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Diamond Barrett has spent the last four years hiding in plain sight, working as a show girl in Las Vegas, trying to forget the painful memories of her mother's untimely death. When the details of the gruesome accident finally surface on the morning of her 25th birthday, Diamond's pain leads her to a series of bad choices that result in the loss of her job.
Paxton Donovan's very presence exudes dominance and captures the attention of everyone around him. He has spent years creating his brand as a business owner and professional dominant. There is no time for anything that interferes with the order in which he runs his business and life. Structure, order, rules, discipline. Business without pleasure. No distractions.
But nothing could have prepared Pax for Diamond as their two worlds collide and both of their perfectly ordered and quiet lives combust. Will their undeniable attraction and intense passion be worth the risk of pain and heartache as they shatter their safe lives?
~ This is an Amazon Exclusive Title ~
The scream caught in her throat woke her up and she fumbled for the bottle that she had placed on the nightstand for this reason. Her eyes were still shut as her mouth closed around the cold glass neck, and the warm amber liquid burned its way down to her stomach.
She had fought so hard against sleep, hoping to stave off the dreams she knew would come. She drank faster, finishing off the bottle quickly. She had more stashed in her closet. As a rule, she never drank. Except today. Today was the anniversary of her mother’s death. It was also her twenty-fifth birthday.
As hard as she tried, there was no escaping the ever present reminders. It would be all over the news and social media, posted and re-hashed a million times over by super-fans everywhere. Her mother, actress and starlet Elizabeth Barret had had an illustrious career that spanned over thirty-five years before her death. She was the original American sweetheart.
The fans meant well, they didn’t know the effect of their memorial posts every year. They weren’t thinking of her being in the car with her mother, or the gory details of the accident she re-lived every day. How could they? Her father had paid greatly to have those details kept from the media. So far, they had never come out.
Tossing the empty bottle on the floor, she debated opening her eyes and leaving the comfortable nest of her bed to retrieve another. Better not, she thought. I want to be numb, not dead. Getting completely obliterated before 10:00 am was not part of her birthday plan.
She snuggled back down against her pillow, drawing the covers over her head to drown out the lights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip below her. The city never slept.
Luckily for Diamond, after a night performing in the lounge downstairs as a showgirl, getting to sleep was never a problem. Her small suite was comped as part of her pay, and set in an offshoot area of the casino, far from the hustle and bustle of the other rooms.
She could, and often did, sleep until noon without interruption, but not today. Her sisters wouldn’t call out of respect for her wishes that her birthday not be acknowledged, but her father wouldn’t be able to help himself.
Early riser that he was, he would call shortly before her alarm went off around ten, knowing that she hadn’t worked last night, and wouldn’t be sleeping in. Her father, jeweler to the stars, was as predictable as clockwork.
At exactly one minute before ten, her phone rang. “Hello?” she mumbled into the phone, hoping it sounded more like he had awakened her, and less like she had already been hitting the bottle.
“Listen, darling.” Her father sounded rushed, not bothering with the niceties of wishing her a happy birthday. “I hate to tell you this, but someone leaked the details. It was bound to happen eventually. There were just too many damn cops and paramedics on scene to pay them all off. I must have missed one. I’m actually surprised it didn’t happen before this, and I’m really sorry for it to have happened on today of all days, but you know how the media is. Damn vultures. Are you there?”
She wasn’t. She was already running for the bathroom. She barely made it to the toilet before losing every ounce of her liquid breakfast. If this was how her day was going to start off, she shouldn’t leave her room at all.
The alcohol tasted even worse coming up than it had going down, and she could hear her father calling to her through the phone which she had dropped in her rush to the toilet. Once she was sure every last drop of alcohol, and possibly a bit of her stomach lining was expelled from her rebelling body, she crawled back to the phone where her father was waiting patiently.
“That’s it. I’m coming down. This ridiculous notion of hiding away and forgetting your birthday to honor her memory, and forget her death isn’t working. For anyone.”
“No, Daddy,” she gasped. “Please don’t, I’m fine. And I’ll make sure to stay away from the TV and internet for a few days. Stay there. Emmy needs you more than I do. I’ll see you next week at graduation.” Her youngest sister was graduating from her prestigious private school with high honors, and Di couldn’t be more proud.
