The Tycoon's Stowaway(6)

By: Stefanie London



‘I’m so glad you’re back down in Sydney,’ Willa said.

‘And where’s your man tonight?’ Brodie asked.

‘Working.’ She pouted. ‘But he promised he’d be here next time. In fact I think he was a little pissed to miss out on the yacht experience.’

Brodie chuckled. ‘It’s an experience, indeed. My clients pay an arm and a leg to be sailed around in this boat, and she’s an absolute beauty. Worth every cent.’

The Princess 56 certainly fitted her name, and although she was the oldest of the yachts his company owned she’d aged as gracefully as a silver-screen starlet. He patted the railing affectionately.

‘Guess who I spoke to this afternoon,’ Willa said, cutting into his thoughts with a faux innocent smile.

Brodie quirked a brow. ‘Who?’

‘Chantal.’

Hearing her name was enough to set Brodie’s blood pumping harder. Chantal Turner was the only girl ever to have held his attention for longer than five minutes. She’d been the life of the party during their time at the Whitsundays, and she’d had a magnetic force that had drawn people to her like flies to honey. And, boy, had he been sucked in! The only problem was, she’d been Scott’s girl back then. He’d gotten too close to her, played with fire, and earned a black eye for it. Worse still, he’d lost his friend for the better part of eight years over the incident.

Brodie’s eyes flicked to Scott, but there was no tension in his face. He was too busy perving on Kate to be worrying about what Willa said.

‘She’s got a show on tonight,’ Willa continued. ‘Just up the coast.’

Brodie swallowed. The last thing he needed was to see Chantal Turner dance. The way she moved was enough to bring grown men to their knees, and he had a particular weakness for girls who knew how to move.

‘We could head there—since we have the boat.’ Willa grinned and nudged him with her elbow.

‘How do you know where she’s performing?’ he asked, taking another swig of his water to alleviate the dryness in his mouth.

‘She told me.’

‘I don’t know if we should…’ Brodie forced a slow breath, trying to shut down images of his almost-kiss with Chantal.

It was the last time he’d seen her—though there had been a few nights when he’d been home alone and he’d looked her performances up online. He wasn’t sure what seeing her in person would do to his resolve to leave the past in the past.

The friend zone was something to be respected, and girls who landed themselves in that zone never came out. But with Chantal he seemed to lose control over his ability to think straight.

‘We should go,’ Scott said, patting Brodie on the shoulder as if to reassure him once again that there were no hard feelings about that night. ‘I’m sure she’d appreciate the crowd support.’

By this time Amy, Jessica, and Kate had wandered over for a refill. Scott, ever the gentleman, grabbed the bottle of vintage brut and topped everyone up.

‘We were just talking about taking a little trip up the coast,’ Scott said. ‘Chantal has a show on.’

‘Oh, we should definitely go!’ Amy said, and the other girls nodded their agreement.

All eyes lay expectantly on him. He could manage a simple reunion  . Couldn’t he…?

‘Why the hell not?’ he said, pushing up from his chair.

When Chantal pulled into the car park of the location specified on her email confirmation her heart sank. The job had been booked last-minute—they’d contacted her, with praise for the performance snippets she had on her website and an offer of work for a few nights a week over the next month.

A cursory look at their website hadn’t given her much: it seemed they did a mix of dance and music, including an open mike night once per week. Not exactly ideal, but she was desperate. So she’d accepted the offer and put her focus back on her auditions, thinking nothing of it.

Except it didn’t look like the quietly elegant bar on their website. The sign was neon red, for starters, and there were several rough-looking men hanging out at the front, smoking. Chantal bit down on her lip. Everything in her gut told her to turn around and head home—but how could she do that when it was the only gig she’d been able to book in weeks? Make that months.

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