I honestly should have ignored the pounding at my door two hours ago. That would have saved me from the thrumming, incessant dance beat I was presently being subjected to.
But my mate Felix had always known how to coax me out. He’d been Charlie’s best mate. When my brother died, he’d made me his unofficial little brother.
It didn’t matter how many times I tried to remind him I did not need looking after. It wasn’t like he ever listened. Felix was a mountain, basically the size of an ape. And he didn’t just sit on your shoulder. He liked to latch himself onto your whole back.
He shoved a glass at me. “Drink up, mate.”
I glowered at the scotch. He had a point. I’d been in a mood for the past week, ever since the last board meeting. I’d taken one of Charlie’s subsidiaries and sold it off. The company had been bleeding money, so I’d sold it off and used the funds for a nonprofit charity in his name. I may or may not have celebrated my coup with a certain Hollywood starlet… by naked kite surfing. My father had been less than pleased.
He’d put me on ice for daring to make decisions without his explicit approval, and now I was being punished. He hadn’t exactly stripped me of my title, but he’d assigned me to publicity duty for King Media, a job that didn’t matter. All because I’d dared to think for myself.
He knew I hated publicity duty, being trotted out like a prized pony. That’s what made the job the perfect punishment. The real question was how long I’d be forced to endure it.
“Drink up, young Padawan. You might even have some fun.”
“Felix, give it a rest. I’m not in the mood, mate. Besides, I’m supposed to be laying low, remember? New face of King Media and all that shit.”
“Fair enough. But you don’t actually want to be the PR lackey, do you? Fuck, mate, live a little.”
You didn’t have to follow him out tonight.
Except Felix was that mate. The one who, no matter what happened, if he called you went, because when you needed him, he was there for you. So I’d come, even though it was against my better judgment.
“Couldn’t you have picked somewhere more low-key though?” I wasn’t exactly in the mood for a boisterous club.
He shrugged. “You sound like Alyssa. She begged off. Said I was partying too much for her.”
I blinked in surprise. Alyssa was his girlfriend of three years. She might not like to party, but she was indulgent when Felix did. Which was often. Whenever there was an adventure, Alyssa was with us. I was convinced that she tempered more of his wilder instincts. “Oh, so you were bored and called me?”
“I’m not bored. I have other mates. It’s just you’re my best mate. Besides, you haven’t been out in a week.”
“Mate, I’m in no…” Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a woman. Tiny, with reddish-auburn hair that fell in a tumble of curls around her shoulders. Her mate was the exact opposite.
She was tall, dark skinned, and had long braids that cascaded to her hips. Her curves were more subtle but still enough that her arse would fill my hands.
But it was her face that had me completely tuning out Felix and the harsh music. Her neck was long and delicate, and she held it like a dancer. Her cheekbones looked like they were sculpted by a master. Her lips were almost too full for her face. Full enough to give me dirty fantasies in my mind of just what her mouth could do.
But it was her eyes that really held me rooted. In the quick once-over she made of the crowd, her gaze told me so much. She was intelligent, assessing, and she’d seen too much despite being so young.
I had no idea who she was but one glance, one look, and she’d already eviscerated any active brain cells.
Naturally, instead of sensing the imminent danger to my soul, I wanted… more.
Felix glanced around. “Mate, what the fuck are you looking at? Oh. I see. Damn, she’s well fit. Tits enough for two handfuls.”
I frowned at him, ready to tell him to shut his mouth when I realized he was talking about the wrong girl. “No, not the short one. Her mate.”
True to form, Felix laughed. “Mate, she looks too smart for you. Like she can detect bullshit from a mile away.”
“Don’t give a fuck. She will be mine.”