She could practically hear her father grinding his teeth against his inner struggle as he fought his fathering instincts against her wishes. “Fine, but if you change your mind, you call me, and I’ll be there in a heartbeat. I’ll take the jet if I have to.”
“I’m fine, Daddy. It was just... a shock. I’m going to climb back in bed, order room service and raunchy slapstick comedies, and ignore the rest of the world until tomorrow. It’s a perfect day, really. I’m even looking forward to it,” she lied.
“Okay, baby, if you say so. But remember, I’m here if you need me.”
“I know.” She smiled into the phone for a half a second before hitting the disconnect button and collapsing onto the floor in a sobbing heap, no longer able to escape the images that plagued her nightmares.
* * *
“Room service,” a voice called from outside the door.
Paxton Donovan, Pax, as he was known to his employees, and the rest of the Vegas nightclub circuit opened the door with a smile.
“Morning, Will,” he greeted the young college student who rolled in a cart boasting a six egg white and spinach omelet, a wheatgrass smoothie, black coffee and a copy of the New York Times.
“Morning, boss.” Will smiled as he efficiently unloaded the cart and set up Pax’s breakfast table, knowing by now, just how he liked it. “You working Rojo tonight, or Aubergine?”
Pax grunted. “Aubergine. Jerry has a wedding or some such he has to attend, so I’m bouncing.” Pax owned Rojo, a highly exclusive hotel and casino well known for boasting the only specialty BDSM club on the strip. Aubergine, next door, was where he had gotten his start. Over the years, the owner, Jason, had become his best friend, and now he was half owner, a fact that was well known at Rojo, but not anywhere else. He had become owner, simply for the sake of bailing Jason out of a jam, and he split his time between the two nightclubs with his main focus here at Rojo. Jason did the same, highlighting as a disciplinarian here at Rojo once or twice a week.
Will simply nodded in response. Will was your typical horny college student who enjoyed the perks of working at an exclusive Las Vegas casino. He could often be found at the bar on his nights off, simply taking in the scenery. So far, to Pax’s knowledge, Will never played, only watched, but he was respectful and followed the rules, so Pax hadn’t said anything. Will was a good kid and a good employee.
“Is there anything else I can get for you, boss?”
“No.” Pax gave a dismissive wave. He had a lunch meeting, and wanted to enjoy his breakfast and morning paper in peace, before his day began. Once it started, it didn’t stop until the club shut down for the night.
“Very good.” Will nodded as he left.
Sighing, Pax shrugged out of his robe. He wore it only as long as it took to receive his morning breakfast delivery. He much preferred to lounge in the buff, and the privacy to do so while still enjoying the view of the strip was one of the many luxuries his penthouse suite afforded him.
He downed his wheatgrass shake in one gulp, shuddering as it went down. He had never gotten used to the texture, but he was very picky about what went into his body. Spreading the paper out flat on the table in front of him, he pulled his plate into his lap, so he could read and eat at the same time. Today’s headline read New Details Emerge About Crash that Killed America’s Sweetheart.
America’s sweetheart, being of course, the illustrious Elizabeth Barret. Four years had passed, you would think America would have a new sweetheart by now, he thought as he began to read. He wasn’t cynical, just realistic. The show business industry was a fickle one.
A snapshot in the corner caught his eye, and he did a double take. At first glance, it had appeared to be a headshot, but upon closer inspection, he saw that it was something else entirely. What he was looking at, to his stomach’s horror, was a snapshot of Elizabeth Barret’s head lying in the road, completely unattached to her body, which, according to the story, was still strapped into her Lamborghini convertible.
In gruesome detail, the article went on to recount that her daughter, who had been celebrating her twenty-first birthday by shopping and doing lunch with her mother, had been in the accident with her—a detail that until today, had been unknown to the public.
Diamond Barrett, he read, was ejected from the vehicle on impact, and suffered only minor injuries. She was found unconscious, minutes after the accident in the bushes on the side of the road. Beside her on the pavement, was her mother’s severed head.
“Damn.” Pax whistled aloud to the empty room. “That chick’s going to have some serious issues.”
There was a picture of the daughter, which he found especially interesting. Elizabeth Barret had three daughters and she had always done a stellar job of keeping them out of the lime-light and away from the public knowledge. The snapshot was a fuzzy one, and he knew by looking at it, that someone had gotten lucky and made a lot of money selling this story. It was obviously a picture taken at the scene of the accident. Her pupils were dilated, making it obvious that she was still in shock. She probably didn’t even notice the creep with the camera. She had pale blonde hair, the lightest blue eyes he had seen, and high cheekbones. Those features combined with her mother’s famous heart-shaped pout, made her a knock-out.
