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Authors: Rebecca Lynn

Tags: #Iris


BOOK: Release
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Book 1 of the Iris Series



Rebecca Lynn



Copyright ©
2013 by Rebecca Lynn


Cover image ©


All rights


limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication
may be reproduced stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of
the above author of this book.

This is a work
of fiction.  Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are
either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. 
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various
products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without
permission.  The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized
associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.






Iris glided down to earth along her
many-coloured bow.


Ovid, Metamorphoses 11. 585 ff




The iris's history is rich, dating
back to Ancient Greek times

when the Greek Goddess Iris, the
messenger of the gods

and the personification of the
rainbow, acted as the link

between heaven and earth...with
striking uniqueness and beauty,

irises have rich meanings, and when
given as gifts,

they convey deep sentiments.


Samantha Green, “History and Meaning of
Iris,” 24 August 2012






…although Shakespeare implies
that Romeo has feelings for Rosaline, it soon becomes obvious to the reader
that Juliet surpasses Rosaline in his heart, and becomes Romeo’s one true
love.  What is missing in the relationship with Rosaline, is seen a hundred
times over in his relationship with Juliet, a relationship of passion and
urgency.  Throughout the whole play, Shakespeare creates this sense of
urgency around his protagonists so much, that the reader almost expects the
tragic ending.   If only Romeo would’ve waited, just a couple of
minutes longer.  But he couldn’t.  He couldn’t wait to be with his
one true love...

Ryann Thornton
smiled as she wrote her final comments to the freshman honor student on the
paper, then put the grade on the top of the essay.  That had been her last
paper in the stack to grade, thank God.

As an English
Lit teacher at the prestigious West Side Academy in Manhattan, Ryann had read
many an essay written by adolescents about Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet

Seeing the anguish on her 14 year old students’ faces while reading that last
scene of the popular tragedy always made her remember why she loved
teaching.  To see students become so invested in this great piece of
literature excited her.  She loved hearing their feedback, watching their
emotion, usually of anger at the unfairness of it all, and then the sadness of
losing a love.

Ryann wondered
what was keeping her husband so long in getting home, but when she took a
moment to look out her bay window at the snowy and icy New Jersey street in the
quaint commuter town of Cranford, a suburb just outside of New York City, she
figured it was the weather that was making him late.  It was going on 7pm,
and he was usually home from work an hour and a half earlier.

Brent had been
her college boyfriend...her first.  Ayanna, her best friend from grade
school, had joked that Ryann had been the oldest virgin she had ever
known.  What could she say?  She was picky. 

But when Brent
sat next to her in her sophomore English Lit class, she felt an immediate
comfort with him, and knew he was husband material.  Granted, she had only
been 20 at the time, but like most girls that age, she fantasized about the
future, and finding her prince.  Sometimes you just knew…and Ryann
knew.  He was funny, charming, cute, and so…familiar.  He put her at
ease.  The fall after they’d graduated college, he popped the question,
and the following year, they had married.

They were still
practically newlyweds, having been married now for only a year and a half.

While looking
out the window, she noticed the police car pull up.  She wondered if Mrs.
Pardo, her next door neighbor, had fallen down again.  But instead of
going next door, the two police officers began coming up her walkway.

A feeling of
dread began to come over her, and her heart rate began to pick up.  A loud
buzzing came into her head, and she sat, waiting for the doorbell to
ring.  When it did, she slowly got up to walk to the door, her legs

With sweaty
hands, she reached for the doorknob, and pulled the door open.

“Good evening,
ma’am.  We’re Officers Zimmerman and Simms.  We’re looking for Mrs.
Ryann Thornton.”

“I’m Ryann
Thornton,” she said, her breath nearly leaving her.

The officers
looked at each other, then back at her as the officer continued to speak. 

“Ma’am, do you
have a friend who you can call?” he asked softly.

She could feel
herself growing faint, and as she grabbed for the doorjamb to steady herself,
she said in a whisper, “Oh, God.  Tell me what happened.”





Chapter 1

Present day,
Friday night

Stupid friggin’

This was when
Ryann missed her late husband.  Well, she obviously missed him for many
reasons, but it was times like these when she wished he was here.

He always took
care of this kind of stuff.  Why she didn’t take care of it when she first
saw the red engine light glowing on her dashboard days ago, she didn’t
know.  She was usually pretty good at handling situations as soon as they
arose.  Years of teaching high schoolers had taught her that.  But
stalling outside the Holland Tunnel was not her idea of fun, and it was her own
friggin’ fault.  She had been in the midst of grading finals, working on
her thesis, packing up the house for the move... and hadn’t taken the time to
make an appointment at the service station.   

sighed.  Yup.  It was her own friggin’ fault.

