Casual encounter vol 2, p.1
Casual Encounter Vol. 2, p.1M. S. Parker
Table of Contents
About The Author
By M.S. Parker
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Belmonte Publishing LLC
Published by Belmonte Publishing LLC.
When I found out that Cade Shepard was my white knight, I let myself believe that I could fall in love again. And then I realized that everything had been a lie.
Twenty-five year-old Bree Gamble feels betrayed by her best friend after discovering that the man she thought could help her get over her broken heart is nothing more than a paid escort.
But Cade surprises her. He shows up at her door with an apology and a proposal. He offers to teach her how to become the kind of woman that no man will ever be able to refuse. He just has one rule: She can’t fall in love with him or the deal is off.
Will Bree give in to the temptation and risk losing her heart in the process?
The second installment of Casual Encounter by best-selling author M.S. Parker is a must-read seductive roller-coaster.
“Come on, Bree. How do you think? A great fuck was the entire reason I wanted you to date my guy in the first place. When you want something done right, hire a pro. Cade's a gigolo, Bree. A professional escort and lover. A damn expensive one, but worth every penny. Consider it an early Christmas gift. Surprise!”
My best friend's words still echoed in my mind even though I'd hung up on her more than a minute ago. I kept expecting anger to come to my rescue, to break me from this catatonic state. It might come later, but at the moment, I was numb. I sank back against my pillows and stared at my phone. It vibrated and began to ring. I didn't even have to look at the screen to know it was Adelle. Even if it hadn't been her ringtone, I would've known it was her.
I turned off the ringer and watched as her call was sent to voicemail. The second time she called, the anger came. Couldn't she take a hint that I didn't want to talk to her? Tears stung my eyelids and I squeezed them shut. I didn't want to cry. I'd spent too much time crying after Ronald had left. I'd shed enough tears over one bastard. I wasn't about to shed anymore over the one Adelle had paid.
I pressed my hands to my face as a stab of hurt pierced through me. I should've known better than to get my hopes up. I knew I idealized Cade as my mysterious white knight, but even after I forced myself to admit he wasn't perfect, I at least thought he liked me.
Heat flooded my face as I remembered telling him that I wanted him. Anger followed embarrassment when I remembered him telling me it was obvious he wanted me too. I'd just been foolish enough to believe it meant he felt something other than lust. And now I learn it was his job to get hard, to say pretty words. There probably hadn’t been any lust there at all. I mean, I wasn't naïve. I knew it was more difficult for a man to fake arousal than a woman. A female prostitute could just lay there and make noises to convince her client that she wanted him. I wondered how Cade did it. Was it just the prospect of sex that got him hard? Did he cock respond to his commands like Pavlov’s dog? Or had he been running through some fantasy in his head?
I suddenly felt sick. Who had he been thinking of when he was inside me? Had it been Adelle? And why had he pretended like that? If he'd treated it like some business transaction, I could've figured it out, stopped things from going too far. All he needed to do was make a single comment when he invited me back to his room for dessert. If he'd just said that the sex was already paid for, I would've been able to save myself a lot of pain and humiliation. I would've been embarrassed, but there was a huge difference between knowing I'd had dinner with a prostitute and knowing I'd fucked one.
My phone buzzed again and I was tempted to throw it across the room. Instead, I shoved it into my bedside drawer and crawled back under my covers. I pulled the blanket up over my head, closing myself off from the rest of the world.
When I'd been in seventh grade, my older brother had posted a picture of me on my locker at school. It hadn't been any picture though. It had been a picture of me modeling my mom's bra over my clothes, and it had been painfully obvious I'd never fill it out as much as she did. He'd gotten a detention from the teacher who'd found it, but by then, it had been too late. Every kid in the world had seen it, or so it seemed at the time.
My parents had grounded him for a month and made him apologize, but in my mind, my life had been over. I'd been convinced I'd never get over the embarrassment. For two days, I stayed in bed, my head under my covers, blocking out the world. I felt safe there, as if no one could hurt me. On the third day, my mom had forced me to come out and eat with the family. I'd gone to school the next day.
It was funny, I thought bitterly, how we grow up, but who we were as children never fully goes away. I hugged my knees to my chest and tried not to think about how much I hurt. What Cade had done had been bad enough, but he hadn't known me, and he'd just been doing his job. It hadn't been his fault that our first encounter had predisposed me to think of him a certain way.
I swore. Had Adelle set that up too? She'd sounded genuinely surprised when I said Cade was my rescuer, but she could've been acting. The idea that this entire thing had been a lie from moment one made it all the worse. It meant Adelle had no respect for me as a person or as a friend.
What she'd done had been so much worse than what Cade had done on many levels. Sure, she claimed she only had my best interests at heart, but what did it say about how she viewed me as a person—as a woman—if she thought I needed her to hire someone to go out with me, to sleep with me? How pathetic and stupid did she think I was? And she had to think I was both of those things because I couldn't think of any other reason that would've led her to believe I'd be okay with what she'd done.