He frowned. He didn’t think he had ever seen a picture of Elizabeth Barret’s daughter before, it wasn’t the sort of thing he kept up with, but there was something about her eyes. She looked oddly familiar, and he couldn’t shake the niggling feeling that he knew her, or that their paths had crossed before.
The phone rang, and he pulled himself away from the haunting face.
“Talk to me.” He knew before he answered that it was Jason.
“Pax, there is nothing on the schedule for tomorrow night.”
“What are you talking about? It’s Vanilla Night.” Vanilla Night was his brain child, one of the things thing that set Rojo apart from other BDSM clubs. The other thing was that, while it was categorized as a BDSM club, it was pretty tame. They mostly specialized in spanking. They had special demonstrations sometimes, but spanking was what they were known for. On Vanilla Night, they dialed it down even further and opened the club to beginners. People new to the lifestyle, or interested in experimenting, could come and observe with no pressure. They gave mild demonstrations, but the punishments doled out on Vanilla Night were always real. Pax kept his showgirls, Pax’s girls, as they were known, on a short leash. He had high expectations of them, but he treated them well. He gave them generous salaries, and comped their suites and meals, even allotting them each a small allowance to use within the shops that were housed within both Aubergine and Rojo.
Jason grunted. “I know it’s Vanilla Night. I’m saying, none of your girls have broken any rules. According to the ledger, they’ve all been perfect angels.”
His jaw dropped. “That can’t be right. That never happens! There is always something. Hell, we have a dozen girls! You’re telling me, not one of them did a single thing wrong this week? Nobody showed up late or overspent their allowance, or anything?”
“That’s what I’m saying. Must be the full moon or something.”
Pax grunted. He’d never bought into the full moon nonsense, and he wasn’t about to start now.
“So, what do you want to do about tomorrow? There has to be a demonstration. Want me to call in one of the headliners?” The headliners, were the ones who did the harder core stuff. They were experts in things Pax wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. They were usually brought in as special entertainment and advertised weeks in advance. They drew in a huge crowd from the more hardcore scene. Bringing them in for Vanilla Night would be a disaster.
“No, that won’t work. Let me think on it. I’ll come up with something. Maybe something will happen tonight. We still have twenty-four hours for somebody to mess up.”
He could hear Jason’s smirk through the phone. “Okay, you’re the boss.”
Pax hung up without responding and paced the room. His day was already packed, and he did not have extra time or energy to devote to this problem, but he would have to. Vanilla Night was just as big of a crowd pleaser as the headliners were. He had to have entertainment. All of his current girls had been with him five years or more, maybe that was the problem. His rules had become second nature to them. They didn’t mess up like rookies would. “I need some fresh meat,” he muttered to himself as he headed for the shower.
* * *
Diamond woke up on the floor hours later with another empty bottle beside her. Her eyes were bloodshot, her face was tear-stained, and her throat was hoarse from crying. To top it off, she was angry as hell.
“It’s my birthday, dammit,” she yelled to the empty room. “Fucking vultures.” Standing up, and grabbing a fresh bottle from her nightstand, she stumbled into the bathroom.
“Happy fucking birthday,” she told her reflection, as she took a swig straight from the bottle. And then to her horror, she started to cry again.
“No. No. No.” She was done hiding, finished letting them get to her. She could change her name, her looks, move away and hide in the busiest city in the US, but she couldn’t change her birthday. It was supposed to be a happy occasion, a day to be celebrated. Four years ago, a drunk driver in a semi had taken that from her, and today, a money hungry paparazzi and a bunch of detail starved media mongers had driven in the final nail.
Living well is the best revenge. The well-known and oft uttered quote popped into her head and she smiled. It was something her mother had often said when the media would publish lies and unflattering stories about her.
Diamond had thought that she was living well. The life of an Aubergine showgirl was a glamorous one most days, and she was having fun. Las Vegas was a city full of life—there was always something to see, and something to do. But, if she was really honest with herself, she wasn’t really living. Not the way she should be. She had ended up here as a way to lick her wounds away from her well-meaning family and friends in California. So far, that was all she had done.
