Authors: A. Zavarelli
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Holidays, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages)
An Escort for Christmas
Cover Design by Designran
Cover Photograph © 2015 Deposit Photos/ prudkov
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I scrolled through the want ads for the fifth time that day, hoping something new had popped up. It hadn’t.
The sound of a fist banging on my door nearly jolted me out of my seat.
“I know you’re in there, Harper,” my landlord yelled through the wood. “I need your rent by the end of the week or you’re out!”
My forehead collapsed against the desk with a thud. “God, what am I going to do?”
“You know you always have a place to crash,” Katia reminded me gently. “It might be a couch, but it’s free.”
“I know.” I sat up and gave her a weak smile. “And I appreciate that, really I do. I just need to find a job. Even with a free couch, I still have bills to pay.”
Medical bills, to be precise. My Aunt’s cancer had been merciless both physically and financially. And even though she was gone, the ever present reminder of my grief came in the form of little white envelopes each month.
As much as I hated to admit it, I didn’t want to lose this crappy little apartment. It was the place that I’d grown up in. And the only piece of her I had left.
“Well, have you had any bites at all?” Katia asked. “You’ve been sending out resumes like crazy.”
“Nope.” I frowned. “It’s the absolute worst time to be looking for a job. Two weeks before Christmas. Anything that’s available probably won’t be interviewing until after the holidays anyway.”
“God, I still can’t believe that dickhead laid you off after two years of working your ass off for him.”
“I know.” I rubbed my temples in exhaustion. Being a waitress wasn’t a glamorous job, but it got me through during my Aunt’s decline. And I was good at it. It wasn’t really Roger’s fault though, the diner hadn’t been doing well for a while. It was bound to be shutting down any day at this rate.
“I know you don’t want to hear it.” Katia worried her lip between her teeth. “But
is always hiring.”
Before I could help it, I wrinkled my nose in response and Katia shot me a glare.
“I don’t mean it that way, Katia. I respect what you do. It’s just that… well, you’re a beautiful woman who’s comfortable with her sexuality. I’m like your geeky sidekick. It could never work.”
“That isn’t true.” She laughed.
I gave her a pointed stare, and she shrugged under the weight of it. “Okay, you’re a little bit geeky. But in like the most adorable way possible. And men love those reading glasses you wear. Can you say, sexy librarian?”
I laughed and shook my head at the preposterous idea. There was no way I could ever do what Katia does. Not that I judged her for it, but I simply wasn’t that comfortable with myself.
“Look,” she said seriously. “If the sex is an issue, we could take that off the table.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s rare,” she said. “But some of the Johns are legitimately just looking for a date. I could help write your ad, and they would know straight off that isn’t on offer.”
“So what would I do then?” I asked, hating that I even had to consider this.
“Well, go on dates,” she answered. “Smile and be polite and graceful. All of the things which you already are. They just want to look good at work functions and stuff most of the time. Having you on their arm will accomplish that.”
“I don’t know about that…”
“Harper.” Katia reached over and clasped my hands in hers. “What other choice do you have, sweetheart?”
I closed my eyes and blew out a shaky breath. I knew she was right. I was about to lose the very roof over my head. And I really couldn’t afford to go further in debt. It was going to take me years to pay it off as it was.
“You promise I don’t have to have sex?”
Katia flashed a coy smile. “Darling, I promise that you are going to be wined and dined with some of the finest society has to offer. And you don’t have to sex. But you may very well change your mind about that when you see some of these men.”
After meeting with Katia’s ‘Madame’ I was given a brief rundown of how everything would work.
I was actually quite surprised at how professional the entire setup was. Madame Jackie was very gracious and open with me during her in depth explanations of the services I would be providing. She also insisted I had to have an STD screen before I could even be considered, regardless of sex being off the table. For some reason it made me feel a little better, knowing that the same applied to the male clients I would be seeing. Not that I ever intended to sleep with them, of course.
Once all of that was done, Madame Jackie took me into what she called ‘the wardrobe’. I called it heaven. Designer labels as far as the eye could see, things I would never be able to afford in this lifetime. She explained that whenever I had a date, she would help me choose something from the wardrobe, and then it would be returned when I was done. I was beyond thrilled with this little perk.
Everything was actually going quite well and my nerves had abated. Until Katia sat me down and showed me the ad they’d written. It started off with:
Let me be your arm candy for the night
“Really, Katia?” I groaned. “Arm candy? That makes me sound like I’m something special.”
“You are something special.” She winked. “You just don’t know it yet.”
“What are all these acronyms?” I asked. “I don’t understand. It looks like some kind of puzzle or something.”
She shook her head and smothered a laugh at my question. “That one says you’re an exotic, beautiful woman.”
“Exotic?” I blinked. Hardly.
“Um, yeah. Trust me sweetheart, with your dark hair and eyes, you’re exotic as hell. Men eat that shit up. And don’t even get me started on your perfect skin or high cheekbones. I’m so jealous of those, by the way.”
“I don’t know about this.” I worried my lip between my teeth. “It feels like we’re tricking them somehow. I don’t want them to expect a model or something.”
