‘Where is she now?’

‘Dead.’

‘What happened?’

‘It got so bad your grandfather paid a man to run off with her. She became a drug addict and died in a motel room. I saw the pictures and even then I felt an indescribable loss. But now, when I think back, I realize that my father was right. She was the enemy carefully chosen for me by fate. A beautiful butterfly. After she had destroyed me, after I’d lost everything, she would have carelessly moved on to the next flower.’ He looks intently at me. ‘What would happen if I paid your girl to leave you?’

Despite myself, I flush with anger. I turn away from him and start walking towards the door. ‘I’ll thank you to stay out of my business. I don’t want to leave everything for her. It is only a fling. A temporary thing.’

I am so angry at my father’s suggestion to pay Lana off that I walk the streets of London for almost an hour feeling strangely confused and lost. The only thing I know for sure is that I ache for her. With every fiber of my being, I ache for her.

I tell myself it is just lust. But I know, I know it isn’t. It isn’t lust when you want to reach out and wipe away her tears and press her body against your own. I don’t just want to f**k her, I want to hold her after that. She fills the void inside me that has never been filled by the best schools, the most beautiful women, the fastest cars, the most expensive champagnes, or the most glamorous parties.

I take a cab back to St John’s Wood and let myself in quietly. For a moment I stand at the mouth of the corridor. The living room is dim. Then I walk towards it—my feet soundless on the thick carpet—and stop at the threshold. Only the lampshade by the sofa is lit.

She has fallen asleep on the couch. Her fingers are slack and trailing down. There is an empty glass that has rolled away from her. I go to her and gaze down at her sleeping form. She is unbearably, impossibly beautiful. I put my hand under her neck and the other under her knees and lift her up. She moans softly, and I smell the alcohol on her breath.

‘Don’t leave me,’ she mumbles.

I freeze. For a time I am completely still, but she does not awaken so I carry her to our bed and put her down. I bend down and kiss her soft lips. She is half-asleep, but she opens her mouth and I deepen the kiss. Her hands come up to my hair, her fingers entwine in the silky strands. She moans and arches her body towards me. I support her body with my forearms, and lifting her towards me begin to suck at her exposed throat.

‘Please, Blake…’ she gasps and molds her body into mine.

I let my mouth trail lower. At the soft swelling where her breast begins I stop and suck again. This time longer. I will leave my mark on her. She groans with pleasure. I take my mouth away and look at the red mark possessively. I feel like an adolescent again. She is mine. Mine to mark. I put my mouth on another part of her creamy skin and suck diligently.

Her hands are moving towards my belt. They are urgent but useless against the metal buckle. She is more than half drunk. I put my hand into her pajama trousers, slip it under her panties, and touch her between her legs. Her sex is wet and tingling for me. She has never begged me to enter her before. I want her to. I rip open her pajama top. A button hits the mirror in the room and makes a sound. She does not hear it.

I grab the ends of her trouser legs and tug. They slide off her and I fling them behind me. I tear at her panties. Then I latch my mouth on her nipple. Her head falls back and she sighs with abandonment. I gaze at the body exposed to me, mine to do with as I please. I have never felt the need to sexually possess anyone like this before. But she I must. She is like a craving. An addiction.

‘Tell me you’re mine,’ I order hoarsely.

‘I’m yours,’ she says.

‘Beg me to enter you,’

She obeys instantly. ‘Please Blake, enter me. I want you to. Badly.’

‘Open your legs and show me your pu**y.’

She opens her legs and I see how wet and glistening her open flesh is.

I take off my shirt and my trousers while she watches from the bed. Her eyes are huge and strange with desire. I have never seen her like this. I want this woman so bad it feels like a forest fire is raging in my dick. I stand a moment longer savoring the way I feel. Hard, ready and so horny. That feeling of animal passion. This is my mate.

I own her.

I climb on the bed—the mattress gives under my weight—and enter her sweet flesh. She cries out, and then she is gripping me so hard, her nails dig into my flesh. I let her climax before I allow myself to. She falls asleep almost instantly and I lay my palm, the fingers spread out to full on her stomach. I recognize the possessiveness of the gesture. I turn to look at her sleeping face.

An image of my father flashes into my head. What the f**k am I doing? This is my f**k doll. Not my mate. Victoria smiles in my head. I cannot ruin my father’s plan. They are also my plans. Soon. Soon I will tire of driving my dick deep into her sweet pu**y.

Some deep part of me knows it is a lie, but I go to sleep snuggled against her warm, soft body, pretending to feel good. There is still time. Plenty of time to sort it all out.

Twenty four

Blake has a business dinner that he expects to run late, so Billie and I are going to a wine bar that has just opened in Seymour Place. I wash my hair and dress in a pair of tight jeans and the top that Fleur had called basic even though it is rather grand. It has lace and pearl buttons down the front. Tom is on holiday and Blake has left strict instructions for me to take a taxi to and fro. I go to visit my mother first.

The pouch with her supply of antineoplastons is strapped around her waist, but she looks well. She is steadily gaining weight, there is color again in her cheeks, and she seems in good spirits.

‘My, don’t you look nice,’ she says, bustling me into the kitchen. She puts a skillet on the stove. ‘You can’t drink on an empty stomach. We are having grilled chicken and salad.’

She sprinkles nuts on a bowl of salad.

We sit to eat and it is like old times. Afterwards, she refuses all offers of help with the dishes and shoos me away. ‘Go. Go and have a good time, you. Call me in the morning.’

‘OK, OK,’ I say laughing as I am bodily pushed out of her door.

At Billie’s, I am ordered to lose the lace top and slip into one of Billie’s skinny tops. I have to admit the red top looks hip and a whole lot sexier.

The taxi drops us outside the entrance of Fellini’s. We open the wooden door and enter the dimly-lit interior. It is all green walls, chrome fittings and framed black and white photos of movie stars from the forties and fifties. The clientele is quite a mixed bag, but seems to be mostly office folk.

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