by Linda Hill
Facing the twilight of her career, British supermodel Julia Westgate battles solitude and hidden desires. All she wants from her secret weekend in Boston is to forget her life, and all its emptiness, in the arms of an anonymous woman who will give her what she so desperately craves—but who won’t ask any questions.
Cory Hayes is young, eager, and completely oblivious to who Julia Westgate might be. Completely smitten from the moment she lays eyes on Julia, Cory is more than happy to give Julia what she wants. At least that’s what Cory tells herself.
But neither woman counts on a glorious weekend that ends far too soon. And then Cory wakes up to an empty pillow beside her, with no idea who she spent the weekend with and not a clue about how to find her.
Originally published by Naiad Press, Bella Books is proud to reissue this updated version of Change of Heart.
Julia Westgate drew the damp towel away from her hair and lifted it to the mirror. Slowly, she rubbed the towel against the surface of the steam-covered glass until her image began to materialize.
Unsmiling, she brought the towel back and rubbed her hair vigorously before dropping it on the floor.
Not bad, she thought, leaning forward to eye the results in the mirror. Color in a bottle. Washes out in twenty days. She pushed slender fingers through the damp curls, liking the way the light caught it. She’d never gone this dark before. Her hair was nearly black, the perfect color for the short cut she’d sat through only an hour earlier.
Next she examined the color of her near-perfect brows. Her eyes darted from the brows to the top of her head. She nodded, satisfied.
She picked up a bottle of styling lotion and poured a dollop the size of a quarter in the palm of her left hand. She rubbed the lotion between her palms before running her fingers along her scalp and letting her fingertips slip through the curls, lifting them into place. She would let her hair dry just like that, she decided, then grinned as she thought of Raymond.
He would be furious. She could hear the sound of his tsk-tsking, as if as he were standing right behind her. He would be so exasperated with what she’d done to her long curls that he would punish her mercilessly by making her wear wigs until long after her hair and its color had grown out.
A high price to pay, she knew, but she’d weighed it out heavily before keeping her appointment at the salon on Newbury Street. The shoot had run much longer than expected, and she’d nearly had to cancel. But seeing the results of the cut and color, she was glad that she’d encouraged the driver to drive like a maniac to get her to the appointment. It had definitely been worth it. She only hoped she’d feel the same way at the end of the evening.
How long had it been, anyway? Nearly two years, she was certain. Oh, there had been the night in France about eight months ago that had turned into a complete fiasco. She’d been recognized before she got inside the door of the club. She’d lied, of course, and told the admirer that she didn’t know who Julia Westgate was. But the encounter had left her too shaken to even step inside the bar.
It was different here, in the states, she told herself. No one here gave a hoot about European fashion models. People were all too bloody wrapped up in their Washington politics and Hollywood movie stars to give two shakes about what was going on across the ocean. Especially about some fashion model. Not like in Europe, where they treated their models like celebrities. Like royalty.
She inspected her features, satisfied with her new look. Without makeup, the sprinkle of freckles that crossed the bridge of her nose and spilled onto her high cheekbones stood out. They were the light reddish-brown color often found on the features of someone with Irish blood. Her mother’s genes. Natural auburn hair and milk-white skin.
She stared into the reflection of her dark amethyst eyes before allowing her gaze to wander over her other features.
She wasn’t certain, but she didn’t think anyone could possibly recognize her. She smiled a bit, then scoffed when she caught sight of the creases around her eyes.
Damn, I’m getting old. Not that thirty-eight was really old. She rather liked knowing that her twenties were well behind her, and she didn’t really mind the new wrinkles. But Raymond minded. The camera minded. There were all kinds of tricks played with photographs to brush away the signs of age. But there was no way to hide the lines under the harsh lights of the modeling runways in the light of day.
“Don’t smile,” Raymond barked. “Show no facial expression.”
It exhausted her to think about Raymond now, and of the career that was fading. Too old. You look too old. Advertisers want fresh, young faces.
She clamped her mind shut to the thoughts. “Not tonight,” she told her reflection. “I won’t let you in tonight.” She tilted her head to one side and thought about the evening ahead. “Tonight is for me.” She allowed a quick smile and stepped over the discarded towel on her way to the bedroom.
She already knew what she would wear. Tight black jeans tucked into slender boots. Not those heavy, chunky boots that the young ones were wearing these days. These were sleek. Fashionable. Tasteful. A simple cotton sweater. A cream-color creation that gave away the angles of her shoulders without clinging. And a leather jacket. Simple. Straight lines. She looked tall. Angular. Slender.