“If you stare at that bloody yacht any more, you’ll burn a hole in its side.” I looked from Arthur’s yacht to Arabella. She was lying on her lounger on the sun deck, head tilted back, her SPF-drenched dark skin shimmering under the blistering Marbella sun.
I took a sip of my mojito, letting the mint and lime cool me down. I saw a few of Arthur’s friends on the deck. But he wasn’t there. I hadn’t seen him since the night in the club. Not long after Ollie Lawson and his friends came, Arthur and his boys had disappeared. I had no idea where to. But they hadn’t come back.
My cheeks blazed when I thought back to him looking at me right in the eyes as he fingered the girl on his lap. As her eyes rolled back and she moaned out loud as her orgasm barrelled through her.
A hand waved in front of my face, pulling me back from the other night. From Arthur … his dark hair, blue eyes and black-rimmed glasses that just did something to me. I couldn’t read him. He was as impenetrable as Fort Knox. Even when his gaze had been locked on mine, I couldn’t get a bloody read on him. He gave nothing away. It was as if he was soulless. As if he lacked any basic emotion.
The hand before my face moved faster. When I shook my head, withdrawing myself from thoughts of Arthur and those eyes that were as unbreakable as a bank safe, it was to see Freya. She smiled, but I could see a tinge of worry in her dark eyes.
She studied me, then put her palm on my forehead as if checking my temperature. I moved her hand away. “Frey,” I said, sighing. “I’m fine.”
“Just checking you haven’t got a fever or anything. Or heat exhaustion.” She took a sip of her Chardonnay. Her purple bikini somehow made her Irish features look more pronounced, and made her curves look like something out of a Renaissance painting.
“I’m completely well.”
Arabella sat up and moved her Gucci sunglasses from her espresso eyes. Her curls framed her beautiful face. “You do know that yacht belongs to Alfie Adley, don’t you?” Her lips were pursed with worry. “That guy you keep staring at is Arthur Adley. The Arthur Adley, heir to the Adley firm and their empire of death and destruction.”
“I know who he is. I have done since we met at thirteen, remember?”
“Yeah, we remember,” Freya said. “But do you? Alfie Adley was there to cash in on a debt your father owed. He wasn’t there for a night of drinks and billiards.”
“I know that,” I snapped. Freya and Arabella glanced at each other as though I’d lost my bloody mind. Maybe I had. All I knew was that, over the years, Arthur had become an obsession of mine. And now he was here. In the flesh. Docked next to us. Looking my way with that steely gaze that seemed to make my knees weak and my mind lose all of its senses.
“Daddy made a mistake. He explained it all to me. He made a bad investment.” I shrugged. “He sorted it and hasn’t had dealings with the Adleys again since.”
“Yet, here you are, wanting to fuck Arthur every which way to Sunday.” Arabella raised an eyebrow at me, waiting for my response.
The sound of raucous laughter came from the Adley yacht, and I glanced over. Just then, Arthur walked out onto the deck, a large gin glass in his hand. He seemed more often than not to be drinking gin, I’d noticed. It must have been his drink of choice—straight, with ice, no mixer. He was shirtless, wearing navy-blue shorts, his black-rimmed glasses firmly in place.
Christ, he was perfection. His skin was slightly kissed by the sun, and his dark hair looked like onyx under the midday sun’s rays.
As if feeling my stare, he looked over, his eyes landing straight on mine. His cousin, Charlie, followed his gaze, his eyes narrowing on me as if I were a problem he wanted to solve. My breathing came faster as Arthur didn’t look away from me. Not even when Freddie Williams stood beside him and started talking in his ear.
“Seriously, Cheska,” Freya said, and I reluctantly looked at my best friend. “Go fuck your boyfriend or something. Get any thought of Arthur Adley from your head.”
Arabella laughed. “Can you imagine taking him home to your daddy? He’d have a damn heart attack.”
“Maybe Arthur isn’t as bad as you think,” I said.
“They’re East End gangsters,” Freya said. “They’re murderers! We’ve all heard the rumours.”