Luck of the DevilBy: Meghan March
The corner of my mouth tugs upward with a smile, and I wipe it away. She’s too fucking distracting.
As I approach Nobu, I push the vision away simply for the fact that I liked it too much. When I walk into the new hotel that’s certain to be a draw for celebrities on the island wanting to rub elbows with its famous owner, I find the concierge wringing his hands in the lobby and checking his watch.
“Mr. Forge, it’s a pleasure. Mr. Karas asked that I bring you right up.”
I nod. “Lead the way.”
Creighton Karas is one of my newest business partners. Three months ago, I formed a venture with him and Lincoln Riscoff, the heir to America’s largest timber company. Our goal was to bring a renewable energy solution to market that would revolutionize the way the shipping world does business. This is one more reason I need Russian steel to build more ships to house the new power production plants that will shock the planet and make all of us very rich men.
We’ve kept our plans completely silent, because we know as soon as the fossil-fuel industry gets word, corporate espionage will be out of control.
The concierge leads me through the lobby, with its sun-bleached reclaimed wood paneling and beige and blue tones of the Mediterranean, up the elevator to the penthouse.
“Forge. Good to see you. Thought you’d changed your mind about meeting me,” Karas says as he opens the distressed white wooden door on the second knock. The man is a couple of years younger than me, but I’ve always respected him. I wouldn’t have entered into this partnership with him and Riscoff if I hadn’t.
I reach out to take the hand he offers. “My apologies. I got caught up.”
We shake hands, and then he turns to hold out an arm to a stunning brunette crossing the room. “You remember my wife, Holly?”
“Of course. Mrs. Karas, it’s a pleasure.”
“Call me Holly. Crey might act all formal, but I don’t have time for that nonsense. I was just about to order some appetizers. Would you like anything?”
I think of the fish and lobster I left uneaten. I’ll make it up to India.
“Thank you, but I’m fine.”
She smiles at me and then walks toward her husband. “In that case, I’ll head out to the balcony and listen to the artist I’m scouting, and let you two boys talk business.” She reaches Karas’s side and presses a kiss to his jaw. “Don’t take too long.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Karas says, thrusting a hand into her hair to tilt her lips up toward his.
I cut my attention to the blue shimmer of the water beyond the balcony, not wanting to intrude on their private moment.
After Holly leaves the room, Karas walks to the bar and lifts a bottle of Seven Sinners whiskey. “You want one?”
As he pours, he cuts right to the heart of the matter at hand. “How are the negotiations progressing with Federov?”
Neither of my business partners have any idea how complex the situation has become, or what I’ve had to do in order to gain the old Russian’s cooperation to even discuss making a deal.
Karas moves toward me, tumblers in hand and eyebrows raised. “Care to elaborate on that?” he asks as he hands a glass to me.
“He’s a cagey old man, and he’s proving more difficult to deal with than I expected.”
“What do you need from me and Riscoff? We didn’t form this partnership to put all the work on your shoulders, Forge. We have plenty of leverage and money. What’ll make him cooperate?”
I take a sip of the whiskey and let the warm, peaty taste roll over my tongue. “I have what he wants. I just have to work out a strategy for delivering it in a way that won’t compromise anything.”
Karas’s dark gaze sharpens. “What the hell does the Russian want?”
His brows shoot higher. “And you have her?”
I turn away from him and walk to the floor-to-ceiling wall of windows where Isla del Cielo is visible in the distance. Sailboats, catamarans, Jet Skis, and speedboats fill the waters between Isaac’s island and Ibiza, just like they do every day of the summer.
“I married her.”