Archive for July, 2013

This is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of The Proposal:

An Excerpt from The Proposal

 

By the time Nadine got back home that evening, it was late. Ethan hadn’t called her back and she was annoyed.
Time was running out and Melissa was expecting to meet her fabulous boyfriend called Ethan. Michael Zimmerman would be looking for the other half of a stable relationship. Well, she certainly planned to give them both what they were looking for.
Totally exhausted, she fell into a heap on her huge, cream couch. She needed to send out a few emails about the new brochures for they were good; very good. And she was proud of them. But first, she would eat. And before that, she would take a little nap.
Sandra had worked her like a mad woman this week and Nadine wasn’t looking forward to spending much time with her at the convention next week. She was relieved to hear that Melissa would be going although for the junior members of staff, no partners were allowed.
Drifting in and out of a light sleep, with her stomach rumbling away, Nadine heard in the distance the sound of her cell phone going off. Shaking her head to waken herself and sending her strawberry blonde curls tumbling down her shoulders, she fumbled around for the cell phone with one hand and rubbed her eyes with the other.
“Hello?” it was a young sounding almost boyish voice at the other end.
“Hello?” Nadine questioned. “Who is this?”
“You left a message regarding the Dreamboys Dancers ma’am. You had a booking for Keira Stefano’s hen-night three weeks ago? I’m just returning your call. How can I help?”
Struggling to find a way to phrase her request, Nadine blurted out, “Thanks for calling back. Yes, umm – one of the guys who came, Ethan I think his name was, is…I’d, we’d – like to speak to him about a possible rebooking please.” Nadine hoped that this didn’t come across as too unusual a request. Heck, why would it be unusual? This was a perfectly, normal, if slightly desperate, request for a service that this company provided. When the young man at the other end didn’t say anything, Nadine wondered if he was laughing at her.
The thought that he might be, annoyed her greatly. “Hello? Are you there?” her tone was slightly agitated.
“Sorry, I was just looking for Ethan’s number.  Let me get him to call you back. Would that be alright?”
Taken aback by his helpfulness, Nadine replied, “Of course. Uh – could you do that right away please? I’ve left it all a bit late. Thank you.”
She hung up and found herself eagerly anticipating his phone call.
It had been over three weeks since she had last seen him but she had been thinking of him on and off during that entire time. Not withstanding the fact that he had been almost naked here in her living room, or the fact that he had a beautiful body, or the fact that he had seemed so polite and nice and easy to talk to, she had found herself mildly attracted to him. And he piqued her interest.
And, really, he was not at all how she imagined a hot and gorgeous stripper would be like. Perhaps it was precisely because he had been in her thoughts on and off these past few weeks, that his name had come hurtling out of her mouth the minute Melissa had pressed her for the name of her boyfriend.
How would she ask him to be her ……..partner? Her escort? Her make believe boyfriend for the annual business convention next week?
She didn’t want to think about how he would take to this news or how he might respond to her request so she busied herself making a spinach, mushroom and mozzarella omelet. It smelled heavenly. She took a bite and it melted in her mouth. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the taste of it. But the sudden and harsh ringing of her phone made her heart jump. Instantly jolted from her pleasant tasting experience, Nadine glanced at her cell phone and saw an unrecognized number showing up.  She knew who it was right away.
“Hello,” she attempted an unrushed and calm voice, putting down her fork quietly.
“Hey. I hear you’ve left it all a bit too late. What’s up?” he asked. So easily, just like that. As if they had been talking like friends for ages. All at once, she pictured his blue eyes seeing through her. Nadine swallowed. This wasn’t going to be easy. “I was wondering if we could hire you again for next weekend.”  She waited with bated breath.
“Uh-huh. For the same act?” he asked, innocently enough. She pictured his lips, the way they curled up at the ends whenever he asked a question. He made things seem like halfway between a question and a statement.
“Not quite,” she said slowly at the same time that he said, “Because that’s not what I do.”  Realizing that their answers overlapped each other and didn’t make sense to either one of them, he said, “Excuse me?”
She said, “What do you mean it’s not what you do?  You stripped off didn’t you?”
“But that’s not what you want.”
“You said it’s not what you do. So why did you do it when you came here?”
“Because you paid me.”
“Excuse me?”
Nadine had gotten up from her chair and had begun to pace the floor of her kitchen. This conversation wasn’t going at all how she had imagined it would. It was exasperating. She was sure he was trying to make it as difficult for her as he could.
“Calm down, lady,” he ordered. She wasn’t happy about the tone he said it in either.
Holding back her rising anger she asked, “Do you talk to all your customers in that way?”
“You’d be amazed at how some of our customers want us to talk to them,” he answered in a more somber tone, “Or the things they expect,” he continued, rather cryptically.
This was not going anywhere fast.
Nadine felt flabbergasted. “I need to hire you to pretend to be my boyfriend.”  She said it quickly and waited for his reaction once those words hit home.
After a short pause, he said, “Well, that’s something I can do. What I don’t normally do is the stripping thing. I was only helping a friend out, a good friend, otherwise I’d never had done that.”
“I see.” Were the only words that came to Nadine’s mind.
“You seem a little………..tired, Nadine.” At least he had remembered her name.  “Care to tell me what exactly you want and when? You said it was something you’d left to the last minute.”
“Aaaarrgh.” Nadine groaned.
“I’m in the area. I could stop by quickly. Save us having this awkward conversation on the phone.”
The idea of him coming by right now appealed to her immensely. “Alright, come over. We’ll discuss the proposal face to face.”
“See you in ten.” He hung up quickly.
Having quickly lost her appetite, Nadine cleared away her table and checked herself out in the mirror. She didn’t want to have any spinach stuck between her teeth.

