She was giving him that look from across the pool table, lashes lowered, storm-blue eyes darkening almost to black in the dim light. He sank another ball smoothly, then moved to the other side of the table to line up his next shot. A few balls later and he had collected on the wager, a roll of bills in his back pocket, and he offered his opponent a beer to smooth any hard feelings. She sidled up next to him at the bar, smelling like peaches, her dark hair spilling over his arm as she leaned in.
"You looking for easier money?" she asked, breath warm on his ear, and he arched an eyebrow.
"Easier than pool?" he replied, taking the beers and sliding the money across the rough wood. "No such thing."
"Maybe not tonight. But I've seen you take a beating or two around town when the hustle didn't go your way." She leaned back, exposing an impressive amount of cleavage, and his eyebrow rose a little higher. "Listen, kid, I'll tell you straight. I know you're not old enough to be working this scene. Your ID is fake, your name is fake, your money is fake." He shook his head.
"You don't know what you're talking about-"
"And you're a dreadful liar," she went on smoothly, crossing one leg over the other. "I have a business proposition for you. An honest one, and mostly legal. And it'll pay a hell of a lot more than what you're getting here."
Dean gave her a long, measuring look. This was the third week of Dad's hospital stint, following a nasty bout with some pissed-off harpies, and he'd been hustling all week to avoid using the credit cards. They hadn't meant to be here this long, and the longer they stayed, the greater the chance someone would catch on to the fraud. They had no choice about the medical bills, but when it came to groceries and school supplies and the utility bills, he'd been trying to stick to cash. Dad was gonna be laid up for at least another two weeks, and soon people were gonna realize he was a pool and card shark, and would refuse to play him anymore. Or worse. He wanted to rub his temples to stem the oncoming headache, but he finally just sighed.
"All right. What are you offering?"
"I work for an escort service," she said simply, leaning in and drawing a paper from her bag. "We provide companionship for a wide range of clientele, but typically businesspeople, who wish to be accompanied to dinners and formal events."
"Forget it," Dean snapped, getting to his feet. "I know what else escort services do, and I'm not interested."
"We're purely above board," she replied, shaking her head. "We're not a cover for prostitution. Good looks are important, which is why I approached you, but your duties would be solely to accompany the client to their event and to escort them home. Nothing more, unless you choose to do so." He bit his lip, mind racing.
"Out of town trips?"
"Infrequently. Usually you'll be assisting someone who's coming here for their conference." He nodded slowly.
"And how much money are we talking, here?"
"Depends on how well you clean up," she replied primly, and he gave her a smirk. "But I'd estimate about a hundred dollars an hour." He whistled, impressed, and sat back on the bar stool. She just sat beside him and waited patiently, but she was smiling, and he wondered how often she did this kind of thing.
"I'm not going to be in town very long," he said at last, and her smile widened.
"Not a problem. We'll take you as long as you're here." He let out a breath and finally nodded, smiling back.
"All right. I'm in."