Page 1


Acclaim for

The Butterfly and the Violin

[[to com e]]

00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 1

1/28/14 3:29 PM


00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 2

1/28/14 3:29 PM


The Bu t t er f ly and the Violin A H i d d e n Ma s t e r p i e c e N o v e l

K r i s t y Ca m b r o n

00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 3

1/28/14 3:29 PM


© 2014 by Kristy Cambron All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Published in association with Hartline Literary Agency, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. [[If applicable, credits for photography, typesetting, or any other noteworthy vendors]] Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fundraising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ ThomasNelson.com. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data ISBN: 978-1-4016-9059-5 Printed in the United States of America 14 15 16 17 18 19 RRD 6 5 4 3 2 1

00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 4

1/28/14 3:29 PM


For my Dad. And for Jeremy, whom Yahweh has uplifted. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isa i ah 30:21

00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 5

1/28/14 3:29 PM


00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 6

1/28/14 3:29 PM


Cha p t e r O n e

Z

I

Present Day, New York Cit y

s this it?” Sera James bounded through the front doors of the Manhattan gallery, so excited that she nearly slipped for running across the hardwood floor in her heels. She came to a flustered stop in front of the large canvas hanging on the back wall. Breathless, she asked, “You’ve confirmed—this is her?” “Did you run all the way here, Sera?” “Yes. Wouldn’t you?” She wasn’t ashamed to admit it. From the second she’d received the phone call, Sera had pushed and shoved her way off the subway in a frenzy and had run the eight blocks back to the gallery, dodging taxis and cracks in the sidewalks all the way. Penny nodded. “The guys in the back just opened the crate. Can you believe it’s been there for a week and we didn’t even know it?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Unfathomable.” Sera unwound the chiffon scarf from her neck and shrugged off her trench coat as she stepped away for a moment, draping them both over the antique wooden counter stretching the back of the room. She twisted her long ebony hair and tucked it into a loose bun, then secured it atop her head with a pencil she found

1 00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 1

1/28/14 3:29 PM


The B u t t e r f ly and the V i o l i n

nearby. It wasn’t until she turned back to her assistant that she noticed the girl hadn’t moved an inch. Penny stood like a statue, her only movement an index finger that twirled a lock of strawberry blond hair at her nape. Sera laughed. When her assistant took to whirling a strand of hair around her finger, something had to have completely captured her attention. “You’re doing it again, Penny.” The action was telltale. But Sera didn’t blame Penny in the least. This moment was special. If the painting was what they both thought it was, standing in awe was warranted. The rest of the city could have flown by outside the front windows and neither one of them would have noticed. Or cared. “I’m just sorry it’s not the original.” Penny offered Sera an envelope without looking away from the canvas. “But it is another step closer and that’s what matters.” “You’ve inspected the borders?” “My hands were shaking like crazy the whole time,” Penny admitted, tilting her head to one side. “But yeah. The negatives are inside.” Sera opened the envelope and held the negatives up to the light. Penny was right—the painting before them was eerily similar to the one they sought. Checking the borders was the only way to distinguish the original from a copy. And if the borders didn’t match, then this couldn’t be the one they’d been searching for. Her heart almost sank a little before she realized that while it may not have been the portrait, it was still a portrait of her. The borders didn’t matter much when those piercing eyes continued to stare out, haunting the viewer. Sera swallowed hard, thinking how long they’d waited for the moment to arrive. She replaced the negatives in the envelope. “It may be a copy, but I still have to know. How did you find it?”

2 00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 2

1/28/14 3:29 PM


K r ist y C a mbron

“An estate sale,” Penny answered, her voice sounding almost dreamy. “Just north of San Francisco.” “And do we know for whom?” Penny nodded again, and this time cocked an eyebrow in a curious fashion. “That’s the mystery—it’s some businessman. A financier in real estate. William Hanover is his name. I called his office with a basic inquiry and he contacted us back immediately. Said he was liquidating his late grandfather’s estate. The name doesn’t ring a bell for me at all and I’ve been chasing this painting for more than two years, same as you. Nobody in the art world has ever heard of him.” The name was foreign to her too. Who was this William Hanover and how did he manage to get his hands on a painting that was a virtual copy of the one she was looking for? “And did we make an offer?” “Mmm-hmm. I figured you’d want to, so I made a generous one.” Penny’s answer didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Sera shook her head. “Then why do you sound as if you’ve got some bad news for me?” “Because he said he’s not going to sell. Money isn’t enough, apparently.” “But you just said it was an estate sale.” “Right,” Penny cut in. “But it was a chance encounter that I found the painting on an Internet auction site. It was the image and not a bill of sale that caught my attention. I was sifting through old photographs of estate sales from last fall, jewelry and such. You know, the usual. I’d been through an exhausting file of artwork when I came across a photo of this—faded and barely noticeable in the background, behind a vase that had been highlighted for sale. But there’s no doubt—it’s her.” Her assistant stood back and eyed the painting, then pulled a clipboard up to her chin as if entranced by the vision of the ethereal beauty.

