The only thing I seem to excel at in this life is attracting bad men then breaking them.
It’s a game I’ve perfected over the years. The only thing that gives me a thrill nowadays, and my way of contributing to the betterment of this world.
It’s simple, really, and almost too easy. The real danger doesn’t come until the end, when the man’s world comes crashing down, but I’ve grown quite adept at covering my tracks.
I reel my marks in with this stunning face God blessed me with. Then I string them along while learning all their dirty little secrets. Once I grow bored, or discover something particularly juicy, I use those secrets against them. When they fall from grace, I have the perfect excuse for leaving them and moving on to the next mark.
Ahmed draws me closer and closer, as if it will allow him to peer deeper into my soul.
My skin crawls under the grip of his soft hand and my nose wants to wrinkle at the thick scent of his perfumed musk.
Reaching up, he tucks one of my wayward curls behind my ear. The action should be tender, but it feels more like a threat.
“Is there anything you would like to tell me, Meredith?” he asks as the tips of his fingers trail down my cheek.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
It’s just as I suspected, but what does he know?
I squint my eyes a little bit, just enough to cause wrinkles to appear on my brow so that I appear confused. “Tell you? No… I don’t think so.”
He stares at me for a long moment then gives a nod of his head as if that’s the answer he expected. His fingers suddenly dig painfully into my arm as he tightens his grip.
With a hard tug he begins to drag me towards the side of the yacht.
“Ow! Ahmed, you’re hurting me!” I cry out, hoping to earn some sympathy so he’ll lighten up.
It only causes his grip to dig in even deeper.
Dammit. Whatever he knows is bad.
Once we reach the rail, he uses my arm to jerk me around so that I’m facing him. My shoulder screams in agony as he then pushes my back up against the railing.
“I’m going to give you one more chance, Meredith,” he says calmly. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
My mind races, trying to figure out what he can possibly know. I’ve been careful, so careful. The only way he could possibly know anything at all is if one of my former marks somehow found him.
But even then, even if they were aware of what happened, would they want to admit they had been suckered by woman?
No, it’s not likely. That’s why I only choose the ones with huge egos…
I search his face, looking for a hint, for anything that will give me a clue of what he knows, my confusion now genuine.
But all I see is his eyes growing darker and darker with anger.
“Have I done something wrong, darling? If I have, I’m truly sorry. I can assure you it wasn’t intentional…”
Despite the pain of his grip, despite the rail that’s digging into my back, I reach out and stroke his arm.
If I act afraid now it will only prove my guilt.
“I’ll make it up to you, I promise,” I say, flooding my gaze with heat and lowering my lashes.
His eyes begin to soften and his grip loosens a fraction.
I haven’t slept with him yet, despite his rather aggressive advances. Not only because I find the thought of it repugnant, but because once you spread your legs for a man like him they’re done with you and ready to move on to the next conquest.
I continue to stroke his arm, letting my eyes do all the talking for me. I think of the all the dirty little things I could do for him if he was someone I actually found attractive.
Just as I feel like I’m pulling him back into my web, his expression suddenly hardens. His hand releases my arm and he reaches up and wraps it around my neck.
Squeezing his fingers together, he leans over me and begins to push me back.
Panicked, I stop stroking his arm. My fingers scramble up and desperately claw at the fingers squeezing around my throat.
“Stop playing games with me, Meredith. I’m on to you.”
He keeps pushing and pushing, looming over me until I’m nearly bent in half. I can feel the mist of the choppy waves splashing up. The drops of water that hit my nape and dampen my curls are uncomfortably cold.
I glance to the side and all I see is endless black sea.
This was always a possibility, being killed by a mark, and it’s what makes the game so thrilling in the first place.
But I’m not ready to go just yet.
“Tell me who those men at the dock are,” he demands and my attention snaps back to him.