Authors: Dahlia Rose
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Copyright © December 2009, Dahlia Rose
Cover art by Amira Press © December 2009
No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared by any electronic or mechanical means, including but not limited to printing, file sharing, and e-mail, without prior written permission from Amira Press.
“So your name is . . .” Jeff left the question hanging for the young woman who sat in front of him to finish.
“Ileana,” she supplied.
The soft sultry tone to her voice thrilled him. She was gorgeous—light brown skin that looked as creamy as any chocolate he had ever seen, smooth dark hair that framed her face and fell down her back. But her eyes were what made him know she was the one. They were almond shaped and light brown, and she stared at him like she was looking into his soul. Saying nothing but those eyes would say everything when the time was right.
Yes, she is perfect!
“Ileana, are you from here in Manhattan?” Jeff sat back in his char and tapped his gold-embossed pen against his chin.
“I’m from Brooklyn. I come into the city when I need to.”
“Do you mind going upstate for this?”
Ileana folded one smooth leg across the other and sat back in her chair. “I go where the money takes me. How long will this be for?”
“Just tonight. A car will take you up to
“My fee is one thousand for the night. No sex, no trying to rough me up,” Ileana said. “I just provide company and that’s it. Do you understand? If anyone tries anything, I will go down fighting, and my friend will call the cops if she does not hear from me every few hours.”
“I would have it no other way.” Jeff smiled. Oh yes, she was the one—strong, smart, and brave. Just what was needed in a situation like this. Jeff reached into the desk and pulled out two wads of bills. “Here is two thousand, and the car is waiting for you downstairs.”
She raised one elegant eyebrow at him. “What makes you think I won’t bypass that car and go home with your money safely in my purse?”
Jeff leaned forward. “I can tell you are not that type of person, and I had you thoroughly checked out before you even stepped into this office.”
“Touché.” Ileana inclined her head. “So when will you be coming to
“Oh, my dear, I am a happily married man.”
“Aren’t they all,” Ileana replied. “You’re still cute for an old guy.”
Jeff laughed. “Why, thank you. I take that as a compliment. But in my case, it’s true. I am very happy in my marriage. Your lovely company is not for me but for my friend who needs a little holiday cheer.”
“And who might this person be to whom I am providing company?”
“His name is Casey, and you will be going to his house,” Jeff explained. “Off you go. Enjoy the night, and thank you in advance for your services.”
Ileana took the money up from the mahogany table and slipped it into her clutch purse. “Good night, and I’ll make sure your friend enjoys his night.”
She walked out the door, curvaceous hips that could tempt any man moving in rhythm. She threw him a smile over her shoulder before she closed the door with a soft click. Jeff opened the drawer of his desk and pulled out a cigar. After lighting it, he sat back in his chair with a grin before he took a deep pull of his Habana. Casey wouldn’t know what hit him when the lovely Ms. Ileana graced his door. It was about time someone shook that boy up. With snowflakes falling outside the office windows in an exclusive high rise, Jeff chuckled softly and waited for the fireworks to begin.
* * * *
How did I end up here . . . now?
Ileana sighed as she looked out into the cold winter’s night. The interior of the town car was silent, sleek like the rich people who owned her. Outside, multicolored lights twinkled on houses, and the festive decorations ordained their lawns. Here she was, thirty, young, beautiful, and heading to be the escort for the night of some old guy who lived alone. A gift from a friend who thought he needed some company. Ileana grimaced, knowing full well that a day would come when she could not just say she was an escort. She would have to start giving them her body as well. Something she held sacred would be given away so she could make rent.
The thought ran through her head again, and she felt tears sting her eyes.
How the hell did I end up here?
She knew how. The cost to even lease her apartment had skyrocketed after the damn recession hit. Losing her job, losing her man, everything just seemed to hit at once. With nothing else to lose at that point, Ileana’s friend suggested that she use her looks, and this persona was born. Cool, calm, and collected on the outside, while on the inside, she was dying with shame. If her mom and dad ever knew what she had to do to make money, they would hang their heads in disappointment. Not their daughter, not the one who had gone to college and had her degrees. Now, she was nothing more than a paid, kept woman, a prostitute, even though she never spread her legs.
So lost in her thoughts was Ileana that she did not even see that the hours had ticked by, and now she was in the high-class area of
“We’re here, miss,” the driver called back to her coldly.
“Thank you.” She could hear the disdain in his voice but chose to ignore it. He didn’t know what her troubles were, so his judgment meant zilch in her book.
