The Devil's Portrait

Following the success of the previous novels, The Devil’s Portrait promises to keep the reader locked in until the very end.
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WHERE TO BUY

Printed Versions

G.S. Marriott’s third book, The Devil's Portrait, may be purchased in print from the following book stores:

INDIGO
Locations throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo region

BOOK EXPRESS
Cambridge Centre Mall,
355 Hespeler Rd.,
Cambridge, Ontario

VOLUMES PUBLISHING
Waterloo, Cambridge & Kitchener

Phone: 519-621-9500

Purchase a print copy of THE DEVIL'S PORTRAIT from the following online book stores:


All books are available in e-book format for all devices and can be purchased through Indigo and Amazon.
CHAPTER 1

 

October - 2009

                 The house, situated in the northern sector of Newport, Rhode Island, was an old and stately, grey stone structure, dating back to the late 1800s. It had 19 rooms, including four bathrooms and sat majestically atop the crest of the property, which encompassed some sixty acres of meticulous gardens and greenery. The landscape was adorned with a multitude of tasteful sculptures and fountains, commonly viewed in the higher end gardening magazines. When the worker bees of the world read about how the ‘rich and famous’ lived, this was pretty much what they would see. A serpentine, cobblestone laneway weaved its’ way through the sprawling foliage, ending in a circular driveway in front of the colossal wooden doors of the home. The handles and knockers alone would fetch a price equal to the cost of a new small vehicle for anyone living in the blue-collar world, which this definitely, was not.

Sitting in front of the adjoining triple car garage, were three vehicles; a late model hunter-green Land Rover LR3, a white 2009 Porsche Boxster S-Model and a black 2007 Jaguar XK convertible. The vehicles were currently being tended to by a young man of about twenty-three named Erik, whose chiseled body was on display beneath shorts and a tight sleeveless shirt. His long blond mane, coupled with sea blue eyes and exaggerated muscles, left little doubt the boy’s ancestry was from somewhere in the Nordic regions. Whatever that country may have been, was irrelevant to the ladies who crossed his path because, regardless of their age, the young man was instant eye candy, who they openly and embarrassingly salivated over. He would no doubt, be their nightly fantasy until such time as the fantasy might become a reality. He was just putting the finishing touches on a wipe down of the Land Rover from its’ wash, a chore he was obviously a regular hire for. The Porsche and the Jaguar, given the small pools of water lying underneath, had already been detailed to a gleaming shine.

A large stadium type building to the east of the property, was home to two statuesque Arabian bred horses. The oversized building left these animals wanting for nothing. As elegant as the two dark brown equines were, the woman currently leading one of them from the paddock clearly escalated that beauty to a completely higher dimension. She was obviously the lady of the house, and at thirty-eight years of age had looks that could not only kill, but easily entice any man she wished and she knew it.

Dressed in a tailored jacket, tight beige riding breeches, and high black boots, she looked to be in total control and the animal to human bond between the two, produced a symbiosis that few others could ever realize. Her smooth and graceful mounting of the giant steed only confirmed that comfort level. Vanity was obviously in play however, because she had decided to forego the usual wearing of the safety helmet in order to allow her long black waves of hair to flow freely while riding.

Before heading out, she beckoned the young man by the cars over to her. She was having problems with one of her stirrups, she had told him.  She claimed it was sitting too low and he obligingly jogged over to calm her concerns. Upon his arrival, she turned the horse so the young man and herself would be blocked out from any visual observations from any of the house windows. As he reached over, placing his hand on her boot, she leaned forward and grasped his wrist, sliding his hand slowly upward along her inner thigh, until finally bringing it to rest at the desired location. Although uncomfortable with her placement of his hand, he knew from previous tutorings, what was expected of him. He slowly began to massage her firmly and gently through the skin-tight material, causing her to moan and squirm beneath his touch. She allowed this to go on for two to three more minutes, until she had reached a level of ecstasy that satisfied her and at that point, abruptly threw his hand aside and cantered off. 

Her name was Anastasiya Dimitroff, a former working girl who had won the proverbial lottery by being plucked out of the dredges of St Petersburg, Russia years earlier and taken as a consort and later a wife, to a wealthy businessman. Upstairs, looking out from the bedroom window at the salacious games being played between this adulterous woman and the hired help, was that very same businessman, and husband, Nicholas Dimitroff.  At forty-two, he had kept himself in good shape and with his short dark hair and good looks, often drew comparisons to actor George Clooney. Throw in a personality that enamoured him with virtually everyone he came into contact with, and the result was a constant flow of major coups with regards to his business ventures. This persona was also effectual when it came to women, single or married, who brazenly plied their seductive ways, trying to tempt the man into their beds, some of whom were successful.

 Dimitroff’s exaggerated income over the years had been derived from illegal means. He was an arms dealer with absolutely no scruples about selling to anyone as long as they could pay. His cover of legitimacy and respectability came in the guise of a textile importer / exporter, but the bulk of his fortune came from dealing with counterparts in overseas countries, many of whom were enemies of the very country he lived.

