Authors: Peggy L Henderson
Ain’t No Angel
Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series
By Peggy L Henderson
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination, or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author.
Copyright © 2013 by Peggy Henderson
All rights reserved
Please join my New Releases mailing list:
All of my books are available here:
Other Available Titles
Teton Romance Trilogy:
Teton Sunset (coming Winter 2013/14)
Yellowstone Romance Series
Yellowstone Heart Song
A Yellowstone Christmas (novella)
Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series
Come Home to Me
Ain’t No Angel
As of yet untitled Book 3…coming 2014
I’d like to thank the people behind the scenes who helped me make this book the best it can be: My editor, Barbara Ouradnik, my critique partner, Carol Spradling, and my awesome team of beta readers: Heather Belleguelle, Lisa Bynum, Shirl Deems, Becky Fetzer, Hazel Lewis, Hilarie Smith, and Renee York. Your opinions and comments make all the difference as you read through the manuscript.
Ramona Lockwood, my cover designer, for the beautiful covers you create for my books. (
To my Facebook fans: Happy hunting for the “easter eggs”
Delaney Goodman stood in front of the bathroom mirror, dressed to kill. She stared at her reflection and laughed a short, disgusted laugh. Committing murder - preferably her own murder – might be easier than what she’d resigned herself to do. How could she possibly bring herself to go through with this? The idea hadn’t seemed so daunting a week ago.
She inhaled a deep breath and released it slowly in an effort to calm her frazzled nerves. What the hell was she doing here, in this fancy hotel room? When had life turned from horrible to downright unbearable?
There is no other way, Laney. You’ve sunk about as low as you can go.
Doubt and second-guessing nagged at her. It was too late now to turn back. Jason had already paid her a good chunk of money up front. Money she desperately needed. Without it, she would have been out on the street already. The sum would cover her expenses for another two weeks for the little motel room that she called home. She couldn’t afford rent on an actual apartment.
Jason had paid for the skimpy black tube dress and high heels she now wore, the make-up, and a haircut with some highlights. Earlier in the day, he’d brought her to this high-priced hotel to get ready for the evening. If she didn’t do this, she’d owe him money she couldn’t possibly pay back. He assured her that she’d be rolling in more dough than she’d ever dreamed possible after a few “social dates”, as he called them.
Laney shrugged as if it didn’t matter. This was just one more unpleasant event in her life that she had to endure. She’d pull out of this, just like she did everything else. It was the story of her miserable existence.
What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.
She laughed again. Yeah, right. She should be Super Woman by now.
Rummaging through her makeup pouch, she finally found the crimson shade of lipstick she’d been looking for. She slid the creamy stick across her lips, then rubbed them together to distribute the color more evenly. She puckered her mouth and glanced in the mirror in front of her. Tilting her head from side to side, she ran her hands through her blonde strands, and tousled it. Shaking her head, she applied a light mist of hairspray.
She turned to the side and glanced over her shoulder at the reflection of her backside. The spandex tube dress didn’t want to cooperate. It hiked up her thighs at one end, barely long enough to cover her rear, and slid down her chest at the other.
Yeah, you look like a hooker.
Wiggling her hips, she tugged the material downward, then pulled it more firmly up over her breasts. No matter what she did, it revealed way too much at either end. Good thing she wore black pantyhose.
She paused to take another look in the wide mirror. Her pulse suddenly quickened and throbbed at her temples. With a shaky hand, she reached for her cellphone to check the time.
Her throat went dry. She tried to swallow back the sudden apprehension that washed over her.
You can do this. You need the money. Without this job, you’ll be out on the street.
“The first time is the hardest, but trust me, you get used to being wined and dined real fast. If they like you, your money worries will be over,” her former co-worker, Stephanie, had assured her. She had introduced Laney to Jason, a good-looking and well-dressed guy who’d taken an immediate interest in her.
He was different from other guys in her life. Unlike every other loser she’d ever dated, he hadn’t asked to get into her pants at the first opportunity. He’d taken her out, bought her some nice clothes, even helped pay her rent when she was behind. Jason had treated her better than any other boyfriend. When she was laid off for no reason from her latest dead-end job a couple of weeks ago, he’d approached her with a business proposition she’d never considered before.
“With your looks, Laney, you can make a killing as an escort.”
“An escort?” Her forehead wrinkled. What the hell was an escort?
“There are a lot of rich men in this city who pay good money to have a beautiful girl hanging from their arm in public. It’s sort of like a status symbol.”
“You mean, like a high-priced hooker?” Laney swallowed. Was he serious? Instead of dumping her outright, he just wanted to sell her off to other men?
What other options do you have at this point, Laney?
Was this where her life was headed? Her dream of ever working with horses faded into oblivion. She wanted to live out in the country somewhere. Instead, she was stuck in stuffy L.A. with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Jason laughed, and ran his hand across his face. “That’s a rather harsh way to put it.” He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her into an embrace. “You only have to put out as much as you want, baby,” he whispered in her ear. “It all depends on how much money you want to make.”
