“That’s my offer,” he says softly. And the implication is “take it or leave it.”
“Mr. Jameson,” I say as I lean forward in my chair and try to push the tears back. “I really, really need your help. My brother saved your life. The favor I’m asking is not for the actual money, but a reasonable way I can repay it. I can’t get that much money together in thirty days. Can’t you please work something out with me that I can actually succeed at?”
He appraises me critically again. This time, he lets his gaze roam over my entire body as I sit in the chair opposite of him. When his eyes come back to mine, he says, “Are you willing to work off the debt?”
“Work off the debt?” I repeat skeptically. He owns a sex club after all.
“Yes. Here at The Wicked Horse,” he explains.
This perks my interest because I happen to need a job, and I’m insanely curious about what happens inside of this place. I’ve always been adventurous that way. When Corinne was in the hospital for her heart-valve replacement, I had to miss work. My employers were not forgiving, and they gave my job away to the temp who had replaced me. I’d been there six years and had hardly missed work, but I asked for a week off and they fired me.
So I’m unemployed right now and could use a job. While my mom’s paycheck helps cover half the expenses, it doesn’t pay for everything and my meager savings are about exhausted.
Leaning forward in my chair, I ask, “What does that mean… work here?”
“You know what this club is?” he counters.
I nod. “A sex club.”
“What would my job duties be?” I ask.
“They’d be whatever I tell you they were,” he says.
A little taken aback, I wonder if I am mistaking that look in his eyes.
But I must be mistaken because he says, “For example, I might have you work the hostess stand in The Social Room, or tend the bar. This may seem shocking to you, but I might use you as a waitress who sells condoms and lube and such. Or it could be something as mundane as cleaning my apartment. Let’s say you’d be my personal employee for whatever was needed.”
This has potential. It is all stuff I can do, and none of what he listed bothers me in the slightest.
“There are a variety of other jobs that mainly involve cleaning and making the club look beautiful at all times,” he adds on. “It’s physical work.”
“But I wouldn’t be expected to have sex with anyone?” I ask cautiously, because while I like sex a whole hell of a lot, I’m not whoring myself out.
“I don’t run a brothel, Miss Barnes,” he drawls, and I can tell I’ve offended him.
He talks right over me to clarify. “I do not expect you to have sex with any of the members as part of your repayment of the loan.”
“How much time is needed to pay you back the loan?” This sounds too easy.
“Four weeks. That’s when your deadline is, right?”
“All you want is four weeks of work for twenty-five thousand dollars?” I ask incredulously. “Because I’m sorry… nothing in life is that easy.”
Jerico cocks an eyebrow at me. “While I have no clue about your work ethic or any particular talents you may have, Miss Barnes, I’m requiring four weeks of work so that—for all intents and purposes—we have a legitimate deal. My granting you the favor I owe your brother isn’t the money I’m giving you. As you said, it’s the easy repayment plan that will wipe my debt clean with him.”
Well, there you go. Now we’re on the same page.
“One last thing,” I say quickly. “I lost my job a few weeks ago, so I’m hunting for a new one. Would my hours here be evenings or day shifts? I just need to know how to narrow my search. Still have to pay my bills, you know?”
“Tell you what,” Jerico says as he stands up and walks over to a cabinet on the adjacent wall to his desk. “I’ll give you extra shifts at time and a half to add onto the front or back of your regular shifts. If you’re working the condiment trays, you can make pretty good money in tips. More than enough to cover your bills, I’m sure.”
My mind races through everything to make sure I haven’t missed anything. I get twenty-five thousand for working at The Wicked Horse for a month. I don’t have to have sex with the members. He’ll give me extra work at overtime rate so I can pay my share of the living expenses. I can then walk away debt free and start my life over again, leaving these hellish weeks behind.
Sucking in a big breath, I let it out as I stand from my chair to face him. “Then I gratefully accept, Mr. Jameson.”