“Trust me, Harper. As long as you have tits and an ass, they don’t care. And you have both of those in spades.”
I blushed and looked down at my chest. I was a C cup, so it wasn’t like I was overflowing there. But on my petite frame, it was abundant. Same story with my ass. It didn’t matter how many leg lifts or butt blasting workouts I tried- that wasn’t going anywhere.
“Okay.” I set the ad down, refusing to look at it anymore. I had to trust Katia’s judgment on this. “So what do we do now?”
“Well…” Katia smiled. “Even though you have nice tits and an ass, you do still look a little too… girl next door. So we need to sex you up a bit.”
I swallowed. “And how do you suggest we do that?”
She spun her keys around her fingers and winked. “I’ve booked you an appointment with Franco at the salon, he’s going to take care of it.”
I frowned, but Katia held up her hand before I could protest. “It’s part of the package. It’ll come out of your first paycheck, so don’t worry. Madame Jackie needs her girls to look nice, and this is part of the agreement. You will be waxed, plucked, scrubbed and polished within an inch of your life. But you will look fucking awesome by the time it’s all through.”
“Sounds like fun.” I snorted. “Do I get a drink after?”
“Drinks are on me,” she promised.
Franco had just put the finishing touches on my hair when Katia came back with a huge grin on her face.
“Ooooheeee, somebody better call the fire department, Franco.”
He clapped his hands together proudly. “I know, right?”
“You look so hot, babe.” Katia tugged me from the chair and made me do a spin. “And just in time too.”
“What do you mean?”
I was still too busy staring at my reflection in the mirror. True to Katia’s word, I’d been waxed and scrubbed to within an inch of my life. I was hurting in places I hadn’t even known existed. But my hair did look amazingly glossy, and Franco had done an excellent job on my makeup too. It was natural without going overboard.
“Madame Jackie just called,” Katia explained. “She has a bite on your ad. And it sounds like a big one.”
“Huh?” I blinked. Surely that couldn’t be right. My ad just went live today.
Katia smirked and acted out the motions of reeling in a fish. “I’m not going to name drop or anything, but this one is like the ultimate catch, Harper. You are so freaking lucky.”
“So why is she giving him to me?” I asked. “I mean, if he’s a big client. Shouldn’t he go to someone more experienced?”
“He asked for you personally,” Katia said. “He saw your ad and liked it. Plus, we’re always super booked up this time of year. You’re the only one who has the time to meet his schedule.”
I frowned, but she just checked her watch. “C’mon, we’ll sort out the details when we get there. We gotta’ go.”
“Thank you, Franco.” I gave him a little wave as Katia pulled me away.
“No problem, doll. Don’t forget, smoky eyes at night, natural during the day!”
Katia laughed, and I felt like a child going off to my first day of school. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into.
“Let me get this straight,” I repeated for the fifth time. “You want me to go out of state, with some guy I don’t know, for two weeks?”
Madame Jackie took a deep breath and rubbed her temples. “Yes, Harper. Trust me when I say I’m not any happier about this than you are, but he saw your ad and insisted you were the one he wanted. And I don’t have any other girls who have that amount of time open right now.”
“I just… I don’t think this is a good idea for my first time,” I pleaded. “Surely, there must be another way…”
“Listen, Harper.” Madame Jackie reached across the table and squeezed my hand. “I know you don’t know me, and you’ve just started here, but this contract could be huge for my business. This guy is
if you get my drift. The one you wait your whole life for. And I know I’m asking a lot, but this could attract some major players to my business. And because of that, you would be paid handsomely. I’m talking more than you’ve ever dreamed of.”
I shot Katia a look, to which she nodded. Madame Jackie was telling the truth. And as much as I didn’t want to be driven by money, I really didn’t have much choice right now.
“How much?” I asked.
Madame Jackie glanced around at some of the other girls who were lingering nearby, and then discreetly wrote something on a piece of paper. She slid it towards me, and I almost passed out when I saw how many zeros there were.
“That can’t be right.”
“I assure you, it is,” she said seriously. “But Harper, you will have to be on point the entire time. He expects you to do everything he asks while you’re there.”
“Except sex, right?”
“Yes, except sex,” she agreed. “He was very insistent he doesn’t even want that on the table. He just needs his family to believe you’re his girlfriend while he’s home for Christmas. That means you’ll have to flirt with him, maybe some light petting and kissing. Can you handle that?”
I glanced back at Katia for reassurance and she smiled. “You’ve totally got this, Harper. You are stronger than anybody I know, and once you set your mind to something, you can’t lose. You just have to convince them you’re for real. And sweetheart, you’re as real as it gets.”
“This could change my life,” I admitted. “I could pay off my debts with this.”
Madame Jackie grinned because she knew she had me.
“So does that mean you’re ready to go shopping then?”
“Shopping?” I questioned.
“Remember the wardrobe?” she asked, a twinkle in her eye.
Oh, God the wardrobe. She wasn’t playing fair now, and she knew it.
“I really get to take some of that stuff with me?”
“Oh, Harper… by the time I’m through with you, you’ll look like the love child of every designer you’ve ever dreamed of.”