Sayan pondered over her aloofness, then decided to attribute it to the stress of what was going down. Whether reluctant to accept that anything would go wrong tonight or unwilling to let it distract him further, he started looking for a spot to park himself.

There was a tap on his arm. The early-twenties woman who had delivered the tap was standing right up to him. So close that when he turned, they almost kissed. Her face was tilted up, lips pouting, half-smile, half-kiss, and white, generous, even teeth. A pink tongue forayed out suggestively as she greeted him with a smile.

Sayan took her in, top to bottom, liking what he saw. Especially the top. Her extremely low-cut, light brown dress displayed a generous part of her large, milky white breasts. The dress ended high on her thigh. It was body-hugging, and the colour blended so closely with her skin that she almost looked naked. The effect was shockingly sexy.

‘You alone, handsome?’ A sexy, throaty voice. The accent unmistakably Filipino.

‘Aren’t we all?’ Sayan automatically offered her his trademark smile, a slightly twisted, naughty, boyish grin. He knew it was good. More than enough women had told him that. ‘What’s your name, hon?’

‘Pamela.’ She smiled and moved in closer, pressing against him. The pout kiss was deeper now. ‘And yours?’

Usually, he would have said, ‘I have a long, hard-to-pronounce Indian name, but I respond well to honey or dear.’ But knowing that this woman needed no encouragement, he went with Mark because that’s all he was for her.

‘Just call me Mark.’ He wondered whether she’d get it.

She probably did because her smile slipped a bit. But recovering fast and leaning in closer, she asked, ‘Looking for company then, Mark?’

‘Who isn’t, Pamela?’

He leaned in, too, their lips now just an airbrush apart. Her touch on his arm had turned into a slow but definite caress.

‘Only five hundred bucks, killer.’ The stroke was now stronger and longer, more sensual, shifting slowly from his arm towards his chest. He could feel it through the thin linen shirt standing sentinel between her fingers and his skin. It felt good. ‘And we can be together the whole night.’ Her lips moistened his. Again. And her eyes asked the question. Yes?

‘Great idea, gorgeous,’ Sayan whispered back, his tongue casually flicking over her lips, meeting hers as it slithered out in a well-practised response. Her smile was wider now as she confidently closed in for the kill. Then he added, ‘But tonight, I’m charging more.’

Momentary confusion creased her forehead. Her smile faltered. Then she laughed. A throaty, sexy laugh. Her fingers closed in on his shirt front and pulled him closer.

‘Nice one, handsome.’

The kiss this time was way real. Their lips meshed together. Their tongues caressed. Sayan felt the hardness between his legs grow. His hand moved out of its own accord and palmed the back of her head, pulling her closer. Her tongue was now swirling in his mouth, unleashing a flood of testosterone in him.

A sudden, ungainly clash of cymbals. The music wavered abruptly. A loud, shrill scream shocked them apart. Sayan knew it was the female crooner even before he looked up. She was crouched on the bandstand, teetering dangerously on the edge, horror marring her face. Her gaze was riveted on the drummer.

Tags : #Thrillers #Noire #SingaporeCrimeFiction #MukulDeva