The chimes of her ringing cell phone rankled Spring Lafayette’s nerves. She turned her attention from the passing scenery of city life and settled back into the backseat of the taxi. Spring glanced at the cell phone in her hand then up at the rearview mirror. Her eyes met the driver’s through the reflective image.
The driver, a young woman with purple hair and considerable patience, smiled.
Spring offered a half smile as she worked on calming her pounding heart which overshadowed the continuous ringing of her phone, but not enough for her to ignore it. She groaned as she tapped the answer button.
“Listen Springy, I’ve thought about it and you don’t have to do this.”
Yes, I do.
“Don’t make it out to be a big deal, Summer.” Spring tried to sound confident. “We talked about this already.” She waited for her sister’s response but whatever Summer planned to say was replaced by the sound of muffled coughing. The hacking cough continued for at least thirty seconds before it died away.
Yeah, I have to do this.
“I can handle my boss,” Summer attempted to say, but it came out as a comment-cough combo.
Spring sighed. “I know you can, and I can handle this. How hard can it be?” Spring’s thumb hovered over the disconnect button. “I’ll call you if I need to.” She pressed the button before her sister could say anything that would freak her out more than she was already.
Spring moved her finger over her email icon. She opened the email her sister forwarded to her and went over the information she needed to pull this “thing” off.
●Favorite color: Green—Her gray short dress fit the bill perfectly and brought the green out in her hazel eyes.
●Hair: Off face—Her hair, in long thin box braids, was pulled into a messy, stylish French braid.
●Makeup: Minimal—Spring never wore much makeup when she wasn’t working—a little mascara, a little liner, and a touch of lip color fit the bill.
Spring closed her eyes and counted to ten as she took in, then let out, slow even breaths. She attempted to calm her racing mind and dispel any assumptions about her sister’s line of work or the guy she was meeting.
Escorts are not paid pieces of flesh. They are intelligent, respectable people who provide companionship for clients who have no time or desire to search for it. Clients are generally not hard up perverts who just want to get the escort naked. Most of the time they are just regular people with normal lives who for whatever reason decided to bypass the game of dating.
It was not a practice of Spring’s to get so involved in her sister’s life, but she owed Summer and she meant to pay her back, or start a payment plan of sorts, and taking her place on this date was the beginning.
Spring’s cell screen flickered with her sister’s image as it started to ring again but she ignored it. She looked out of the car window to the bar’s entrance and sighed. Meet him, engage him in conversation, and lift his spirits. That was what the paying client wanted for his friend, a man who had no idea that the client was not really meeting him here. Instead the client hired an escort he thought was the seasoned beauty he chose, Brittney Goings, who was really her big sister Summer Lafayette.
Spring chuckled nervously as she pushed her taxi door open. As she got out of the car, she pushed her cell into her wristlet clutch, then zippered the small bag.
“Thank you,” she said to the driver then shut the door.
“You want me to stick around for a while?”
The woman had gone above and beyond her duty by actually allowing Spring to sit in the back seat for over fifteen minutes, pumping herself up enough to get out of the taxi. “No, I’ll be fine. Thanks again,” Spring said to the driver then halfheartedly waved.
The woman gave Spring a salute before driving off. The sounds of the vehicle driving away and the uncertainty of downtown after dark gave Spring the push she needed to walk through the parking lot toward the bar/restaurant named Murie’s.
Dezmond took another long drink from his beer. A light touch on his shoulder had him looking around but it wasn’t Fallon. Of course it wasn’t his friend, even though he was about twenty minutes late already.
“Can I get you anything else, Dez? Another beer?” The waitress smiled.
She’s new, Dez thought when he focused on her pretty face. What was her name again?
“No thank you, Katy,” he said, remembering at the last minute. He told himself to smile. When the smile she sported grew wider, Dez figured his looked genuine enough.
“If you need anything at all, just let me know.”
Dez watched Katy walk away. She didn’t look back but he knew that she knew he was still watching her. The extra swing of her hips confirmed it.
Shaking his head, Dez finished his beer then sat his empty glass back on the table. He sat against the wall in his corner, a little spot that was in the bar section of the establishment. It was the perfect spot to see the bar patrons at Murie’s. It was his grandfather’s spot and now it was his.
Dez focused on the beauty who came inside about twenty minutes ago. He noticed her immediately. She looked to be taller than average height, but shorter than his 6’2”. Her hair, tiny neat brown braids, was pulled away from her pear-shaped face; and while he couldn’t tell the color of her eyes from this distance they were surrounded by dark lashes and he imagined they were nice. She carried herself with the poise of a dancer. Not to mention that she was killing it in that gray mini dress.
Damn her legs go on forever. Is she a dancer?
Dez shook his head. It was none of his damn business what she looked like or did for a living. Still, he couldn’t help looking over at her again.
She sat at the bar, sipping on what looked like wine. It didn’t escape his notice that she looked to the door a few times then looked at her watch as if she was waiting for someone. Of course, a woman that attractive would be with someone. But…maybe she was waiting for a friend too.
Women are disastrous to your sanity and career.
Dez stood. He wasn’t going to waste another minute waiting for Fallon. The jerk. He had too many things to do. Though, if he was being honest, ‘cause lying to oneself is plain stupid, he had nothing to do but read more horrible reviews.
“I hate critics,” Dez grunted under his breath as he made his way to the doors.
Murie’s was never crowded on Mondays so it was easy moving through the tables but he had to avoid the regulars who made the slow days their own just as he did. That was one of the reasons Dez loved Murie’s.
The scent of food wafted around him, waking his hunger. It was a little after seven in the evening and he should eat, but it didn’t matter to him if he ate here or at home. Nothing much matters, Dez thought as he avoided a customer he often saw here.
