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Authors: Amber Lin

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Selling Out

BOOK: Selling Out
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The Lost Girls 2:

SELLING OUT

 

 

Amber Lin

 

 

 

www.loose-id.com

The Lost Girls 2: Selling Out

Copyright © February 2013 by Amber Lin

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the
original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be
reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without
prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or
encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights.
Purchase only authorized editions.

 

eISBN 9781623000806

Editor: Ann M. Curtis

Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde

 

Published in the United States of America

Loose Id LLC

PO Box 809

San Francisco CA 94104-0809

www.loose-id.com

 

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might
be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names,
characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental.

Warning

This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult
language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s
e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in
which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot
be accessed by under-aged readers.

* * * *

DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially
those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an
experienced practitioner. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be
responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the
information contained in any of its titles.

Dedication

To my family, for
putting up with the long days and late nights so that I could write. Love you.

Acknowledgments

I’ve had a soft spot for Shelly since I wrote her
character in
Giving It Up
. I’m
grateful that my agent, Jewelann Cone, and editor, Ann Curtis, were on board
with my call girl heroine and even more so, that I have never been asked to
dilute her story.

Many thanks to Kate Meader, Ruthie Knox, Serena Bell,
A.C. Mason, and Christen George for your friendship and the sharp advice. And
thank you to my lovely readers who supported my debut and fanned the fire for
this book. Your trust and enthusiasm truly awe me.

Shelly was a true pleasure to write, and I’m thrilled to
share her book with you.

Chapter One

Some days are thick with anticipation, a portent that things
will finally look up. Today was not one of those days. Instead I felt awkward,
out of place among the ordinary. Unworthy.

I smoothed the paper one last time, and the dampness of my
palms smudged the ink. But even the ruin of my careful work didn’t distract me
from the incriminating empty boxes where my work experience should go.

In a city’s worth of Help Wanted, I might actually be
qualified for this job. More importantly, the small indie bookstore wouldn’t
have a corporate HR department to balk at the gaping hole in my professional
history.

They wouldn’t require a background check, uncovering my
arrest for solicitation.

I tugged at the sleeve of my shapeless suit, wavered on my
half-inch heels. This was as close to normal as I could get. Swallowing past
the lump in my throat, I approached the counter.

Without looking at me, the young woman with pink hair and
pierced eyebrows automatically reached for the books I was purchasing. I
hesitated, and she glanced up, her gaze flitting from the piece of paper to me.

“Oh, hi. Are you applying for the cashier position?”

You can do this
. I
smiled. “That’s right. You haven’t filled it, have you?”

“The position is definitely open. It always is, to be
honest. The cashiers come and go like this is a revolving door. I’ve been here
for over a year, though.” She grinned. “Sucker for punishment. But don’t let me
scare you away.”

“Oh no.” I handed her the paper, then slid my palms over my
skirt to dry them. “I’d very much like to apply.” She gave the application a
quick read through—nothing in her expression indicated she’d seen a problem.

“Nice to meet you, Shelly Laurent. I’m Dawn. Let me get the
manager. He can interview you right now if you have the time.”

She picked up the phone before I could even say
yes, please.

“Get your butt up here,” Dawn said, her eyes sparkling.
“We’ve got a candidate, and she actually doesn’t suck.”

Biting her lip to hide a smile, Dawn caught a lock of hair
between her fingers. No doubt about it—she had a crush on the boss.

“Okay, Jason. I’ll start, but hurry up.”

She hung up. “He’s on his way, so I’ll just ask a few basic
questions.” She looked down at the application. “Get the preliminaries out of
the way.”

Unfortunately, the preliminaries were huge barriers, at
least to my mind. After all, that’s why they asked these questions. Who cared
what month Johnny stopped showing up at Quickie Mart, at least for a cashier’s
position? No, this application wasn’t about ability or even dependability. It
was a test to make sure I was the right kind of person.

Which I wasn’t.

When I’d mentioned it in passing to my best friend, Allie,
she had laughed, not understanding. How could you fake it all those times,
she’d asked, but you can’t lie for this? No, she didn’t see. That stuff was
easy:
I love what you do to me. I’m
coming. You’re so big
. This was different. Every attempt at normalcy felt
like a tear in my gut. I’d only be able to try so many times before coming
undone.

Dawn leaned on the counter, still looking at the paper.
“Have you worked in retail before?”

I had plenty of experience in customer service—but not the
way she meant. I cleared my throat. “When I was in high school, I had a
part-time job in the library.”

“That’s cool.” Her brow crinkled—there it was. “Oh, I’m
sorry. Am I reading these dates right? Because that would make it…”

“Three years ago.”

“You didn’t put down where you worked since then. Don’t
worry if it’s not related to books or anything.” She laughed. “We’re not picky.
The last guy quit a month ago—we’re desperate.”