Dimitroff knew of his wife’s missteps from the very beginning. Once a whore, always a whore, but she did serve a purpose and that’s why she was with him. He actually used her as a means to an end in order to solidify deals, by putting her special talents to practical use. She was offered up to provide the bonus perks he felt necessary to close his deals with prospective clients and because she loved the lifestyle, not to mention the harsh reality of the alternative back in St. Petersburg, she accepted her role without much fuss. She had been secured as part of the purchase price when formulating one of his many deals with the Russians years earlier. Normally, they wouldn’t usually give up such a worthwhile commodity like Anastasiya, but the price Dimitroff had extended to them far surpassed what the woman would have made for them over the next year, so they accepted his offer. She didn’t come cheap, but because he had used her himself several times prior, he was convinced that with her looks and talents, she would be a definite asset. Using her to close out deals would have her making back the purchase price ten-fold in a very short time. It was all about doing business and Dimitroff knew the game better than anyone and she knew what her role was to be. A true marriage it wasn’t, and as far as any physical relationship, she knew he didn’t need or want her for that, as he got his elsewhere. She was fine with the arrangement, as long as the gravy train stayed on the tracks. This was a business enterprise, to not only consummate major deals, but further assist in justifying his legitimacy within the business and social world they now lived.

The one unforeseen circumstance to this pairing, was the arrival of a child almost seventeen years earlier soon after their union. Jonathan Dimitroff was an unplanned and unwanted addition, created after a late night of over indulgence and, until a couple of years ago, both parents had done a dutiful, albeit non-loving and uncommitted job of parenting the young man. Nicholas was always away on business and she had no time for children and actually disliked them, particularly Jonathan, to the point where she would verbally abuse him whenever the father wasn’t around. The abuse escalated to physical as he approached his teen years.

          Fortunately for him, in the early years, their lifestyle afforded them the services of a nanny and she was with the boy constantly until the age of twelve, so the abuse was sparse. Jonathan was a good kid, but very inhibited and secluded in his own mind. Despite his upbringing, he had developed an acuity and sensitivity for painting. The word prodigy had been thrown about several times, as far back as prepubescent. He had talent, his father had been told. A brush in his hand was magical, like the wand of a great conductor directing an orchestra. Whether from divine intervention or some other source, he was able to capture subtle nuances of everything around him, regardless of whether his work was portraits or scenery. Whatever he painted was gradually separating him from his contemporaries and the local art world was starting to pay attention.

He had just celebrated his seventeenth birthday and spent almost every waking hour in the studio his father had set up for him. Nicholas had always been a zealous advocate of his son’s talents ever since he was first made aware of his genius and supported him generously. He spent whatever amount of money was needed for his son to flourish. Anastasiya was not so gratuitous with her praise or love. She viewed his talents as mediocre and an encumbrance to her ‘center of the universe’ standing. She despised the boy and the vast amount of money her philandering husband was spending on this childish adventure to nowhere.

            Over the next two years, while her husband was away, she would go up to the studio and destroy and burn some of his paintings. She would force the boy to remove his shirt and trousers and introduced the riding crop as the new, go-to instrument for her sadistic torture. She further threatened that if he ever told anyone, she would end his painting career instantly by cutting the tendons in his painting hand, while holding a sharp carving knife across the back of his hand. When the boy entered his teen years, the Nanny was let go. The safety net now gone, Jonathan needed to do whatever she said or his life as an artist, the only one he ever coveted, would be gone in a heartbeat.

            Nicholas, when he was home, had noticed that Jonathan often seemed overly quiet and sullen, but since the boy said nothing, he chalked it up to it simply being a super focused kid being engrossed in his art. As far as Nicholas was concerned, his boy lived in a completely different world, therefore the father was unable to recognize any issues, writing them off instead as peculiarities associated to his genius.

            Two weeks after the boy’s nineteenth birthday, the family suddenly pulled up stakes and moved to the Los Angeles area of California. Nicholas had undoubtedly crossed a line in one of his business dealings and became the target of some very incensed and menacing individuals, one whose origin and purpose was very clear in his mind. It was the Albanians who were behind it, he knew and if captured, his family would be in grave danger. He had screwed them over on a weapons deal for a vast amount of money and they were pissed and looking for blood, so he packed up everything and left for the west coast. He had told his wife and son that business was forcing the move.

Once out there, they would also have to change their names and Anastasiya didn’t seem to care too much, because in her mind she was going to Los Angeles, home of the movie stars, cinema and warm weather. There would never be any more snow, just sun and ocean and a wider selection of rich men who were much better looking with their beautiful tans. Jonathan acted out a little, but with most of his time, consumed in his studio, it didn’t appear to bother him too much either. He was on the internet daily and was fully aware that Los Angeles was a mecca for the art world, much like New York and Chicago. He was, for the first time, finally starting to look at himself as possibly a big fish in a bigger pond and he felt he was now ready, more than ever, for a leap forward.

            They had purchased a home on Laurel Way, just above Sunset Blvd. in the Beverly Hills area. It wasn’t as big as the Rhode Island home, but it had the pool and cabana and all the other extras normally associated with the more affluent life styles. The horses were sold, because Anastasiya had said she would not have any time to take care of them. She did, however, keep her riding crop and leather gloves, because she still might have use for those. Nicholas knew people who, for a steep price, would be able to furnish them with new identity papers that would pass muster with any government or public agency. They would now be known as Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm and Caroline Carter along with their teenage son, Alexander.

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