Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

long-awaited, and much desired, love - Senses of Love Series by Kyle Shoop

"Easy five stars! I'm a big reader (both romance and other fiction) and absolutely loved his new book! [...] An addictive, timeless new series rivaling the storytelling of the great Nicholas Sparks." Rachel, Goodreads


The Sound of Love (#1) 

Words than can't be spoken can still be sung.

Sometimes the most beautiful relationships between two individuals blossom from moments of tragedy. 

Charlotte and John grew up as young orphans in the secluded outskirts of a rural town. Each day, they’d sneak out to the nearby forest to escape the cold grasp of the orphanage’s tyrant-ruler, by creating an imaginary kingdom together. However, their worlds, and the safety that came from their friendship, were suddenly ripped apart when they got caught. 

Years later, Charlotte conquered the marketing world in downtown Portland. Having gained normalcy in her life since her days in the orphanage, Charlotte never expected her world to be turned upside down by John abruptly being thrust back into her life. 

However, the years since the orphanage had not at all been kind to John, leaving him unable to open up to Charlotte about the details. So, she reignites John’s love for playing music, finding that his songwriting is the only way to help him express what he otherwise has difficulty saying. But in doing so, the reunited couple discovers that John’s love for music may not have been the only fire waiting to be rekindled. 

Would what began as two children playing in the woods in the heart of tragedy blossom into long-awaited, and much desired, love? 


Chapter 1
One of the common tragedies in life is seeing the world
around you degrade as time forges on. Eventually age may not
be seen as an accomplishment, but instead an unyielding
reminder that life will never again be as you once knew it. The
places that used to remind you of home subtly change with time
into a rustic ruin of familiarity. Those scenic images enshrined
as memories of significant moments in your life fade along with
your recollection of those memories. In time, the past that you
may have once cherished as treasured or ideal eventually
becomes an unrelenting reminder that the future will be a lot
less memorable.
But not for Charlotte – not at all. For her, the past was
not cherished, nor was it memorable. Rather, she had often
gone to excruciating lengths to forget her past. Once, she
stumbled upon a photograph in the newspaper of where she’d
grown up. Whether out of retaliation or an instinct for survival,
she set it afire, hoping that any memories she still had of the
place would also dissipate into the air along with the ashes of
the photograph. She then cancelled her newspaper subscription.
Charlotte’s life was the antithesis of human nature.
Indeed, it was the antithesis of nature itself. In college, she’d
learned about a law of nature called entropy. Under this law,
everything loses energy and degrades over time. Matter falls
away from each other into a lesser, more-chaotic state of
existence. Charlotte instantly rejected this idea and consciously
determined at that moment to do everything within her power
to avoid this from occurring in her life. She had to. If she was
to allow entropy to occur at all for her, then she might as well
be homeless. This is because homelessness was the natural step
from where she’d grown up.
So, rather than embracing the hopelessness of the natural
trajectory of her life, Charlotte instead did everything she could
to succeed. She declared a major at that same college, naturally
science. She then spent all of her time holed up in the campus
library focusing on educational success instead of allowing
herself to succumb to the temporary happiness that the other
girls sought in relationships or friendships. At nineteen years
old, she was the youngest person in her college’s graduating
undergraduate class. But nineteen was much too young to be
able to seriously jump into the workforce with any ability to
earn the salary that she knew she deserved, and which would be
necessary to pursue the financial successes that she thought
she’d earned. With her hard work, Charlotte became married to
the fact that she was deserving of a successful life. Not because
she was entitled to it or even belonged in that social arena, but
because she knew that she could attain it. She knew that she
was worth it, even if the laws of nature disagreed. And she was
willing to sacrifice all other aspects of her life to obtain what
she knew nature did not want her to achieve.
For this reason, Charlotte declared her graduate degree in
marketing rather than science. She was not naive; she knew she
somehow lucked out in being attractive. If there was one thing
gifted to her from birth, she recognized that was it. With her
tall, gracefully slender appearance, Charlotte also knew she’d
easily get an entry-level position in almost any marketing firm in
any large city. And once she got it with her looks, she was
confident that she’d then be able to impress the decisionmakers
with her wit and hard work to quickly reach maximum
earning potential. This is what she desired, but also what she’d
strived so hard to achieve to avoid entropy. Always, in the back
of her consciousness, was the self-doubt that she actually
belonged in the company of those decision-makers. She truly
believed that nature had selected her trajectory as eventually
being homeless, and she had cheated it.
Perhaps that was why she despised her short, daily
commute to her downtown office at the marketing firm which
she’d chosen to conquer. She wasn’t sure why she’d chosen
Portland for where she’d begin her career. Perhaps it was
because the city was up-and-coming and becoming modern.
Perhaps it was because the idea of conquering a larger city like
Chicago or Los Angeles was too daunting. Or perhaps it was
because of its close proximity to where she was originally from
in Battle Ground, Washington. That’s right – she grew up in a
battle ground, in all senses of the word.
But location had nothing to do with why she loathed her
drive to and from her office each day. Rather, that had
everything to do with Pioneer Square.
It was necessary to drive by some corner of Pioneer
Square to reach her building located just across the street from
the corner of that depressing city center. So, it was inevitable
that her morning each day would begin with seeing the
multitude of homeless men and women that congregated at
Pioneer Square. And at the end of a long work day, her evening
every night would conclude the same way as her day had begun
– by driving by that same dreadful square.
If Portland and its suburbs were becoming the modern,
happening location for young adults, then that modernization
was forcing the area’s homeless into the middle of the city. And
that middle was Pioneer Square. It didn’t matter if it was the
heat of summer or the dead-cold of winter, there were always
homeless people using Pioneer Square as their temporary home.
But it wasn’t actually the homeless individuals themselves
that Charlotte despised. Indeed, over the past year, she had
become visually familiar with the regulars. She began to
recognize many of their faces, and even looked forward to
seeing them throughout the week – so as to provide her with
the assurance that they were surviving despite the difficult
circumstances that they’d been given in life.
Over time, she’d recognize faces disappear from the
corner. It was sporadic and random with who would disappear,
and Charlotte never knew why. She began making stories up
about what the disappearing faces’ fates were, even though it
was just a ruse to shield her from reality. She’d imagine that
some of them decided to travel to other, larger cities – hoping
to start over anew there. Others were found by distant relatives
and provided an opportunity to improve their situation. And a
lucky few were fortunate to have found a selfless stranger who
would gift them with a new life – as if they had won the lottery.
Maybe one or two of them even struck it luckier and found
someone from a wealthier class to start their life with anew,
who saw them for who they really were on the inside despite
their unfortunate life circumstances.
Though these were all fantastical stories Charlotte would
imagine about complete strangers, they were all made up
dreams to avoid what she knew was the likely outcome of
several of the unfortunate individuals who had stopped
congregating at Pioneer Square. It would seem to many that
being homeless is the low point in life, but Charlotte knew that
the majority of people would stop being at Pioneer Square for
just that reason – because the loss of life was the natural next
step from homelessness under the law of entropy. And if
Charlotte knew that she really belonged on that street corner
among her true peers, then she knew what the forces of nature
really wanted her ultimate fate to be. She was determined, at all
costs, to avoid this.
But on this cold, late January evening, Charlotte sat in her
warm, luxurious car on her way home. The stop light seemed to
linger on red longer than normal. The hue of the red light
pulsed behind the backdrop of snow being wiped off of her
windshield repeatedly from the cascading rate at which it fell.
The rhythm of the windshield wiper seemed as if it would never
end, and Charlotte’s internal pull toward Pioneer Square
intensified. As if drawn by natural instinct, she peered at the
square just to the right of her stopped car, wondering which of
the familiar homeless she would see battling to brave the bitter
cold that night.
Then she saw him. A new face. Actually, two new faces.
But it wasn’t the fact that there were two new faces which
ignited her impulse to immediately get out of her car. One of
those faces was a first for her. One of those faces was a
homeless child.