That, she vowed, ends now. She was taking back her birthday, and the rest of her life with it.
Running a brush haphazardly through her pale hair, and heaping her mascara generously, she added her favorite red lipstick to polish off her look. She squinted at her blurry reflection in the mirror. “Look out Las Vegas, Here I come.” She said it aloud, then frowned when she realized she was talking to herself again.
Two minutes later, she was on the elevator dressed to the nines in her favorite white dress that was usually reserved as part of her costume, and four-inch diamond studded heels that had been her mother’s. She had a flask full of liquor tucked into her garter belt, and she was ready to party.
She entered through the back entrance, which was reserved for on duty employees, even though she wasn’t on duty tonight. These heels were a lot harder to walk in than she remembered, and she didn’t feel like going outside the casino, all the way back around to the front of the club, and dealing with the bouncer. A glance towards the door told her she had made the right decision. She didn’t know where Jerry was tonight, but Pax was in his place. At a bulky six foot two, every inch of him lean and cut, the bald headed man bore a scary resemblance to either Vin Diesel or The Rock. At the moment, she wasn’t sure which was which. She was always getting those two confused. Either way, in her opinion, Pax Donovan was someone she went to great lengths to avoid on a good day, and tonight was no exception.
She wasn’t sure why she was so afraid of him. Some of the girls loved him, and she had even heard a few refer to others, or themselves, as one of “Pax’s Girls.” She didn’t know what that was about. Was he a pimp, or just a player? It didn’t matter what the other girls did to get by. She kept her nose clean and stayed out of it, but she was nobody’s play-thing. She did just enough to keep her cover.
As she rounded into the main club area, one of the other girls, Topaz, made a beeline for her. All of Aubergine’s showgirls were named after gemstones. It was why she had chosen this club over some of the other classier more exclusive clubs. She could hide in plain sight, go by her real first and middle name, and no-one would be the wiser. She was Diamond Jewel, Aubergine showgirl. No one had ever guessed that she was really Diamond Jewell Barrett, daughter of the one and only Elizabeth Barrett. Her ironic sense of humor was at home here, where two of her stage sisters bore the same names as her real sisters, Ruby and Emerald, who they called Emmy.
Topaz, named for her sparkling blue eyes, and raven black hair, rushed towards her. “Girl, you’re not working tonight. Why you wearing that dress? You know we’re not supposed to wear our costumes out and about.”
Diamond just waved her off. “Don’t worry ‘bout it. Izz fine,” she slurred, then giggled when a hiccup escaped. She needed another drink. She fumbled beneath her dress, and withdrew her jeweled flask that had been a gag gift from one of her sisters years ago.
Topaz’s eyes bugged out of her head. “What are you doing? Put that away! Have you gone mad?” Topaz may have been yelling at her, but she carefully blocked Diamond’s body with her own, keeping her from view as she polished off the contents of the small flask.
She tried to replace the flask into the small pocket on her garter, but stumbled in her heels, and clung drunkenly to Topaz’s arm on her way down. To her credit, the raven haired beauty effortlessly pulled her back into a standing position before anyone had a chance to notice. “Girl, you got to get out of here! You’re drunk—no, scratch that. You’re not drunk, you’re completely shit faced. You have to get out of here before Jason sees you!”
“Jason.” Diamond giggled as she thought of her handsome man-candy boss. “Where’s Jason? He hasn’t wished me a happy birthday yet!” Di exclaimed. Pushing past Topaz on shaky feet, she made a beeline for the bar.
“I’d like a shot of… something…” Diamond mumbled, shaking her finger at the female bartender erratically. “No, No, make that two shots! No, Five! Five shots!”
The bartender, Ashlee, a fresh faced transplant from Georgia with show business dreams barely held back a laugh as she shook her head. “Nuh-uh. No way, sugar. I’m not serving you a drop, honey. You are blasted already. I’m surprised you’re still standing.”
Undeterred, she turned on her best pouty face. “But, it’s my birthday!” she exclaimed dramatically, throwing herself against the bar.
“Happy birthday,” Ashlee responded dryly, a hint of a smile playing on her lips. “I’m still not serving you. It’s not worth my job.”
Diamond rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. “Party-pooper.”
Ashlee stuck out her tongue right back. “Go on, get out of here, before you get me in trouble. Go hit the dance floor or something.”