Sunday went by far too slowly for me. Every fifteen to thirty minutes, Adelle would call. Every hour or so, I'd delete her voicemails without listening to them. I already knew what she said in every one. She apologized, but added something about how it was all for the best. She'd never admit she did anything wrong. I wasn't sure I wanted to forgive her even if she begged for forgiveness. I definitely wouldn’t if she pretended she'd done something as simple as scratching my car or throwing up in my purse – both of which she'd done on more than one occasion.
When I finally had to get up to go to the bathroom, I decided to move my pity party into the living room where I ate half a gallon of Rocky Road ice cream and watched chick flicks for hours on end. By the time I showered and went to bed that night, I didn't feel any better but I knew I could at least pretend to be okay when I went into work tomorrow. I was just glad I didn't work with Adelle or Cade. I hoped to never see either of them again.
When my alarm went off on Monday morning, I didn't want to get up. I already knew how tough it was to slog through a day when I was emotionally devastated. It was strange how something like this could compare to being stood up at the altar. Most people would assume that having your fiancée run off with the wedding coordinator would be worse than finding out your best friend paid the man of your dreams to have sex with you, but it
I sighed and slapped the top of my alarm clock. I'd gotten through the humiliation of being left at the altar and I'd get through this. I was a stronger person than a lot of people thought I was, and I would move on. The first step was getting back to my normal routine. That meant school.
I dressed simply and then forced myself to eat an apple for breakfast. The only thing I'd eaten the day before had been ice cream, so I needed to get some food with substance inside me. That and coffee. I decided to treat myself to my favorite premium roast at the little café down the street, which brightened my mood enough that I was able to manage friendly greetings to my colleagues as I walked into the school.
My fake smile faltered when I saw Mindy heading my way. I hadn't even thought about her and how she'd want to know all about the date that had turned out even more disastrous than the one she'd sent me on. Heat rose to my cheeks as I wondered how much Adelle had already shared. Did Mindy know about Cade being my rescuer? Did she know what else he did? My stomach clenched. Was it possible that she'd even been in on it from the beginning? I shook my head. Mindy never would've gone along with deceiving me like that. Then again, I reasoned, I'd never have thought Adelle would've set me up with a gigolo either.
Gigolo. I winced at the word as humiliation washed over me and Cade's image flashed in my mind. That charming, cocky smile. His dark gray eyes. The way his blue-black curls had fallen carelessly across his forehead. Not exactly what I pictured when I thought of a male prostitute. He'd been authoritative, but never rude or cruel. He was comfortable with sex and his own body, but not crass. I supposed that's why he was a high-class escort.
I rubbed my temples. I could feel the start of a headache there.
“Bree!” Mindy's voice was cheerful.
I opened my eyes and reminded myself that her being a morning person and disgustingly chipper was not a valid motive for murder. I was already down one friend.
“So, how did it go?” She grinned at me and leaned against one of the front row desks.
I studied her for a moment and felt a stab of sadness that I didn't trust her completely. I forced a half-smile as I gave her a vague answer. “It went. Nothing worth talking about.”
“Really?” She looked disappointed. “The way Adelle was talking him up, I was fully expecting you to come in here with a post-orgasmic smile from ear to ear.”
I glanced at the door. “Not exactly school-appropriate talk.”
She shrugged. “Fair enough.” She straightened. “And there wasn't anything there between the two of you?”
I looked down at my lesson plan book as if it contained something I needed. “Nope. Not a thing.”
In my mind's eye, I could see him as he moved above me. I felt him inside me again. His body thrusting into mine. Remembered how my skin had sung at his touch. I clenched my jaw and banished the thoughts. I wasn't going to do this.
“Well, if there's nothing to talk about.” Mindy filled the awkward silence. “I guess I'll head back to my classroom. Those math problems aren't going to write themselves.”
“See you at lunch,” I said. I didn't want to eat lunch with her and subject myself to another round of questions, but if I didn't, she'd get suspicious and call Adelle right then. Now, if I was lucky, she'd at least wait until she got home and have the rest of the night to figure out how she was going to react to what had happened.
I caught her giving me a concerned glance before turning and leaving, but I didn't acknowledge it. Better to focus on the work and not think about anything else. I wasn't sure how well that would work, but I was going to try.
By the end of the day, I knew exactly how well that worked. The answer was: not at all. I was in the middle of a lecture about Romeo and Juliet's first meeting when the memory of Cade saving me popped into my head. I experienced my first pang of sympathy for Heathcliff and Catherine's angst. As I lectured on Austen, I wondered how her characters would have handled my situation. Well, not the escort part, but the friendship part. The books I'd spent my life escaping into no longer offered a place to hide.
