Chapter 1

My boyfriend Paul and I had been going out for three months before he finally told me about some of the problems he had gotten into with his ex-girlfriend. We both came from rich families so I figured that it had to be an enormous problem if it took him three months to get up the nerve to tell me.

"I gambled away my inheritance," he told me. "My parents don't know that our fortune will be gone by the time I pay this guy off, and they were planning on giving me access to the bank account in a few weeks. I need to pay this guy off before then."

Me, being the doting girlfriend completely in love with her boyfriend; I offered to help. "What can I do to help?" I asked him.

He gave me one of his looks; the kind where his eyebrow goes up and he looks me over like I'm horseflesh. It creeps me out now and then. I shivered as he thought out loud. "Well . . . no, no . . . that won't work. . . Well . . . ? How about . . . no, that doesn't work. . . I guess I could . . . , no, I can't expect her to do that for me."

"What do you think I won't do for you Paul? Just ask me. I told you when we first started dating that you had to be open with me, otherwise we wouldn't have worked out. Now please stop clamming up on me. I want to know what it is that you think I wouldn't do for you."

"I know you wouldn't do it for me," he muttered.

"How can you know that when you haven't even asked me yet?" I yelled at him.

"Because, if I were you, I wouldn't do it for anyone," he yelled right back at me.

"Just tell me what you want to do and I'll do it for you," I whispered.

He ran his hands through his hair before asking, "Really?"

I took a deep breath, "Yes really, that's what girlfriends do."

"Well I know a guy who knows a guy who's doing something like a Roman Flower Auction. Only it's not quite the same," he told me.

"What's a Roman Flower Auction?" I asked him. I was chewing on my fingernails as I impatiently waited for his answer.

"Well," he began, "A Roman Flower Auction was historically what some when did for money. Virgins came from all over to sell their virginity for money. They went up onto a stage and were auctioned away to the rich men who could afford to buy them. A woman's virginity was a specialty for the upper crust of society, so the women were paid quite handsomely to be deflowered."

My eyes were huge, the pupil so dilated that my eyes looked almost black. "You want me to get up on a stage and sell myself to some rich man?"

"You are a virgin still right?" he asked me, ignoring my question entirely.

I nodded my head, unable to choke out any words past the lump in my throat.

"And you already agreed to help me, so there are no more problems."

He got up to leave but before he could walk out of the room I grabbed his arm. "How long, will I be sold for?" I asked him.

"That depends," he told me.

"On what?"

"On my friends' friend. If he thinks he can get more money if he sells you for a week, then he will. Also, the final buyer will get to barter with him on how long  

he gets to keep you for."

"How much money do you need?" I asked him.

"Twenty-five million dollars," he told me.

"How the hell could you lose twenty-five million dollars gambling in two weeks? Unless you didn't win anything and you're a stupid-butt player, there should have been no way that you lost that much money!" I yelled at him. I was beyond mad. "And how long do you think I'll have to be sold for to get you the kind of money that you need. No man is going to pay twenty-five million dollars to spend one weekend in my company. Just what are you going to tell my parents  

when I up and disappear?"

"You're not going to disappear Amber. We're going to elope. Then, when your contract is finished being served we will come back and get married for real.  

That way your parents won't be too worried about you because they'll think that you're with me."

"And just what are you planning on doing while I'm off getting screwed by some rich guy who's going to buy me?"

"I'll think of something," he reassured me, "Now go back home and pack your small brown suitcase with some of those sexy negligees that I bought you for your birthday last month. I'll pick you up at 10:00, where your usual date wear and pack your shortest skirt, highest heels and lowest cut shirt. Preferably in dark colours," he added as an after thought.

I stormed out of his house and back into mine to start packing.

We've been next door neighbours since we were three and his family moved to Harwood. He's probably just using me, but honestly there is nothing I can do about it now. I already gave him my word that I would do this for him, and the Pearce's never go back on their word.

That's how I ended up on a stage at Tonic with a rowdy crowd of rich teenage boys and young men yelling at me to take my shirt off.


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