Evie Cole. She’s the one person I can’t figure out.
People say they love you, but what they really mean is that they love how you make them feel about themselves, or what they can take from you.
I can’t leave her on the streets, so I make her a deal she can’t refuse. It buys me the time I need to figure out whether Evie is the real deal or just another gold-digger.
The day Evie graduates, she breaks all contact with me, which proves that she was only in it for the money.
At least, that’s what I think, until random payments are made to my bank account.
Rhett Daniels. My hero, who saved me from a life on the street. My unrequited love, who will sleep with every girl but me.
His playful smile and humorous façade might fool others, but not me. I see myself in his eyes.
He only has one rule.
He’ll pay for my education, giving me a chance to become independent. All I have to do is keep my clothes on which also means no dating.
I hate being his charity case, but I tell myself it will only be until I graduate. I will find a way to pay him back.
The worst part is that I fell in love with him.
Hoping to forget the one man I can never have, I move to the other side of the country. I’m determined to make it on my own, but things don’t always work out the way we want them to.
Rhett Daniels & Evie Cole ~ Book 5 in the Enemies To Lovers Series
This is book #5 in the Enemies To Lovers Series. Each book in the series is about a different couple. To get the full experience of their friendship, I’d recommend that you start with Heartless
(Seventeen years old.)
Having done my chores for the day, I drag my tired body to the bedroom I share with Sandra and Wendy. Sandra will be back from work at three am, and Wendy is already fast asleep. Sandra is two weeks older than me and started working last week when she turned eighteen. She’s moving to Moonlight Ranch tomorrow.
Just thinking about what the future holds for me sends a shiver of disgust rippling through me. I only have one week left before I have to start working at that hellhole, as well.
Eric and Charlotte are cunning and deceitful. They’ve mastered the art of fooling welfare services whenever they come to do an inspection. The house is always neat, and they make sure that no business takes place on the premises. Everything happens at the ranch, and only at night. During the day it functions as just another cattle ranch. Most of the boys who come to live here are lucky as they get to work on the ranch during the day. Although, the attractive ones get handpicked by Charlotte to work at night alongside all the girls.
From the outside, everything looks normal. Eric and Charlotte regularly donate and are respected by the community. I’ve learned that money can buy a lot of things. Hell, they even had me fooled when I first came to live with them. I thought I was one of the lucky ones when I got placed with the Williams family. I was only thirteen and still held onto hope that I would find a family I could call my own.
Instead of a family, I found monsters who use us for cheap labor, and once you turn eighteen, you’re forced to become a sex worker.
Eric and Charlotte can sweet talk anyone into believing they’re saints. They’re smart, never letting their perverted clients touch any of the underage girls. But once we turn eighteen, all bets are off. You either start working for them, or you’re out on the cold street without a second thought. It still surprises me how many girls choose to stay.
Even though I’m tired, I can’t fall asleep. Since Sandra starting working, I’ve been spending my nights worrying about my eighteenth birthday.
I’m planning to run away. It’s all I can do to save myself from a life as a prostitute. I shudder with revulsion just thinking about some perverted old man touching me.
So far I’ve managed to hide some food behind the washing machine. Once I’m living on the street, I know the food won’t last long, but right now my biggest concern is where I’ll live. I’m scared to death of being homeless, but it’s nothing compared to the fear of having countless men use my body any way they want to for the rest of my life.
I have no other choice but to run away.
Feeling hopeless and terrified of what my future holds in store for me, I curl into a small bundle.
Alienated. It’s the only word which describes how I feel. Unloved and disregarded by life, I wonder why I was born if I’m meant to be snubbed by everyone? People either look right through me or glare at me with disdain.
My first week on the streets I was too scared to even sleep. Every person that crossed my path was a potential threat. Up until a few weeks ago, being raped was my biggest fear. I was wrong. Loneliness has become my greatest fear by far. I was never close to any of the other children who were taken in by Eric and Charlotte, but at least I wasn’t alone while I lived there.
There’s not a single person who cares about me. I could disappear from the face of the planet, and no one would notice.
I might as well not exist. The realization is devastating. It’s been hitting me with one crippling blow after another when I least expect it. The thought will wake me minutes after I’ve drifted off, or slam into me while I’m walking down the street.
The only reminder I have that I’m alive is my aching stomach. I can’t remember the last decent meal I ate. The food I stole before I ran away was taken on my second day out here. I had hidden it behind a dumpster while I was looking for work. When I returned to the alley where I thought I’d be able to stay until I managed to find a job, two men were going through my things, dividing it all among themselves. They were much bigger than me, and fearing for my life, I had no choice but to leave with only the bag I had with me, and run.
Desperation shudders through me and for a moment I think about searching through the dumpsters near restaurants, but then I remember the beating I got when I accidentally trespassed on another homeless man’s area. That’s another thing I quickly learned. Deprivation makes savages of people. On the streets, you’ll be ripped apart if you so much as look at another person.
I hunch forward, hugging my arms around my waist as I try and fight off the chill. I tried to sneak into the library’s bathroom, but security caught me. I was thrown out with a harsh warning. It could’ve been worse. I was lucky they didn’t have me arrested. I also tried to walk up and down the aisles of shops that stayed open during the night, but it became unbearable. Seeing all that food and not being able to eat it was pure torture.
I’ve thought about going back to Eric and Charlotte, but when I think of what I’ll be going back to, I’d rather die. Being at the mercy of a pimp and his whore, I only had two options. Either I get busy spreading my legs to earn my keep, or I leave. I’ve always known that day was coming, but nothing prepared me for how dangerous it is living on the streets is.
I look up at the sign that reads Double D’s Cleaning Services. Saying a silent prayer, I open the door and walk into the reception area. If I don’t get a job soon, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m reaching the point where I’m so desperate that I’ll even take a job as a stripper.
Michelle Horst is a Bestselling Romance Author who likes her books hot, dirty, and with a touch of darkness. She loves an alpha hero who is not scared to fight for his woman.
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