3 00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 3

1/28/14 3:29 PM


The B u t t e r f ly and the V i o l i n

“It was her eyes, Sera. They pierced right through the computer screen and pulled me in, if that’s possible.” “It’s possible.” The same thing had happened to her the first time she’d seen the painting. Only hers was a patchy memory, of an image she’d once seen as a young girl. Thinking back on it now made the moment all the more surreal. “I spilled a whole mug of coffee down my front when I saw it on the computer screen.” Penny smiled, one of those youthful, dimple-cheeked grins so characteristic of the young art student. “Remember that ivory sweater I borrowed? Hope you didn’t want it back anytime soon.” “No,” Sera answered honestly and lost in thought, took a step closer to the canvas. “Forget about it. This is better.” “It is, isn’t it?” They stood for a moment, speechless, transfixed by the beauty of the portrait. Penny shook her head and on a hushed breath whispered, “After all this time. She’s finally here.” It had been far too long, that was for sure. From the moment Sera had laid eyes on the work of art when she was eight years old, she’d been haunted by the otherworldly beauty. A simple three-quarter silhouette of a young woman of perhaps twenty years of age, with flawless, iridescent skin and those ever-piercing, almost animalistic blue eyes. The softness in the mouth, the sadness in the features . . . the stark coldness of the shaved head, showing a young beauty that had been shorn of her crown and glory . . . the tattooed numbers, shouting out from the left forearm that cradled a violin. “So, let me get this straight.” Sera stood tall in her pencil skirt and classic white oxford, with arms folded and foot tapping while she tried to work things out in her mind. “We found a painting by chance, but it’s not the original. And though it happens to be an image of our long-lost girl, it’s not for sale. The owner won’t take money for it.” “That sums it up. I wish I could say it didn’t.”

4 00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 4

1/28/14 3:29 PM


K r ist y C a mbron

Sera stood back for a moment, puzzled as to how the painting could be in her gallery under the circumstances. “So . . . how did it end up here again?” “It’s been sent here on loan.” “Why on loan?” Sera leaned in, nodding at the exquisite brushstrokes. “That’s just it.” Penny paused with a hitch in her voice. With her attention piqued, Sera half turned to find Penny chewing the edge of her thumb nail. Penny furrowed her brow as if she were staring into the bright summer sunshine. Sera stood up straight then, as her hands found their way to her hips. She almost smiled at her friend’s behavior. “Penn—what on earth is the matter with you? Is there something you’re not telling me?” “He wants to talk in person.” Penny looked close to cringing. “About his terms.” Sera did smile then. The man had terms? “His terms for what?” “For hiring you,” Penny admitted with an almost too reluctant smile herself. “Or us, rather. He’s willing to pay close to an obscene amount of money for the services of the gallery that’s looking for the very same thing he is—the original painting of our girl.” “Did you explain why we’re looking for the painting?” “Yes, of course I did. I told him we had interest in acquiring Holocaust Era art for the gallery, but I had to soften it a little. After all, something to the tune of ‘she’s been dreaming of finding this painting since she was a girl’ didn’t seem appropriate to confess to a complete stranger we might have to negotiate with. I mean, if he has a copy of the painting, then he may be our ticket to finding the original. I told him the truth.” Penny pulled a paper free from the clipboard and handed it to her. “Enough of it anyway to get you an invitation and a plane ticket to the West Coast. Your flight leaves tomorrow—on his dime.”

5 00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 5

1/28/14 3:29 PM


The B u t t e r f ly and the V i o l i n

Hesitating, she toyed with the idea that the man could have his own agenda. “Okay. We both know why I’m looking for the painting. But why does this William Hanover want it? Did he say?” Penny shook her head. “I guess that’s what this ticket will help us find out.” Sera reached for the ticket with trembling fingertips. Two years. It’d been two years since her world had fallen apart, since she’d thrown herself into work and once again found herself consumed by the intrigue of the painting’s mystery. She may have first learned of the lost painting as a girl, but her real dedication to unraveling its mystery hadn’t come until she had nothing left. If finding the last piece of the puzzle meant that Sera had to work with this William Hanover, then she was game. Thank You, Lord. The unspoken prayer somehow made her heart feel light. We’re this close to finding her. “Penny.” Sera smiled. “We’re finally bringing her home.”

6 00-01_ButterflyandViolin.indd 6

1/28/14 3:29 PM


The Butterfly and the Violin  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you