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Excerpt for Zero Tolerance by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


www.evernightpublishing.com




Copyright© 2018 Lynn Burke



ISBN: 978-1-77339-584-5


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: Audrey Bobak



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



DEDICATION


For those who have challenged and overcame their fears.


ZERO TOLERANCE


Elite Escorts, 4


Lynn Burke


Copyright © 2018


Chapter One

Micah


“I’m quitting.”

I jerked my head up from the file I’d been reading at my desk to find my secretary Dina in my home office doorway, her arms crossed as she propped herself against the door jam. “What?”

“I said that I’m quitting.” Bland, expressionless hazel eyes peered at me, the same color as her sweatshirt.

“No fucking way.”

“Fucking way.” She smirked, and I thought again about how pretty she was. Too bad she worked for me. I’d learned the hard way years earlier to keep my greedy hands off the help.

I tossed the file onto my desk and leaned back in my leather chair, narrowing my gaze. “You’re giving me two weeks’ notice?”

“Nope.” Her smile widened. “You knew this was coming.”

“I expected it with all that talk about needing time to plan your wedding and honeymooning for a month in Europe, yes, but what the fuck, Dina? On a Friday night?”

“This weekend is booked and all set. Everyone has their files, limos and rooms are rented, goodie bags packed.”

I heaved a deep breath, my lips pursed as my mind flew to the following week. Elite Escorts had been rolling along for over five years and didn’t show any signs of slowing. I’d hired two new escorts a week earlier, and every single man and woman employed by me was booked just about every weekend. Myself included. “And what am I supposed to do about next week? Payroll is Wednesday for fuck’s sake.”

“I’ve got it covered, so don’t get your panties in a twist. My baby sister is going to take my place.”

“Just like that, huh?” I arched a brow.

“Yep. Just like that.”

“Aren’t even going to let me interview her first?”

Dina shrugged. “She’s way more organized than I am, worked as a phone operator in sales, and is conservative and honest. She’ll fill my position without any issues. You’ll probably be thanking me for quitting and bringing her in before next week ends.”

“Awful confident.”

“Yep.” She uncrossed her arms and straightened. “I’m bringing her here Monday and showing her the ropes, but she’s on her own come Wednesday.”

I grumbled a curse under my breath.

“I’m going out to grab some lunch, Mr. Grumpy Pants. Want anything?”

“You can stop at the liquor store and grab me a bottle of Grey Goose for the shit you just dropped in my lap.”

She chuckled and moved out of my sight into the reception area of the office addition I’d had built onto my house, leaving my door open. “Steak bomb?” she called, her keys clinking.

“Two!” I hollered back. “You owe me at least that! And, you can kiss your wedding present bonus goodbye!”

The shutting of the door cut off her laughter.

“Fuck.” I scrubbed a hand over the clipped beard lining my jaw and glanced out the open window to watch Dina climb into her Saab in my driveway.

After getting caught staring at my first secretary’s cleavage a few months into business and her crying foul, I’d been very careful about who I hired. While I’d found Dina pretty the second she walked into my place for an interview, there was no tug of want, no swelling of my cock at the thought of taking a cane to her ass.

I hoped her sister would be the same.

A spring breeze rustled the file on my desk, and I put my mind back on the present.

Pulling my laptop closer, I considered the night ahead. At eight sharp, I would find Widow Mayfield bent over her late husband’s spanking bench waiting for me. After our first session together, she’d gifted me a key to her swanky downtown Boston condo, promising to book me every other weekend.

That had been six months earlier.

I acted as her Dom, and she trusted me with her life, but there was no emotional pull between us. No deep connection binding us as Dom and sub.

She loved to have her ass reddened—hand, flogger, cane—anything I decided to use caused cum to pour from her pussy and pleadings from her lips. While she had hot, tight holes I enjoyed fucking, I’d grown bored with the arrangement. Thank Christ my cock at least was always up to the task.

I double-checked the schedule Dina had set up for the evening, making sure every I was dotted and T crossed. She hadn’t ever screwed up, but I never took chances. Elite promised to please its customers, and once I gave my word, I never went back on it. Ever.

I hoped like hell the bump Dina had caused in my road didn’t slow the company down. Filling shoes, I’d found over the previous year and a half, sucked ass. I’d lost three of my best escorts and had yet to replace the hole their leaving had created. It meant I’d personally taken on more clients, something I hadn’t wanted to do.

Nothing wrong with getting paid to fuck—or act like eye candy—but I found myself feeling empty after every “date” and wanting more.

Seeing Reid, Jarod, and Daniel start new lives with their so-called soulmates filled me with something I hadn’t ever experienced before.

Jealousy.

