“Uhn-uh,” said Steffie. “Billie’s right behind me. Her date was arguing with the ferry captain.”
“Billie McGinn?” Artie said. “You invited Billie McGinn?”
“You said bring somebody.”
Artie huffed. “A licensed real estate agent? In my house?”
Taylor asked Steffie: “Her date was arguing with Julio? About what?”
Steffie shrugged. “I don’t know. I just got the hell out of there.” She ran her fingers through Taylor’s hair. Why did this man make her so horny? She sometimes felt goofy in his presence. Tingly. Almost teary. She wanted six of his babies, three boys and three girls. But did he reach for her? Put an arm around her? Look into her eyes? No. So she focused on Artie.
“I take it, Arthur,” she said, “that you brought the weed.”
“Oh he’s the stud,” Artie complained, “and I’m the drug mule?”
Taylor saw a skinny figure approaching alone: Billie. The sight gave him the chills. Billie, ruthless by reputation, owned Summit Realty. The town gossips say she poisoned her husband to get her hands on his properties.
But the gossips say a lot nasty things in Shipwreck Bay. For instance, they say Liz Burns was cheating on her husband in the months before she died.
When Billie climbed the stairs, the nascent party moved into the living room.
Shabby chic was a thing on Poke Island, all the millionaires pretending to be Zen humble. Artie’s cottage was spare indoors and out. Nearly its entire value was owed to its setting, including secluded beach and the island’s lone boat dock. There’d been decades of legal challenges over public access but the Buchanans and the Shore-Bird Society had better lawyers than the state did. Bottom line: Artie would inherit one of the most enviable, and private, properties on this seashore.
Billie McGinn stood in the living room like a movie star at a film opening. She wore a spectacular glittering white outfit, definitely designer, complete with knee-high boots. She was striking, a gorgeous mix of Euro-Afro-Asian with dark skin and a wild, red-tinged hairdo. She was in her early 40s, but had a lithe body that looked years younger. She walked from window to window, casting an appraiser’s eye at the property.
Steffie stood at the glassy door, hoping she’d see more guys trekking up from the beach. This party definitely needed more guys.
“There’s Nick,” she called out.
“Nick,” Billie said. “I’ve already had it with Nick.”
“Nick, who’s Nick?” Artie asked.