Being in the
middle of a torrential downpour, on her way to an extremely important art
wearing her best heels made the evening even worse.

She groaned, and
rested her head back on the seat.  While she was on hold with AAA, she
glanced around outside, watching the traffic crawling around her.  At
least she was able to pull the car over to the side of the road.  As cars
passed, swishing tires caused water to splash up onto her windshield.

“Thank you for
calling Triple A.  This is Jason.  How may I help you?”

“Hi.  My
name is Ryann Thornton, and my car broke down outside the Holland Tunnel. I’m
on the corner of Washington and Spring Streets.  Is it possible to send a
tow truck right away?”

“Let me pull up
your account, Ms. Thornton…”  Pause.  “Would you please verify your

Ryann gave him
the New Jersey address that she would call home for the next couple of
days.  The dispatcher put her on hold while he checked for available tow
trucks in the area.

“It looks like I
can have a truck there within the next 45 minutes.  I wish it was sooner,
but we’re busy because of the rain.”    

Shit.  45
minutes.  Ryann wondered if it would take longer.  She hoped
not.  It was already 9:30pm.  Because the day before had been the
last day of finals for her students, she had needed the whole day to mark all
of their exams and projects to get final grades in to the Academy by 7pm that
night.  She had discovered that she had needed every minute to get it all
done, so she had been running behind all day.

She quickly
calculated how long she thought it would take before she got to the
event.  At least an hour, she thought.  The art showing was already
in full swing, but this was the City. Nothing ever started on time, and things
always went a little longer...right?  Maybe she could get there before it
was over.  There was no way she wasn’t going to try.

She could call
for a car service to pick her up, she thought, biting at her lower lip. 
She didn’t exactly feel like walking the mile and a half to the gallery in the
rain.  She probably had another 10 minutes to get there by car with the

Yup, she
decided.  She’d call for a car and be on her way once the tow truck got

“Ok.  Thank
you.  Yes, please send a truck.”

After she
disconnected, she sat there staring out the windshield.  Tabitha Lowe was
one of her favorite artists.  Renowned for her ability to capture the
essence of New York City in her oil paintings, she was one of New York’s most
prestigious artists.  For the last 20 years, she had been perfecting her
craft, but it was only in the last 10 that she was gaining recognition for her
work.  Ryann had only begun following her career the last couple of years,
and not only had Ryann been looking forward to seeing Tabitha Lowe’s latest
creations, but she knew that making an appearance at the showing would be great
networking for her, and the new journey on which she was embarking.

In January of
her third year of teaching English Lit to the privileged teenagers of
Manhattan, she had lost Brent.  Ryann let her mind wander to that night
when the two police officers had arrived on her doorstep to tell her that her
husband of only a year and a half had been killed on his way home from
work.  His car had hit a patch of ice on the Garden State Parkway, and
collided with two other cars.  He had been killed instantly, they had

She couldn’t
believe it had been two and a half years already. 

There was no
doubt that those first months after his death had been the absolute worst time
of her life.  She had gone through the denial, the grief, the anger. 
Now years later, she had finally begun to heal, and was now able to see what
her life could be again. 

After his death,
she had begun to focus more on her own dreams.  Always the pragmatist, she
had chosen her teaching career because it was dependable.  But knowing
first hand that life was precious, and short, she had started to re-evaluate
her career choice, and began to envision how she had wanted her life to look in
the future. 

When Brent had
died, she had to reprogram her thinking.  After all, she had had her life
all planned out before his death.  Once he died, her plan had been smashed
to smithereens, and she knew she needed to get her shit together.

So, during the
previous two years, she had begun to save her pennies, invest Brent’s money
from his life insurance policy, and started work on her masters in Art and
Design at a prestigious university in the City, something she had wanted to do
for a long time. 

A painter
herself, she had always had a love of art, and it had always been her ultimate
dream to focus her energies in that direction, but she knew her primary gift
was teaching.  She had been told by advisors and instructors that she had
a charm that put people at ease.  And the fact that she had a sense of
humor, but was still firm in her approach, made her an exceptional

So, since
Brent’s money had helped to add a little cushion, she had decided to take the
plunge, teaching high schoolers during the day, going to grad school at night,
during the summers...and she allowed the brutal routine to help distract her,
and fill the loneliness. 