He nodded at the cute patron but didn’t slow for conversation.
The pangs of hunger tugged at Dez a little more as he passed a few feet from the doors to the breezeway. Unlike the bar side, the restaurant side of the establishment was lively tonight. That side was usually crowded seven days a week but each side had its own entrance, and they were connected only by a lovely trellis breezeway. The two groups of patrons didn’t have to interact and usually didn’t because you could order and have a delicious meal brought over to the bar.
As Dez approached the exit, he picked up on conversations but one stuck out.
“Come on sweetheart, I’m a really nice guy.”
“Look,” the beautiful woman who caught his eye at the bar said, “I’m not interested. I just want to wait for my friends and drink my wine.”
Dez slowed just a bit so he could get a good look at the man who was talking to her. He and the guy were evenly matched in height. The guy was a little thicker but he shouldn’t be a problem if things got physical. The guy was clearly a cad and she was obvious about her lack of interest.
“I can be your friend, baby. I can be all the friend you need.” The guy shifted as if he was going to move to the stool beside her.
Dez stepped in between the two before Mr. Admirer could get any closer to her and effectively blocked the guy’s view of her. At first, Dez was just going to advise the guy to take off, but as he closed the distance between him and the beauty, he was struck with awe and a burst of attraction that surprised him.
Instead of just intervening, Dez reacted to her sinfully addictive scent by leaning close to the goddess with the prettiest light brown eyes he’d ever seen, so close that he could have kissed her luscious lips. He reached into his pocket.
What was even odder than his behavior was the fact that she didn’t move back or push him away, so Dez took that in stride and grazed his lips over her cheek as if they were old friends. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you sitting here.” He lifted his cell up, “I was checking the game scores.” Dez glanced over his shoulder, giving the guy a cold questioning look. “Who’s your friend?” Dez looked back at her.
To her credit, the Beauty just looked at him. Not in a way that would suggest that she was thinking ‘What the hell?’ but in a way that intrigued Dez. She looked at him with intense interest.
“I’m not sure,” she finally said quietly as she looked around Dez, but it sounded more like a question. Her gaze moved back to him. “Then, you have a table already?”
“I do,” Dez smiled. He offered her his hand to help her off the stool. He noted that she was taller than he initially thought, though he still had her by a few inches with her wearing flats. She was toned as well, and by the way her clothing fit to her body, he knew that it was a work of art.
Dez boldly took her hand and led her from the bar. He watched her to see how she would handle her admirer as she walked away, and her response was perplexing. She didn’t smirk, grin, or say something smart. The heavenly creature just lowered her head shyly as she allowed him to lead her away.
When he got her to his booth, his previous thoughts of leaving, food, or Fallon were distant memories. Not even reviews or critics could pull him away from this moment. Dez was captivated, which was an unusual feeling that he was interested in exploring. Seated across from her, he gave the beauty his undivided attention.
The site, Shush, was classy. Not at all sleazy like Fallon thought it might be. The women were beautiful, definitely upscale. He looked at each one with a buyer’s eye. He wanted the best. She had to be perfect in every way. She had to be the fantasy, but not unbelievable.
Fallon narrowed his eyes when he came to one particular image that stood out above the twenty-two others. “Brittney,” he whispered. The image was of a woman with seductive hazel eyes and smooth brown skin. He clicked on the image and it took him to her stats.
She looked a bit thinner than he liked but she wasn’t for him. “She likes traveling, fine cuisine, but doesn’t shy away from roughing it and can be whatever you want her to be. Good,” Fallon said as he clicked the contact button.
The button opened a chat window that said, you are connected to Brittney. Please type your name.
“Hmmm,” he hummed as he typed. ‘Hello. My name is Fallon and I’d like to hire you Friday night for my friend. But there are conditions. He must know you are an escort or that I hired you.’
‘Hello, Fallon. My discretion is a priority as a Shush representative and a woman. Tell me, what kind of woman does your friend like?’
‘He doesn’t really have a type but he loves the color green. Of the women I’ve seen him interested in, they seem to wear little to no makeup. He also seems to like to see her face so I suggest you wear an updo.’
‘That’s fine. Did you read the terms of service, Mr. Fallon?’
‘I understand that you are not a prostitute, yes. That isn’t what I want. I want him to have fun, to forget his troubles for a night. I need you to remind him how amazing a woman’s company can be.’
‘Is he some kind of woman hater?’
Fallon chuckled as he typed, ‘No, nothing like that. Dez is harmless, artsy, a writer. He is a bit depressed over his latest book release. I just need you to lift his spirits.’
‘That I can do. You will need to forward me his image, the time, and where. I will make him forget all his troubles for one evening. If we have a deal, a down payment is required.’
Fallon smiled as he clicked on the Pay Down Payment button. He was redirected to a payment screen where he typed in his credit card information and the amount of four hundred dollars.
When her sister falls ill, Spring steps in to save her sister’s job. All she has to do is pretend to be an escort who is hired to entertain a stranger for the night. Only, this man can’t know that she is an escort. Easy right? Well, it was until she broke her sister’s cardinal rule. Do not ever go home with the client.
Desmond’s new book is getting horrible reviews. Depressed, embarrassed, and feeling betrayed, he only wants to hide away until the spotlight on his work fades. Except his best friend won’t allow it and convinces him to meet up at their usual hangout. But instead of finding his friend who is a no-show, Dez meets a beautiful angel of inspiration.
Breaking the rules come with consequences and when Spring finds herself inexplicitly drawn to the handsome author, will she be able to keep up with her lies or risk breaking Dez’s trust?
Copyright 2013. Shea Swain. All Rights Reserved.