You ‘aint seen nothing like… An author interview with one of Emma’s most outrageous fictional heroes, from Seduction of Wealth… Mr Randolph Quinn.
No matter how ever long I live in London, she will always excite me and I’ll always be a tourist. Although I write about many locations which I’ve seen with my eyes, with London I write first from the heart. In most places I hate winter but here in this northern capital, there’s a blue sky clarity and stoic face of regal stone that says – I’m exposed and stripped; this is the truth of me.
Christmas is piled up and put away behind us now. Around my home in Chelsea the famous London plane trees are bare like naked mannequins in the windows of Sloane Square boutiques, cool and poised for those spring fashion shows. Yes – this is her mood today as I step out into the street. Today I’m a woman on a mission and of course – that means a man.
There are brave enthusiasts who drive cars in London, but why miss all the fun of public transport? Today I’m heading for the Chelsea Harbour river bus stop. The Thames Clipper service speeds up and down the Thames from Putney out to the Emirates cable car crossing, where PC Helen Marx did that fateful drugs handover last summer. As always I’m ten minutes early and there’s no sign of the river bus as I look up towards Battersea Bridge and the iconic chimneys of the old power station. (Pink Floyd fans will know this image from their 1977 Animals album cover).
My mind flicks back to my teenage years. Today I’ve tarted myself up to meet a guy twenty years younger than me. I should know better but believe me, the old urge is still there. I stroll towards the pier. A menacing looking grey open power boat is blocking the landing pontoon. A couple of guys are at the controls. One of them sees me and jumps ashore. He moves with strength and power. He’s headed for me, balaclava type hood framing a handsome face. God I like watching men. I love that big handed kind of competent and confident strength thing. OK – I’m old fashioned but you were allowed to be like that when I was young.
“Emma – don’t you know me?”
I stare. I’m on the way to see a suave banker type. This guy is familiar but all in tight black like a frogman he’s just a broad mass of hard male. OK, there is an outline of something in the groin area. I don’t look – honest. He pulls off the headgear, longish dark brown hair falling free. He beams and reaches out both arms. I can’t help it – that little flutter that’s thrilled me (and led me into all kinds of drama), all my life sweeps up and settles…somewhere nice.
“Randolph – Randolph Quinn. What the hell?
“You told me you were coming so I though you’d like a ride.”
“How did you know where I was?”
“ You said you were coming on the river bus. The guys tracked your phone – come on this is me. You know who we are and what we can do.”
I smiled. For sure I knew what he could do and rather regretted I’d never had the chance to let him do anything to me. I take both his hands. His brown eyes are still full of mischief. I start with an obvious and very banal question.
“Are you still the world’s richest man?”
“Good question. As it happens Kaitlyn’s gone out shopping so maybe she’s made a hole. With a bit of luck I can pull back a few bucks before the City of London closes tonight.”
He leads me down the pier to the boat. I’d dressed for the river trip in black leggings, my Dr Marten rose embroidered boots, a thick woollen jumper and of course my fur hooded duffel coat. I know this sinister looking craft. It’s the M-46 Interceptor from the belly of the world’s biggest super yacht, the Platinum Demeter. Luckily the speed limit on the Thames through central London is 12 knots – that’s about 14 miles per hour. That’s fast enough on a cold day without shelter. I take a seat beside him while the other guy heads us out into the channel. Within minutes we’re passing under Lambeth Bridge and slipping past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Randolph is holding my hand, like I’m a girlfriend or something. Maybe a nervous mother. He called me to say he was in London, moored at Tower Bridge alongside HMS Belfast. He suggested lunch on board maybe running in to dinner with his partner Kaitlyn. The power boat slows as we pass the Tower of London on our left. I see the elegant pure white Platinum Demeter ahead as the traffic passes to and fro across the world famous opening bridge. Our pilot eases the Interceptor into a water-filled hangar in the hull of the ship which is the size of a small ocean liner. Now this is wealth. He steps out and I take his arm. We pass through sliding glass doors into a warm atrium with elevator and pots of palm trees. In a corner a guy is playing a grand piano. The contrast with the cold wind and roar of the boat is astonishing. I feel like a farmer’s wife just stepped in from hand milking wild cattle on the hills. I need to blow my nose and probably reapply my whole face. We’d not really been able to converse during the journey.
“Randolph – I feel like …”
“I bet you don’t feel like you look,” he says, big smile, tousled hair from pulling off his balaclava.”
