Into The Fire
Author:E. L. Todd
    Book One of the Gorgeous Entourage Series


    CHAPTER ONE





    Alessandra

    It was the first day I didn’t think about Tony.

    Normally, I woke up every morning and wondered if he spent the night alone. Was there someone else in his bed right at that moment? Did someone lay in the sheets that I bought?

    Did they still smell like me?

    But today I woke up and thought about coffee. I wanted a pumpkin spice latte. It had way too much sugar, fat, caffeine—everything you can think of. But I didn’t give a damn. I wanted one.

    After I picked up my coffee and scone, I headed into the office next to the Chinese restaurant that totally blocked our entrance from the street. When new clients paid us a visit, they could never figure out where we were located. Our sign on the telephone pole didn’t help matters.

    I walked inside then sat at my desk. “Morning, Shelly.”

    “Morning.” Shelly was playing solitaire at her desk. She wore a tight pencil skirt and teal blouse.

    “Who’s winning?” I sipped my coffee.

    “I always win.”

    “Quite an accomplishment…” Playing against yourself must be really difficult.

    She didn’t take her eyes off her cards. “How was your night?”

    “Amazing,” I said sarcastically. “I stayed in and watched a chick flick with Brute.” Brute was my dog. He was a bulldog, but he was so cute.

    “What did you watch?”

    “The Notebook.”

    She stopped playing and finally looked at me. “That movie is so old. Move on, girl.”

    “But it’s so good.”

    She rolled her eyes then looked back at her cards. “You have a new assignment.”

    “I do?” I asked. “What’s his story?”

    “I’m not totally sure but he really needs an escort. Something about his family…” She went through her stack of cards then came to a stalemate. She rested her fingers on her lips as she remained lost in thought.

    “Well, more money isn’t a bad thing.” I’d been an escort for a year now. A few friends of mine bought the company and gave me a job. But it’s not what you think. I’m not a prostitute. I just pose as a girlfriend to men who need to put on a show. There are strict rules for this type of relationship. Only handholding and waist touching are permitted. Anything else will result in a swift kick in the nuts.

    “You’re scheduled to meet him later this week.”

    “Is he at least cute?”

    “Actually, he’s really hot.” She sighed then stacked up all her cards because she knew she lost the game. “A little hotheaded, but hot.”

    “Then what does he need me for?”

    She shrugged. “I’m not sure. I didn’t interrogate him. But he has a lot of tattoos.”

    “Oh…” I didn’t know what to think of that. Ink was hot on some guys, but on others it was a little tacky.

    “Don’t you have an assignment tonight?”

    “Yeah, it’s with that CEO.”

    “I’m sure that will be a walk in the park,” she said as she waved her hand. “Just look pretty on his arm then go home.”

    “Yeah, I’m sure it will be.” Not all my assignments went well. Sometimes men wanted more than what they paid for.

    But it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

    ***

    Roger picked me up at seven on the dot. He wore a black suit and tie, and his hair was perfectly styled like he stopped by the salon on the way here. “You look beautiful.” He looked me up and down, focusing on my legs in particular.

    “Thank you.” I locked the office door behind me and walked with him down the alley. I never gave a guy my real address because I never knew if he was a psychopath or not. “You look nice too.”

    “Thanks.” He put his arm around my waist.

    I let the touch slide because it stayed within the parameters of our arrangement even if there was no one around to put on an act for.

    He escorted me to his limo and opened the back door for me. Once we were both inside, the car moved. I kept my legs crossed and held on to my clutch. The nice thing about escorting men was the fact they didn’t talk much. All I had to do was sit there and look pretty.

    Roger was much older than my usual clients. He was close to forty and divorced. People were still talking about the brutal way his marriage fell apart, and he wanted to give them something else to talk about—me. “How are you?”

    “Good,” I answered. “You?”

    “I’m okay.”

    “Is there anything I need to know for tonight?”

    “No. Just stay close to me and smile. That’s your only job.”

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