Chapter 2
The image was seared into her mind, and the internal pull
toward the square’s corner intensified. She had never before
seen a homeless child – on any street, let alone at Pioneer
It wasn’t the shock of seeing the child that struck a chord
most with Charlotte. Rather, it was an image in her mind that
she couldn’t escape. Flooding into her mind was the
unwelcome memory of herself being homeless on a corner at
the same young age. Nothing could ever block the memory of
sitting shivering in the snow with no hope for the future – let
alone each passing minute that made her more terrified of what
the deathly cold evening on the street corner would bring. Five
years old was too young for a girl to be put in that situation –
unless it was what the scoffing desires of fate craved. But then
it happened. A simple act by a stranger. The act was so simple
that even the stranger probably wouldn’t remember it all these
years later. But it meant the world to her. Indeed, it gave
Charlotte the world, as without the grace of that stranger while
she was so young, Charlotte knew that she would have been left
braving the night on a cold, snowy street corner just like the
child before her eyes now. Without the act of that stranger, the
cold grip of entropy would have surely sealed her fate so long
The image looming large in Charlotte’s mind suddenly
became reality when it was interrupted by a car horn behind
her. Charlotte looked up to see that the light had now turned
green. Panic unexpectedly set in. She didn’t want to leave this
situation, but also didn’t want to make a decision that could
somehow be contrary to the trajectory she had chosen, and
worked so hard for in life. In an instant, she was conflicted. She
didn’t want to do something to allow fate to know that she
recognized she was cheating it. But at the same time, she did
not want the young child to never receive that same simple act
from a stranger.
With the blare of another horn from behind her, the
whim of Charlotte’s stronger instinct won. She owed that
stranger from long ago her life, and tonight she was going to
repay that debt. She quickly pulled to the shoulder of the road
right next to the cold street corner on which the child lay.
She decided to give the child her warm coat. That was it.
Charlotte felt guilty for it not being an act of the same
magnitude which the stranger did for her so long ago, but she
justified her decision of giving the coat as being all that would
be needed for tonight. Then, if she still saw the child on the
street the next night, she might decide to do what the stranger
had done for her. Besides, this child wasn’t alone out there like
she was all those years ago. An adult was with this child. Her
situation was different than this child’s.
“It’s just a coat. That’s all.” Charlotte actually said out
loud to herself as she got out of her car and into the frigid night
air. At the moment she realized she said the words aloud,
Charlotte was instantly angry at herself. Not for the decision
she was making to give the child the adult-sized warm winter
coat she was wearing. Instead, she was mad that, for the first
time in a long time, she had actually verbalized the internal
struggle she had with fate. And now fate could hear that she
knew it existed.
But she had made the decision. Charlotte was going to do
something to help the child. If she changed her mind now, then
fate would know it had leverage over her. Charlotte was not
about to let that happen.
She approached the street corner, with the intent to make
this a quick transaction. But as she approached the child and
the adult, Charlotte instantly knew her plan wasn’t going to
work out. The scene was not at all as she imagined. Quicker and
quicker her mind raced in a panic as she tried to figure out what
to do on this deathly-cold night.
The child was on the corner, shivering and huddling into
the adult as much as he could to find warmth. But the adult was
not moving. And as she got closer, Charlotte noticed that it was
a man – also not wearing a warm coat and obviously
unprepared for the freezing night. As she drew even closer, she
noticed the man was not moving. The shock of seeing the man
as still and pale as ice made her run up to him.
“Hello?” Charlotte said, as she shook his shoulder. “Wake
up!” At the sound of Charlotte’s yell, the child barely moved
due to how cold he was. Instead, his young eyes just opened
and moved in Charlotte’s direction, silently pleading for help. A
coat was not going to help this situation. But Charlotte still
didn’t hesitate to start with that – to protect the young boy
from even a second more of the freezing.
As she laid the coat over the boy’s icicle arms, she heard
the adult man moan from underneath the veil of his cheek-long
hair covering his face. The moan was weak, but it was still
something nonetheless. The frail and fragile sound was enough
to give Charlotte a glimmer of hope that the man could still
make it out of this situation alive.
She looked around, hoping someone else would come up
and help. Nothing. No one was passing by on the sidewalk at
this late hour. She ran over to the corner, trying to hail a car to
stop with her arms outstretched. Car after car slowed or
stopped at the streetlight, and she tried desperately to get
someone to help her with this dire situation. But car after car
pretended to be too busy to even notice her. Even the
passengers avoided eye contact, not realizing that she wasn’t
actually among the homeless who routinely dwelled on the
street corner. Undoubtedly, they were unable to distinguish her
from the usual occupants of Pioneer Square, so many of them
passed by without even really noticing that she was there.
Charlotte felt it. She felt the cold grasp of fate trying to
wrangle her back to where she belonged. The memory of
herself on a street corner on such a similar night stung like an
icicle shard piercing into her veins. The same thing wasn’t going
to happen to the two frozen people by her. Not tonight. She
knew that she must do the same thing that the stranger did for
her so many years ago – take a chance and bring them home for
the evening. Home to a warm apartment, a full meal, and good
night sleep. Then, in the morning they would pursue options at
a better opportunity for the boy and the man – whatever their
relationship was.
This is what that stranger did for Charlotte. Instead of just
giving her a coat, that old man realized that Charlotte needed
something more. She needed a home, even if just for one night.
And she still remembered that night. She remembered being
laid down on a comforter so soft that as she closed her eyes,
she imagined being in a bed of clouds. And the feeling of just
laying on a mattress was so foreign that she felt like a princess
as she drifted off to sleep. The warmth of the blankets wrapped
around and welcomed her to the promise that life maybe wasn’t
as bad as she thought it was. She had asked for a small lamp to
be left on while she fell asleep because she didn’t yet trust the
dark – let alone any person. But she trusted the stranger
because he gave her what she needed most that evening – a
home. All of these memories were much more than the distant
past to Charlotte – they were reality, and she used them for
motivation to avoid entropy.
She remembered that, in the morning, she woke up
without the aches and knots that she always felt from sleeping
on a concrete sidewalk or the compacted ground in a park. She
remembered being more thankful to the old stranger than he
even seemed to understand. And when he turned her over to
child services the next day, she understood and was beyond
grateful. At five years old herself, she didn’t even have a clue
that such a thing existed, and just initially felt fortunate to have
some kind of a bed every night. Even though that feeling would
dissipate the longer that she lived in the orphanage, she always
remained grateful to the stranger. She owed that stranger
everything. And though these memories all flashed before
Charlotte’s eyes in an instant, she knew that these two people
now in front of her needed that same opportunity. It would
take more than a coat.
She wasn’t going to get any help from the many people
who drove by. She considered calling for an ambulance, but this
man needed help now and not in thirty minutes. Because every
minute that passed could be the man’s last breath, Charlotte
made the decision in an instant to do it alone. She ran back to
the man lying frozen on the ground. He was obviously on the
brink of succumbing to hypothermia, so Charlotte placed her
hand on his chest to feel for any movement at all. It was barely
there, but there was still enough to indicate that he was alive.
She moved her large coat so that it better covered both
the boy and the man, trying to give him some protection from
the cold as well. In doing so, she rolled the man from being
curled up on his side, to lying flat on his back. She moved a box
that was next to the man on the sidewalk out of the way, so as
to give him more space.
As she moved him, the man’s cheek-length, curly hair still
lay draped over his face. But it was the lack of any reaction by
the man to being moved that made Charlotte even more
disheartened. More of the man was now on the sidewalk and he
didn’t even seem to notice or have any reaction to this new
position. His situation was more dire than she expected. But
with the man now lying on his back, she was able to try to give
him mouth-to-mouth, hoping that her warm air would
somehow help reignite him. She moved up and leaned over his
head. As she bent over to blow into the man, she glanced at the
young boy right beside them, to check his condition. The coat
seemed to be helping, as the boy now was moving more than
before. This was the hope that Charlotte needed. She moved
some of the man’s long hair from over his mouth and began to
blow into the stranger.
Charlotte was cold, and nothing about her breathes were
abnormally warm. But she knew that her temperature was still
much warmer than the frigid condition of the man underneath
her. She blew and she blew, over and over, watching the man’s
chest rise and fall each time. What felt like several minutes
passed and the man still had no reaction. Charlotte continued
on, despite the frozen temperature and her physical fatigue
starting to set in. With each blow, she imagined what the boy
needed. The boy needed this man, whoever he was. This gave
her purpose and strength with each passing moment. She
wasn’t just doing this to somehow pay forward what had been
done to her when she was a child – she was now doing this
because another child depended on this man.
Several more moments passed, and still there was no
reaction from the man. Charlotte needed a break – she
physically could not continue on any longer without one. She
stopped, and folded her arms to cover them from the cold. She
couldn’t help but wonder what she should do, if she should
continue on. The guilt of not having previously called for an
ambulance came to mind, and she decided she had no other
option but to continue on.
She kneeled again to blow into the man’s mouth, but
stopped short when a piece of his hair returned over his mouth.
This time, when she moved his hair, it revealed his eyes.
Instantly, Charlotte lost her breath. The sight of the stranger’s
eyes was as stinging to her as the cold was outside. She knew
the man.
With even more motivation than before, Charlotte’s
strength returned. She leaned over again and blew into his
mouth. But just once was all it took this time. He gasped for air
and slowly opened his eyes, staring straight up.
“Hey, John.” Charlotte said with a smile, while brushing
the rest of his hair aside. “I need you to wake up for me, John.”
Charlotte commanded, seeking to give him strength.
John made a faint sound, as if he was still figuring out
what was happening.
“John, listen to me. This is Charlotte. Charlotte from
Cross Roads orphanage.”
John made another sound. Though it wasn’t decipherable,
Charlotte was just thrilled that he was responding to her.
“John, I need you to walk now. I’m going to take you to a
safe place, ok? Some place warm. But I need you to walk – I
can’t carry you on my own.”
“…. Jack …” John feebly said, the word being exhaled
with his short breath so soft that it took a moment for
Charlotte to understand what must have been said.
Figuring that he was talking about the young boy huddled
under her coat, Charlotte replied, “Yes, Jack’s here too. I’m
going to carry him to my car and come back for you. When I
return, I need you to walk. I’ll be right back.”
Carrying the boy was not the difficulty. Rather, choosing
whether to take the coat to the car with Jack or leave it for John
was much more difficult. But she left it over John, figuring that
the warmth of the running car would have to do for the young
boy. When she placed Jack in the rear of her car, he cracked a
smile before closing his eyes again to drift off to sleep. This
glimmer of hope that one of them appeared ok was instant
motivation for Charlotte to return back to John.
Charlotte was now much more elated at how John was
doing from his condition just a couple minutes prior. He was
now trying to raise up on his frozen legs, which appeared so
unresponsive that it looked like he was trying to stand up for
the first time on stilts. Charlotte rushed over and put her
shoulder under John’s arm to help him balance.
“Charlotte?” He asked, still very weak, but in a muchimproved
Charlotte couldn’t tell if John had a question for her, or if
he was repeating the name because he couldn’t remember who
she was.
“Yes, Charlotte from Cross Roads orphanage. You
remember Cross Roads, right? We were so young then.”
“Jack.” John stated, with only Jack on his mind. “Take me
to Jack.”
Charlotte didn’t hesitate. She let John put as much weight
on her as she could handle, and hobbled over to her car. The
whole time she honestly didn’t know what to think. Fifteen
minutes ago, she never would have guessed that she’d be
bringing the man and child back to her apartment for the
evening. But knowing it was John made all the difference in the
world. If she had known it was John at the corner from the
beginning, then bringing them back to her place would have
been her plan all along.
She opened the door to the rear of her car, and helped
John lay on the seat right beside the young boy. Charlotte sat
behind the driver’s wheel and exhaled out loud. She looked in
the rear-view mirror at the two guys in her back seat, and for
the first time, was amazed at who was sitting back there. It was
John – after all these years. Though she should have felt
nervous about the situation due to their dire health and the
completely unexpected turn of events, John’s next words
provided her comfort beyond words.
“Charlotte?” John asked weakly.
Charlotte’s glance shot back to the rearview mirror again,
to find John staring straight back at her. He said one last thing
before closing his eyes to also fall asleep.
“I remember you.”

