“There’s one more important role I’d like to play with you. Kate Williams, you are brilliant and beautiful, captivating and kind, sexy and sinful, the most wonderful friend, and the most incredible lover. The only other role I want you to play is my wife. Will you marry me?”

I dropped to my knees too, threw my arms around him, and said yes.

“I’ll take you up on that offer,” I said. “And I’ll bet we’ll make it last for all time.”

“I’ll take that wager.” He slid a gorgeous diamond on my finger as tears of happiness streamed down my cheeks, and the future seemed like the surest bet of all.

* * *

Later, our friends joined us at the club to celebrate. Adam bought a bottle of champagne and toasted to us, claiming he was responsible for the union.

I didn’t see a need to correct him.

Besides, Jake had told me what Adam had said, and he had played a part after all.

So many people had their own roles in getting us together, and I felt so lucky that they did. And how lucky was it that I’d decided to explore my fantasies that weekend?

Now we’d have a lifetime of doing just that.

As I drew Jake in for another kiss, I caught a glimpse of a familiar face on the dance floor.

It belonged to a man who had played a part during a meaningful time in my life when he’d shared his thoughts on companionship, friendship, and kindness.

The top escort for one of my biggest clients was dancing with the maid of honor from that fateful girls’ night out.

And I was dying to know what their story was.

29

Antony

I straightened my tie and adjusted my collar, which was just showing above the neck of the black graduation gown.

I shifted my weight, the shoes I’d polished last night gleaming in the light. Old-fashioned, maybe, but something I’d never stopped doing for myself. My father had taught me, and he’d learned in the army. A spit shine was a lost art, even if it was hardly rocket science.

I’d heard some variation of the “it’s not rocket science” joke 457 times since starting school.

“Worth it,” I told my reflection in the mirror of the cloak room at the university. I looked like an aerospace engineer, I decided, adjusting the stole-type thing so the point was straight on my chest and the hood draped down my back. “Nerdy and a little like a professor at Hogwarts,” I declared.

I joined the other master’s degree candidates in the hall outside the auditorium. My classmates had clumped up to exchange good wishes before we lined up in alphabetical order. There weren’t a large number of us, and some had been in class together since their undergraduate days. I considered myself lucky to have made the friends I did, especially since I’d always worked weekends.

I imagined I’d work plenty of weekends as a junior engineer too. I bet it would be a lot quieter though. Probably lonelier too. I might miss that part of my job—the escort part of escorting.

It was a strange world, and I was immensely grateful for the luck I’d had and all the opportunities that had led me to where I was. Not the least of which was a job that allowed me to pay for school and arrange my schedule around classes.

I had just one more job this weekend, and then I’d be trading Sin City Escorts for a whole new kind of city living – the regular kind.

The familiar strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” began, and the line of graduates processed into the auditorium. Later, I would consider the near and far future. Now it was time to cross the stage, shake the dean’s hand, and get my diploma.

This was what I’d dreamed of many years ago.

And many times over the last several months.

This moment was here at last.

* * *

The Saturday morning of my last job for Sin City Escorts, I picked up my shirts from the laundry and chose a tie for my final assignment. I was feeling nostalgic. I never liked goodbyes. Ironic, with a ships-that-pass-in-the-night kind of business like this, but that was how it went.

I was ready to move on though. Sure, some aspects of the job I enjoyed, and I didn’t have much to complain about. But the reality was, I’d stopped differentiating between clients, and when I was with someone—however I was with her—I tried to be present. That was hard when the jobs ran together.

It was through no fault of the women. But a job was a job after all.

The one woman who stood out, though, was Sidney from Phoenix. A year ago, she’d been visiting Vegas and she’d hired me, or maybe her friend had. We’d spent the evening just talking. That was all. We’d started at a bar in The Luxe, then wound up at a noodle joint, eating and laughing and talking. That was where she’d told me her hopes and dreams, her aspirations . . . her wish to become an environmental scientist, her wish to adopt a rescue dog, her wish to be loved.


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