Author: Rochelle Alers
Beauty has a price...From her first high-heeled step onto a Paris runway, supermodel Seneca Houston
has been a sensation. Ever since, she's been surrounded by couture clothes, glittering celebrities—and
the constant glare of the paparazzi. She's become muse to designer Luis Navarro, who christens her
Butterfly. Now, at thirty-three, Seneca wants the only thing that seems out of reach—a husband, children
and a normal life.When her agent offers his secluded villa as a hideaway, Seneca finds both tranquillity
and Dr. Eliot Rollins, a renowned plastic surgeon who is quickly captivated by the intelligent woman
behind the breathtaking face. But when Seneca decides to retire from modeling, there are repercussions
she never expected. Some people want Butterfly to stay trapped in the spotlight, even if it destroys her.
Surrounded by tabloid scandal, grasping relatives and friends with hidden agendas, Seneca wonders if
anything can be trusted—even her own heart....
Seneca Houston adjusted the three-way mirrored panels until she could view her full-length image from
several angles. The navy draped silk taffeta dress Luis Navarro had designed for her was a perfect fit. The
garment, ending at her knees, was reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour with a modern twist—
asymmetric, one-shoulder styling."I love it," she crooned, "but are you certain it's not too dressy?"Luis
shook his head and waved his hand as if swatting away an annoying insect. "Don't go there, Seneca.
What you don't want to do is look like everyone else."Her friend was right. She didn't want to look like
anyone else, but stand out. After all, she was a model, and it was her job to perfect her personal three
Ps: preening, posturing and strutting like a peacock.She'd recently celebrated her second year as a
model, and her career was stuck in a rut. It wasn't as if she didn't get offers. However, they weren't the
offers Seneca needed to advance in her profession. The monies she earned as a commercial model paid
the rent on the two-bedroom brownstone apartment she shared with an aspiring actress, but left her
unable to indulge in her only guilty pleasure: a monthly Broadway play.What she didn't want to do for the
next ten to twenty years was spend hours under hot lights doing catalogs and magazine shoots. Seneca
knew she had the face and body for runway, yet that would not become a reality unless she signed with
an agency.Although working as a freelance model afforded her the freedom to accept or decline
assignments, she worked longer hours than runway models, earning far less. Doing print ads kept, as her
grandmother used to say, "the wolf from the door," but she was tired of having to count pennies to make
ends meet.Unfortunately, frugality had become a part of her day-today existence, which was totally the
opposite of her generous personality. If she had one cookie she would share it with anyone who wanted a
piece. And she was willing to do anything short of prostitution to avoid moving back home with her
domineering mother. That, Seneca vowed, was not an option.Hopefully, everything would change tonight.
A photographer who'd befriended her when she did a major department-store catalog shoot had promised
to introduce her to the head of BG Management Agency. Mitchell Leon told her Booth Gordon was
always looking for a new face and new talent, and he'd told the talent agent that she was fashion's next
"It" girl. Seneca knew she had the goods. Now all she had to do was sell them.Reaching for a necklace
made of a double row of carved twelve-millimeter lapis and pale green jade beads with a large clasp
encrusted with pearls, she slipped it around her neck and adjusted it until the butterfly-designed clasp
rested at the base of her throat. She had debated whether to wear her hair pinned up or down around her
shoulders, then opted for a loose chignon. Luis had complained that the hairstyle was too severe for her
age, but Seneca had overruled him, leaving wisps to fall around her ears and conceal her pierced
lobes.Dangling the straps of a pair of dark blue, silk-covered stilettos from his forefinger, Luis approached
Seneca. If he hadn't been involved with an extremely wealthy and much-married older woman who'd
financed his own fashion collection, he knew he would've asked Seneca Houston to become his wife.
Seneca knew he liked her. But what she didn't know was how much. Not only had she become his muse
but also his obsession.Going to one knee, he grasped the ankle of her right foot and slipped the
slingback onto her narrow foot. Luis felt the warmth of her hand on his...
Rochelle Alers has been hailed by readers and booksellers alike as one of today's most popular African-
American authors of women's fiction. With nearly two million copies of her novels in print, Ms. Alers is a
regular on the Waldenbooks, Borders and Essence bestseller lists, and has been the recipient of
numerous awards, including the Gold Pen Award, the Emma Award, Vivian Stephens Award for
Excellence in Romance Writing, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and the Zora Neale
Hurston Literary Award. A native New Yorker, Ms. Alers currently lives on Long Island.