The Sight of Love (#2) 

Does love at first sight exist when love is blind? 

Ethan was born to paint. His pursuit of beauty and meaning through art was the only thing his heart desired above all else. Until he met Rose. 

It was love at first sight. A love which was as inspiring and captivating as the delicate life which radiated from a fresh rose. Her sight intoxicating. Her personality angelic. Her love instantaneous and unselfish. 

But was that love enough to last a lifetime? Art often requires sacrifice. But Ethan’s life wasn’t just full of sacrifice for his passion, it would become marked with significant loss. An unforeseeable loss beyond his control and undercutting all which he sought in life. 

Each moment of life is just a brush stroke in a larger painting. Would the love between Ethan and Rose be just the first brush stroke, or instead the reason to keep painting? 

Experience the second book in the compelling “Senses of Love” series. 


Chapter 1
The key is not in the light, it’s in the darkness. The shadows. Sometimes it’s in the shadows where true beauty is hidden. Indeed, without accurate shadowing, the depth of a painting may not truly be felt, no matter how perfectly the lighting is depicted. It’s the dichotomy between light and dark which allows the fullness of the image to be revealed. Ethan recognized this at an unusually young age and, at first, spent much of his time perfecting the shadowing of his paintings. 
He began painting young, having learned basic techniques by tracing the outlines of other famous works. He never really stopped to analyze why he was so fiercely drawn into being an artist. As Ethan got older, he’d think about kids who were naturally gifted with the ability to sing, and figured that they were just born knowing that singing was their calling in life.
Ethan was a little different though. Looking back, he didn’t see himself as being gifted from birth with the ability to paint. And he didn’t see painting as his only calling in life. Rather, he just knew that he really wanted to do it. Always. He couldn’t remember a time where he wasn’t studying other painters, practicing it, or actually painting a commission. He just always wanted to paint.
His parents certainly didn’t foster this skill in him, but thinking about his parents was just about the last thing Ethan ever wanted to do. He’d rather have watched an infant draw with mashed up peas instead of think about his parents. At least something compelling might randomly appear from the chaos of smeared peas, whereas his relationship with his parents was the antithesis of compelling.
Though Ethan was always intrigued by visual arts, his desire to actually try painting began at only eight years old. He’d managed to sneak from his parents that he was going to try painting. He’d find copies of famous works and hide them in
his room, tracing the outlines when the rest of his family left him alone – which was often. Pretty soon after he started with tracings, he full-on painted rudimentary recreations. It took quite some time, but these recreations peaked with a miniature, but substantially similar, recreation of Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. From afar, an amateur wouldn’t have noticed the difference between the original painting and Ethan’s recreation.
By the time he finished it, he was only nine years old. But despite manifesting such a unique talent for mimicking the iconic painting at such a young age, that was the last time Ethan ever did a recreation. This was simply because the painting didn’t challenge him enough. 
He’d spent months studying the original classic’s brush strokes and mixtures of coloring in the paints. He was obviously significantly more advanced in his attention to detail than even teenage painting enthusiasts. But it wasn’t Van Gogh’s actual painting style which he didn’t find challenging enough. Definitely not. He loved that famous painting -everything about it. Rather, it was the fact that he didn’t create it himself. As much as he admired several famous paintings, Ethan quickly learned that mirroring another artist’s work was just not compelling enough for him.
Still, he learned much from his hands-on study of shadowing in The Starry Night. The shadows in that famous work seemed so simple and overlooked at first. He knew that the average eye would be drawn to the light from the swirling glow of the night sky. But Ethan recognized right away that it was the contrast between those lights and the shadowing of the earth below which allowed the word “beautiful” to accurately convey emotions that were aroused from staring at that great work of art. At only nine, Ethan barely even knew what “beautiful” meant, since he rarely ever heard his parents speak anything close to it. But, still, the first time he saw the painting, “beautiful” was the only word that somehow instinctively came to mind.
And Ethan wanted to arouse that same feeling of beauty in others – only, from his own creations. 
Unfortunately, the impressionist style depicted from Van Gogh’s painting would not be the artistic style he would use to evoke such emotion. Besides learning the importance of shadowing from it, there was one other prominent thing that stood out to Ethan from his tedious recreation of The Starry Night: impressionism was hard to paint!
The impressionist style wasn’t one which depicted a realistic, exacting recreation of a scene. Rather, it used a realistic recreation as a baseline, then sought to focus on the emotion of the scene through a subjective approach. This often resulted in blurred, swirling, or large-brushstroke styles. There really wasn’t a unified mechanism for drawing an impressionist painting.
Rather, if there was a unifying trait, it was to focus on the emotion of a scene instead of how realistic it looked. This often resulted in exaggerated uses of color and style. And this style was just too difficult for Ethan to create. It may have been due to his young age and just starting to cope with emotions, but his intimidation with the style proved a mental hurdle from reattempting to paint an impressionist creation for many years to come.
So eventually, and with the suggestion of a prominent artist whom he lucked into meeting, Ethan switched to a lessprevalent style known simply as romanticism. By the time Ethan was made aware of this style, he was ten years old. So, he was too young to be drawn to the style for any actual romantic aspirations. No, he was drawn into it because of the heightened focus on shadowing which that style more obviously utilized …
and because the first painting he’d seen from the romantic era made him think of Robin Hood! As a ten-year-old, Ethan definitely knew who Robin Hood was, and thought any style of painting that seemed to depict that awesome figure was worthy of his time.
The first romantic painting he had run across was at an art gallery in downtown Atlanta. As was his weekly habit, Ethan would follow his father into the city pretending to want to learn his father’s profession in neurosurgery. Four days a week, his father would study his cases from his office in their upscale house in the rich suburbs of Atlanta. But once a week, on every Friday, his father would travel into the city to meet with his next patient or to actually perform an expensive brain surgery at the hospital. Ethan reveled in that weekly trip to downtown Atlanta – not because he wanted to learn about his father’s profession, but because he utilized the trips as opportunities to study paintings from the local prominent art gallery. The only thing was his parents – and especially his father – didn’t know about these self-guided field trips. Just like he hid his recreations and love for painting from his parents, he kept the purpose of traveling with his father to himself.
