Read The Island Online

Authors: Lisa Henry

Tags: #Gay, #Contemporary, #erotic Romance, #bdsm, #LGBT Contemporary

The Island

BOOK: The Island
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THE ISLAND

 

Lisa Henry

 

 

www.loose-id.com

The Island

Copyright © January 2012 by Lisa Henry

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

eISBN 978-1-61118-735-9

Editor: Tere Michaels

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Printed in the United States of America

 

Published by

Loose Id LLC

PO Box 809

San Francisco CA 94104-0809

www.loose-id.com

 

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Warning

This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

* * * *

DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of its titles.

Chapter One

Shaw looked out the window as the chopper came in to land.

It was a typical small South Pacific atoll: a band of gleaming white sand encircled the lush rainforest and was surrounded in turn by a brilliant blue ocean. It was shaped like a teardrop. A hill straddled the widest part. The forest swept downward from the hill toward the beach. Shaw remembered his primary school geography. This was not the sort of island that had grown patiently over the eons from the detritus of the reef, the shift of the tides, and the patronage of the sea birds. This island had been created suddenly and violently, thrown up from under the sea by the force of a volcanic eruption a million years ago.

The uniform lushness of the rainforest opened up into a patchwork of different shapes, colors, and textures as the chopper descended. Like turning the dial on a microscope, Shaw thought, and seeing a whole new level underneath. He could make out the top canopy of the trees now: waxy leaves, creepers, rubber trees, palms, and an infinite variety of flora that, just a minute ago, had appeared so unvaryingly green.

In the center of the island, at the base of the hill, Shaw saw the main house. The modern glass-and-steel structure gleamed in the sunlight. It seemed incongruous to Shaw, the wrong sort of house for both the climate and the landscape. It had not been built to complement the rainforest. It had been built to tame it.

Shaw smiled in amusement. Typical of Vornis. He was the sort of man who liked to build monuments to his own power and wealth, and that was exactly what the house was. Shaw imagined a day when the rainforest would retake the house, slowly grinding it down again until nothing remained. Like Ozymandias, Shaw thought suddenly, and wondered where the hell his brain had dredged that reference from. Was it Year Nine English? That was a lot of years and a whole other life ago.

Shaw took a breath and let it out slowly.

Focus.

A large yacht gleamed in the crescent-shaped bay on the far side of the island. It was anchored between a curve of white beach and a line of breakers that marked the reef and surrounded by a patch of deeper blue. From the chopper, Shaw thought that he could make out the safe channels between the reefs where the water was deepest. He had toured the yacht once before, several months ago now, at Mykonos. Vornis liked to show off his wealth. He liked to see other men’s eyes light up with envy. And Jesus, a part of Shaw had been envious. A part of him still burned with it. King-size beds, a theatre room, an elevator between decks…but another part of Shaw was secretly amused. What was the point of having a yacht at all, if you stayed hermetically sealed under deck?

The island, Shaw knew, would be the same to Vornis, nothing more than a backdrop. Nothing more than a tick in a box: yacht, jet, helicopter, island. Vornis had all the trappings of wealth imaginable, but did he enjoy their use or only the jealousy they inspired in others? Shaw knew enough about Vornis to know that he found his pleasure in strange ways.

The sunlight burned on the glass panes of the house, and Shaw squinted as the chopper came in to land.
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

A gap in the trees—the helipad.

Game on.

The chopper hovered, and Shaw settled back into his seat. The rotors seemed louder than they had before, the exercise somehow more fraught. When they’d been moving forward, Shaw hardly felt it. Now he was conscious of the pull of gravity as they hovered slowly above the helipad, and of the churning of the engines.

Shaw’s lips quirked in another smile. He wasn’t a nervous flyer, but the thought never failed make itself known to him at some point: How does this even
work
?

The skids bumped against the ground, lifted again for a fraction of a second, and they were down. The engines whined as the pilot cut the power, and the rotors slowed.

Shaw unbuckled his seat belt and reached for his suitcase and laptop bag. When the pilot came around and opened the door for him, Shaw stepped down onto the helipad. He took a deep breath, hoping for sea air, but smelled only fuel.

“Mr. Shaw.” A large man in dark fatigues came forward to meet him. “Welcome to the island.”

He didn’t smile. He didn’t offer to take Shaw’s luggage. It wasn’t that sort of welcome. Shaw held his arms out as the man frisked him.

“My name is Hanson,” the man said, straightening up. “Head of security. I’ll show you to your bungalow.”

“Thank you,” Shaw said. He followed the man away from the helipad onto a wide sand path flanked by golden cane palms.

Hanson was at least a head taller than Shaw, and Shaw wasn’t short. Hanson had the sort of width across the shoulders that you’d measure in ax handles, Shaw thought, and, despite a thickness around his middle that had more to do with age than his fitness level, he looked like he could snap a man’s neck between his thumb and forefinger. Hanson had to be pushing fifty, but Shaw had no doubt he could easily take down men half his age. Not that it would ever come down to physical strength. Hanson wore a GLOCK on his hip. Fourth generation, with the dual recoil spring assembly.

Shaw forced his gaze away from the sidearm, and tried very hard not to imagine the brilliant white sand soaking up his blood like litmus paper. He looked at the fluttering palm fronds instead.