His lips came down on hers. Laney automatically wrapped her arms around his neck. She wanted to feel something, anything but the emptiness inside her. Nothing happened. No warm fuzzy feelings, no tingles. His hands slid up and down her body, and his tongue probed her mouth. Laney simply went through the motions and followed his lead. Why shouldn’t she make some money for the things she’d freely given in the past? Guys had always been full of empty promises, crushing her hopes for love and a sense of belonging. Men had used her most of her life. Maybe it was time for some payback, in the literal sense.
Her dream, her fairytale that there was a Prince Charming out there somewhere had died several dead-end relationships ago.
You have to look out for yourself, Laney. It’s always been that way.
Life revolved around making enough money for rent and food. Maybe if she agreed to a few of Jason’s arranged “dates,” she’d earn enough to cover her expenses for a few months. Enough time to find a steady job, maybe even pay for those college courses she needed. The guy she’d gone to see about a job at the racetrack had told her he’d think about offering her a position in his barn. She didn’t have the required credentials to work as an equine massage therapist, but he’d been impressed enough with her skills when she demonstrated her massage technique on a horse he allowed her to work on, that he might just call her back.
The cellphone in her hand buzzed. Laney jumped. An icy chill spilled down her back. She was really going to go through with this. She needed the money, plain and simple.
She held the phone to her head. “Yes.”
“Your ride is here.” Jason’s voice at the other end sounded cold, business-like.
“I’ll be right down,” she said.
I don’t want to do this.
“Make me proud tonight, baby. You get to ride in a limo.”
Great. Can’t wait.
Laney disconnected the call. She stared at her image in the mirror one last time. A tear spilled down her cheek, and she hastily swiped at it with the back of her hand. The last thing she needed now was for her make-up to run. She dabbed some perfume on her wrists, and inhaled a final breath for courage, then grabbed her small black purse, and headed for the door. Time to sell her soul to the devil.
The valet held the door open to the gleaming white limousine. Laney hesitated. She glanced around for a glimpse of Jason, but he was nowhere to be seen. Sucking in a deep breath, she stepped forward and ducked into the car. Why did it feel as if she’d just willingly stepped into a lion’s gaping jaws? The door closed behind her, and she widened her eyes to adjust to the dim light of the limo’s interior. A plush black wrap-around leather seat comprised the space.
Laney’s eyes fell on the figure in a steel gray suit, sitting to her left. Her breath caught in her throat, and she swallowed the ever-thickening lump.
“Miss Delaney Goodman. What a pleasure to finally meet you.” The man leaned forward and extended his hand.
I just bet it is.
Laney’s eyes connected with his gaze. A wide smile spread across his face, and she reluctantly placed her hand in his. His warm fingers closed around hers, and he gave her hand a gentle shake.
“Please, make yourself comfortable, and we’ll be on our way.” He motioned with his other hand for her to take a seat across from him.
Laney pulled her hand from his, and sank into the plush leather. After a futile attempt to adjust her dress a little further down her thighs, she settled for crossing her left leg over her right.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said, clearing the hitch in her voice. She shook her head to allow her blonde strands to spill over her shoulders in an attempt to cover her cleavage.
The man chuckled. “No need to be nervous, Miss Goodman. I think we’re going to get along just fine.”
Laney held his eye contact. She forced her back against the seat to appear relaxed, and clutched her purse in her lap. Ugh! Why did it have to be an old guy? Was he some kind of rich pervert? His hair was peppered gray, and his face held countless wrinkles. He looked to be old enough to be her great grandfather, if she had one.
The most striking feature about him was his steely blue eyes. She’d never seen eyes that color before, and something about them drew her in. He continued to smile at her, even as he tapped the tinted window that separated the back of the limo from the front. The car immediately rolled forward.
“Where are we going?” Laney ventured to ask.
The old man studied her, assessed her slowly, as if contemplating her question. His eyes moved to the outside of her exposed thigh for a moment before settling once again on her face. There was nothing leering about his stare. It was almost as if he was concerned about something.
“Where would you like to go?” he asked, and leaned forward.
“Excuse me?” Her heart sped up. That didn’t sound like he was taking her to some social event. Did he plan to just get his money’s worth right here in this limo? She’d heard this sort of come-on before.
“If you could go anywhere of your choosing, where would you go?” he prodded. His smile faded, and his look turned serious.
Far away from here. Far away from anywhere, where I can make a fresh start.
“I’m sure you’re not really interested in where I want to go.” Laney laughed nervously. “Where did you plan to take me tonight?”
She lowered the tone of her voice in an attempt to sound sensual. It was time to get over her inhibitions. She’d been with plenty of guys. This would be no different.
Of course it’s different
None of the others had paid for her company. She’d been with them willingly, always hoping that the one she was with was
, the man who would love her and not use her and then toss her aside like everyone else in her life had always done.
What a joke. There was no such thing as true love, or a man who would stick around. She was so over that. Even Jason had turned out to be a user. Well, it was time she learned the game. The tables were about to turn.
Don’t feel anything, Just go through the motions
The older man’s glare intensified, and Laney adjusted her seat uncomfortably. She rubbed her sweaty palms along her legs. Why did it feel as if he stared straight into her mind?
“I know this is the last place you want to be,” he said softly. “But you believe it is the only recourse you have left.”
Laney blinked. He
read her mind. How was that possible? Or was she simply like so many other young women who didn’t see any way out of a dire situation and turned to prostitution as their last resort?