Each time his father travelled into the city, Ethan tagged along. He’d feign interest in his father’s profession during the day, which naturally sparked his father’s enthusiasm that his son would follow in his footsteps. His father, Russell Cooley, was a prominent neurosurgeon. Unfortunately, along with this prominence came not only pride, but also an unyielding perspective of practicality. And art – any form of it – is the antithesis of practicality.
This led to deceit by Ethan. Deceit by omission, more specifically. During the morning and later afternoons, Ethan would sit in his father’s study at the hospital, pretending to be interested by the dreariness of the scientific culture upon which medicine was practiced. Painting was the only science that existed to the young boy. Ethan waited and waited for the one hour he had each week to study his own passion. The lunch hour.
Right before noon each day, Russell would hand Ethan enough money for Ethan to go buy them both lunch. Luckily for Ethan, his father ate the same thing each day from the same store. And that restaurant was just down the street from Buckhorn Art Company. This is where the deception manifested. Ethan never ate lunch on Fridays, thus unintentionally embodying the phrase “starving artist” from a young age. Instead, he learned that if he ran down to get his father lunch, then he would normally have about forty minutes to stop by the art gallery before needing to be back at his father’s office at the end of the lunch hour. By not eating, he earned himself another five minutes or so studying all of the classics, as well as some of the modern paintings, hanging in the nearby gallery.
Buckhorn Art Company was not just an art gallery, it was a school. Due to this, the company owner and wellaccomplished local artist, Eugene Turner, kept several halls reserved hanging exact replicas of classical paintings. Eugene charged the public for admission into the gallery. But after a couple of months, he caught onto Ethan’s motive. It wasn’t Ethan’s routine visits which Eugene caught onto first – it was Ethan’s pellucid passion for the art.
This passion manifested immediately the first time that Eugene talked to him about the works of art hanging in the halls with the classic paintings. Those halls were not only a timeline of the evolution of painting, but also a visual depiction of the struggles and triumphs of mankind. 
From their first conversation together, it struck Eugene as peculiar that the first thing Ethan mentioned was the shadowing of a painting. Never before had Eugene ever had someone point out shadowing as their favorite part of any painting, not even from the self-proclaimed professional artists who frequented the distinguished gallery.
“Are you sure – the shadowing?” Eugene asked Ethan.
“Oh, definitely. Look at it!” Ethan responded, fixated on the well-known work of art in front of them. “… but it’s a can of soup.” Eugene was obviously skeptical that anyone could actually find beauty in the shadowing of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can painting.
Ethan started to explain himself, but Eugene wasn’t going to allow it. “Here, follow me.” He was going to test the boy. 
Eugene took Ethan to observe the painting by Edvard Munch entitled The Scream. It was a famous painting that Ethan had stood in front of several times studying the feelings it evoked. Visually, it reminded Ethan of The Starry Night, so he’d naturally been drawn to this similar work many times before.
“What do you like about this painting, huh? What about it moves you?” Eugene intentionally asked the question broadly, trying not to steer the boy towards its shadowing.
“Well, just look at it.” Ethan instantly answered, almost as if he’d studied this painting already so much that he was waiting for someone to ask him about it. “It makes the entire painting, doesn’t it?” He asked rhetorically out loud. The boy was so captivated by the artwork that he didn’t even look at Eugene right next to him.
“What? What makes the painting?” Eugene pressed. 
“It’s the same thing – the shadowing.” There it was. That same answer from such a young boy. Eugene was about to ask for more details about what the boy meant, but he didn’t have to. Ethan couldn’t withhold his enthusiasm for his perspective
of this great work. “I mean – it provides the foundation for the entire painting. It’s only because the body of the person screaming is in the shadows that the scream is felt so intensely.
It’s as though you can hear the scream even though it’s really just a painting. Oh, and the shadowing on the dock provides such depth, making the scream feel real.”
“Okay, just stop.” Eugene interrupted. “Who taught you this?”
“Taught me?” Ethan was confused.
“Boy, have you ever taken an art class before?”
The boy wasn’t sure how to answer. He was embarrassed because he hadn’t. And he thought that the owner of the great Buckhorn Art Company would think less of him because of he lacked an education in the one thing that he wanted so badly.
But the boy didn’t have to answer. Ethan’s pause of silence and look of embarrassment told Eugene enough.
“What’s your name, boy?”
“Ethan Cooley.”
“Well, Ethan, my name is …”
But before the man could say his name, Ethan interrupted: “Eugene. I know who you are. I’ve seen your paintings in here – they’re amazing.”
Eugene was even more shocked by how Ethan had observed so much about painting in just the short amount of hours he’d been in the gallery throughout the last couple of months. To Eugene, this wasn’t just a coincidence. This meant something – something which he couldn’t pass up.
Eugene just stared at The Scream for a moment. He wasn’t deciding what he should do next, but how he should do it. When a thought came to him, he instructed the boy: “Here, follow me to this one.”
They both walked down to a different hall, as if rewinding in time a bit to a different stylistic era.
“Ethan, this one is entitled The Kiss, by Francesco
Ethan just stared, intrigued by it. He’d probably seen it before, but only in a passing moment. He’d always favored the impressionist paintings more than the romantic-era paintings like this one. But, upon really noticing this painting for the first time, something very specific about The Kiss stood out to him.
In the middle of the painting stood a couple kissing in a stone hallway. The woman wore a blue dress, and the man stood over her, passionately embracing her. Again, though, Ethan was too young to be moved by the romantic passion of the couple. Instead, he was interested in it for another reason that was obvious to about any boy his age. The man in the painting had a cape and hat on that looked just like Robin Hood. 
“Wow, that’s so cool …” Ethan said to himself, trailing off in thought as he really studied it for the first time ever.
“And look at the shadowing of the couple. It’s so realistic and well-done.”
“Can you still feel the emotion from the painting just as clear as you can hear the scream in the other one?” Eugene asked.
What Eugene just asked made Ethan pause for a moment. He’d never really considered before that a romantic style painting could depict the same emotion he’d felt from the impressionist paintings. But it did, and he liked it. Even then, there was something even more alluring about this style to Ethan – it would definitely be easier for him to create his own painting in it than the intimidating impressionist style.
“Yes.” Ethan said directly.
“Good, I’m glad you like it.” Eugene remarked.
“But why are you showing it to me?”
“Because, Ethan, I’m personally going to teach you how to paint like it.”
Chapter 2
For as excited as Eugene was to mentor and teach such a
uniquely talented, young boy about the fine art of painting,
Ethan was even more excited to have received the offer.
Ethan’s parents rarely gave him any attention, let alone show
any interest in what he actually enjoyed. So, he spent much
effort concealing his work from them at home. Now, Ethan
had found someone whom he could not only talk about his
passion with, but whom he greatly respected artistically. He had