“You don’t know how I feel.”
“You look sexy fantastic and wild. You’re way too cool to admit to that.”
“Let’s form a committee around the wild. I think we can agree.”
“Hey – committees – that’s like group sex without the sex.”
“I’m writing about politics sex and power. Committee just popped out. I meant to say I need to adjust my presentation Randolph.”
He’d thrown the sex in to shock me. He doesn’t know me well enough. He knows I’m vain and attracted to him so he’s just being his normal persona of irritating arrogant multi billionaire sex god.
“Me too – Let’s head upstairs. Gin and tonic, wash and brush up. Perfect.”
His hand eases into my back. His touch makes me close my eyes. Does that happen to you girls? Makes me kind of feel I could just lie back and let him protect me. We stand in the elevator. He’s 6 feet three inches. I’m 5 feet four. He smiles. Down.
“Why don’t you ever look older Emma?”
“Cos you’re too vain to wear glasses.”
“Hey – you’re teasing me. Nothing worse than a woman who knows you.”
“Except a woman who doesn’t want to know you.”
“Yeah – lucky you came to save me from someone like that.”
“You can save yourself Randolph. First time we met you were giving a lovely girl a load of shit.”
“That was no girl – that was a mean cop on my case. That was something else.”
Suddenly his tone had changed. His mind had flicked to Kaitlyn, his lover and partner. He would joke and tease with me, but love was a serious business – even for the richest man in the world.
“How did it feel – to fall for a cop?”
“It felt good economics. She asked for nothing.”
I smile. Just for a moment I thought he was going to talk deeply about love. The elevator stops at his suite. Grand windows look out onto an open deck. The carpet is deep and luxurious beyond belief. This truly is the seduction of wealth. I want some answers before I give up and relax.
“Why her? Why a traffic cop who was giving you problems?”
“As soon as I saw her there was something. I wanted to keep my eyes on hers. It seemed natural and right. She locked me up but there were killers outside so I was cool about that. I was alone in a police cell. She was going off shift but she stayed on and made me a cup of tea. An act of kindness is an act of love, although not romantic love. All the same an act of love shows the heart.”
This was a strange man. Never had I come across a guy more serious and yet more flirtatious. I knew his father had been a petty crook, stabbed to death. I knew he’d come up hard in a dog-eat-dog environment in south London. To be frank, he’d said all he needed to say for now. He loved her at first and he loves her now. All I’d done is set them on a collision course. I needed to restore my status – or at least brush my hair.
“Did you say gin and tonic?”
Randolph went to a long unit stacked with bottles and glasses, all set behind rails in case of rough seas. It was a job to remember this was a globe-wandering vessel. It was like the Ritz.
“Sure tidy up. I’ll fix the drinks.”
I wander through to the marble bathroom and brush my hair in the back-lit mirror. I re-do my lips and check my look. Well, Randolph doesn’t think I ever look any older.
I go back to the salon and relax into the deep blue Mastrangelo velvet sofa. He smiles. His nautical dry suit is on the floor and he’s wearing pale ripped jeans and a grey Lonsdale work-out vest. His feet are bare, tanned and strong looking. He hands me a Square Mile English gin laced with Fever Tree tonic. It looks like a quadruple – it swallows like a shameful night of who gives a f**k lust. I feel pampered – and you know kind of squeezy in the thighs. He smiles again, lifts the intercom phone and seems to talk to the captain.
“William, I’ll tell them when to open Tower bridge, OK? There’s nothing more important to the City of London than Sackman-Platinum bank. No! We don’t wait in any lines because there’s no line we don’t own.”
“Some people would say you’re brash and arrogant,” I say as he slams down the receiver.
“Some of them would be right. I’m so happy you see through me to the sweet little boy inside.”
“You’re here and giving me far too much beautiful soft blue eye contact if you don’t think I’m a sweet little boy. If you’re wrong and I’m like the sort of romantic hero you find irresistible you could have a problem. Not because of me – because of you.”
“You’re so bloody full of yourself Randolph.”
“Yeah – no one else fitted my clothes so I had to fill the gap. That Desmond Merrion stuff is too expensive to waste.”
The gin is working on my novelist’s similes. I’m looking at this incredibly wealthy sexy guy. He has charm, he has ruthless dominance over others. I get a sort of shudder – like a kind of shiver women get in those vampire books. No – Emma it’s not possible. He’s fixing me another gin. He leans in and kisses my cheeks.
