“Is that him?”
Don sat back in his chair and nodded. “Yep. So what do you think?”
I stared at the photograph Don had handed me and frowned. Jet Whitely was gorgeous. Shame. “What kind of name is Jet, anyway?” I muttered, narrowing my eyes at the handsome face before me.
“His real name is David Whitely, but apparently he earned the name Jet while he was in the Air Force. He was a fighter pilot, I believe.”
“Hmm.” Something about him seemed familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on where I’d seen him before. “Tell me about him.”
Don shrugged. “There’s nothing suspicious about him at first glance. He’s in his early forties, born and bred in Hampshire. Started a software company when he left the Air Force and sold it eight years later for over five million pounds. He’s a bit of a daredevil, from what I understand. He flies vintage planes at air displays now. You know, aerobatics or whatever it’s called. He’s single, extravagant and a womanizer.”
I scowled at the image in front of me. Jet Whitely’s steely gray eyes seemed to jump out of the picture and command my attention. Everything about him was beautiful, from his rugged, stubble-covered jaw to his dark, cropped hair and muscular body. My skin prickled with dislike.
“Don’t be deceived by his looks,” warned Don. “He may be handsome, but he’s dangerous. If you take this job, you’ll need to keep your wits about you. If we can get this scoop before the police catch him, our circulation will increase tenfold.”
I nodded. If I took this job and got the proof we needed, my career as a top investigative journalist would be secured. Jet Whitely was going to be the man to get me there.
I threw the photograph onto Don’s desk. “What do I need to do?”
“I’ve managed to get an invitation to a party he’s having on his yacht on Saturday. You’ll go undercover as a writer for a celebrity magazine. Tell him you’re writing a piece about the rich and famous if he asks. Get into his office and find something incriminating, anything. Nail the bastard, but be careful. If he catches you snooping, he’ll get suspicious.”
“Are you sure he’s guilty?” I asked, needing to be sure I wasn’t wasting my time.
Don handed me another photograph. It had been taken at night and showed a small boat bobbing next to Jet’s massive yacht. Someone on the yacht was dropping a parcel into the smaller boat, but it wasn’t clear who that person was because it was too dark. “Reliable sources assure me it’s drugs he’s dealing, we just need to prove it.”
I swallowed down the anger bubbling up inside me. Scum like that deserved to rot in hell. “Okay, I’ll do it.” Jet Whitely wasn’t going to know what had hit him by the time I was finished with him.
* * * *
I smiled at the steward as I handed him my invitation.
“Good evening, Miss…er…Jenkins,” he purred as he scanned a list for my name. “Welcome on board.”
My heart sank as I stepped onto the busy deck. This was everything I hated. Posh people drinking overpriced champagne with fake smiles plastered on their cosmetically enhanced faces. And to think I could have been at Club Deviant enjoying a night of kink. The things we do for work.
I wobbled across the deck on my high-heeled strappy sandals to a quieter area, grabbing a glass of champagne from a passing waiter. This was going to be torture. Not the kind of torture I enjoyed, though.
I spent the next half-hour or so making small talk with people I had no interest in. That time wasn’t spent in vain, because I had managed to scan the whole deck area as I glanced over people’s shoulders while I engaged in polite chitchat. I watched carefully as a couple of giggling women tottered through a door near the bar. Chances were that they were going to the Ladies. If I was discreet, maybe I could slip past the toilet facilities without anyone seeing me.
I was so busy working out my strategy that I hadn’t noticed that somebody had approached me until a dark shadow loomed over me. My gaze traveled upward until it met the cool eyes of Jet Whitely. Target locked.
“Hello, beautiful lady. I’m Jet.” He smiled, holding out his hand.
I took it and gave it a firm shake. “Hi, I’m Sami,” I said, fixing a smile on my lips while trying to ignore the sizzling sparks that shot up my arm from his touch.
Jet Whitely was even better-looking in real life. Immaculately dressed in what was clearly a very expensive suit, he oozed money and power. His perfect white teeth glistened in the orange glow of the setting sun and the creases at the corners of his mouth showed that he was a man who laughed a lot. I forced myself to remember why I was there.
Jet fixed his beautiful but sharp eyes on me, making me want to squirm. It was as if he could see right through me. Through the fake smile and false pretenses.
“You look familiar. Have we met before?”
“Not that I’m aware of,” I replied coolly. So he’d had the same thought. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew him from somewhere either. Odd, as I don’t make a habit of mixing with drug dealers.
Before he had a chance to question me further, a man in a dark suit with equally dark features approached. He spoke in Jet’s ear, keeping a suspicious eye on me at the same time. Jet nodded and the man moved away.
“I’m sorry, there’s somebody I need to talk to. Excuse me.” He had turned away from me even before he’d finished his sentence.
I stared after him, frowning as he approached a man who looked just as out of place as I was. The guy was shady as hell, with a scar down his right cheek and expensive clothes that had clearly been bought especially for the occasion. Jet laughed at something the man said, then led him away from the crowd.
I didn’t know what to make of Jet Whitely. He had been polite, charming even, but there had been no mistaking the hint of danger lurking behind those eyes. Eyes that were sexy, confident and commanding. A hint of warmth shivered through me as I imagined kneeling before him, head bowed and my hands bound behind my back. I shook my head. Bloody hell, Sami, get a grip. Missing a night at Club Deviant was clearly having a strange effect on me.
