That would be a nice catch. I have a solid inside track with my usual guy who can get me decent cash for high-end stolen goods, no questions asked. It’s amazing what you can make happen when you go looking for it.
“Do you know her?”
Rose’s voice breaks through my thoughts and I flick my gaze to her, schooling my expression. “Who?”
“The woman you’re looking at.”
Fucking hell. I need to get away from Rose Fowler quick. She’s just too perceptive and during a night when I want no one to notice me, I’m with a woman who’s seeing every little thing I do. Stupid. “No. She just …” I’m grasping for an explanation. “… She reminds me of someone I used to know.” Lies. I need to change the subject quick. “Great movie.”
“Ah.” She nods and smiles, her gaze wistful. “Thank you. I’m so proud of my grandmother tonight. So you enjoyed the documentary?”
And now she’s engaging me in conversation. I study her face, the clarity of her light brown eyes as she studies me, her creamy skin, the way her lips move when she talks.
“I did. Your family has accomplished much in a short amount of time.” My gaze zeroes in on those pretty lips. They’re full, the bottom lip bigger than the top, and the shape reminds me of a sexy pout. Her lips are slicked in this perfect red shade, stark against her otherwise natural appearance.
“My grandma is a very determined woman.” She smiles, her teeth white against the deep red of her lips. “No one messes with Dahlia.”
I have the distinct feeling no one messes with Rose either, but I keep my mouth shut. Instead, I let my gaze drop to her throat, the necklace that hangs from her neck and rests against her chest. Her skin is impossibly smooth, her bare shoulders, the hint of cleavage the neckline of her dress offers me …
Hell. She’s unbelievably gorgeous. Prettier than Lily. Prettier than any other woman I’ve ever seen. She has the face of an angel. Innocent and sweet, yet with a body that makes me think of all the sinful things we can do together …
It’s a sexy contradiction. One I can’t even consider.
I’d like to consider taking the necklace, but how the hell can I get my hands on it without her noticing?
“Does anyone mess with you?”
She smiles blithely. “Only sleazy Europeans who don’t know how to keep their hands to themselves.”
A chuckle escapes me and I shake my head. I shouldn’t react to what this woman is saying to me. I need to get away from her.
Tilting her head back, she polishes her Champagne off in a couple of swallows, her eyes sliding closed as she drinks. I watch her, fascinated with the slim column of her neck, the light golden-brown hair pulled into a knot at the back of her head. I wonder what she might look like with her hair down. Wavy and falling about her bare shoulders, a sultry gleam in her eye as she approaches me …
“Let’s get out of here,” she says, her throaty invitation sending a shot of longing coursing through my body.
Say no. “Where would you like to go?”
She inclines her head toward a set of double doors not far from where we’re standing. “Outside. I hear there’s a pool out there.” Without another word she walks away from me, her skirt billowing around her legs, the scandalous dress causing enough of a stir that others watch her. I don’t follow her, turning to the side so I face the wall, my back to the curious onlookers, and when I glance in her direction, I find that she’s stopped. Waving her hand at me to follow her like an impatient mother dealing with a bratty child.
I hold up my still full Champagne glass, indicating I want to finish it first, and she rolls her eyes, shaking her head as she turns away to push through the doors, the black night sky appearing for a fleeting moment before the doors swing shut, swallowing Rose whole.
She’s gone. I should be relieved. I sip my Champagne, the alcohol crisp and cool as it slides down my throat, yet all I can feel is the crashing disappointment that she left me.
Downing the rest of my Champagne, I set the glass on a nearby table and descend into the crowd, staying close to the woman with the flashy bracelet. She’s oblivious to my presence. She’s also the perfect mark.
My gaze tracks her movements, the careless way she moves her arms about as she talks animatedly to the person standing next to her. She’s loud, speaking fast and furious French I can barely understand—and I took three years of French in high school. Of course, all I can remember are the most basic sentences and the occasional curse word.
Lot of good that will do me.
The bracelet loosens around her wrist and she clamps her other hand over it, laughing as she says something about the clasp being old.
My heart rate kicks up. Here’s my chance. She fixes the clasp with a quick flick of her fingers and continues talking, her movements more subdued, but I know that’s temporary. She’ll revert to her old habits quick.
And she doesn’t disappoint.
I adjust my position so my back is mostly to her and I engage in conversation with a beautiful woman standing a little off to the side of the circle that has formed around my mark. She’s older; there’s a wedding ring around her finger and I wonder how long she’s been married. Clearly her husband neglects her, because she is fully attuned to my flirtatious attempts at conversation. Her body language screams interest as she turns more fully toward me and I turn just a hair toward my mark.