“I was so rude. You’re more or less French and we didn’t kiss yet.”
I take a tiny sip and look shamelessly at those broad shoulders, those rock hard rowers’ triceps. Yeah, my blue eyes are following his deep brown eyes as they scan my sex, my breasts, my lips. My neck. Randolph Quinn is not normal OK. Fuck it Emma – you’re fifty blah blah. Get a grip.
“So you still work for Sackman-Platinum bank Randolph?” I say, taking a deep deep breath and forcing my eyes to his chest.
“Sure – the billions roll in. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.”
“This bank – your bank, it has a certain reputation for …..”
“Money laundering and tax evasion.” He leans back in his chair and laughs towards the ceiling. Then his gaze snaps back to my sozzled eyes. “Emma, I love you but I can never square with you. You knew that the first day we met. I’m every bastard you can name but there is a longer game. A few people know the truth but you never will. You do not have the clearance. Things have moved on from you. That’s what happens in life.”
I’m fighting the gin and the groin twitches. I’m on top of the gin.
“OK, you run this bank. You have fabulous but mysterious wealth. Your lover is a straight regular cop? What the fuck Randolph? What does she know? You owe me that information since I hooked you two up.”
He’s leaning back in his chair. He’s looking at me, hands steepled under his chin, his thumbnail between his teeth. He speaks slowly.
“Kaitlyn knows everything and that’s all you’re ever going to know.”
His tone is deliberate and final. Maybe I believe him. Between you and me – I don’t. I absolutely fucking don’t. I decide to let sleeping dogs get pissed on gin. I ask him a muddled question from my erotic haze of a brain.
“What do you know about Ishtar?”
He smiles and nods with genuine personal warmth.
“Ishtar is Kaitlyn. It’s the tattoo of a goddess on her arm. For years she’d felt that this Assyrian goddess defined her true soul and one day she had the courage to have her image tattooed on her arm.”
“Does it define her?”
“A couple of days later she met me so for sure that’s powerful juju.”
“You’re a big-headed man Randolph.”
“How else can a man compete with a goddess who is both war and peace, love sex and fertility and also both sexes? To round it off she has all knowing wisdom. OK – I’m still a winner over that stuff but it’s a tough fight every day.”
“I think you’re joking,” I say unable not to laugh at his little boy expression.
“Emma – don’t fret. I love Kaitlyn. She’s never asked me for anything other than honest love. She’s fought at my side, saved my life. That tattoo on her arm is there for her. It proclaimed herself to her. Nothing in this life can give you strength that’s not within but some ideas and some people reveal to you what is within you. No matter who you are there’s ten times more strength, determination and love within you than you ever thought. Kaitlyn found that inspiration in Ishtar. By having a monster tattoo on her arm she proclaimed that identity with an unstoppable voice. Then she had to follow.”
“You’re a psychologist Randolph.”
“You don’t get rich by not knowing what goes on in people’s heads Emma.”
“But it’s not all about being rich is it?”
No, of course not. Maybe I’ll sail south for the northern winter but hey, maybe I’ll go skiing for a few days. Maybe I’ll talk to the president of the USA about what I want on Chinese trade deals. Maybe I’ll tell your English prime minister what I want to do about this Brexit stuff. Nah – being rich doesn’t get you anywhere.”
I tossed back the rest of my gin. This man was right This man had unlimited wealth and power. This man had a wonderful honest woman in his life. For me I’d always have to know more. The jury is still out on sexy gorgeous Randolph Quinn. He loves to tease and tell me I’d feel differently about him if I knew what he knew. He knows he’s gorgeous and that wouldn’t be too easy for me to live with.
“If it were all about money you wouldn’t be wasting time chatting with a poor old woman like me,” I say, daring him with a raised eyebrow not to contradict me.
“Hey, Emma – we can fix the poor. Come down to the trading deck and I’ll fix you a Sackman Platinum loan of ten thousand pounds. Then I’ll look over your shoulder and you can place my trades in your name. You could have a million before lunch. We’re expecting a run on the Australian dollar but their central bank will step in to support the price. We’ll keep buying cheap as long as the dumb political suits are prepared to buy dear.”
I look at his face. He’s serious. He’s a smug bastard.
“With that sort of money I’d have no drive to get up and write books.”
“Hey Emma, you mean it’s all about money for you too? I always knew that deep down you’re just like me.”
I had to smile. Randolph Quinn always manages to have the last word.
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