Famed artist, Maxfield Caswell is missing.
Three of his major paintings have been savagely defaced and his house left in ruins. As his friends search for him, does his muse, Ava, hold the key?
Before the hope of love is lost, secrets will be told, spirits will be broken, and a price will be paid.
From the cave dwellings of New Mexico to the shores of Malibu, Max and Ava’s journey tests them to their limits. As they render passion and pain in broad strokes, will their all-consuming love rise from the debris?
On the way to my car, he stops me. “Ava, I need to say something.”
He pauses on the walkway, looks down and kicks a pebble toward
“I know that as much I’d like to…I can’t ask you not to see
What? I glance up at him with my head tipped to the side.
He’s twisting his hands together as I wait for him to continue. He
finally looks me square in the eyes.
“…But, will you do me a favor? Don’t fall in love with him.”
I arch my brow. “Did you really just ask me that?” Should I tell him
there’s little to no chance of my falling in love with Jonathan now?
He gets a devilish look in his eyes as he holds up his hands in surrender.
“I know, I know…I just don’t want you to get involved with
him on the rebound.”
I put my hands on my hips and arch my brow. “Max, to be on the
rebound you have to have been in a relationship to rebound from.”
He seems to ignore my logic. “Besides, Ava, you could still be really
attracted to me and not know it.”
“Really? I don’t think my attraction to you is in question.”
“Yeah, what if you’re secretly falling in love with me?”
I playfully push him on the shoulder. “You wish!” I tease.
“There’s only one way to know for sure. Don’t you think you should
know before you go out with Jonathan again?”
“One way to know for sure?”
“Yes. Kiss me. I promise I won’t touch you—look, hands free!” He
tucks his hands into his back pockets.
My mouth falls open as I press my thighs together. Just the idea of
being kissed again by Max makes me instantly hot and bothered.
“Just one little kiss,” he says in a low voice.
I can’t believe he’s playing this game with me. But the fire in his eyes
and the sweet smile on his face are more than I can bear. I take a step
toward him. Two can play this game.
“So, if I feel nothing, we’ll agree to be friends—that’s it—no complications.
And I can friggin’ marry Jonathan if I so choose.”
He makes a sour face, but nods anyway.
I bite my lip as I look into his eyes. One kiss, one kiss…I close my
eyes as I edge closer until I can feel the heat shimmering from his skin.
“Oh, Ava,” he whispers, a deep longing in his voice.
His breath on my cheek undoes me, and when our lips meet, they
meld together as if they’d just kissed a moment earlier. We kiss languidly,
sensuously, our tongues meeting in an erotic dance. He gently
bites my bottom lip before I press my lips even harder against his. An
overwhelming current suddenly surges through me, practically knocking
Oh my God! I’m on fire. I run one of my hands along his shoulder
and behind his neck, pulling him closer, while winding my other hand
into his hair and tugging it passionately. Our bodies are pressed together
so tightly I feel as if I’m one with him.
He moans my name over and over as the kiss intensifies. I’m lost in
his sweet mouth, his lips turning me into a traitor to logic and reason.
When I finally pull away to gasp for air, he grins widely, and the
bright-eyed expression on his face is victorious. He gambled big and
Like there was ever a question—he owns me. He probably has all
along; it’s just taken me all this time to figure it out.
He studies me with a spark in his eyes, and he takes a sharp breath.
He takes his hands out of his pockets as if to grab me and never let me
- My heart’s so full I can’t help but shine with a smile.
I remember we’re taking things slow, so without a word, I hurry to
my car before he can say something to draw me back into his arms. But
even as I flee the charged atmosphere and speed down PCH, I can feel
his joy follow me all the way home.
Ruth Clampett has a way with bringing characters to life. As she delves further into the lives and careers of Max and Ava she shows us just how vulnerable they both are. Max continues to battle the demons of his past while Ava faces a huge betrayal from a place she never expected.
The level of passion between Max and Ava accelerates to incendiary.
I slide my hand between his legs and slowly tease upward. “You know, it’s not fair that I have to deal with getting scorched from all that heat. It’s damn distracting. The want is overwhelming…we’re lucky that I haven’t spontaneously combusted by now.”
The way that Ruth describes the scenes at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe were very provocative.
My eyes wander over the waves of soft color blending into each other. “Really? How does it remind you of me?”
“You really want to know? He pauses, and I wonder if it’s sexual, because O’Keeffe’s work is certainly noted for it. I can feel his breath on my neck, and his fingers press firmly into the flesh at the swell of my hips.
“Yes.” I lean back against him.
“Okay, but this isn’t really museum talk.” He kisses me right behind the ear before lowering his voice. “This paining is how I see you between your legs. I could run my finders over the painting’s colors and feel you opening up for me.
They work hard to support one another, but communication continues to be an issue. Ava sees how hard Max is trying to be the man she needs him to be.
I understand the huge significance of his gesture and I close my eyes to still the memory in my mind. He wipes the residual paint off my finger with his rag, lifts my hand to his face and gently kisses the center of my palm.
Upon reading the last page of The Unveiling, I immediately contacted Ruth to find out when book 3 would be available. I’m not a patient person, but Max and Ava are worth waiting for. This is a must read series!
Work of Art is a fantastic book! Ruth Clampett takes her readers into the world of fine art and shows both the alluring and seedy sides of an industry that is based on aesthetic pleasure.
Ava is a young woman on a mission. She is learning everything she can about the art world so she can take those experiences and turn them into her dream career. What she didn’t bargain for is Maxwell Caswell.
Max is a hot commodity on the art scene. He is extremely talented, in demand by both collectors and art groupies. Everyone wants a piece of him and hope to latch on to his rising star. He, however, is his own worst enemy.
Ruth opens up the art world and gives her readers a glimpse from a perspective they normally might not have. She shows the glitz and glamour as well as the business side of things. How artists find their inspiration and work through the creative process. I learned so much in reading this book.
I loved how Ava was both conflicted in her feelings, but aware enough to assess them.
Doesn’t every young woman at one point have a handsome teacher or boss she fantasizes about. And if they show her special attention, the allure can be hard to resist.
She is forced to look at her belief system when she experiences attentions on multiple fronts.
There’s nothing more seductive than a man who makes it clear that he wants you. As much as the feminist in me hates to admit it, his admiration is confidence boosting.
Ava also reflects on how her behaviors might be based on trying to fill a void, rather than admitting her true feelings.
I know it’s wrong…a wrong that may become another regret in the morning. But none of the wrongs are compelling enough to make me stop when I’ve felt so undesirable all day.
Work of Art is the first in a trilogy with each subsequent installments scheduled to release 8 weeks apart. I am very much looking forward to reading The Unveiling in January and The Masterpiece in March
Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director, Bob Clampett, has spent a lifetime surrounded by art and animation. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, her careers have included graphic design, photography, VP of Design for WB Stores and teaching photography at UCLA. She now runs her own studio as the fine art publisher for Warner Bros. where she’s had the opportunity to know and work with many of the greatest artists in the world of animation and comics.
The Work of Art Trilogy is Ruth’s third publishing endeavor, following Animate Me and Mr. 365. She lives in Los Angeles and is heavily supervised by her teenage daughter, lovingly referred to as Snarky, who loves art and visiting museums as much as her mom.