For some reason, this struck her as the greatest idea ever, and all of a sudden she couldn’t wait another second to hit the dance floor. Never mind that the music had just stopped, or that the lights were dimming to signal the beginning of their nightly show. Those things didn’t matter. In that moment, all that mattered was shaking her money-maker.
* * *
The line was dying down as it always did once the show was ready to begin. A few drunken stragglers might make their way over on their way from other bars and clubs, but for the most part his job was done, at least for the next hour or so. Grabbing a chair from a nearby table, Pax turned so that he was angled half towards the stage, and half towards the door.
Within seconds, his buddy Jason was standing beside him, arms crossed with his attention directed towards the dance floor. “Busy night tonight.”
“You get any troublemakers?”
“Few fake IDs. Nothing I can’t handle.” Following Jason’s gaze, Pax raised his eyes at the sight of a woman who was dancing by herself, to a song that was only in her head, bumping and grinding against an empty chair, and occasionally, an enthusiastic member of the audience.
“That one of your girls?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yup.” Jason’s jaw was twitching in a way Pax had only ever seen once or twice over the years.
“I take it that’s not part of the performance?”
“You going to do anything?”
Jason sighed. “Not yet. I’m not sure what’s going on. Diamond isn’t usually like this. I’ve never even seen her come down here on her night off. Some of these girls are party girls, you know. But not Diamond. She usually keeps to herself, and stays out of trouble.”
The dancers who were on duty came onto the stage, and his relief mixed with horror as he watched Diamond still, and drop into the lap of an unsuspecting bystander. The young man sported cowboy boots and a button down shirt, and a lecherous smile as he draped his arm around her shoulder. Pax started to rise from his seat, but Jason put a hand out to stop him.
“Let it be. Randy is safe. We don’t need a scene right now, and he won’t do anything. He knows I’m watching him.”
Pax trained his eye on them, ready to move quickly if there was a need but Jason was right. Whoever Randy was, he was a gentleman. One hand stayed wrapped around his drink, and the other never left her shoulder.
Things stayed mellow for a while, but a night at Aubergine wasn’t complete without their signature performance of “Shine Bright Like a Diamond,” and apparently no performance of Shine Bright was complete without Diamond herself.
Before either of them could stop her, she rushed the stage, and took her place in the very front, belting out the chorus at the top of her lungs. To their credit, none of the other dancers batted an eyelash at her unexpected and unusual performance. They continued as usual, dancing around her as if she wasn’t even there, paying no attention to the fact that her very unusual dance moves were completely off sync with theirs. When she turned her back to the crowd and starting twerking, Jason lost it.
“Strike three, princess. It’s been nice knowing you,” Pax heard Jason mutter under his breath.
Then he turned. “Get her off the stage. Let her sleep it off, and send her on her way in the morning.”
He was already barreling to the stage when he heard Jason call after him. He turned, just in time to catch the keys hurling towards his head. “We’re going to need her personnel file to cut her last check and write a report.”
“Got it.” He didn’t bother pointing out that it made more sense for Jason to do that, since he was apparently going to be spending the rest of his evening babysitting a drunken diva. He knew his friend well enough to know when not to push a point. In one fell swoop, he scooped her off the stage mid twerk, and threw her over his shoulder.
She didn’t scream, or argue or demand to be put down as he would have expected. To his amusement, she laughed, and squealed like a child. “Weeee!”
She continued like this as he made his way across the casino and down to the offices. She never once questioned where they were going, which Pax found worrisome. He was around Aubergine enough that she probably knew who he was, but really, he could be anybody taking her anywhere in this state, and she wouldn’t have argued. That made him sick to his stomach.
With one hand positioned across her back holding her in place, he managed to wrestle the key into the door of the personal office, which was closed at this time of night, and over to the file cabinet. She wasn’t making any noise whatsoever now, and Pax wondered if she had passed out.
Thankfully, the file folders were organized first by their stage names, or he wouldn’t know where to look. He suspected that underneath all the make-up and glamorous costumes, she looked like your average girl next door with long legs and a nice rack. Jason wasn’t too picky. She probably had a plain name like Jane, Mary or Molly, or a horrendously ill-fitting one like Agnes or Gertrude. It took him only a minute or two to find the correct file, as they were arranged alphabetically, and he left the office without opening it. There would be time for that later.