carefully observed Eugene’s own paintings many times prior to
actually meeting him. To Ethan, this offer from a prominent
artist was the equivalent of winning the lottery.
“Really!?” He blurted out. “That’s great! I’ll see you next
Friday then!”
Ethan began walking to leave the gallery so that he didn’t
get back to his father late. He had already been cutting things
close due to how much time he’d spent staring at the gallery.
And that was before Eugene started talking to him about
paintings. But Eugene moved quickly to catch up to the boy.
The Sight of Love
“Wait just a second – hold on.” Eugene needed
clarification of what the boy was talking about. “Why not
tomorrow or Monday?”
“Oh, I can’t. My dad only comes to the city once a week
on Fridays, and he doesn’t know that I come here during
“He doesn’t know, huh?”
Ethan just shook his head, not sure if that was a deal
breaker for his new mentor.
“Does your mom know?”
“My mom?” Ethan reacted by laughing out loud to
himself. “No, she’s too busy taking care of the other kids in the
house to notice anything that I like.”
“And how many siblings do you have?”
Ethan wanted to respond by saying “four too many,” but
he didn’t have time to joke around like he wanted to – he had
to get back to his father’s office before his father suspected
anything awry was going on with his son. So Ethan just simply
said, “Four.”
“Wow – four, huh?” Eugene eyed Ethan. He still felt
strangely and suddenly compelled to pursue teaching the boy
everything he knew about painting. So, he didn’t want to pass
up the opportunity to bring Ethan under his so-called
apprenticeship. Perhaps it was because Eugene didn’t have any
children himself and he found something endearing about the
boy. Or perhaps it was because all of his other students were
older than Ethan, and were only learning to paint out of
educational aspirations rather than an innate desire for the
ancient art. Eugene only spoke briefly with Ethan, but he could
see it. He’d been around enough students to know passion and
talent when he saw it. And that was rare.
Eugene threw up his arms, willing to take Ethan on as an
apprentice on whatever terms the boy’s circumstances
permitted. “Fridays at noon it is, then. I guess that’s enough
time, anyways – since it is free.” Eugene would have it no other
way than to be free. True interest in art shouldn’t be restrained
by monetary ability. Besides, if the lessons led to a true, lifelong
passion in the boy, as Eugene hoped it would, then it may just
pay itself off in the long run.
Ethan’s eyes lit up when he heard the word “free.”
“Free?!” He repeated in excitement.
“Yes – free. Does that work for you?” Eugene quipped,
trying to make a joke.
“Oh boy, does it! Now I can finally buy lunch instead of
spending that money to come in here.”
Those were the last words the young boy said before he
turned and ran out the door, back to his father’s hospital. But
those words confirmed Eugene’s desire to teach the boy. When
he had made the offer to teach him, Eugene didn’t even known
of the boy’s sacrifice to starve himself just to stare at the
paintings. This impressed Eugene to no end.
The weeks turned into months, and the months changed
into years. Each week, Ethan was religiously on time and
soaked up Eugene’s mentorship to no end. The days in between
lessons were never ending moments of torture for Ethan as he
wanted nothing more than to learn and practice the craft.
In addition, Ethan no longer had to hide his main
painting supplies in his room. Eugene not only gifted him with
painting supplies, but also gave Ethan space to stash his
paintings. And when Ethan turned sixteen years old, Eugene
surprised him with his own room inside of the gallery that he
could use as his own studio. Ethan was shocked and thankful
beyond words. He would frequently find reasons to tell his
parents why he needed to travel into the city. But really, he was
just using it as a ruse to go to his studio. And eventually, his
parents even stopped asking where he was, leaving him
wondering if they even realized that he was gone for several
hours after school most days.
Still, Ethan’s parents never caught onto his weekly lessons
from Atlanta’s most prominent artist and painting-connoisseur.
Ethan never felt bad about concealing his passion from his
parents. He didn’t even consider it a lie. This was because
Ethan could never actually remember a time where either of his
parents asked him what he enjoyed doing. His father was keen
on his eldest son following in his footsteps into neurosurgery.
His mother remained preoccupied with the other, younger
children, relying naively on her eldest son being independent.
Over the years, and certainly into his teenage years, this
lack of emotion from his family only left Ethan feeling empty
and truly alone. Eugene was really the only person who not only
shared his interest, but also was willing to listen to Ethan’s
perspective on art.
“Ethan,” Eugene told him on his nineteenth birthday,
“You are not only my best student I’ve ever had, but I consider
you my equal.” Eugene was standing at the doorway to Ethan’s
studio, staring at all of the canvases hung around the room
which contained Ethan’s romantic-style paintings.
“I …” Ethan said, turning to Eugene and not knowing
how to even respond to such an unexpected and genuine
compliment. In all of the years which Ethan had studied from
Eugene, he never even hoped to be considered his equal. Ethan
had always seen the opportunity with Eugene as an opportunity
to learn from the singular, living artist who he put on a pedestal.
He was always nothing more than appreciative of Eugene’s
graciousness toward him.
“No, I mean it.” Eugene interrupted, not even allowing
Ethan to say thank you. “Look at your work, Ethan – it’s
Eugene’s continued compliments struck Ethan. Ethan
was always so engrossed in what he felt compelled to express
that he’d never really taken a moment to step back from his
own creations and see what others might feel from them. He
looked around the studio, staring at about twenty or so of his
most recent romantic works.
“And so I think it’s time that you hang them in the gallery
for others to appreciate.”
“Really?” Eugene’s compliments had left Ethan stunned,
but this offer was even more shocking to him. Ethan got up
from his easel in shock. Never before had he expected, let alone
hoped, that he would one day get to hang his own work in the
galleries of the great Buckhorn Art Company. He’d stared
countless hours at paintings selected to hang on those gallery
walls, and knew just how high Eugene’s standards were when
selecting modern art for them. “Eugene, that’s the best birthday
present ever! Thank you so much!”
The excitement shown in Ethan’s face resonated just as
loud as the scream in the famous impressionist painting that the
two bonded over years ago. But if Eugene’s offer was shocking
to Ethan, then he was left completely speechless by next things
Eugene said.
“Oh, that isn’t my birthday present. This is.” Eugene
walked over and handed Ethan an envelope.”
“What is this?” Ethan asked, dumbfounded.
“I have no children or spouse, Ethan. And I’m getting up
there in age.”
Ethan listened intently, not sure what was going on. He
shifted his glance from Eugene to the envelope and opened it
“It’s my will, Ethan. I’m leaving it all to you.”
Ethan didn’t know how to react. As the years had drifted
by, Ethan no longer considered Eugene just his distinguished
mentor. Eventually, Eugene turned into his confidant. And
after that, Ethan truly felt that Eugene was really the only father
figure in his life. Now, Ethan was learning that Eugene felt the
same way. Ethan wished he could draw what he was feeling
because words were not always his strength. At this moment, he
couldn’t think of anything else to say but “thank you.”
“No, thank you,” Eugene emphasized before embracing
his long-time friend, and the first living painter whose works
had ever genuinely moved him.

