Home > Stolen Heir(8)

Stolen Heir(8)
Author: Sophie Lark

Right at that moment, a girl walks into the club.

I see a hundred gorgeous women every night, dolled up in their tight dresses and heels, faces painted, hair freshly coiffed, skin dusted with glitter.

This girl catches my eye because she’s the opposite of that. Young, fresh-faced. So cleanly scrubbed that she almost glows. Her light-brown hair is pulled back in a simple ponytail. Her eyes are wide and innocent. She hasn’t tried to cover up the spattering of freckles across her nose.

She’s wearing a lightweight wraparound sweater, and under that a pale pink bodysuit, almost the same color as her skin. Odd attire for a nightclub. Her friends are dressed in the usual crop-tops and mini dresses.

As soon I see her, I get a rush of adrenaline. My muscles tighten like coiled springs, and I can feel my pupils dilating. I imagine that I can smell her perfume, light and sweet, over the scent of smoke, alcohol, and sweat.

It’s the reaction of a predator when it sights its prey.

Because I recognize this girl.

It’s Nessa Griffin. The cherished baby girl of the Irish mafia. Their little darling.

She’s wandered into my club like an innocent gazelle. Foolish. Lost. Ripe for the taking.

It’s like a sign from heaven. But I don’t believe in heaven. Let’s call it a sign from the devil, then.

I watch her as she weaves her way through the club with her friends. They order drinks from frat-boy Bronson. Bronson flirts as hard as he can as he mixes up their martinis. Even though his attention is directed more to Nessa’s blonde friend, Nessa still blushes and can’t meet his eye.

Nessa takes her melon martini and sips it awkwardly, unable to keep from making a face, even though it’s mostly juice. She only drinks a quarter of it before setting it back down on the bar.

The blonde is still giggling up at Bronson. The other friend has struck up a conversation with a skinny nerdy-looking guy. Nessa gazes around the room, shy and curious.

I’m staring at her openly. I don’t look away when our eyes meet. I watch her expression, to see if she knows who I am.

Her cheeks turn pink, deeper than the color of her top. She looks away, then sneaks a glance back in my direction, to see if I’m still staring. When she sees that I am, she spins all the way around to put her back to me, taking another hasty gulp of her drink.

She’s totally ignorant. She doesn’t know who I am. This is just the behavior of an awkward girl, who prefers to hide in the middle of her more confident friends.

I stride back toward my office, intercepted by Jonas right before I reach the door.

“Where are you going?” he asks, noting my hurry.

“You’ve got the floor tonight,” I tell him. “I have something else to attend to.”

“What about Chaz?”

I pause. I was looking forward to seeing that slimy little fucker’s face when he realized he was caught. His smug smile fading away, replaced by fear, then abject terror. I was going to make him beg and plead and piss himself before I took my payment out of his hide.

But now I have bigger fish to fry.

“Take him down to the basement at the end of the night,” I say to Jonas. “Break his hands. Then dump him off back at his flat.”

“What about the money?” Jonas says.

“I’m sure it already went straight up his nose.”

There’s no way that little shit dared to steal from me just to put the cash into a savings account. He’s got a habit.

Jonas nods and heads back out into the club.

I enter my office and rifle through the top drawer of my desk. I pull out a GPS tracking device: about the size, shape and color of a penny. I slip it into my pocket. Then I go back out to the floor.

It only takes me a moment to spot Nessa Griffin. She’s dancing with her friends, swaying to a remix of “Roses.” I’m not the only one who’s watching her now. She draws the eye of men and women alike, surprisingly sensual as she dances. She seems to have forgotten her shyness, lost in the music.

It’s all too easy to sneak up behind her and slip the tracker into her purse. She’s so oblivious that I even let my fingers trail through the ponytail hanging down her back. Her hair is fine and silky, cool to the touch. Now I really can smell her perfume, light and clean: scents of lily, orchid, and plum.

I’ve walked away again before she’s noticed a thing.

Now I’ll know everywhere she goes.

I’ll follow her. Stalk her. And take her at my leisure.









I’ve barely been to any nightclubs before. Actually, I’m not even old enough to get inside. Serena gives me her sister’s expired ID, which really looks nothing like me, except that we both have brown hair. Luckily, the bouncer gives it only a cursory glance before waving us in.

As soon as we’re through the door, it’s like we’ve stepped into another world. The light is dim and flickering, the music pounds against my skin with palpable force. I know this place just opened, but it has a sort of old-school imperialist look, like it was made for British colonialists exported to India. The dark wood and weathered silver sconces and the deep green velvet look like they came out of an old library.

I kind of love it. I only wish I’d brought a change of clothes like the other girls did, because they look as sexy and cool as every other person in this place, while I just . . . don’t.

I don’t even know what to order when we head over to the bar. I get the same thing as Serena, which turns out to be a watermelon martini with a twist of lime peel floating in the glass.

Even the bartender is insanely hot. I feel like the employees must all moonlight as models, because every last one of them looks like they get their exercise walking up and down runways.

Serena’s loving it. She’s leaning her elbows on the bar, grinning up at the bartender, asking him how many girls’ numbers he gets every night.

“Not enough,” he says, winking. “I’ve definitely got room for one more in my phone.”

I take a sip of my drink. It’s sickly sweet, but I can still taste the bite of alcohol underneath. It makes me gag a little. I don’t know how my brother drinks whiskey straight—it all kinda tastes like paint thinner to me.

I don’t want to get too tipsy, so I set my drink back down on the bar, looking around the club.

I love people watching.

If I could just sit in the corner, totally invisible, and watch people walk by all night long, I wouldn’t mind that at all. I like trying to guess who’s a couple and who’s not, who’s celebrating their last day of exams and who came here with workmates. I love seeing people’s gestures and expressions, the way they dance and talk and laugh.

I don’t like attention myself. So, when I see a man leaning up against a pillar next to the dance floor, staring right at me, his gaze hits me like a slap. I drop my eyes, pretending to be super interested in my own fingernails, until I think he’s probably moved on to something else.

When I glance up again, he’s still staring. He’s tall, slimly built, with hair so blond it’s almost white. He’s sharp-featured and pale. He looks like he hasn’t eaten or slept in a long time, cheeks hollow and dark smudges under his eyes. He’s quite beautiful—like a starving angel. But there’s no kindness or friendliness in his face.

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