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Prologue

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"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."

Dale Carnegie

•••

It's only a matter of time. Three minutes to be precise.

I ready myself. My arm is propped against the bar table, my hand clinches the empty glass a few millimetres away, giving opportunity for my forefinger to run strategic circles on the tip of the glass. As expected the man sitting a few seats down stares at my hand, then at the empty glass and then at my face.

I smile.

And that's all it takes.

The man gets up from his high chair, nearly tripping when his foot hits the wooden floor.

He's drunk.

This should be easy.

"Can I get you a drink, pretty laaady?" He slurs and I turn away slightly. His repugnant breath proving too powerful for my sensitive senses.

"Sure, handsome." I force another showstopper smile. I thought it was going to be easy but the foul smell passing his mouth was putting up quite the fight.

"What would you li-like?" He ends his question with a hiccup followed by a list of phlegm filled coughs.

"Surprise me," I reply with a sultry wink. My answer is always the same but the drink never is. This is my favourite part of the night. The choice of drink my chosen man selects helps me gain insight into their agenda.

"A Manhattan for the pretty lady."

A strong drink but also a personal favourite of mine. I tasted my first Manhattan at the tender age of fourteen. Three years later and it was still the one to beat. The bitter aftertaste always left my body tingling with pleasure.

"Thank you, handsome. What's your name?" I brush my leg against his, the touch alone repulses me but it doesn't show on my forever smiling face.

My acting skills are Oscar worthy.

The man grabs my free hand and tightens his hold, he leans in and I brace myself, "P-P-Peter," he splutters. I fight the urge to wipe his saliva off my face.

"And yours?" He enquires with genuine interest.

My mind flickers through the list of names I had used over the years.

Tonight, I felt like a lot like a...

"Natalie."

"A gorgeous name for a gorgeous girl." He chuckles, pleased with his line. I join in, pretending as if I hadn't heard the very sentence a million and one times.

"We can go somewhere private, Natalie, if you want to that is." He adds, suddenly unsure of himself. He pulls the collar of his creased up shirt, my eyes automatically follow the sweat dripping down his pale neck.

He must be in his early fifties. I observe silently. Grey hair glistens against the artificial black he's attempting to mask his age with. His forehead wrinkles fight against the botox he's fed them.

He's definitely due another appointment with his plastic surgeon.

"I would love to. Why waste our time, eh?" I purr, seductively.

He nods eagerly. I stand up and allow him to escort me out the bar.

The night is young, which means I have plenty of time to get what I want.

I always do.


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