Chapter 3
In only a couple short months, Eugene’s health had
deteriorated significantly. It was as if he’d foreseen this
happening and his present to Ethan was not happenstance.
There was nothing in the world more painful to Ethan than
watching his father-figure physically unable to care for the
gallery as he once did. Eugene would shuffle slowly up and
down the hallways despite Ethan’s admonitions to get some
rest. Long ago, Eugene stopped teaching his painting classes,
handing them off to Ethan’s instruction instead. It was
bittersweet to say the least.
But Ethan would never forget the moment when it all
changed. He was in the middle of hanging a newly-received
replica of Frida Kahlo’s famous self-portrait when it happened.
Ethan jumped at the sound of a loud thump which came from
the front of the store. It was a loud, thunderous sound that
Ethan knew could only be made from a person collapsing onto
the gallery’s wooden floor. Ethan ran to Eugene’s side, but it
was too late.
The next several days were a blur. Paramedics. A funeral.
Reading the will at an attorney’s office. Ethan’s world was
instantly changed. He should have been elated to have inherited
such a distinguished estate. Even the local art community was
experiencing the dueling emotions over the loss of Eugene, but
thrill that the legacy had been preserved in Ethan’s more-thanqualified
hands. However, none of it mattered much to Ethan.
He was still overcome by the loss of Eugene. That hole which
existed so long ago due to his family’s emotional absence in his
life had been filled by his mentor. Now, Eugene was gone. That
hole was torn even wider agape.
On his first real evening alone in his new business, Ethan
just sat on a stool in the middle of a hallway staring at Eugene’s
paintings. A deep sea of emotions flowed through Ethan’s
entire body, and he couldn’t contain them. Tear after tear fell
while his gaze penetrated into the soul of Eugene’s works.
Ethan hoped that somehow, if he was able to feel Eugene again
through his works, then maybe his presence would live on in
the gallery. He didn’t know if something like that could really
happen, but his sense of loss was so great that he wished
desperately to fill the void in any way.
Then it came to him. An idea. It was as if a veil was lifted
from his mind when the idea struck. He needed to let Eugene
go in peace. He needed to stop thinking about his own desires,
and instead think about how this was a natural part of life. And
to do this, he was going to have one final celebration of
Eugene’s life through an evening where the entire public could
come appreciate the gallery for free. He would display all of
Eugene’s paintings in one final memorial of his life before
moving on. But even more than that, for one night, Ethan
would give to the entire public what Eugene had provided him -
the ability to come into the gallery to appreciate true art
unrestrained by monetary ability. There would be food, simple
music, and welcoming to people from all walks of life. Anyone
who held even a spark of interest in art would be welcome. It
was a beautiful idea.
The evening came, and Ethan enlisted the help of his art
students to throw it. They were so excited at paying tribute to
their long-time instructor that they pretty much took over
planning the event. They completely ran with the idea and did
all of the marketing and executing of it. They even each
prepared countless hors d’oeuvres and refreshments just in case
the attendance was as they’d hoped. The evening was to be one
to memorialize Eugene with the dignified respect which they
each held for him.
That evening, the students and Ethan all came dressed up
for a black-tie event, despite being willing to welcome anyone
from off the streets into the gallery. And much to their
excitement, the event was extremely well received. It was
quickly apparent that the public not only supported the gallery
and its cultural benefit to downtown Atlanta, but that Eugene
was highly regarded throughout the community. Indeed, Ethan
personally welcomed several attendees who traveled from all
over the county just to honor Eugene’s life.
An interesting range of emotions were exhibited by the
diverse crowd. Those who knew or had met Eugene were no
doubt solemn. Many others attended to express their
appreciation to Ethan for his plan to continue on with the
Buckhorn Art Company. And there were even more people
who stopped by to utilize the free admission into the gallery.
Ethan especially welcomed those newcomers, in keeping with
the spirit of Eugene’s passion and goal to have the arts be
accessible to all.
The halls on which the replicas of the classic paintings
hung were undoubtedly popular. Besides those halls, Eugene’s
paintings were also understandably well-observed. This warmed
Ethan, as his sole purpose for the night was to seek to move on
from losing his friend. Seeing the popularity and appreciation of
Eugene’s work provided relief to Ethan beyond words. Many
individuals and families gathered around his work to not only
pay tribute, but to really study what Eugene had wanted to
However, there was one couple that Ethan saw staring at
Eugene’s work who he did not welcome. His parents. Their
attendance was extremely surprising to Ethan, and at first, he
didn’t know how to react. He didn’t even know if they knew
that their own son was putting on the event. Surely, they didn’t.
Nothing had ever been said to them about the gallery, Eugene,
or even painting. But, then, why would they be here? They
never showed any interest in painting or art.
Ethan’s mind scrambled about why they would be here.
Perhaps it was the free admission and the gallery being just
down the block from his father’s hospital which led to their
attendance. When he realized that it was Friday night, his regret
at so carelessly putting this on during the one day his father was
in town quickly set in. That had to be it. Free admission, and
now his lifestyle was blown.
Ethan’s mind next went to what he needed to do about
this dire situation. Should he hide in his own studio-room and
wait for his parents to leave? No. He was not missing out on
Eugene’s night on account of his parents. So, he made up his
mind and knew what he would do.
Ethan walked straight over to his father and mother, who
stood near the entrance of the building observing one of
Eugene’s artworks.
When his mother turned and saw him, her face lit up.
“Oh, Ethan, hi!” She said, smiling at him. She had dressed up
for the occasion, which now told him that they had planned this
evening out. She never had time to dress up nice due to being
so overburdened with the younger siblings. Seeing this pained
Ethan, because he knew he was about to ruin their special
evening out. As he approached closer to them, his mother
continued: “So this is where you…”
But Ethan didn’t let her finish, interrupting them.
“Mother. Father. I need to tell you something.” He said sternly.
Ripping the band-aid off quickly was the only way he could
handle this tough conversation. He was never this stern and
cold toward them at home. Never. But what he needed to tell
them was so difficult that the only way he knew how to say it
was to get it over and done with.
His father cocked his head at the unusual tone in Ethan’s
voice, listening intently. Ethan could see that his father’s eyes
were bloodshot from after a long day of concentrating at the
hospital. This also told Ethan that they had sacrificed to come
to this free art show. That would also make it hard for Ethan to
ruin their night with his decision.
“I’m not coming home.”