I fucking hated it. Sure, I was happy as hell for my three buddies, but our Sundays no longer consisted of guys, beer, pizza, and sports. Christine came along with Jarod on occasion to hang out, but most times, I found myself alone in my favorite threadbare recliner, hollering at the flat screen.

“This fucking sucks,” I muttered at my computer screen and pulled up my email.

****

The damn bump bothered me all day and into the night. Widow Mayfield got the fuck of her life, coming around my cock four times before I finally got off. Preoccupation with business, I feared while sweat dripped off my body, had shut my balls down.

Thinking of my favorite pole dancer at The Blushing Cherry finally tipped the scales, and I filled the condom stretched around my cock, my fingertips bruising the widow’s red ass cheeks.

She moaned beneath me, her pussy still trying to milk more cum from me, but I was so spent, I wanted to topple over and sleep.

I pulled out, and she whimpered. Smoothing a hand over her ass, I glanced up at her flushed face. Dark lashes fanned her cheeks. Sweat dotted her brow. “Be right back,” I murmured, swiping the sweat from my own forehead.

My legs shook as I shuffled to the bathroom, and for the first time ever, I cursed my stamina. A quick clean up, and I wet a washcloth for the widow.

Aftercare wasn’t something she had ever been interested in. Independent and refusing to need a man ever again, she always insisted on cleaning herself. No soothing words, no cuddling as she came down.

I handed her the towel, and she murmured her thanks, pushing up from her kneeling position.

“Are you okay?” I asked, same as always.

“Mmm.” She refused to look me in the eye—same as always—and I gathered my clothes. Less than two minutes later, I grabbed my keys off the dresser holding her late husband’s sex toys.

“Thank you,” she said, tugging on her red silk robe.

“My pleasure. Thank you.” My fake-ass grin bothered the shit out of me, but I turned and left without another word—same as always.

It wasn’t even ten yet, and I headed home, cursing my life. Money, a huge fucking house in Weston, a sweet, cherry-red ’60 Ferrari…

Should have been happy as a pig in its own shit.

Emptiness like a void in my stomach ate at my mind, but I didn’t have much tolerance for depression. I refused to let it eat me up like it had my father. He’d turned to liquor and had been battling liver cancer for three months because of his fucking choice to wallow in the “woe is me.”

I started by counting my blessings. Thinking about all of my accomplishments—supporting my parents and paying their bills, anonymously paying my younger sister’s college loans off. My sharp business mind and health.

“You’ve got it made, Fox,” I muttered to myself while pulling into my long driveway, my headlights flashing through the trees and over the manicured lawn I paid big bucks to have maintained.

But maybe finding a good woman to share it all with would fill the emptiness.


Chapter Two

Jasmine


Hands clenched on my lap, I peered out the windshield as Dina pulled into Micah Fox’s driveway. “Holy shit, that’s one hell of a house.”

“Told you. Mr. Grumpy Pants has more money than that jerk-off sitting in the Oval Office.”

I snorted. “Doubt that.”

“Seriously, though.” Dina pulled to a stop and smiled. “He’s a cool cat. No need to be afraid.”

I unclenched my hands and unclicked my seatbelt. “I’m not scared.”

“Bullshit.” She opened her door and climbed out.

Grabbing my purse from between my feet, I followed suit.

“You’ll have to shake his hand at least,” Dina said while opening her car’s back door and grabbing her purse, “but after that, you’ll be all set.”

“Did you tell him?” I asked, pulling my purse strap over my shoulder and smoothing a hand over the clingy material of my skirt.

Dina peered at me over the hood of her Saab as she slammed the door. “No, but I will if you want me to.”

Lips pursed, I shook my head.

“Come on.” She led me up the walkway to an addition on the left side of Mr. Fox’s house and unlocked the door. A three-room area, she’d warned me in advance, a small space that filled quickly when the owner of Elite decided to work from behind his desk in the larger of the two offices.

Of the three days a week that I would work as Elite Escort’s secretary, I would only have to deal with Dina’s Mr. Grumpy Pants a couple hours total. Most days, Dina had explained on the ride into Weston, he didn’t even come to the office.

That was just fine by me. The less I had to interact with people in the flesh, the better life flowed for me.

“So, this is it.” Dina tossed her purse onto a small table beside the door. “Bathroom is there”—she pointed to our right—“the door beside it leads to Mr. Fox’s lair, and the one there to the left leads to his office. Like I said, tiny space.”

I set my purse down beside hers and pulled the extra straight-backed chair from beside it behind the desk alongside hers. Soon to be mine, I reminded myself, glancing at an open door leading to Mr. Fox’s empty office.

“He probably won’t show until around lunch time,” Dina said, rolling her chair close to the desk. “Most Mondays he doesn’t come in at all, but since I’m showing you the ropes today, I’m sure he’ll swing in for a little while, anyway.”

