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Home > A Million Dirty Secrets (Million Dollar Duet #1)(2)

A Million Dirty Secrets (Million Dollar Duet #1)(2)
Author: C.L. Parker

Scott Christopher, the owner, was what one might call an aggressive entrepreneur. Basically, he was a pimp, but not any run-of-the-mill pimp on the streets. No, he’d figured out a way to tap the pockets of those whose pockets were overflowing. His was a high-class operation, an auction where women were sold to the highest bidder. Foreplay might have been the face of his business, but the auction was his bread and butter. It was a big frat party on top, college kids finding their next hookup and getting so wasted they couldn’t remember their names, which was the perfect cover for the refined establishment underneath. From what I understood, some of the women—myself included—were participating voluntarily, while others owed Scott in some way. Selling their bodies was their last-ditch effort to repay him, even though it meant losing their freedom in the process.

Dez told me that the clients were always men with fat bank accounts. Even the world’s richest tycoons had a thirst for the kinkiest of fantasies—fantasies they would never want to see go public. For the right amount of money, they could find willing flesh and never have to worry about their secret getting out. But it was luck of the draw—I could end up with someone gracious and kind, or a total tyrant who enjoyed dominating his property. If history was any indication, I’d end up with the latter. I hadn’t exactly had the best of luck in my life, so why should I believe the powers that be would grant me any favors now?

My mother’s illness had required constant sacrifice not only from my father but from me as well. It wasn’t like I was resentful, but instead of going to college, I had stayed home with her so that my father could work. Now that he didn’t have a job, they saw no reason for me to feel obligated to stick around. I’d never felt obligated. She was my mother, and I loved her. Besides, I still hadn’t made up my mind about what I wanted to do with my future anyway. You’d think a woman of twenty-four would have had her life together, but no, not really.

It might have been a pretty low move on my part, getting their hopes up and all, but like I said, hope was something that was lacking in my household, and it certainly couldn’t hurt to give them a little. So I managed to successfully convince my mother and father that I had scored a super-sweet, all-expenses-paid scholarship to NYU. Yes, I knew that wasn’t something that was likely to happen at this point in my life, but my parents didn’t know, and that made all the difference in the world. Being so far away from home meant I wouldn’t be able to visit as often, and as much as it pained me to be away from my dying mother for so long, it was absolutely necessary for my plan to work. If I was lucky, they’d never be the wiser. But you remember what I said about my luck, right?

The deal I had made with Scott was that I would agree to live with my “owner” for a period of two years. No more, no less. After that, I would be free to live my own life. Exactly what sort of life that would be at that point was yet to be determined, but I had to remain positive. Regardless, two years was a small price to pay to ensure any amount of time for my mother and, ultimately, my father as well.

The bass coming from the club music upstairs pulsed through the walls and took over my heartbeat, but I tried desperately not to wish I was up there drowning myself in booze and good times, like everyone else who had no clue about the secret outfit that existed right under their feet. The women down here were drowning in something completely different.

We stepped around the club doorman holding a VIP list on a clipboard. He knew who we were and why we were there, so he let us inside immediately. I almost lost my nerve as we made our way past the crowd of women that lined the hallway. They were an assorted bunch, some with a regal air about them and others who looked like this wasn’t their first time at bat, but perhaps it was the first time they’d made it to the big leagues. Each woman had a number taped to her bare stomach, and they were standing in front of a mirror that lined the opposite wall.

“Two-way mirror,” Dez explained. “Each client who comes in has a write-up on every girl on the auction block tonight. Then they’re herded in here like cattle and put on display for the high rollers. It gives them an opportunity to check out the goods so they can decide which desperate girl they might want to bid on.”

“Gee, thanks, Dez. That doesn’t make me feel bad at all.”

“Oh, hush. You know I don’t mean it like that,” she said, trying to make me feel better. “You’re way too good for this sort of thing, and you know it. You’re not them.” She motioned toward the other women in the hall. “But I get it. You’re doing it for Faye, and that has to be the most selfless thing I’ve ever heard of.”

Those other women could very well have had their own Faye at home, I thought as I averted my gaze so as not to make eye contact.

We reached the end of the hall, and Dez knocked on the door. A voice yelled for us to come in, but when Dez backed out of the way and motioned toward the entrance, I panicked. Full-on hyperventilation was only moments away, I just knew it.

“Hey, look at me.” Dez forced me to face her. “You don’t have to go in there. We can turn around right now and walk out of here.”

“No, we can’t,” I said, tremors racking my body no matter how hard I tried to steady my nerves.

“I can’t go in there with you. You’re on your own from here on out,” she said, unable to completely hide her regret and worry.

I nodded my understanding and ducked my head so she wouldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes.

Dez abruptly hugged me to her chest and practically squeezed the air from my lungs. “You can do this. Hell, maybe you’ll actually get some good sex out of it. You never know. Don Juan might be on the other side of that mirror waiting to sweep you off your feet.”

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