Focus
. The sand crunched under Shaw’s shoes, and he wondered what it would feel like under his bare feet. His imagination took him all the way across a beach he hadn’t even seen yet and into the cool embrace of the Pacific before he reeled it back.

Not that sort of trip, Shaw. Not that sort of island.

Fucking jetlag.

“How was your trip, Mr. Shaw?” Hanson asked him.

Shaw tried to pick his accent. American, maybe, but not for a long time. All the edges were knocked off. Hanson had spent a lot of years in a lot of different places. He was probably an ex-mercenary who had learned his trade in Kosovo, Pakistan, Liberia, and every dirty little theater of war in between. Shaw knew from previous dealings that Vornis was never without at least a dozen armed guards. He suspected there would be more on the island this week. This place was Vornis’s sanctuary. He wouldn’t leave it vulnerable.

“Good, thanks,” Shaw told him.

It was a lie but not the sort that would condemn him. He’d spent fourteen hours in economy class from LA to Nadi, transferred to Suva on what had to be the local mail run, and waited another two hours there for the chopper. An hour and a half later, and here he was—jet-lagged, unshaven, and wanting nothing more than to recharge his batteries with a hot shower, a decent meal, and a long sleep. Then he could dream about that Cézanne burning a hole in the false bottom of his luggage, and the nice fat chunk of Vornis’s cash he was about to earn. And, with any luck, wake up with his head in the right place. He couldn’t afford a misstep here.

Hanson turned his head and grinned, and Shaw was surprised at the genuine amusement in the big man’s eyes. “Sure it was!”

Shaw smiled.

God, but it was nice to be on solid ground again, feeling the sun and the breeze. Shaw smelled salt on the air now. He heard the slow roll of the ocean against the beach.

They rounded a bend, and the beach appeared.

It was beautiful—an open, unspoiled beach and an ocean that went on forever. Shaw filled his lungs with the salt air and let his gaze settle on the horizon.

Beautiful, but don’t let it fool you.

He sucked in a deep breath, rolled his shoulders, and put his prickling unease down to jetlag. Nerves? Hardly. Shaw didn’t get nervous. He was at the top of his game. He kept his gaze on the horizon and let his smile win. No harm in that.
Beautiful, so enjoy it while you can.

Enjoy the tropical paradise completely surrounded by sea.

And there was that flicker of unease again, dancing up his spine. He’d felt it in the pull of gravity as the chopper came in to land. The feeling was strange, contradictory. Shaw wouldn’t walk away from this opportunity in a million years, but the illusion of free choice was always nice. Standing on the glowing ribbon of beach, Shaw shaded his eyes to watch as the chopper headed for the distant horizon, back toward Suva.

Don’t let the palm trees and the sand fool you. You’re stuck here now, and this place might as well be a fortress.

“You’re just along here, Mr. Shaw,” Hanson told him.

A bungalow sat a little way along the beach, with wooden floors, bamboo walls, and a thatched roof. Swaying palms surrounded it on three sides. The front steps led directly onto the beach. It looked like something off a postcard.

“There are six bungalows on the island,” Hanson said as they continued along the beach. “They were building a resort here, but it went bankrupt. Yours is the one with the turtles, if you get turned around.”

Shaw had never got turned around in his life, but Hanson didn’t need to know that. Shaw was always exactly where he needed to be. “The turtles?”

He followed Hanson up onto the shaded veranda of the bungalow and saw them: three carved turtles decorated the post beside the door.

The veranda, wide and shaded, had a hammock at one end, a spa at the other, and a small table and two chairs by the door. Hanson slid the bamboo door open and stood back for Shaw to enter. Shaw walked inside and dumped his luggage on the bed.

The bungalow was open plan. It was like a five-star resort, with a massive bed, a large plasma screen, a dining table, and a self-contained kitchen. Shaw crossed the rattan matting and looked down a set of shallow steps into the bathroom. It had no floor, just crushed coral. There were walls, for the sake of privacy, but no roof above the shower cubicle. It would be like showering on the beach, and Shaw liked the idea of that. He rolled his shoulders and let his gaze travel around the bungalow again.

The bungalow was open to the sea breezes. It was large, airy, and full of light. Luxurious, Shaw thought, but strangely simple for a man with Vornis’s notoriously vulgar tastes. Shaw supposed he had the original owners of the island to thank for the bungalow. Definitely not the same crew who had designed the main house.

Hanson stood by the bed and nodded at Shaw’s luggage. He didn’t have to ask the question.

“Go ahead,” Shaw said. It wasn’t like he had any choice in the matter.

Shaw watched Hanson check through his bags. The man was an expert. He didn’t miss the hidden bottom in Shaw’s luggage like they had at LA and every security check since, and Shaw hadn’t expected him to. Hanson also wasn’t looking for a painting.

“Thank you,” Hanson said when he’d finished. “Mr. Vornis will be down to see you shortly.”

Shaw nodded and slid the thin door closed behind Hanson as he left. He needed a shower, but first he needed to let Callie know he’d arrived. He lay down on the bed to check his e-mail and fell asleep halfway through.

* * * *

Shaw awoke to the sound of gentle rain. He stared up at the underside of the high thatched roof for a while before he his mind caught up: Fiji. He was in Fiji to sell Vornis a stolen Cézanne.

BOOK: The Island
10.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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