Prelude (An Alec Winters Series, Book 1)

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Chapter 25

Sabrina’s new profession wasn’t the Clinical Psychology degree she’d planned to attain, but it did allow her to complete her undergraduate study at Tulane. The services she provided fulfilled two needs: to make her own way and to help others. During the day, she attended classes on campus. At night, she put the knowledge learned that day to practical use. Each class she took enhanced her ability and intuition as a successful escort. In a way, even before she had completed her bachelor’s degree, she was first and foremost a therapist.

She actively listened. She asked pertinent questions and listened some more. Through her work, Sabrina discovered that a keen ear was the most valuable asset she could possess. It’s what most of the men she saw wanted and needed. That talent, along with a stunning appearance, made Sabrina most desirable.

David Bonnet became Sabrina’s first client, and from then on, she was known only as the Goddess of Light. She only entertained by Madam Tabby’s referral. Living in the Crescent City, with its mystical appeal, certainly added to the allure of the persona Sabrina created. Madam Tabby was instrumental in the proper introductions as she tutored Sabrina on the lifestyle of a successful escort. Dressed in sequined gowns, and on the arm of powerful men, Sabrina quickly became the highest paid escort in the south.

Unlike most professional escorts, Sabrina didn’t have a network. Madam Tabby had trained her to be a very streamlined operation. Sabrina didn’t hire a bodyguard or other protector. Although extremely security conscious and careful, she worked alone. Her address and phone number were unlisted. She used an answering service to arrange appointments and a car service arranged transportation. Sabrina kept her business arraignments simple by only accepting new appointments from a previous client’s referral and Madam Tabby’s prior approval.

On occasion, a client became obsessed with her, but she knew how to handle that as well. To cool off such possessiveness, she kept a little photographic evidence locked in her safe. If she really needed muscle to set the client straight, she borrowed a bouncer from one of David Bonnet’s numerous strip clubs. That was all the security she needed.

Sabrina supported herself as a high-end escort, but the job wasn’t only about sex; it was more about a woman who met the needs of her clients. Sometimes, the needs were simply a date for an important function. Other times, a powerful man needed a strong woman to listen, and only listen, without offering advice or criticism.

Sabrina happened to excel at working with the richest men in the city and far beyond. Some of her clients, from Asia and Europe; regularly flew to New Orleans to spend an evening with the Goddess of Light. As a goddess, Sabrina’s nights were reserved weeks, even months, in advance.

Her days remained free just in case Alec returned. She also used the daylight hours to spend time with Cassidy and visit Catalina. No longer having any family of her own, it was enough until her true love came home.

Life was no longer either black or white to the young woman. Life was hard and painful. Living without Alec, and overcoming the many obstacles in her path, was a job…A job that took all of her inner fortitude. She knew Alec would understand the difficult choices she’d had to make. She trusted that his love for her was as strong as hers was for him.

After the money and Natasha were gone, Henry could no longer afford the good stuff. In deeper despair than ever, he attempted to quell the pain of his personal hell by guzzling the cheapest booze he could find. It was an unsatisfactory substitute for that same high he’d once enjoyed with Natasha, but it was all he could afford.

One night, Henry Devereux’s life came to a miserable end when he stumbled home and fell into an uncapped sewage drain. It was then that Sabrina was glad her mother was dead. She was relieved that Sue Devereux couldn’t see the miserable way her husband’s life had ended. The family home, already mortgaged to the hilt, and ransacked for any valuables by Natasha, sold at auction. Other than Cassidy and her new career, Sabrina felt completely on her own.

As she stood at Henry Devereux’s lonely graveside with Cassidy and a few of her father’s work colleagues, Sabrina felt more destitute than ever. Just then, she noticed a tall dark-skinned man with long, wild dreadlocks standing under a nearby tree. He wore long desert robes and leaned against a tall ornamental staff. When her eyes traveled along his facial features, she felt a sense of déjà vu, but it wasn’t until she saw his eyes that Sabrina recognized him. Even such a creative disguise couldn’t hide Alec Winters from the woman he loved.

Stifling a surprised gasp, she nudged Cassidy, and then nodded in the direction of the lone bystander. Sabrina’s heart beat wildly, and although she wanted to dash into his arms, she knew she had to be very careful. No one other than his family could be alerted to his presence. It was the way he wanted it. Sabrina looked around at the others to see if anyone else had noticed the stranger. No one had, but when she looked back, the man had vanished. She craned her neck to get some sign of him, but Cassidy placed a calming hand on her arm.

“He’ll be at Zack’s waiting for us,” Cassidy whispered.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Cassidy confirmed.

Alec hugged his mother and then took Sabrina in his arms. It had been too long since he had felt her warmth and love. After he kissed her tears of happiness away, Cassidy motioned for them to follow her to a spare room. After the door closed, she returned to Zack’s welcoming arms. Cassidy understood true love better than anyone did and she wanted Alec and Sabrina to have the privacy needed.

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