Though his father’s eyes were already blood-shot, there
was still an immediate, stark change in them which looked
pained at Ethan’s response.
His mother looked to his father, unsure of how they
should react, before looking back at her son sadly. “You mean
… never?” All three of them knew what he meant, but she had
to try and confirm it just out of the dread of now losing one of
her kids from under her roof.
“That’s right, mother. I don’t need to.”
“But what about all of your stuff back home? Surely you
want to come get that, right? Or, we can still keep a room for
you there if you ever change your mind and want to come
back…” Her hopes were in vain, and they all knew it.
Ethan shook his head. “Everything I need – everything
I’ve ever needed – is here.” Those words stung, as sincere as
Ethan meant them. He didn’t want to be backbiting or unloving
to his parents, it was just the honest truth to him. Still, he tried
to soften the sudden blow to his parents by explaining himself.
“The prior owner, Eugene, left it all to me. And I’m nineteen
now. Most kids my age are off at college, anyways. So, you’ll do
fine without me. This is my home now.”
One thing stood out to Ethan about the news he just
delivered to his parents – neither of them looked surprised that
he now owned the great Buckhorn Art Company. They didn’t
even ask him any questions about it, either. This made his
father’s response all the more cryptic to him, leaving Ethan
wondering what exactly was meant by it.
His father placed his hand on his shoulder and spoke
calmly. “We always knew this day would come.”
Ethan wanted to ask his father what was meant by that –
whether he meant that the day would come where he moved
out, or whether they somehow knew about his work at the
gallery. And in the years that would follow, not asking his father
for clarification would become one of his largest regrets. But in
that moment, a stronger emotion left Ethan speechless. It was
the feeling that he was letting his father down. All of those
years giving his father false hope had now accumulated and
Ethan realized for the first time just how damaging his actions
were. He felt embarrassed for leading his father on the whole
time. Ethan didn’t regret following his own passion, but he
deeply regretted lying about it. It was in this moment that Ethan
wished he was as good with words as he was with painting
feelings because he couldn’t find a single word to say – even
His father caught on. His hand still on Ethan’s shoulder,
he drew his son in. During the embrace, his father simply said,
“You will do great at this. I know it.”
The understanding tone in his father’s voice surprised
Ethan. When his father let go, he looked to his mother. A tear
slid down her cheek, which surprised Ethan. It left him
wondering if he had somehow misinterpreted her lack of
interest in him as her really giving him space to do what he was
drawn to. This thought lingered with him while he also hugged
his mom. When it ended, he tried to temper his prior sternness
with an invitation.
“If you ever need me, this is where I’ll be.” The words
had already come out, and Ethan was worried that it sounded
distant – that he again didn’t express himself as he really felt.
He wished he had a paintbrush and canvas in front of him to
paint his parents a picture of how he felt. He’d paint a giant
wave of an ocean engulfing his tiny self in its tempest. That was
how he felt in this moment. But instead, his weakness for
words had left his parents in tears of dismay.
His father managed a smile. “Could we stay here until
we’re done? You know how rare a night out is for us, and
there’s still so much more your mother would like to see.”
Yet again, his parents’ response surprised him. Never
before had Ethan seen any hint of an interest from his parents
toward art, and yet here they were wanting to spend a rare night
out in an art gallery. Perhaps this was an olive branch being
extended by them to Ethan, now that they knew of his passion
for paintings. And it was a branch he was willing to welcome.
“You’re always welcome here.” He paused for a moment
and looked at them both. He knew that this was goodbye, he
just didn’t know how long it was goodbye for. He’d hoped that
the next time he saw them was in his gallery, since he had
invited them to return whenever they needed him. “Goodbye,”
was all he said next, choosing to be done ripping the band-aide
With that, he turned around to get lost into the raging sea
of emotion which his home of artwork had so long fostered.
He was familiar with its endlessly enveloping arms. And it was
his new home. Just as he needed to move on from Eugene, he
knew that he now also needed to find a way to fill the void of
his parents – no matter the size of that void.
He turned to focus on the ocean of other guests, but
something unusual caught Ethan’s eye.
On this free night open to the public, patrons were mostly
only stopping to stare at the classic works of art and Eugene’s
paintings. As to the other modern works, even his own, they all
just passed by without giving them much thought. Except one
person. Out of the corner of his eye, the deeply bright read hue
of a woman’s hair burned as unusual. So, he turned and
observed her, just as if he was observing a painting. Only this
time, he was studying her at a distance from the other end of a
The actions between her and everyone else was so
strikingly different that he knew he just had to approach her.
She had stopped and actually was staring at a painting in the
modern hall. Ethan couldn’t tell which painting she was
studying, but it didn’t matter. He could tell she was being drawn
into one, and that stood out as vastly different from all the
other guests who had just casually passed by that hallway. It was
as if she had planted her roots in the hallway to study a
painting, while everyone else breezed by in the wind.
After a few moments, Ethan began walking casually
toward the woman. She had undoubtedly not noticed him, since
she was still fixated on a painting. As he got closer, her image
became clearer. The color of her red hair intensified, and he
saw that she was probably just a couple years older than him.
And the painting she was staring at wasn’t just any modern
painting – it was one of his.
“What do you think of it?” He asked, startling her from
“What do you think the artist was trying to say with it?”
She just asked back. Her question was surprising to Ethan. He’d
asked hundreds of people over the years what they thought of
paintings, and not once before had he been asked a question
back, let alone about the artist’s intent.
She turned and looked at Ethan, and once seeing him, she
broke out in a wide smile. Her red hair contrasted with her
bright green eyes. In this completely unexpected moment,
Ethan instantly knew he had just met the most beautiful woman
he would ever set eyes on.
The fact she smiled when she saw him either said that she
liked him back, or that she knew him already. But Ethan didn’t
have a clue who she was, so he just wanted to see if he was
missing something.
“I’m sorry … do I know you?” He asked.
“I don’t know, do you?” She said back, still smiling while
trying to give him a hard time.
“No … I don’t think I do, at least.”
“Well, then,” she said while extending her hand, offering
for him to shake it. The look in her eye and tone in her voice
had a hint of excitement in it that made Ethan think she was
smiling for the first reason – she was caught off guard, just like
he was, at their sudden meeting. She liked him back; he could see it in her eyes. “I’m Rose.”

