.” Annalisse adjusted the foot that slipped out of her shoe. “Shouldn’t have skipped lunch.”
“Eat something.” Generosa crooked a finger at a server near the staircase. “The jewelry collection’s been missing a long time. Hundreds of years. It’s priceless, and now someone wants the pieces back. This display in your shop makes us a…target.”
Marlene M Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested at www.marlenembell.com or www.texassheep.com.
Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in East Texas with their 50 head of Horned Dorset sheep, a lovable Maremma guard dog named, Tia, and 3 spoiled cats who rule the household.
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