Almost ten minutes later, Ethan arrived on Nadine’s doorstep.  She let him in with a genuine smile on her face, glancing at him as he walked in. He was even better looking than she last remembered. The wine and vodka jellies had left a hazy memory of the finer details of his appearance. She was more than pleasantly surprised to see that he was even better in person than her memory had served to her.
Ethan walked into Nadine’s place and made a mental note of her figure which was spectacularly shown off to its maximum in her cream wrap over dress. The last time he saw her she’d been slumming it in her jeans and sweatshirt. Now he saw her for the slick, professional and beautiful woman that she really was.
“Hello again,” he said in his friendly and soft voice.
“Hey yourself, come in.”
When they were both inside in her lounge, Nadine asked, “Drink?”
“No, I’m good thank you.”
The memory of him in his g-string, with a shiny chest dripping with sweat and a perfectly honed body suddenly flashed into her head.  She couldn’t talk to him in the lounge any longer; there were too many memories of the last time tied to it.
“I know what you’re thinking,” he said in a husky voice, taking her lead and following her into the kitchen.
“You do?” Nadine asked rather faintly.
“Yeah, you’re wondering if I’m working or not?”
“The thought had crossed my mind,” she answered, with relief. The smell of mushrooms and egg permeated in the air. It smelled comforting and warm.
She leant against her worktop, watching him from a safe distance. “I have a proposal for you,” she said in a tight voice. Then, thinking it might be better to put this to him sitting down, she sat down at the table which had been cleared.
He sat across from her. “I can’t wait to hear,” he smiled, a little too broadly for her liking. She lost her trail of thought as she stared across at him. This was going to sound embarrassing. Seeing her discomfort, he started, “You want me to pretend to be your boyfriend. Is that it?”
She nodded weakly. Finding her voice she added, “I’ve got a very important work convention in Sacramento, next weekend. We leave on Friday, stay Saturday and head back around Sunday afternoon. All the bigwigs from work will be there. With partners.”
Ethan was intrigued. “So, how do I fit into all this?”
“You won’t have to do anything. No stripping, no performing, no dancing, nothing. You just have to eat, drink, talk to other partners, play some golf, swim, go to the gym. Meet for dinner and cocktails in the evening. Two evenings and that is it.”
“No stripping, no performing?” he raised his eyes. She wasn’t sure if he was reiterating what she had said or if he was playing with her. She nodded.
This seemed too good to be true. He ran it by her again, “All I have to do is eat, drink, I don’t play golf, but I can swim and I can go to the gym? It sounds like a holiday. Sure, I can do that.”
“My work colleagues will be there and we have to pretend to them that we’re an item.” She said this quickly, as though she couldn’t get the words out fast enough.  Ethan clasped his hands together in front of him and rested them on the table. He leaned in closer towards Nadine. “So, regarding the boyfriend bit – do I have to do anything to prove that?” his eyes had that mischievous look in them and his lips carried a smile.
Thinking that he was mocking her, Nadine felt the color rise to her cheeks. “Ethan,” she said evenly, “this is just a business proposal. I will pay you very well, to pretend for three days to be my boyfriend. Do you think you can do it?” Her eyes blazed with anger though she was trying to control it.
Softening his tone and realizing he had taken it too far, he sat back. “Hey, Nadine, I didn’t mean anything by it. Just to clear things up. I’m not a stripper. I’m an escort. A male escort. This is just a side job, desperate measures and all that, but it’s temporary. This is what I do. Sometimes I take women out on dates. It’d be a pleasure to hang around with you for a couple of days.”  Nadine had the feeling that he meant what he said.
“Alright then.”
“My daily rate is five hundred dollars plus expenses.”
“I’ll pay you eight hundred dollars per day for three days and I’ll take care of the expenses.”
Why was she increasing the rate?
“You don’t have to increase the rate. I charge five hundred dollars a day, I told you.”
“And I’m happy to pay eight hundred, I told you.” She had no idea why she had increased the rate. She didn’t want him to think she pitied him.  In any case, she didn’t feel she was pitying him. It was more that he was helping her out of a really difficult situation. She wanted to help him out too.
“We have a deal,” he said, putting his hand out and she shook it.  They held the handshake for a little longer than normal, before letting go.
“Do you think it might be a good idea to get together before we turn up at the ….umm,” he cleared his throat, “hotel?”
Nadine hadn’t thought of that.  He was right though. If he was to be her boyfriend, they had to get their facts straight. And then of course they would be sharing a room together for two nights.  They would be expected to check in around three o’clock on Friday and then check out late on Sunday morning.
Two days, almost manageable. It was the nights she was more worried about.
“Saturday,” she said, thinking aloud.
“Excuse me?” His brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what she could possibly mean.  Nadine looked at him with her hazel eyes and Ethan’s heart flipped.
This was one offer where he didn’t mind breaking his unspoken rule.
“Saturday, you’ll need a tux or something smart for Saturday evening. Do you have a tux?” she asked, her wide eyes looked at him mockingly. Now it was his turn to feel as though she was toying with him.
“Tux, yes – it comes with the territory. Kind of. Like a uniform, if you want to think of it like that.”
She shuddered to think what he did as a male escort. Yet at the same time she was quite intrigued about the actual duties required from him in that role.
She said, “Good. Well maybe we ought to get together one evening to get our stories straight?”
He watched her bemused and found himself looking forward to this assignment.
With his other clients, women who were older, desperate and craving the attention that their husbands hadn’t given them, his role was simple. He just had to give them his time and attention. Mostly, he just listened to them and all that these women really wanted was to be heard. They were lonely.
But this assignment, with Nadine felt different. For starters, she was not the average customer.  She was young, beautiful and obviously smart and he could not work out why she was single.
Many of the women he met were older with rich businessmen husbands who were off doing their own dirty businesses. But Nadine was single. He was confused as to why a woman like her couldn’t get anyone, not even an ex-boyfriend or male friend to escort her to this type of event.
Nadine leaned forward, and touched his hand playfully, “Whatever thoughts you’re thinking, stop it,” she gave him a cheeky look.
“I was just wondering,” he began, “that how come someone like you doesn’t have a boyfriend?”
“I could ask the same thing of you?” returned Nadine, relieved to have found a way to deflect the question back to him.
“Shall we just settle on meeting up one day next week?” he asked her, avoiding her question completely.
“That’s a good idea. I’ll call you.”
The Proposal is available for FREE from these online bookstores: but please check on Amazon as they are slow to price match.

From Amazon.com

From Amazon.co.uk

From Barnes & Noble

From iTunes

 

 

These hot summer nights are hard work! I can barely sleep and I can barely function through the day as it is.  I just want to let you know that I’m working at snail’s pace at the moment. My tweaking and editing on the prequel to The Proposal are coming along but v..e..r..y  s..l..o..w..l..y……….

For now, here’s a sneak at the cover.  What do you think?

 

I’m editing Lost In Solothe prequel to The Proposal, which is the story of Ethan and Nadine, two single people, caught up in the obstacles of everyday life, who meet by chance one night…………

You can download The Proposal for FREE from Smashwords – read and enjoy during your summer break!

And I’m working hard to get Lost In Solo out as soon as possible :-)