Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

Previous: Epilogue
Next: Chapter Two


By Dez Burke

Chapter One


Tiana knew she was crazy for even thinking about it.

If her bitch of a boss hadn’t been so smug when Tiana told her she would be attending her upcoming wedding solo, she wouldn’t even be considering such a crazy idea.

“It’s so hard for a woman to find a good man these days, isn’t it dear?” her boss had said with a condescending pat on her shoulder. “Maybe one day you’ll find a man like my dear Jonathan.”

Tiana wanted to smack her. Instead, a seed of an idea formed in her head. What if she brought the most handsome, sexy, drop-dead gorgeous man she could find as her date to the wedding? That would shut her boss up. And after all, how hard could it be to find somebody?

Turned out-pretty damn hard.

She’d quickly run through her short list of possible dates without any success. Going to a wedding would be torture for any man and they all had good excuses why they couldn’t escort her. Now here it was, three days before the big wedding on Saturday, and she didn’t have a date.

Oh my God, my life is crap, Tiana decided, fingers pressed to her temples. How was it possible that a woman in her mid-twenties, successful with loads of friends, could feel so lonely? All she needed was a man to accompany her for a few hours. To show her boss she could indeed find a good man if she wanted to.

Just like that, she’d made up her mind the next move to make.

It took a few minutes on the search engine to get her to where she wanted to be. She’d seen the website featured on a talk show and it sounded completely legit.

She typed in the name “Gents4Ladies” and there it was.

It looked like some kind of a male escort directory, with hordes of gorgeous guys promising an evening of conversation, companionship or dancing. The website explicitly stated that no sexual favors would be granted in exchange for money. The males were simply offering their companionship and nothing more.

Well, Tiana thought, companionship for a few hours is exactly what I’m looking for.

Only last week, her close friend and colleague, Alyssa, had recommended the website as both girls had hung out at their favorite bar and discussed Tiana’s dilemma. “You’ve always threatened to go the ‘gigolo’ route if you ever ran out of options,” Alyssa teased, her blue eyes twinkling beneath her thick blonde fringe.

Tiana had looked doubtfully into her tequila. “I was only joking! Do you really think I could pay someone to go with me?”

Alyssa nodded firmly. “Just check out that website and look for “Jordan”. He comes highly recommended from a friend of mine. She needed an escort for a trade show function. From what I hear, he’s gorgeous.” An impish grin crossed the petite blonde’s face, and she added, “If you ever make up your mind to go for it, Jordan sounds like your best bet.”

Tiana hadn’t taken Alyssa seriously, not then. But now, a week later, curiosity and a sense of adventure suddenly struck her. Truth was, she needed this; a bit of excitement, something out of her comfort zone to make her feel like she still had red blood in her veins and wasn’t turning into a burned out prune at barely twenty-seven.

Suddenly, her fingers were flying over the keys as she found her way to the website Alyssa had suggested. Soon she was going through the guys’ photo gallery, keeping in mind the name ‘Jordan’ as she decided she would stick with Alyssa’s commendation in that regard as well. All this was new to Tiana and she definitely wasn’t taking chances.

In no time, she’d picked him out from the numerous escorts on offer, and couldn’t hold back a gasp.

Alyssa had been right. He was a total hunk; and unlike the others his own shot didn’t look posed but seemed just like he was taking a casual stroll along the beach when the image was taken. He was smiling into the camera, a warm, teasing smile that made her wonder who had been behind the lens. A loving girlfriend?

His name was simply Jordan, with a single cryptic line: Good at dancing and conversation.

Hmm, Tiana mused, now curious enough to go ahead and click on his picture to view his profile. His "page" was more descriptive and full of details. Jordan. I know how to please... Whether it's for a classy night out with dinner and drinks or a serious business function, I'm your man. I promise to give you top value - or your money back. Guaranteed.

Now that really struck Tiana as funny. What escort gave a money-back guarantee? She chuckled to herself; obviously he was a joker. And yet he'd made enough of an impression to make her want to pick up the phone and call the number provided on the screen. She didn't even want to check out the profiles of any other guys; she was afraid she'd lose her nerve and change her mind about the whole thing if she did. After all, this was way beyond anything she’d ever tried in the past. At least this guy came with a referral from a friend.

Truth be told, the guy named Jordan was certainly nothing like the men Tiana normally dated. He looked like a flipping sex god. And hey, if she was going to do something as outrageous as hiring a male escort, she might as well go all the way and pick someone to blow her boss’s socks off – right?

So she was picking Jordan as her first and only choice, decided Tiana. And if there was anything she felt uneasy with after the phone call, then she'd forget about the whole idea.

She couldn’t wait to see her boss’s face when she walked through the receiving line at the reception with Jordan. Smiling wickedly to herself in new-found anticipation, she reached for the phone.

Previous: Epilogue
Next: Chapter Two