Mr. Mayfair - Louise Bay



“Kevin Bacon is full of shit,” I said as I thwacked the small, black rubber ball with my racket.

Dexter lurched away as the ball ricocheted toward his bollocks. “What did he ever do to you?”

“The six degrees of separation thing—it’s bullshit.”

“What?” Dexter asked, panting. I was kicking his arse, and I knew that had to hurt his delicate ego. No doubt he’d chalk up his losing to that skiing injury he still complained about. As far as I was concerned anyone who skied deserved every injury they got—hurtling downhill with metal flippers on your feet could end only one way.

“You know, the idea that everyone on the planet is just six people removed. So, a friend of a friend of—”

“You can’t blame that on Kevin Bacon. It’s not like he invented it,” Dexter said before serving.

“Okay then, if you’re going to be pedantic, Frigyes Karinthy is full of shit.”

“I can’t tell if you’re swearing at me or speaking Ukrainian.”

“Hungarian,” I replied, wiping my forehead with my sleeve. I measured exercise not on calories burned or time spent in the gym but on the amount I sweated. Someone needed to develop a machine to measure perspiration—I’d pay good money for it. As far as I was concerned it was effort that always earned the best results. “He developed the bullshit theory. I looked it up on Wikipedia.”

“Fuck,” he spat as the ball hit the plaster below the red line, giving me the victory I’d expected since we got onto the court. Dexter only lost at squash when he had business trouble, so I wasn’t going to crow about my win.

“Yeah, I get it. What’s the problem?”

I bent and scooped up the out-of-play ball as it trickled toward me. “The theory is flawed. I have dredged every single one of my contacts and I can’t get an introduction to Henry Dawnay.”

“You’re still trying to get a meeting with that old billionaire?” Dexter grinned, as if my failure in business was going to make up for his shitty performance on the squash court. “You might have to give it up.”

“Henry Dawnay is not just some old billionaire. He’s the old billionaire standing between me and nine-point-four million quid. And I’m not about to give up on that kind of money. I’ve plowed every contact I have and come up empty. I thought one of you lot would have some kind of connection to him. What’s the point in having rich, successful friends if they’re no use to me?”

“Us lot? You mean your five closest friends who’d walk through fire for you?”

He knew I was joking as sure as I knew United were going to win the league. The fact that the guys I’d forged bonds with as a teenager were rich and successful was simply circumstance. Their jobs weren’t important. They were the best men I knew outside my own dad. And I’d walk through fire for them just as I knew they would for me. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t complain about the fact that none of them had been able to score me a meeting with Henry Dawnay, even if it did make me sound like the moody git Dexter always accused me of being.

I rolled my eyes and nodded toward the changing rooms. I needed a shower and then I needed a plan. “I don’t need anyone to walk through fire for me. I need someone to introduce me to the man who owns the property standing between me and ten million quid.”

“You said nine point four.”

“Have I told you how annoying you are?”

“A couple of times,” Dexter said, pushing through the door to the changing room. “Look, if you can’t get an intro from someone you know, why don’t you track him down, bump into him, and introduce yourself.”

I fixed him with a thanks-for-the-advice-mum look. “I did. Last month in the lobby of the Dorchester. He shook my hand and swooped right out without stopping to get my name.”

Dexter winced, and he was right to. It’d been embarrassing. I’d felt like a nine-year-old boy meeting Cristiano Ronaldo.

I opened my locker door and pulled out my phone to check my messages. Two more missed calls from Danielle. Shit. Another thing I had to deal with. “I’ve managed to get access to his calendar so—”

“How the hell have you managed that?”

“Don’t ask. You need plausible deniability so you don’t end up in prison.” From what I understood, I’d broken several British laws and a couple of international ones by getting that