Okay, so Alin hit on the line edits and passive voice stuff. It could use a sweep for “To Be” verbs and the associated conjugations. I agree. Easy stuff to fix.
I love the theme here. I think it’s a very original idea. Not sure I’ve seen this done before (a coked-up fashion designer who is a man) and I like it. Your descriptions are great and your protag is interesting. I definitely felt like I was on the boat with Gary. Really good work on the drug effects as well. It felt authentic.
Here are a few thoughts for you to consider on bringing forward the action a bit faster:
Consider killing the first paragraph except for the last line. I don’t think you need it. Plenty of detail later on about his design career. To me, your second paragraph is stronger and opening with the line “You have to jump through a few hoops when you’re blamed for burning a kid to death.” really hits. It grabbed my attention. Who got killed? Why? Did he really do that? All good questions that get a reader interested.
Consider making your second sentence “But of all places to pitch a new fashion line, on a fucking yacht?” I love, love this line. It has a lot of “voice”. Now you have a killer opening line and a character I want to follow.
Consider making your third paragraph the one that begins with “Gary retched over the side, emptying his stomach.” This brings in the setting. The yacht, the drugs, and it shows it instead of blatantly telling us where we are.
What I’m trying to get at here, is a way for you to combine the setting, character voice, and inciting incident (him getting locked outside) in as succinct and powerful a way as possible. A way that grabs the reader and doesn’t let them go. Maybe look for ways to restructure the story so there isn’t quite so much info-dumping up front.
I hope that makes sense and is somewhat helpful. I’d totally keep reading this. I want to find out more about this shady lawyer and the hooded fire starters. Really good stuff in planting those little mysteries where you did. It was well done.
Great plot. Awesome setting. Intriguing protagonist
Story structure could be condensed. Clean up small edits.