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Authors: C.C. Koen

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Intensity

BOOK: Intensity
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Intensity

Dedications

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Dear Readers

About the Author

Acknowledgements

INTENSITY

Copyright © 2014 C.C. KOEN

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this novel with another person, please purchase an additional copy. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the written permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law. Thank you for respecting the work of all authors.

 

PUBLISHED BY: C.C. KOEN

http://www.cckoen.com

Formatting and Interior Design: Christine Borgford,

Perfectly Publishable

Cover Design: E-book Cover Designs by Carey

Editing: Laurie Boris

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks, and word marks mentioned in this book.

Contains mature content and language. Not recommended for readers under the age of eighteen due to sexual situations and subject matter.

This one’s for you, Mom.

I miss you every single day.

I felt your love shining down on me as I wrote this story—

my first romance novel.

You always loved them, just like I do.

 

My one and only baby (even though you’re a woman).

Always pursue your dreams.

Don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of you achieving them.

Remember how much I love you…

To the moon and back, to the moon….

 

To the readers and anyone that may be…stuck in the past.

I hope you enjoy this story. It’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. As the novel evolved it became a story that spoke to me personally. Thank you for taking time to read it.

I hope you fall in love like I did.

The flawless-skinned woman sitting across the table had to be out of her mind. Maybe I heard her wrong. No, her unsmiling lips and unblinking olive-brown eyes revealed she’d been serious.

I examined the Cafe Haus to see if anyone had overheard her. The loud rock music must have kept her voice from carrying. In the back corner, a girl with punk rocker multi-colored hair, her nose buried in a book, bobbed her head to some tune playing in her earbuds. The only other customer was a gray-haired man on the opposite side, pencil in hand, scribbling in a newspaper.

The coast clear, I leaned across the table toward Mylaynee Johanson and whispered, “You want
me
to be an escort?” I stood with such force my chair skidded across the tile floor, making an eerie screeching noise.

She grabbed my arm. “Please, give me a few minutes to explain.”

Embarrassed by the scene the exchange must have created, I scanned the room. The older man gone and the young girl halfway out the back door, I returned my attention to the stranger who’d just rocked my world, as if I needed any more surprises in my life.

Curious, but reluctant, I plunked down in the wooden chair. The previous day while working at a fundraiser, as I shuffled between two crammed tables carrying a tray stacked with overflowing plates, her chair rammed into my leg. Her quick hands and my knee-jerk save kept the other high-profile attendees from wearing their next meal.

Near the end of the evening, she approached me and struck up a chatty conversation. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I disclosed my hectic lifestyle, including three under minimum-wage jobs. When she mentioned a high-paying prospect, the possibility of earning a livable wage had me interested right away. Information exchanged, we agreed to get together. After hearing what she had to offer, it seemed fate got the last laugh, knocking me down another peg and reminding me I had no control or say about the obstacles thrown my way.

Wearing an air of confidence and a white silk pantsuit that no doubt cost more than I made in months, she took a slow sip of her chamomile tea. Her eyes never wavering from mine, she alleged, “It’s not a common escort service. You’re not forced to sleep with anyone.”

What? I cleared my throat. “I don’t understand.” Scooting my chair closer to the table, I clenched my hands on top and inquired, “How does anyone make money?”

“Sometimes clients need a companion for an event like last night. That’s why I was there. It doesn’t always include sex.” Mylaynee spoke softly and measured as if every word had been well rehearsed. “Background and financials are checked in advance. They’re wealthy professionals that pay one- to five-thousand for each date.”

Thousand?
One particular point kept replaying in my mind, and I spit it out as fast as I thought it. “No sex? I’m guessing there wouldn’t be many of those. If you don’t get appointments, you don’t get paid, right?”

She stirred her tea and spoke to me like we were longtime friends. “You get to choose. It’s all agreed to in advance and based on your preferences. If a client wants sex, he’s matched with someone who’ll provide it. There’s a lounge to get to know each other better. It’s in a secure building and invitation only. Our apartments are there too, but they aren’t permitted in them. It’s a strict rule.”

“You
live
there?”

“Our boss owns the place and rents to us, but you don’t have to. It’s convenient and affordable though.”

Images of a dilapidated shack with peeling paint and holes in the walls filled my head. A glance down at my clenched hands revealed a crumpled Goodwill linen skirt that had been wrinkle-free this morning. On a debt-laden budget, the store had become a saving grace. This discussion and the lavender-scented perfume she wore made my stomach flip-flop. My silence must not have fazed her, because she continued to reveal more.

“The owner makes sure we’re safe, and he manages everything. I’ve worked there five years and never had a problem. We’d take good care of you, Serena.”

My eyes closed, and I drew in a deep breath. The blackness left me in the dark. No insights. No clues. No idea why I was still sitting here. Was this what my life had come to?

Three years ago when Gram was diagnosed with cancer the roller coaster started. As her health continued to decline, I quit college and stayed at her side. She became my priority. After a hard-fought battle, she succumbed to the slow, ravaging disease, leaving me alone and on my own.

I never would’ve imagined that at twenty-one, I’d be a hundred thousand dollars in debt. Costs for treatments and in-home nursing care, loans, and other money problems I never told Gram about left my finances a mess. One day a week working as a nanny and whatever time I could put into Gram’s accounting business wasn’t enough to keep up with the bills. After her death, I got the catering job, which brought me to this particular offer.

“Serena.” Mylaynee’s gentle voice beckoned me.

When I opened my eyes, she reached across the table and rested her hand on my fist. “We can help you,” she said with compassion.

“I’m a virgin.” The blurted truth seemed to echo in the space. A piece of paper tossed around on the sidewalk all of a sudden became the most fascinating thing in the world. “I don’t think I’m qualified.”

BOOK: Intensity
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