Authors: Karpov Kinrade
Copyright © 2014 Karpov Kinrade
Cover Art Copyright © 2014 Karpov Kinrade
Published by Daring Books
Proofread by Tracy Riva
Edited by Anne Chaconas at
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.
Dedicated to Robyn Smith.
The best mother and mother-in-law in the world.
We wrote you a murder mystery with romance. Happy Birthday!
Catelyn Travis is a good girl who gets good grades in law school, doesn’t date and never gets into trouble.
But when a run of bad luck threatens to destroy everything she's worked for, she's forced to become Cat, phone sex goddess who fulfills the fantasies of her clients night after night.
When she meets Ashton Davenport the Third, bad boy biker billionaire, she knows to stay away. But when he calls her alter ego, Cat, she has no choice but to fall for the sexy stranger.
Now her life is spiraling out of control as she struggles to keep her two identities separate
—but there's one person who knows her secret.
And he'll stop at nothing to destroy her, just like he destroyed her parents.
Threatened at every turn, her life crumbling around her, Catelyn must decide who she can trust—and the wrong choice could end her life.
Contains mature content.
THIS IS WHY
I don't date.
been some time since my last attempt at dating, and while not all were complete disasters, many were. I was a magnet for a certain kind of man. The kind mothers warn their daughters about.
This guy was
at me with wide brown eyes, waiting for something. I didn't know what to say, didn't know why I agreed to visit his dorm room before we went out for coffee. He sounded so reasonable on the phone. "You swing by and we head out. I just getting out of class so I need to change."
I found his Italian accent charming
, and my best friend had assured me he was 'hot.' She'd set us up on a blind date, this guy from her bio-chem class, and I'd stupidly agreed because Bridgette knew me well enough after four years of undergrad to gauge my taste in men, right?
He stood with his legs crossed, rainbow stripes running up his socks, one pulled all the way up his calf, the other squashed to his shoe. He wore crumpled shorts, which weren't weird by themselves, but the entire outfit made me think of Urkel from that old sitcom
, down to the suspenders. Who wears suspenders anymore?
ed my throat. "May I use your restroom before we go?"
He nodded and pointed
to the tiny bathroom attached to his messy dorm room. I let myself in and locked the door behind me, then checked the mirror. I so seldom wore makeup that I'd rubbed at it without realizing, making my brown eyes raccoon-like. A quick fix and another swipe of red lipstick, and I was set.
my ponytail, catching a few dark strands of hair that got loose, I glanced at the toilet, where an empty condom floated in the water like an abandoned boat lost at sea.
ped a picture with my cell phone and texted Brig.
THIS is who you set me up with. Thanks so much.
My phone beeped
a moment later.
WTF? Is that from the two of you?
Um, no! Gross. I just got here. He m
ust have had company before me.
. I'll call you and bail you out. I'm SO sorry. He seemed nice in class. And the hair.
My fingers flew over the keypad.
I'll give you that one, he does have gorgeous hair.
He was still
standing in the same place when I returned, his clothes still misaligned. "Shall we go with coffee now?"
d a smile and walked toward the door. "Sure."
As he locked up, he
watched me again with this expectant expression. "You not say anything?"
He glanced at his socks. "About these. I test you, see if you notice, but you not say anything."
My phone rang
and I answered. "Yes?"
Brig whispered like we were
spies in a covert operation about to go wrong. "Meet me at the diner, and I'll buy you lunch. It's the least I can do after setting you up."
"Oh my God, are you okay?" I feign
ed concern. "Yes, of course, I'll be there right away."
. "Oh you're good. If your career in law doesn't work out, you could always try theater."
ng up and faced my failed date. "I'm so sorry, but I have to go."
. "Everything okay?"
"An emergency. You understand? But thank you all the same. I'm sure I'll see you around."
He hollered after me as I scurried down the hall. "I call you later."
"Um, sure." I mad
e a note to block his number as I headed to the diner Brig and I had eaten at for the last five years. Burger Oil's food lacked quality and taste, but the prices were cheap—and cheap was perfect for college.
air cleared my senses as I made the long walk from Italian Dude's dorms.
When I arrive
d, Brig pointed at her non-existent watch dramatically, her long blond hair hovering around her head like a halo above her pale face and ice blue eyes. "Did you crawl here?" She looked outside and back at me. "You walked? Is the Bruiser in the shop again?"
"It would be, if I could afford to take it to the shop." The Bruiser was the nickname we coined for my piece of shit Camaro the night it died and forced us to walk to a party in high heels. Our feet were bruised from the walking
, thus the name.
"You should have called. I could have picked you up."
I shrugged. "I needed the walk."
"Can't you get more student loans to help?"
She'd already ordered me a cup of coffee. I added sugar and creamer and sipped. "I'm maxed out as it is."
"What are you going to do?"
Before I could answer the waitress rescued me by asking for our order. Once she left I changed the subject. "No more dates. I'm so done with men. Besides, I've got a huge paper due before winter break, and I won't get done if I don't get started on my research."
rolled her eyes. "You'll do fine. Your biggest concern is whether you'll get an A+ or an A++. It's in your blood. Are you still using your mom's book as the springboard for your paper?"
Yes. Her research into sociopaths and psychopaths intrigues me, and I think there's more to uncover in relation to prosecuting them in court. But I have a long ways to go before I'm ready to formulate my own opinions on the subject."
came and we both dug in, not talking until we finished and sipped another cup of coffee.
"I feel li
ke I never see you anymore," Brig said, pouting her lips like a model.
"I know. You should have come to law school with me."
"Right," she laughed, "because the world needs more lawyers and fewer doctors." She tapped her fingernails on the table. "You could always move in with me. You hate your roommate, I hate mine. It's a perfect scenario."
"Except for the fact that my shitty apartment is half the rent of living on campus, and I'm pretty sure your pa
rents don't want you slumming with me."
"Money is such a bore. We need to find a
way to make you rich." She said this with the air of someone who's never had to worry about money, but I didn't resent her. She tried to understand, and she'd been a good friend. My best and only friend, really. It wasn't her fault her parents were richer than God and mine were gone.
"Thanks for the l
unch," I said, "but I've got to get going. This paper isn't going to write itself."
the check, and we walked out together. "Let me at least drive you home."
"Thanks, but I have to pick up some financial aid paperwork for next
semester before I head back. Want to come over this weekend and do a study date? Evil Roommate will be gone, or so she says."
, her cheeks dimpling. "Sure. I'll bring dinner."
. See you then."
ed away, sad that I couldn't spend more time with her. I missed our undergrad days when we shared a dorm and had time for fun. Law school put new meaning to the "all work, no play" idiom.
Mrs. Hensel sat at
her desk when I arrived just before closing. "Ah, Catelyn, there you are. I have your paperwork."
me the stack, and I skimmed through it, frowning as I mentally crunched the numbers. "My financial aid went down?"
Mrs. Hensel furrowed
her brow. "I'm afraid so. Not just for you, dear, but for everyone. Budget cuts."
"But tuition has gone up." My palms start
ed to sweat as I considered what this meant.
you have a few months to work and save. Is there anyone you can call to help?"
About to cry, I shook my head
and ducked out, cursing mascara and tears. I couldn't make enough in the next few months to cover the difference. I'd spent the start of fall semester living on so much nutritionally-void Ramen Noodles it was a wonder I didn't have scurvy. If I had to budget any more, I'd be living on water and air.
Running through the courtyard, trying to calm my brain enough to figure out a plan, I crash
ed into someone, and we both dropped everything. When I looked up, it was into the eyes of the sexiest man I'd ever met. He seemed a bit older than me, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties, but had the air of someone who didn't take responsibility too seriously. He wore jeans that hung on his hips just right and a black leather jacket that gave him a bad boy vibe. He scooped up a motorcycle helmet and brushed off the dust.
ed in my breath and reached for my books. "I'm so sorry. I wasn't watching."
"It's my fault." His voice was hot
and cold and sent a shiver through me. "Are you okay? Did I hurt you?"
"No, I'm fine."
He picked up the last of the paperwork, and we both stood. His eyes, dark and penetrating, seemed to peer right into me. His black hair flopped over his forehead in that casual "just out of bed" way that men worked hard at achieving but so rarely did. Certainly not like him.
Our fingers brush
ed against each other when he passed the papers back. His hands were tanned, with long fingers both strong and gentle.
He gazed at my books and smiled
. "Law school?"
"Yes. Guess it's pretty obvious. Do you go to school here?"
"My parents wish I did, but no. I'm just meeting my brother."
My stomach dropped
as I realized I'd likely never run into him again. "Well, I don't want to keep you. Thanks for the help."
He paused, as if wanting to say something
, but turned to leave.
away, still trying to catch my breath as I pretended to examine the ads on the student bulletin board.
One ad caught
my eye, and I pulled it off and read.
Do you have a nice voice? Want to double or triple your income and work from home? Call us and leave a message. If we like what we hear, we'll call you back.
If I could double or triple my income,
I could actually survive the rest of the year. I dialed the number to the telemarketing job and left a message in my most professional voice and hung up, heart racing.
With a renewed hope for the
future, and not a small amount of daydreaming about Mr. Mystery Man, I headed home, completely forgetting for the first time in years what day it was.
until I checked the mail that I remembered.
With trembling hands I open
ed the card, always on the same embossed cream stationary. Always typed in Helvetica twelve-point font. Always postmarked from a different city in the country.
always with the same message.
Another year and still alone. One is such a lonely number.
ped the card and stood there shaking, trying to breathe. I called Brig but got her voicemail. "He found me again. The man who killed my parents. He found me."