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.The sound of success.Anita would have been so proud.Yeah, but not so proud of the fact you’re planning on ditching it, huh?No, probably not.She’d left him the club thirteen years ago, when she’d first realized she was getting sick.A gift he’d promptly thrown back in her face by fucking off overseas, refusing to accept the responsibility or the reality of her illness.It had taken him five years to come to terms with it.To come back to New Zealand, to take on the club, and most importantly, to care for her.The lover who’d rescued him from the streets and given him the stars.On the other hand, Anita was six months dead and what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.As he approached the club’s entrance—a vaulted hallway with stairs leading to the upper floors, a parquet floor, and a chandelier dominating the space like a massive, glittering sun—people greeted him.Since he granted all memberships to the club personally, he knew everyone.Some more than others, of course, but he prided himself on the fact that he knew everyone’s names at least.He ostentatiously kissed the hand of a politician’s wife, slapped the back of a well-known actor, air-kissed with a socialite and shook hands with an awestruck nobody.But then that’s what the Auckland Club was like.Nobodies and somebodies, all mixing together.It appealed to his sense of irony.And, fuck, it was a nice distraction if nothing else.Kahu pushed open the big blue door that was the club’s famous entrance and stood in the doorway, looking down the stairs to the sidewalk.There were no lines of people waiting to get into the club since it was members only, but tonight a lone figure sat on the bottom step, her back to him.It was mid-winter and cold, his breath like a dragon’s, a white cloud in the night.Not as cold as London, though.A random memory drifted through his head, of the European “cultural” trip with Anita.Of being in London in February during a snowstorm, and she’d tried to insist on going to some kind of classical music concert at Covent Garden.He’d seduced her in their fancy Claridges hotel room instead and they’d spent the rest of the evening in bed, away from the storm and the cold…Kahu let out another cloudy breath, trying to shake the memories away.He’d grieved when Anita had died.But the woman in that chair in the rest home wasn’t the Anita he’d known and loved.That woman had died a long time ago.The person sitting down on the bottom step suddenly turned and his drifting thoughts scattered.A pale, pointed face and eyes an indeterminate color between green and gray looked back at him.A familiar face.Lily.He knew her, of course.Had known her since she was about five years old, her father Rob being a close friend of Anita’s, and who’d managed the club while Kahu had been sulking overseas.Who’d become a valued business partner since.A quiet, watchful girl who stayed out of the way and did what she was told, if he remembered right.He hadn’t seen her for five years, though, and clearly things had changed.Namely that she didn’t do as she was told anymore.Lily stood and turned around.She was wearing a black duffel coat, the hood pulled up against the cold, and dark skinny jeans, a pair of Chuck Taylors covered with Union Jacks on her feet.And a very determined look on her face.“Lily Andrews, as I live and breathe,” Kahu said lazily, standing in the doorway of his club and crossing his arms.“Does your father know you’ve been sitting on the steps of my club for the past three nights straight?”Her hands pushed into the pockets of her coat, brows the color of bright flames descending into a frown.“If you’d spoken to me earlier it wouldn’t have been three nights.”“I have a phone.Though perhaps young people these days don’t use such outdated technology.”“What I want to ask you is better done in person.”“That sounds portentous.Come on then, don’t keep me in suspense.What do you want?”She didn’t speak immediately, her mouth tightening, her eyes narrowing.As if she was steeling herself for something.Jesus, whatever it was it had better be good.He had shit to do.After a brief, silent moment, Lily walked up the steps, coming to stand in front of him.The light coming from the club’s doorway shone directly on her face [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]