She turned her attention to the house as the car went up the winding driveway. The stone structure stood out in the darkness with its sandy-colored brick walls. No decorations lined its roof, no elves graced the snow, and only one light was on downstairs.
, Ileana thought with dismay. She had the picture in her head of old Mr. Scrooge sitting there being grumpy and cranky. She had expected to be the arm candy for some kind of party, not sitting with all old man who hated life and the world around him.
The car slowed and stopped in front of the big mahogany doors. The driver did not even get out to open the car door for her. Instead, he sat facing forward with a frown. Ileana gave a small, sorrowful sigh before she took the smooth silver handle of the car door and let herself out.
She heard the word come from the chauffeur’s lips even though he tried to say it softly. Anger sparked inside her, and she walked deliberately and slowly around to his window and tapped on the glass. The mechanical whirl as the window rolled down by him just pressing the button was the only sound in the silent night.
Ileana pinned him with a stare. “Do you have something to say to me?”
He gave her a look that said she was nothing but dirt beneath his shoes. “No, miss.”
“I heard what you said, and here is what I have to say to you. You don’t know me, you don’t know anything about me, and if I was a whore, you sure as hell couldn’t afford me.” With that, she walked up the driveway, and the crunch of the car tires was the signal that the car drove away. She stood in front of the door and pressed the bell. She could hear the deep sound from outside the thick door. Minutes passed, and she pressed the bell again. The cold breeze caught under her long coat and made her legs cold.
“Great. I told off the driver who has to come back and pick me up who will probably make me wait outside in the cold until I freeze my buttons off,” she muttered.
She was just about to press the button again when the door opened and the most gorgeous green eyes stared out at her. “Um, I’m looking for Mr. Casey?”
“It’s just Casey.” The voice matched the face, smooth and sexy with a sexy timbre that could turn a woman’s legs to jelly.
“Okay, then is Casey here?” Ileana tried to keep the irritation from her voice. “It’s getting a bit nippy out here.”
"Oh . . . Oh, I’m sorry! Come on in.”
He opened the door wider, and Ileana stepped inside. She reached in her bag and pressed the instant message button she had set up to send to her friend. The code was set to let her know she reached her destination and was inside and safe. In this job, Ileana knew that she could never to be too careful. The guy who opened the door had turned on one of the hallway lights, and now she could see the full features of his face.
Damn, he’s sexy
. Ileana studied his features, rugged with a hint of stubble. Dark hair fell over his forehead, and her fingers itched to smooth the stray lock back into place. Those green eyes held a hint of sadness, and his face was so serious, she knew he had to be the old man’s caretaker or son. Another bout of guilt hit her. He probably knew exactly what she was and why she was here.
Ileana tried to sound casual. “So is Casey here?”
“Why do you want him?”
“Um, his friend Jeff sent me. My name is Ileana . . . Ileana Dupree.”
One sexy eyebrow rose curiously. “Did he now? What exactly did Jeff say?”
“Aren’t you being a bit nosy for someone who isn’t Casey?” Ileana demanded to know. Hell, she felt bad enough having to be here, but now to be interrogated by the old man’s help made her feel lower than low.
“Humor me. I look out for his interests, so to speak.”
Ileana sighed. “He said I was to keep the old guy company for tonight because he gets lonely over the holidays.”
“What makes you think he is an old guy?” her sexy conversation partner pointed out.
Ileana looked at him warily. “What do you mean?”
“Hi, Ileana. My name is Casey.” A small smile curved the very appealing lips, but the light never traveled to his eyes.
“Oh drat,” Ileana said softly.
They stood in the foyer of the huge mansion staring at each other, and Ileana had no idea what to do next.
Casey looked on as his uninvited guest stared at him in shock. Obviously Jeff didn’t tell her his age in the least. He took her surprised silence as a good time to study her. She was gorgeous and he had seen some beautiful women. Something about her made her stand out from the rest. In his life, he had dated supermodels who had walked the catwalk and movie stars who had graced the silver screen. She could match and beat them all. But that was his former life, and now he preferred his solitude.
Preferred or had to accept it?
he wondered. Would he be the same man that he was if the last two years had not happened?
He brought his thoughts back to the moment at hand. “So Jeff sent you, huh? How much did that set him back?”
“Two thousand dollars for the night.” She raised her chin, and those gorgeous brown eyes stared back at him in defiance daring him to talk down to her.