A dashing hero with a dark secret. A lie. A betrayal and a broken heart.
My life had become one of those stories.
If you asked most teenage girls if they wanted their lives to be a romance story, they'd say yes, thinking of their handsome prince and the happily ever after. The problem was, they rarely remembered all of the shit the couple goes through to get their fairy tale ending.
And, of course, it is a fairy tale. Anyone who knows anything about the original stories knows that no one wants a real fairy tale ending. They want the Disney version. After all, who wants the version of Rapunzel where the prince gets his eyes poked out? Or how about the mermaid who chooses to die rather than the kill the woman the prince truly loves? And then there is my personal favorite… sweet little Snow White who ordered a pair of red-hot iron shoes onto her stepmother's feet, forcing the woman to dance until her feet bled. Most people don't know about the wicked queen crawling out into the snow and falling down a well after the princess's wedding.
With my luck, I would get a fairy tale ending, just not the Disney one. All I had to do was look at the kind of 'princes' I attracted into my life. Ronald was a real winner. And let's not forget Steven, the bastard who'd tried to get me drunk so I'd sleep with him. That, of course, led me straight back to Cade and how he'd come swooping in like Prince Charming rescuing the damsel in distress. Then he'd turned out to be a complete fraud, and not in a romantic Aladdin sort of way either. No, this was more the twist in the story where the guy everyone thought was the hero turns out to actually be the villain. And Adelle was the hateful step-sister who instigated it all.
I swore silently as I packed up my things. The day was finally over and I'd spent most of it thinking about Cade, both good and bad. I needed to get him out of my head. He wasn't a prince. I wasn't a princess, and this sure as hell wasn't a fucking fairy tale.
I was halfway to the front door of my apartment building when I realized someone was standing in front of it. I raised my head, ready to ask whoever was there to please move, and the words froze in my throat.
“What are you doing here?” I'd intended the question to come out with anger and strength, but I heard a note of something else mingled in. A true desire to know why he was there and a hope that it was because he really cared.
“I need to speak with you.” His voice was calm and even, with none of the arrogance or flirting that had been presence the other night.
I stepped past him, telling myself to ignore the flutter in my stomach and focus on the pain in my heart. I didn't want to hear a word he had to say. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to get that I was trying to blow him off.
I actually hesitated at the elevator, as if my body was programed to obey. A flare of anger went through me which gave me the strength to move. I punched the third floor button harder than necessary and hoped the doors would close before Cade could slip in. But, my bad luck held and he stepped inside just in time.
He stood on the other side of the elevator, leaning against the wall in a casual pose I was sure he'd worked on for hours, perfecting it to draw the maximum amount of attention.
“I would like the opportunity to explain.”
I refused to look at him.
“A cup of coffee. That's all I'm asking for. Give me the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee.”
I folded my arms across my chest. In the time it took the elevator to go three floors, he had managed to weaken my resolve without even a real argument. I stepped out onto my floor and felt him follow. Fine, I thought. If he wanted to explain, then
“One cup,” I said as I unlocked my door. “That's it.”
“Thank you, Aubree.”
“I told you I go by Bree,” I snapped as I walked inside.
“And I told you I prefer Aubree.”
I scowled, but didn't argue. It didn't matter what he wanted to call me. Soon, I'd never have to hear him say my name again.
My stomach twisted at the memory of how he'd said my name, the way it had sounded when he'd asked me what I'd wanted. No, I told myself firmly. I wasn't going there.
“Take a seat,” I said, gesturing toward the worn love-seat and faded armchair that were the only two places to sit in my living room. “I'll go get the coffee started. I wouldn't want to keep you from work.”
I didn't look at him as I went into the kitchen. As eager as I was to get him out of my apartment, I took my time getting the coffeemaker going. I needed to compose myself. I couldn't let him see how much his being here upset me. He couldn't know the truth about how I felt about what had happened or any of the self-doubts it had fed into.
When I was convinced I could handle whatever was coming, or at least keep it together until he left, I went back into the living room. He was sitting at the far end of the love-seat, his arm across the back of it, his body angled so that he was facing me as soon as I entered. It looked so much like a carefully orchestrated pose that the serious expression on his face seemed out of place.
“You wanted to talk.” I sat down on the edge of the chair. “Might as well get started.”
“First, I have to apologize for what must appear like callous and deceitful behavior.”
My jaw dropped and I couldn't stop the surprise from crossing over my face. I'd thought he'd either come on Adelle's behalf or... honestly, I didn't know what to expect, but a straightforward apology hadn't been it.
Cade straightened, leaning forward so that his elbows were on his knees. “I'm not ashamed of what I do, Aubree. And I didn't intentionally hide it from you. I assumed you knew about the arrangement. Adelle never mentioned she hadn't told you.”
Casual Encounter Vol. 2 by M. S. Parker / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes