Rough Hard Fierce (Chicago Underground Boxed Set)(124)

By: Skye Warren

The guys at the front desk checked me out, but discreetly. With furtive glances instead of leers, as befitted an escort of my price range. For all they knew, I was a spoiled girlfriend, not a prostitute. But then, what was the difference?

Outside the suite, I sank my stilettos into the carpet. The dull beat shook from behind the door, already matching the throb in my head. I had the sudden urge to call him as I brushed my fingers against the little black clutch.

What could I say? I know I promised I wouldn’t do it anymore, but I’m about to go bang assholes for money. I tried to join the regular world, but they didn’t want me. I’m sorry. Don’t hate me. Help me.

The door swung open, revealing a man with a shiny forehead and a bulbous belly hanging from between his open dress shirt. “I call dibs,” he shouted, spittle flying in my face.


“Sure, lover.” I tried to squeeze by him, but he caught me in the doorway. His hands were everywhere, his foul liquor-breath suffocated me, and the doorjamb cut into my back. “No need to rush, handsome. We’ve got all night.”

He grunted and stuck his tongue into my cleavage. His sweat-sheened head filled my vision, and I swallowed bile.

Shit, I wasn’t ready to go back. I never would be.

I had to. It was a miracle Henri had let me off so easily. The least I could do was bear my punishment gracefully.

But my new boyfriend’s face felt slimy. I felt slimy.

I’d only been out of the game for a few months. Maybe more, if I didn’t count Philip, which was debatable. Still, there was no reason to freak out over a simple groping. I’d made it through much worse.

Just let him. Let him.

Let him touch and grab and pinch. Let him slobber. Let him treat me like I was a piece of meat, no thoughts, no feelings. Let him treat me like this was all I was good for. Do it for long enough, and I might start to believe it. Lord knew I already did.

Think of something else.

Not him, the man on my speed dial I never called, not while I did this. I didn’t understand why it hurt him to see what I was when he met a dozen other hookers in his daily work, each worse off than me, but it did. I couldn’t think of my best friend Allie or her daughter either, because to imagine them in this position was a weight too heavy to carry.

His fingers were inside me, pumping away. Thank goodness I’d lubed up, or this would really hurt.

It still hurt. God.

Philip, now he understood me. He wouldn’t mourn for me or feel guilty. We did what we had to and didn’t waste time on remorse. But I’d told him I was done with the life. I’d promised I’d let him know if I needed help. I needed help, needed…

“Stop,” I gasped.

He froze and then gently rocked his fingers back and forth, like a child testing his boundaries.

I lowered my voice. “Wait, lover. I just need to freshen up.”

He raised his head and blinked, confused. “You look pretty to me.”

My stomach twisted at the compliment. He looked so earnest, his eyes slack with lust and his mouth covered in his own spit. This wasn’t a guy who got off on hurting or humiliating. He just didn’t know how to deal with people, wouldn’t know how to please a woman if he tried. Hell, maybe he was trying.

“Thank you.” I choked on the words. “I want to look good for you. Make it good for you. Give me five minutes. Please.” Because if he didn’t, I would freak. If he didn’t get his thick fingers out of me and off my skin this very second, I was liable to do something really stupid. Like leave and to hell with Henri and his hired fists.

The guy backed up, though. His face contorted into an uncertain composition of wounded lover and dissatisfied customer, but he released me, stepped back. I attempted a smile, ignored the pounding in my ears. I wanted to tell him that I would be right back, that everything would be fabulous, but how could I when I didn’t believe it myself?

I’d forgotten how to lie. In this business, I was as good as dead.

I pushed off the wall and stumbled my way down the hall. I passed the sitting area, catching flashes of rumpled suits and one lace-clad female body straddling a guy probably twice her age. What was her name? Jenny, Janey, what the fuck ever because it was all a lie. All fake.