Now, after two
years of hard work, she would be finishing up her thesis for her masters soon,
and had applied and been accepted to the art education internship program for
instructors at the Manhattan Institute for Art and Design, of which she would
be a part that summer. 

To prepare her
for this new career path, she spent weekends volunteering at local museums,
assisting curators, and things of that nature, to build up her experience and
resume.  Tabitha Lowe was the Vice Chairperson on the Board of Trustees at
the Institute, and Ryann had been looking forward to meeting her that night at
her art showing. 

If the showing
had only been one week later, she would have already been in her new apartment
in the City, within a few subway stops from the showing, not stuck in her car
outside the Holland Tunnell.  But she hadn’t yet had the closing for the
buyers on her house in Cranford, and her new apartment in the City wouldn’t be
ready for two more days. 

She sighed.

She might as
well enjoy the summer storm while she waited.  As the drops hit the roof
of the car, she allowed the rain to wash away her anxiety, and lull her into
relaxation.  She hoped the tow truck would arrive soon.


forty minutes later, the traffic was still at a standstill, but hope was on the
horizon.  Not only could Ryann see the tow truck slowly approaching her
from behind with his flashers on, but the accident that had caused the traffic
was finally clearing up ahead.  Once the car service arrived in the next
couple of minutes, she’d be on her way.

She got out of
the car in the rain with her purse and umbrella, careful to step around puddles
and stand on the curb.  She noted the crawl of the traffic, and most
especially the limousine that had been one lane over from her for the last 10
minutes.  It had inched closer and closer away from the tunnel while she
had waited for the tow truck. 

At one point
while she stood there, the chauffeur had looked out his window, smiling
sympathetically at her.  She had shrugged and smiled grimly at him, as if
to say,
oh, well.  What can you do? 
He had smiled and
shrugged back at her.  She had wondered who it was in the limo, where were
they going, were they famous.

Traffic had a
way of equalizing everyone, didn’t it?
she thought wryly.  Didn’t
matter if you were in a broken down car, or being driven by a chauffeur in a
limo.  If there was traffic, then that was just tough.  Everyone was
shit out of luck.

The tow truck
was almost there, so Ryann reached into her purse for her AAA card and info,
when she noticed the middle aged chauffeur from the limo quickly jogging over
to her through the rain with his umbrella.

She was
startled, and looked up at him with a questioning look on her face.

“Hi, Miss. 
My employer wanted to know if he could be of any assistance to you.  Can
we call someone for you?  Offer you a ride somewhere?”  Then he
directed her attention to the limo where the back window was rolled down, and…

Oh, my.

Or as Ayanna
would say

She was
momentarily stunned by the face staring back at her. 

Hot Limo Man

He looked to be
in his early 30’s, with a full head of dark hair, strong jawline with a five
o’clock shadow, and darkened eyes that were looking intensely at her.  One
corner of his mouth was kicked up, creating a lazy gorgeous smile, on his
equally gorgeous face. 

She didn’t
recognize him as famous, but he certainly could’ve been.  His rugged good
looks could’ve guaranteed him a place on any movie poster.

Her stomach
fluttered, and she stumbled over her words in response.  “Oh,” she laughed
nervously.  “Umm.  No. Thank you, though.  The tow truck is
almost here,” she pointed a few cars down the block, then continued, “and the
car service is on its way.”  She looked between the chauffeur and the man
in the limo, then smiled at both of them.  She turned back to the
chauffeur.  “Thank you.  That was really sweet.”

The chauffeur
touched his hat, and smiled.  “Of course.  Have a good rest of your
night, then,” and jogged back to the limo in the rain. 

Hot Limo Man
continued looking at her for another moment, and she smiled shyly then nodded a
goodbye, acknowledging his generous offer. 

He looked
regretfully at her, and gave her a casual little salute with his fingers, then
rolled up his window.

She let go of a
deep sigh.  She finally sees a gorgeous man who gets her immediately
thinking of breaking her two and a half years of celibacy, and it’s in the
middle of traffic when she’ll never see him again.  It was just her luck.

She glanced one
last time as the limo passed and the traffic began to flow more steadily, and
turned to see the tow truck finally stopping behind her car.    

She took a
cleansing breath, and mentally shook herself.  She’d be at the showing
soon, where she would be distracted from no longer thinking of gorgeous men
offering her rides in limos.

She turned to
the tow truck driver and got down to business. 

BOOK: Release
12.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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