Right. This should be easy. They were desperate; so was I.

I didn’t even have to lie, exactly. I had watched Bailey
while Allie had been at work. I would leave out that she hadn’t paid me, that I
had been the one to spot her a few hundred bucks when rent was due. I wouldn’t
mention how I’d earned all that money, at night when Allie and Bailey were
tucked in their beds.

“Well, the thing is…I didn’t have a proper job.” An
understatement. “I worked for my friend, taking care of her daughter. A nanny,
all this time.”

Dawn’s gaze surreptitiously slipped down my body, her doubt
couched behind generous politeness. I didn’t look like the nurturing type,
unless it was the kind with a fake nurse’s costume. Even the drab gray cloth
that clashed with my blonde hair and was one size too large couldn’t hide what
I was made for.

“Oh.” Dawn paused, seeming to mull it over. Then she
brightened. “So you can provide references, right?”

My heart sank. I hadn’t wanted to ask Allie for help with
this. If she knew I was looking at a minimum-wage job, she would know I was
running low on money. She’d worry what I’d do when I ran out. Well, I was
worried too.

“Absolutely.” My voice was faint. “References.”

She chatted to me about schedules. Schedules, as if I’d
already gotten the job. I could walk out of here a legally employed woman. How
mundane. How terrifying. I smiled at all the right places, cued by her tone
more than an understanding of the inner workings of retail. I had always
considered myself world-wise, world-weary, but it amazed me all the things I
did not know. Things like clocking in instead of meeting for cocktails in the
hotel bar, like getting a smoke break instead of a warm washcloth between
clients.

A salesclerk at a bookstore.
My girlfriend works at a bookstore
, he could say. It was
unremarkable. Respectable. As long as I didn’t fuck it up.

The thud of steps down the stairs alerted me to an arrival.
I turned. My first impression was of a middle-aged guy looking trim in a polo
and slacks. Too prissy for Dawn, I thought with some disappointment, and then
he looked up.

I froze as my heart skipped a beat, then two. I couldn’t
place him, exactly, but it was definitely a hotel room somewhere. Maybe a year
ago. He was coming closer and— Fuck. Fuck.

A client. I’d had this nightmare, but it had always been me
behind some counter and him a customer. Our encounter would be short and
awkward, and with any luck, he wouldn’t look close enough to recognize me. But
this was an interview. He would see me—he would know.

“Yo, boss. This is Shelly.”

My gut tightened. Dawn was practically breathless at the
sight of him.

“She’s cool, and you should hire her. Trust me on this.”

“Shelly.” He looked at me, smiling, his warm brown eyes not
registering a thing. “Two minutes, and you’ve already earned an endorsement.”

My heart threatened to beat through my chest. “Nice to meet
you, sir.”

He laughed. “The last time someone called me sir, it was a
cop half my age, and he was writing me a speeding ticket. Call me Jason.”

“Right. Jason.” Nervously, I licked my lips.

His gaze lowered to my mouth; his brow furrowed.

Distantly I heard Dawn make another pitch for me, a
complaint about the guys working here being lazy bums and how she really needed
another girl to commiserate with. I wanted to say something, to put a stop to
the train that was about to crash into me, but the air was too thin—I couldn’t
speak. I couldn’t breathe.

Frowning slightly, he took the application and scanned it. I
saw when he passed the work history section; his gaze skittered back up. His
mouth opened, snapped shut. If he had already suspected, he’d definitely
figured it out now. My stomach hollowed out.

He stared at the paper, clearly unseeing—frozen like me. The
last time I had seen him, he’d been lounging naked on white sheets, his skin
flushed and sweat-dampened as he’d handed me a nice tip from his wallet. Now
both of us were trapped in this moment by our sins and by Dawn’s hopeful
expression.

“Um, boss?” she said. “Remember you were just saying how
much we needed someone.”

She laughed, but we must have been giving it away, because
the sound was thin.

“I figure she’s gotta be better than Damion. He wiped his
nose on the books.”

Jason remained silent—damnably so.
Yes
, the quiet said.
She’s
worse than you know, worse than the guy who put snot on books
. His lips
worked, closing around empty air. The silence stretched, bottomed out. And then
I started to pity him.

He had dipped his toe into the dark pool of Chicago’s underworld.
Paid-for sex with a pretty girl and a strap-on was par for the course in my
world, but he’d probably sweated the morality—and possibly the cost—for a long
time after. I was the one out of my element. I was the one who didn’t belong
here.

It was time to leave.

“I probably should mention that I have a busy schedule,” I
said.

“What?” He blinked at me with those puppy-dog brown eyes,
the pleading look that once had words attached to them:
“Please, spank my ass. Harder, harder.”

I sighed. “I have a life, you know. So I don’t want to work
weekends, and I need to be out of here by five on the weekdays.”

BOOK: Selling Out
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