Right now, he needed to get her to bed. She was becoming a dead weight across his shoulder, and the casinos were huge. He had already carried her at least a mile. He was grateful that the offices weren’t too far from the small block of rooms Jason kept for his dancers. Her room number, 1402, was plastered across the front of her file with her stage name.
He passed by a smaller bar, and a few shops before she started moaning. He assumed she was doing so in her sleep, until she began pounding on his back with small tight fists. “Let me down! I’m going to be sick!”
It was all Pax needed to hear. He quickly set her to her feet, and steered her towards the back of the small bar they had just passed, hanging on until she was safely in the ladies’ room. At first he could hear her violent retching. The sound turned his stomach, even though he knew it was for the best.
He listened for a few minutes, making sure that she was okay, and when the retching and gagging stopped, he leaned against the wall to wait.
He had been there for about twenty minutes, watching as large groups of women in tight micro skirts, tube tops, and stilettos went in and out. Diamond still hadn’t come out.
“Excuse me, miss.” He caught the arm of a girl who was coming out of the restroom alone. “Did you happen to see a blonde woman in there, wearing a white dress? Is she okay?”
She sent him a withering stare that let him know that the only reason she wasn’t decking him was that he was still wearing the official Aubergine Security T-shirt he had worn while bouncing, and pushed past him without answering.
He had no choice but to go in, so that’s what he did. Bracing himself, he shoved the door open, and strode in like he owned the place, because technically, he did.
He spotted her right away. There was a couch against the wall opposite the full-length mirrors, and Diamond was sitting in the center of it, with a group of scantily clad partiers crowded around her. That wasn’t out of the ordinary. This was Vegas after all. It was the rest of the scene that made his heart stop in his chest. She was holding a small flat mirror, with a thick white line of powder across its surface, and holding a rolled up dollar bill to her nose, while the other girls cheered her on, and tried to instruct her.
He was nearly blinded with rage, but he managed to keep it in check as he scooped her right out from the middle of the group, without breaking up the circle.
“Oh,” she whined prettily, from her spot over his shoulder. “But, I was just about to have some fun!”
“You have had more than enough fun for the evening, trust me.” Every ounce of his being was fighting the urge to sit down on the couch and pull her over his knee for an honest to goodness ass whooping, audience or no. He would never, as much as he wanted to, without an agreement of consent.
“Hey, mister.” A pint size pixie of a woman in a skintight leopard print dress, and way too much eye makeup, stepped in front of the door. “Put her down! You ain’t her daddy! She is a grown ass woman!”
Pax sighed. The woman barely stood above belly button height to him, even in her three-inch heels, and he would totally find the situation laughable if he wasn’t so pissed off. “You’re absolutely right, I am not,” he emphasized, pointedly correcting her grammar, “her daddy. What I am though, is the owner of this fine establishment. So either you shut your mouth and move out of my way, and then leave, or I will call the cops and tell them you’re giving out drugs in the bathroom.”
Her eyes got huge, and she quickly moved out of his way. He should call the cops anyway, but he wasn’t going to. He had enough to deal with at the moment.
Thankfully, Diamond had stopped protesting, and fallen back to sleep, and the rest of the trip to her room was without incident. Using his master key card, he entered, frowning as he stepped over several empty pint bottles on his way to the bed.
He deposited her in the middle of the bed, checking to be sure she was breathing, and then tilted her head up and checked her nostrils for any signs of the tell-tale white residue. He was fairly certain he had gotten to her in time, but he needed to be sure. Finding nothing, he was appeased.
For the first time that night, Pax got a good look at her face. With light blonde hair that was almost white, and light blue eyes, the name Diamond fit her. He had seen her before, but she was wearing a lot less make-up than usual, and the majority of what she had been wearing had already worn off. She had perfect heart shaped lips, and, if he said so himself, a perfect ass that was downright spankable. It was a shame this was Aubergine and not Rojo. Instead of being fired, he would take it out of her hide. On stage, in front of an audience.
An idea began to form in the recesses of his brain, and he quickly dismissed it. Or at least he tried to. He really shouldn’t be considering it—but he couldn’t help but think that when she woke up, she would be jobless and homeless. Still, it was completely of her own doing, and he really didn’t need to be taking on a girl with this many issues.
If it wasn’t for what Jason had said about her, he would have stayed until she woke up, fired her, and sent her on her way. As it was, he couldn’t help but open her file. Turning it open to the first page, he read her name, and did a double take. “Holy crap!”