Chapter 1

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Men are like a children's picture book—easy to read, occasionally entertaining, but lacking the substance to keep an adult female captivated long-term. My boss tells me I'm too cynical for a twenty-five year-old, but that's what happens when you've been doing what I've been doing for two years just to pay the bills.

I'm not a hooker, I'm a trapper. There's a difference. Hookers sleep with guys for money. I'm paid to get them to trust me, and sometimes fall in love with me. Some trappers cross the boundary and wind up in bed with their target for a bit of extra cash on the side, while others think they're starring in Pretty Woman. Not me. I like my mental health too much. I couldn't have sex with a man who wasn't my boyfriend.

If only boyfriends weren't so hard to come by for someone in my line of work, I'd be doing okay in that department. Unfortunately not too many guys are understanding when you explain what you do for a living. Make that none. They don't see the difference between a hooker and a trapper. And there's the whole lacking substance thing too.

"This guy's big," my boss Ellen said. She handed me a USB drive in the shape of a teddy bear no bigger than the size of two of my fingers. It made a change from her usual red ninja one. Unlike the ninja, I had to remove the teddy's head and insert his neck into my laptop. The ninja had the USB sticking out of his butt so he looked like he was farting into the computer. The teddy just looked decapitated.

"How big?" I asked as I copied the files to my hard drive.

Ellen crossed her long toothpick legs and sat back in the chair with a smile stretching her vamp-red lips. "You'll see."

I rolled my eyes at her melodrama. She seemed to think she was M from James Bond, living a high-flying clandestine life, taking down the bad guys. In truth we were bringing down whomever our clients paid us to bring down. Luckily our targets had so far all been businessmen with dubious ethics or I would have had a problem with my job. I didn't mind ruining a business deal for a few assholes though.

That summed up Ellen's operation. She hired us girls on behalf of her clients to learn the secrets of powerful and wealthy businessmen. Her clients were their rivals, often wanting to close the same business deal. They hired Ellen—us—to learn the secrets and weakness of their competitors, or to ferret out confidential documents to prove collusion or other unethical practices. Our job involved getting close to our targets over a period of time until they trusted us enough to include us in their inner sanctum. Sometimes I wondered if I would achieve my ends faster if I did sleep with them. People reveal a hell of a lot of stuff when they're blinded by lust. But I avoided that kind of arrangement and Ellen never pushed me. I played the part of flirty, friendly assistant. If some of my targets fell a little in love with me along the way, all the better. Their frustration and attempts to get me into bed served my purposes perfectly. 

Ellen chuckled at my eye roll. "That's why you'll be perfect for this one, Cleo."

"What do you mean?"

"You're funny and cheeky. Clever too. He likes those traits in a woman. Of course it helps that you're gorgeous and sexy in a school teacher kind of way."

I couldn't picture any of my old teachers doing what I was about to do. Maybe my sister Becky's old French teacher could have gotten away with the double life. The boys used to drool over her in class. She was lovely too, going out of her way to see if I needed anything when Becky got sick. Of course I always said "Thanks, but no thanks". What I didn't tell her was I just needed Becky. It wasn't until later, when Becky went into remission, that I realized I needed money to pay her medical bills. A crap-load of money. That was why I answered Ellen's advertisement and how I ended up being a trapper, against my better judgment. Two years later the loan I'd taken out to pay the medical bills was still there and I was still a trapper.

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