About the author: 
Kyle Shoop is a multi-genre author of compelling stories. His new "Senses of Love" series is a romance series that provides rewarding and inspirational stories.

Kyle is also the author of the Acea Bishop Trilogy, which is an action-packed fantasy series. All books in that series are now available, with Acea and the Animal Kingdom being the first book.

At a young age, Kyle was recognized for his storytelling by being awarded the first-place Gold Key award for fiction writing in Washington State. After spending several years volunteering in his wife's elementary classrooms, he was inspired to write the Acea Bishop Trilogy. He is now motivated to finish his the new romance series. In addition to writing novels, Kyle is also a practicing attorney. 

Kyle and is wife and two children are currently living in Utah. 

Author's Giveaway


Debra Branigan said...

Cover art is nice and stories sounds sweet. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to the author on the book release.

Dale Wilken said...

Sounds really great.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post!

Kyle L. Shoop said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words - I hope you enjoy my novels!

Bridgett Wilbur said...

I just love your covers.

Kyle L. Shoop said...

Thank you! The cover for The Sight of Love is even more symbolic of the story and characters than it's apparent (no spoilers).

Robin A said...

I like the cover it looks real nice

Kim said...

I like the cover. It screams sweet to me.

Kyle L. Shoop said...

You are all so gracious, thanks! I hope you enjoy my stories!

Anna Josefin Bergman said...

Looks great!