Rhoda works as a portrait artist, painting the destinies of those who sit for her. They choose their subject of wealth, success or love, and she paints their destiny. Most opt for love, and they pay handsomely to know their fate.
Nagged into sketching at a charity event, Rhoda finds herself facing Prince Drehl and his companions. When one woman opts for a sketch, she smiles at the image of her destined mate and carries the sketch away as if it were a precious treasure.
As she completes the sketch for the prince, Rhoda sees her own features as well as his alter ego, and she tries to blur the page before she shows it to him.
Charm of the Yacaro Guardians is amused by her reaction to him, and when he repairs the damage she did to the sketch, he knows why she was so skittish. She is his destiny, and he will not let her get away.
She is on his world and no one can escape him on his home turf.
Rhoda Evergreen hugged her sister and smiled. “I will be fine. Trust me.”
Pansy Evergreen looked Rhoda in the eye and said, “You are not infallible. I mean, look at the match you drew for me.”
“Pansy, I drew a man with dark hair. You wanted it to be Drew. None of the other characteristics in the drawing were found in your dear ex-husband.” Rhoda smiled and stroked her cheek. She looked to the crowd beyond, all the men and women saying farewell to the Volunteers that had been chosen to leave and represent Earth in the unlimited span of the Alliance.
“You are an artist. What use can you be to aliens?” Pansy made a last-ditch attempt to change her mind.
“The same use I can be for you. Pardon me a moment.” She smiled and crossed to the man she recognized from her own drawing. She tapped him on the arm, and he jumped, startled.
“Yes, what can I do for you?” He had the most wonderful, kind chocolate-brown eyes, and he looked over her with curiosity.
“Are you here sending someone off?”
“My brother. He just left for his press conference.”
“Well, my sister is going to be on her own, and I was wondering if you would consider taking her for a cup of coffee?” Rhoda smiled and batted her lashes.
“You? You are going?”
“I am. I am one of the mere mortals with a simple talent that the Alliance deemed useful. I am about to get my final briefing and head to the shuttle, but I don’t want to leave Pansy alone. She’s a little upset.”
He gave her a wary look. “Is she crying?”
“No, she wants to kick my ass.”
He gave her a slow grin. “I can sympathize. Please, introduce me.”
Rhoda sighed in relief and went to introduce Pansy to the man that Rhoda had sketched ten years earlier. This man was Pansy’s destiny, and Rhoda was glad that she was here to see the initial introduction. It took a weight off her mind that her sister was going to be with the man she could love and who could love her in return.
Destiny wasn’t always so kind.