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Savior (Caldwell Investigations Book 2) by Alison Hendricks (1)

Prologue

Noah

Climbing off of Brett and trying to ignore how sweaty he'd gotten after--let's be honest--not that much work on his part, I rolled to the edge of his California king and swung my legs over the side. No sooner had my feet touched the floor than his never-seen-a-day-of-work-in-my-life hands gripped my hips and tugged me backward. I'd hoped he might be too "exhausted" to want to cuddle, but apparently not. He pulled me in close to him, rubbing his sweaty body all over mine. I scrunched up my nose, disguising my distaste by burying my face against his shoulder--even if that made matters worse. Long arms closed around my like a vice, and I did everything in my power to not freak out about it.

Brett was a client, after all, and a regular at that. I intended to give him his money's worth, even if I wanted to crawl out of my skin.

"Mmm," he murmured sleepily, nuzzling against my hair. "Never seen you come so fast before. I must've hit it just right."

Lord give me the strength to not roll my eyes and tell this man that was all the work of my hand, not his semi-hard dick that couldn't find my prostate if I drew it a map.

"That's why you're my favorite," I lied, not really bothering to disguise the sarcasm in my voice. I knew Brett would only hear what he wanted to hear.

I liked my job. I honestly did. It gave me a way to be completely independent and to live a lifestyle I never would have dreamed of growing up in my parents' trailer park. I cared about my clients, too. So many of them needed the emotional release even more than the physical. But some—like Brett—treated me as if I was their property, getting insanely jealous when I so much as talked about another guy.

If he didn’t pay me thousands of dollars a week for the privilege of fucking me like a rutting boar, I would’ve dropped Brett a long time ago. He'd started showing signs of possessive macho bullshit after the first month, when he bumped into me in a hotel lobby where I'd just finished with another client. I upped my price, hoping that would get him off my back, but he paid that and then doubled it, requesting me twice a week.

I knew I needed to do something about it, and soon, but the money Brett forked over was reliable. I could pay bills, grow my emergency fund, buy some nice outfits, and still have cash left over. Because of that constant income stream, I felt more secure than I ever had before. But if Brett got any worse, I knew I'd have to bite the bullet and get rid of him.

Especially when he did creepy shit like he'd been doing for the past few moments, petting me like I was some little dog he carried around in a bag. Unable to take it anymore, I wiggled away from him, forcing a playful demeanor.

"I'd stay here if I could," I said with an exaggerated pout, making the most of my baby blue eyes, "but too many dicks, too little time. You know how it is."

The bitchy part of me Daya liked to call my diva side came out in full force. Just the fact that other men existed seemed to piss Brett off, but mentioning them had always turned him into a caveman. I expected him to start thumping his chest at any moment, but I just didn't care. Searching his bedroom floor for my pants, I scooped them up and tugged them on, the skin-tight jeans cutting off my ability to breathe for a couple seconds before I settled more comfortably into them.

"What if you didn't have to?" Brett asked.

"Didn't have to what, boo?" I searched around for my shirt, sighing when I plucked it from the floor. He'd torn off one of the buttons in his eagerness to show me what a big, strong man he was.

"What if I was your only client?"

I looked back at him, hoping he was joking. We'd had this talk before, after the first time he'd gotten jealous of someone else getting to do what he thought should be his right. Back then, I'd told him if he didn't back the fuck off, I wouldn't see him again no matter how much money he waved in my face. I was willing to make that same threat again, but as my gaze fixed on Brett, his expression seemed different than last time.

It wasn't rage or desperation fueling him. He'd managed to stumble right into sincerity, and that didn't bode well for me.

"Variety is the spice of life, babe," I said with a smile, shrugging off that look he gave me.

"I'm serious." He reached for me, but I danced backward, just out of his reach. "I can take care of you, Noah. I'll set you up in an apartment, get you your own personal chef, a cleaning staff, whatever you need."

"I already have an apartment, and last I checked I was still capable of cooking and cleaning, but it's nice of you to think of me," I said, coating some of the distaste with sugary bullshit I didn't feel.

I looked around for my shoes, some nagging feeling telling me it was definitely time to go. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Brett slink toward the edge of the bed. He pushed himself to his feet and reached for me again, but I dodged him that time, too.

"You can stay at your own place, then. I'll take care of the rent, and I'll buy you anything you want. Clothes, cars, whatever... anything you want, baby."

Somehow I managed to keep from saying that he should buy himself a shred of dignity, but the thought was at the forefront of my mind and right on the tip of my tongue as he kept going on about what an amazing life he could set up for me.

"You won't have to think about anything ever again, Noah. I'll take care of everything. All you have to do is be there, ready and waiting when I get home from work. Maybe wearing those tight little panties I bought you..."

I wasn't able to hide the look of revulsion that came over me. Now, there was no universe where I'd turn down a sexy pair of underwear that made my goods look even better than they already did, but Brett had given me that gift as though me wearing it meant he owned me. I'd never once felt dirty while doing this job, but I'd felt that way wearing those panties. I'd taken two showers afterward just to scrub away the memory.

"We already talked about this, Brett." I didn't bother using any of the pet names he liked. Now wasn't the time. "I don't need you to go all Richard Gere on me. I'm happy with my life just the way it is. All of my other clients get that."

I found my boots and tugged them on, balancing on one leg so I didn't have to sit down and risk Brett cornering me again. Something had changed--I felt it in the air, like that unsettling window of silence before a raging storm. I'd long since trained myself not to show fear--some of the jackasses I'd serviced in the past got off on it--but I couldn't control how sharply my heart pounded, or the scrambling need I had to get the hell away from Brett.

It was all with good reason, too. I reached for the door, and in the short span of time it took me to pull it open, Brett was suddenly behind me. He gripped my wrist hard, his fingers bruising my skin so forcefully it felt like he was trying to snap the bone like a twig. He slammed the door shut with his free hand, and pressed his body against mine, hips jerking erratically as if there was anything worth feeling.

"You are mine, Noah, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner we can both get on with our lives."

I twisted away from him, using the hand he hadn't grabbed to pry him off of me. "Let go. You're hurting me."

To his credit--and if I gave him any credit, it would have been microscopic--Brett let go of me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him put his hands up, and his voice turned to shame. "I didn't mean to hurt you, baby. I'd never hurt you. You know that, right?"

My stomach lurched at the endearment and I let my eyes flutter closed, swallowing down the bile that rose in my throat. I wasn't going to be one of those guys who let a john smack him around, and I sure as hell wasn't going to end up another statistic. People got off on the boxes I checked already--I didn't need to give them any more. And if this was going to be the result, I didn't need Brett's money, either.

At least not as much as I needed my freedom.

"Take it easy, Brett," I muttered, not bothering to hide my disgust any longer. "I'm out."

I went for the door again, daring him to stop me. My wrist still throbbed from how roughly he'd handled me, but I had a little canister of pepper spray with Brett's name on it if he tried anything else.

"I'll fix this, Noah. The next time I see you, I'll--"

"There's not going to be a next time," I told him, holding open the door to shoot a firm look over my shoulder. "Do me a favor and lose my number, Brett. I'm booked solid."

I glanced at him long enough to see his surprise turn into rage. Then I slammed the door on his face.