I perched on the edge of the chair and clasped my hands on my lap again. My stomach twisted in knots, and I wondered if the breakfast Mom had made me would stay in its place.

“Want to take notes?” Dina asked, handing me a pen.

“Sure.” My fingers shook, but I wrote down the voice mail and email passwords as she logged in and showed me the daily tasks upon first arriving. I took notes as she pulled up the files on each escort, and how I was to go about forwarding on their client folders to them as people booked with Elite.

By twelve, my stomach had settled, and I actually ate the lunch I’d packed. It took us two hours to get payroll done—two days early but dated correctly—since she wouldn’t be in on Wednesday to walk me through the process.

A few phone calls came through, both of which she let go to voice mail for me to retrieve. She returned the first call, I took care of the second, arranging one of our female escorts to act as some rich man’s date for a big charity event his ex-wife insisted he attend.

We scheduled, placed an order for kink toys and lubes, and by the time five rolled around—quitting time—Mr. Fox still hadn’t come into the office.

“Guess you’re waiting until Wednesday to meet him, Jaz,” Dina said as she locked up the office behind us.

A warm breeze ruffled her long blonde hair, similar to my own. I’d pulled mine into a tight bun, hoping for a secretarial appearance, but it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d left the skirt and low heels home in favor of the jeans and t-shirt Dina wore. At least I’d made an effort.

She dropped me off at our parents with a good luck, and sped off to her apartment she shared with her soon-to-be husband Aaron. Three months earlier, they’d moved in together, making me the last child at home with Mom and Dad. The miserable middle child, Liz, had married young and just given birth to son number two. Adorable little redhead with the softest cheeks and pouty lips I found myself able to snuggle and smooch. Auntie loved when they came to visit Mom and Dad.

I didn’t mind being the only one still at home with them since I’d inherited Dina’s much-larger room and it was one less person I might come into physical contact with.

My issues with physical touch had started years earlier, thanks to one of the many foster kids my parents had taken in, Billy. The bastard had issues of his own, sexual deviancies which I ended up being on the receiving ass-end of. While the sicko hadn’t taken my virginity, he’d done and said just about everything else possible.

It had taken me a long time to find the strength to approach my parents with the truth about what Billy had done, and he tried to slice my throat, exactly as he’d promised to do if I ever told anyone.

A shiver slid down my spine as I unlocked my parents’ door and let myself inside.

He’d come after me a few years after being removed from my parents’ home, and being eighteen, ended up in jail for attempted murder.

I ran a finger along the two inch scar beneath my left ear, forcing myself to breath normally. The memory of Billy’s body odor, his bad breath, his cold, clammy hands on my skin…

My chest tightened as anxiety I was too well acquainted with began to run over my sensibilities.

Get a grip, Jasmine.

I counted my inhale through my nose, released it loudly through my mouth. In with the positive energy, out with the bad.

I am strong. I am able to overcome…

I chanted the various sayings one of my many therapists had suggested to talk down rising anxiety attacks.

“Is that you, Jasmine?”

Mom’s soothing voice floated down the hallway from the kitchen, helping to ground me. “Yes,” I managed to call back to her.

Dina had told our parents years earlier that Mr. Fox owned his own communications business. They never questioned, and I wasn’t about to tell them the truth.

“How was it, sweetheart?” Mom appeared in the kitchen entryway with a crooked smile I adored.

“It went really well. I shouldn’t have any problems settling in.”

“Good.” Her smile widened, and she motioned me back. “Hungry? I have a meatloaf in the oven and could use help peeling potatoes.”

Meatloaf. God. I grimaced, but nodded. “Sure. Let me just run upstairs and change first.”

My new bedroom had been repainted from Dina’s green to a soft cream. Long shimmery blue curtains let in the sun, its rays falling across the new comforter from L.L. Bean I’d splurged on.

A safe haven, mine for as long as I wanted, my parents had promised.

When Dina decided she didn’t want to work anymore—her fiancé wanted her bare foot and prego in the kitchen as soon as possible—she asked if I’d be interested in her position with Elite. No other employees in the office, and only occasional visits with the owner even though the office was in his home.

Hell, yes.

I’d jumped on the opportunity to only work three days a week and make more than I’d been from making sales calls and getting hung up on nine point nine out of ten times.

I pulled on some yoga pants and a t-shirt before heading back down to help Mom finish making dinner. We’d always been close, and there wasn’t anything I didn’t share with her, but I shaded the truth about my boss and his company as she asked me about my day. Thank God for non-intrusive parents, because if they knew I scheduled professional escorts and did up the boss’s payroll, they would blow a gasket.


Chapter Three

Micah


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