Authors: E. L. Todd
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romance, #Military
E. L. Todd
This is a work of fiction. All the characters
and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used
fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means,
including information storage and retrieval systems, without
written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case
of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Into The Fire
E. L. Todd
Copyright E. L. Todd
It was the first day I didn’t think about
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
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
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 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…”
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?”
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
“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
“Yeah, I’m sure it will be.” Not all my
assignments went well. Sometimes men wanted more than what they
But it was nothing I couldn’t
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?”
“Is there anything I need to know for
“No. Just stay close to me and smile. That’s
your only job.”
Easiest money I ever made
We arrived at the hotel then entered the
banquet hall. People were dressed in their finest, and the women’s
gowns were beautiful and elegant. Roger handed me a champagne flute
and took one of his own.
“It’s nice,” I said as I took a sip.
“Yeah…” He took a long drink while he kept
his arm around my waist. “I always feel lonely at these things. I’m
in a crowded room but I feel like I’m standing alone.” His eyes had
a distant look to them, like he was in a faraway place.
I didn’t know how to react so I took a long
drink. Depressed people didn’t make me uncomfortable. I just wasn’t
sure what to say to something like that.
Roger moved around the room and made small
talk with people. He introduced me as his girlfriend, and people
seemed impressed that Roger was back on his feet so quickly after
the divorce, especially with a girl half his age.
There was a silent auction, and Roger bid on
a trip for two to Hawaii. I just hoped he wasn’t planning on taking
me if he won. Then we sat down to dinner and made small talk with
his colleagues. Everyone brown-nosed him and treated him like he
was the most interesting person in the room, but it was obvious how
fake they were. The second he turned around, they would rip into
him without any remorse.
I felt bad for him.
He was clearly a good boss for putting on a
charity event and being so nice to his employees, but people didn’t
like him for whatever reason. Perhaps the scandal of his divorce
was still too fresh.
That wasn’t fair.
After dinner, Roger turned to me. “Would you
like to dance?”
“Sure.” I gave him a smile to uplift his
We moved to the dance floor and glided around
slowly. Roger kept his hands in respectable places and guided me
across the floor. It was clear he’d done this a hundred times.
“You’re a good dancer.” I tried to think of
anything to cheer him up. The permanent frown on his face made me
“Thanks…” He looked around at the other
couples. “I’m sorry I’m such poor company. I usually come to these
things with my wife…ex-wife.” He looked at anything but me.
“I’m sorry…” I wasn’t sure what happened in
his marriage but I suspected she left him and ran him dry.
“There was someone else.” He spoke without
preamble. “And she left. The worst part is she took the kids. Now
they live in Long Island. I only see them every other weekend.”
His words were breaking my heart. “I’m sorry,
Roger. But things will get better.”
“Do you believe there’s only one special
person for everyone?”
I thought of Tony. “No. I think some people
are more compatible with each other, but I don’t think we only have
one chance of success. Relationships are what you make of it.”
He nodded slowly. “I hope you’re right.”
“I am, Roger. And you’ll find someone
“I guess.” He shrugged. “But even after
everything my wife did to me…I still want her.” He stared at the
floor as he moved. “Does that make me pathetic?”
My heart ached. “Not at all. You loved her
with all your heart. And real love doesn’t die overnight.”
He nodded and kept dancing.
At the end of the night, we said goodbye to
everyone then left. The limo took us back to the office while we
sat quietly in the backseat.
“I hate the way they look at me,” he
whispered. “I feel like a loser in high school all over again.”
“Who cares what they think,” I said. “If they
really judge you the second you hit hard times, they’re terrible
people anyway. Fire them if they cross you.”
He chuckled slightly. “I could never fire
anyone. I don’t have it in me.”
He was too sweet. And that made people take
advantage of him. I’d seen it too many times not to recognize
We arrived at the office and Roger walked me
to the door in the rear. “I can take you home. There’s no reason
for you to walk.”
Roger seemed harmless but I didn’t take any
chances. “I’ll be fine. I have paperwork to do anyway.”
He stared at me then stepped closer. His
hands were in his pockets and his eyes looked distant. “Thanks for
being my date tonight.”
“It was my pleasure, Roger. Take care.”
He didn’t move away. It seemed like there was
something else he wanted to say.
I patiently waited.
He quickly leaned in and aimed his lips for
“Whoa…” My hand flew to his chest and pushed
him back. “What the hell are you doing?”
He stepped back and ran his fingers through
his hair anxiously. “Sorry…I wasn’t thinking.”
“I laid down the rules before I agreed to
this. Don’t cross me.” I had a taser in my bag and I wasn’t afraid
to use it.
“I’m sorry…” He held up both hands. “I’m not
Since he was going through a hard time, I let
it slide. “It’s okay. We all make mistakes.”
He opened his wallet and pulled out a wad of
cash. “What if I made it worth your while?”
He did not just go there
. “I’m not a
prostitute, Roger.” I unlocked the door to the office and stepped
“Shit, I’m sorry.” He shoved the wallet back
into his pocket. “I just thought—”
“Good night, Roger.” I slammed the door and
locked it. Once his face was out of my sight, I collapsed into the
chair at my desk. I’d have to stay there for the rest of the night
just in case he was lurking outside. He seemed down on his luck and
too depressed to function, but I knew he was harmless. Even so, I
never took chances—not with this kind of job.
I sat across from the banker in the office
with glass doors. He was a typical suit who hated his job. His
voice was always full of boredom, and his desk lacked any
personality at all. It was a typical corporation, void of life.
“Just give me the loan,” I barked. “How are
small businesses supposed to start up if you don’t give them a
chance?” I wasn’t asking for a kidney transplant or something.
“I’m sorry.” He seemed bored out of his mind.
“You don’t have the right credit.”
“My credit isn’t even that bad.”
He eyed his computer again. “Sir, you need to
get it up and then we can talk again.”
Dammit, why did I buy that motorcycle?
“Fine. I’ll just go somewhere else.”
“And they’re going to tell you the same
I wanted to growl but I managed not to. “How
about some free ink? I’m the best in the business.”
He gave me a stoic expression. “Thanks for
the offer, but no thanks.”
“Whatever.” I stood and didn’t bother shaking
his hand. “I’ll just get the loan from someone else.”
“Good luck, sir.”
“How’d it go?” Sawyer asked across the table
from me. He was eating a burger covered in BBQ sauce.
“How do you think it went?” I barely touched
my food because I was so irritated. Normally, I ate anything I
could get my hands on. But now every sensation in my body was
“Sorry, man. Just get your credit up.”
“You say that like it’s so simple. It could
take years for that to happen.”
He shook his head. “I told you not to buy
I glared at him. “Now isn’t the time to say I
told you so.”
He shrugged. “I’m just saying…”
I threw a fry at him. “Well, don’t.”
It bounced off his face and landed on the
plate. “Are you five?”
“Sometimes.” I grabbed the fry and ate
“Dude, that just touched my face.”
“So?” I drank my soda and washed it down.
“It’s food. Who cares?”
He rolled his eyes then wiped his fingers
with a napkin. “Now what?”
“I don’t have a fucking clue. I don’t mind
working at Ascension but I’m getting bored there. I want my own
shop. I want to make my own rules.”