I finished my champagne as I refocused on the task in hand. Everybody was busy trying to impress one another, far too engaged in networking to notice a lone woman standing on her own with an empty glass in her hand. It was time to make my move.
I placed the glass down and made my way across the deck to the door I’d spotted earlier. Once inside I found myself in a small hallway. My hopes for easy access to the private area were dashed when I saw that the only three doors. Two led to the Ladies and Gents facilities and the third was closed. I tried the handle, but it was locked. Damn, I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy.
I took my phone out and pretended to read an email while I worked out what I was going to do next. About a minute or so passed, then a waitress walked past me. She stopped in front of the locked door, turned around and glared at me.
“Are you all right?”
“Oh yes, thank you. I’m just waiting for my friend to finish redoing her makeup.” I rolled my eyes and nodded toward the Ladies. “She’s taking forever.”
“Right.” The waitress turned away. She took out a card attached to a chain in her pocket and swiped it at the locked door. It opened with a click before the woman disappeared through it, without looking back at me.
This was my chance. Before the door shut, I quickly stuck my foot in its path. I glanced over my shoulder to make sure nobody was around, then slipped through the gap and let it quietly close behind me. My heart was hammering so hard I could almost feel it in my feet. I’d done it. I was in.
As I tried to calm my thundering pulse, I glanced around to gauge my next move. I was in a large atrium-style room with a glass domed roof letting in natural daylight. There were several doors leading off it and a suite of sofas in the middle. Something wasn’t right, though. It was too quiet. There must have been nearly a hundred people out on the deck, their voices getting louder with every drink they consumed, but in here the silence was palpable. Why would someone go to the trouble of soundproofing a yacht if they had nothing to hide? I scanned the ceiling and walls for cameras, but there was nothing obvious. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched, though.
I shrugged off my unease—there was no time to waste. I tiptoed across the wooden floor to the first door and turned the handle. It wasn’t locked, probably because the secure external doors kept unwanted visitors out. People like me. A quick glance around it told me this wasn’t the room I was looking for. I couldn’t imagine finding anything untoward in a dull, corporate boardroom. The next room was just a storage cupboard.
But when I tried the third one, I found what I was looking for. I slipped into the large office and strained my ears for any sign that I had been detected. There was nothing. Now I just had to hope that Jet had been stupid enough to leave evidence that he was a drug dealer lying around. I ran across to the large mahogany desk then pulled the top drawer open. After a quick rummage I shut it again, disappointed. There had been nothing in it except for some pens and a few paperclips.
The next drawer, though, was locked. Don had prepared me for this. I took the penknife-type thing he had given me out of my bag and knelt down to pick the lock. I didn’t register the sound of footsteps clicking closer at first, but when they stopped outside the office my heart leaped. Shit!
I stopped what I was doing and held my breath. Maybe whoever it was would walk past? But they didn’t. I jumped up, glanced to my right and spotted another door. I made a dash for it at the same time as the handle started turning. I made it through and just managed to get it shut as the footsteps resumed and entered the office. I closed my eyes in relief then turned around and leaned back against the door.
I needed to find a hiding place. I snapped my eyes open and gasped in disbelief when I saw where I was. Instead of a private bathroom or dressing room, which was what I had been expecting, I was in a playroom. And not the kind that children played in. This one made the dungeon at Club Deviant look tame.
My eyes were drawn to a wall of glass looking out to sea. Standing directly in front of it was a large wooden St. Andrew’s cross. Next to that hung a tall, narrow cage, just large enough to fit one person standing upright. Two spanking benches, a wooden pillory and a gynaecological chair stood on the shiny black floor and a mechanical hoist complete with leather restraints hung from the mirrored ceiling. This was like a space-age dungeon with a sea view.
On my right stood a huge four-poster bed with hooks embedded in every side. Chains dangled from the top and thick leather straps would ensure there could be no escape for the lucky person restrained in it.
I dragged my eyes away from the bed to the wall opposite. This was filled with hooks and shelves housing every implement of torture imaginable, from whips and floggers to cuffs and coils of rope. Excitement fizzed through me as though I were a sugar addict who had just stumbled into a sweet shop, until I reminded myself that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I’d forgotten to hide and now it was too late. The door behind me was opening, pushing me forward into the room. Fuck!
It was at that moment that I remembered where I had seen Jet Whitely before. We had been introduced at Club Deviant by Mickey, the owner, about a month ago. Only his name had been Master David and he had been wearing black leather trousers and a black T-shirt. Mickey had boasted that Master David was the meanest Dom he knew and could bring a submissive to her knees in no time at all. Oh my God.
“What the fuck are you doing in here?”
I turned around slowly, my mind racing as I tried to think of a good explanation for being there, until I was face to face with the man who had interrupted my chat with Jet out on the deck. “I…er…” I seemed to have lost the power of speech and could only stare stupidly at the guy, who I presumed was a security guard.
He took out a walkie-talkie and pressed a button. “Yes?” came the crackly response.
“Jet, you’d better get down to the office. We have an intruder,” said the security man in a mean, gravelly voice.
Shit, shit, shit. I’d make a lousy bloody detective. Not only had I found nothing to incriminate Jet Whitely, but I been caught before I’d even had a chance to do a proper search. And now I had to explain to a man who was a renowned Dom exactly what I was doing snooping in his playroom.