“Good. Because this one takes you to Vienna, if you accept. And you should. The pay is phenomenal, and it will really line your pocket.”
And by “my pocket,” she meant her own pocket.
I traveled with my job whenever I could. It was never safe to stay in one place for too long. Not when someone had my particular last name. After what my father had done to so many innocent people and the insanity it spiraled my mother into, changing shape and staying fluid was paramount to my survival. So long as I kept moving, I’d stay employed with Rhonda.
But once it got to be too stagnant, I’d have to move on.
“Vienna? I thought Tiffany was given that assignment?” I asked.
“Her passport’s expired,” Rhonda mumbled. “Either way, it doesn’t matter. You’re the best fit for this particular job after looking at the skills and qualifications Tiffany brought. The flight leaves in five hours.”
“So, the assignment is mine?” I asked.
“What have I told you about asking idiotic questions in my office? I don’t tolerate them.”
She blew another puff of smoke in my direction, and the cat scrambled off my lap.
“Who’s the client?” I asked.
“That’s a better question. His name’s Phillip... something. A tech billionaire who needs a fake fiancée to seal a business deal overseas. Your job is to be pretty, smart, poised, and help him get the contracts signed before the week is out.”
“Any bonus duties?” I asked.
“None were requested, but you know what I say.”
“Never count it out,” I said.
“If they are requested, you’ll accommodate the client. Unless he colors outside the lines. We provide a lot, but I don’t take kindly to my merchandise coming back to me tattered and worn.”
I folded my arms over my chest and sat back in the seat.
“You know I don’t do straight call-girl work,” I said. “You hand me the clients that don’t request them at all, and I take the pay cut.”
“You want this job? You keep yourself open to the idea of it. You don’t want to? Then the job gets handed to someone else. And I promise you, if you fuck this up for me, you’ll never work as an escort again. Not in this town.”
“I’m sure other towns could accommodate just fine,” I said.
“High-roller clients like this man who order escort packages like the one he’s ordered might want to do more than just have dinner, and you need to understand that going in. He didn’t specify any bonus activities, but plans change. Things change. The wants of a man change. The hefty premium he’s paying both of us comes with the possibility of more.”
I bit down onto the inside of my cheek as I stared the woman down. Rhonda Ellis was not a woman to be fucked around with. She was slim, dressed in all black from head to toe, and wore her stark-white hair in a tight bob around her head. Her glasses were almost as big as her face, and she was constantly walking in a plume of cigarette smoke. She was my boss, and a former New York madam who’d clung to the arms of some of the world’s elite. She was the first madam to step out into international waters and entertain foreign diplomats and businessmen in the city as well as in their own country. The reputation she’d established allowed her to open up Executive Escorts, a high-end call-girl business that operated off a website and word-of-mouth referrals only.
Her clients needed everything from arm candy to a sex toy, but I stuck strictly on the side of arm candy. Rhonda, however, was placing me in a corner I didn’t enjoy being in.
“How much money are we talking about?” I asked.
“Enough to take care of that mother of yours for a very long time,” she said.
Another puff of smoke made its way to me, and I stifled a cough. I knew she was taunting me, luring me in with the financial gain I stood to accept after the week was out. And the truth was, I needed the money as well as the anonymity the job provided. I didn’t have to provide any records of who I was, and in Rhonda’s eyes, there was nothing about me she cared for if it couldn’t make her money. She didn’t even know my last name, only that men enjoyed the shape of my body, the multiple languages I spoke, the talent I had for piano, and the head for business I had.