Something About You
Page 27

 Julie James

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He had, after all, been in a bit of a hurry after killing the bitch.
Mandy Robards.
If his ass wasn’t on the line, Grant would’ve gotten a good chuckle out of the irony of the situation. Even dead, she was still screwing people. Took one hell of a talented prostitute to do that.
And talented she had been, if at least half the stories Hodges had told about her were true.
He’d been working for Hodges for nearly three years now. Because Hodges was both a U.S. senator and an extremely wealthy man (CNN’s most recent list had estimated his net worth at nearly $80 million), he had employed a private security guard for years. When his prior bodyguard had left three years ago to work for the Secret Service, a friend of a friend had recommended Grant as a replacement.
Generally, Grant liked working for Hodges. It certainly was an interesting job. In a nutshell, he handled all actual and potential threats, both direct and implied, against the senator and his political career. This meant that he acted as Hodges’s personal bodyguard, traveled with the senator wherever he went, and was the liaison between Hodges and the various outside security and investigative agencies they worked with—everyone from the state and federal officials who handled the death threats the senator occasionally received, to the security staffs at both the Capitol and Senate Office Building.
Over the last three years, Grant had become one of the senator’s most trusted confidants. In fact, he knew things even Driscoll didn’t know.
Like how it had all started with that damn Viagra.
According to Hodges, he’d started down the little-blue-pill-popping path “to help things out with the wife,” and Grant believed that was true. The senator was essentially a good-hearted man, better than most politicians Grant had met (and in his line of work he’d met quite a few), but like most politicians, he was susceptible to flattery and had a misguided sense of invincibility. So when those little blue pills kicked in, and Hodges got a bit more vim in his verve, he began to avail himself, so to speak, of female companionship—of the paid variety.
Within a few months a pattern developed: when business required the senator to be in the city late at night, he would spend the night at a hotel instead of making the fifty minute drive back to his North Shore estate. On those nights, Grant would arrange for one of the girls to stay in the same hotel. Hodges was either smarter than most cheating men, more paranoid, or both—he would never allow the girls to come to his room. Nor would he buy a condo in the city to use as home base for his extramarital affairs, out of fear that reporters would watch his place and keep track of the comings and goings of any visitors.
Mandy Robards was not the first girl the escort service sent, but after only one night, she became Hodges’s favorite. Unbeknownst to the senator, Grant had taken upon himself the task of waiting in his car outside the hotel in order to make sure that the women “exited safely from the premises” (aka got the hell out of the hotel in the dead of night when no one was watching). In the beginning, his reasons for watching the girls had been somewhat altruistic—it was his job to protect the senator after all—but quickly he began to see the value in having as much information as possible about Hodges’s dirty secret.
From the car, he had observed the handful of women the senator rotated through as they went in and out of the hotel. Mandy wasn’t the prettiest of the bunch—in fact, except for her flaming red hair, her looks were generally unstriking—but Grant suspected that was part of her appeal. Perhaps the fact that she wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous made it easier for the senator to buy into the four-hour fantasy that she was there because she genuinely liked him, not for the two thousand dollars in cash he handed her on the way out the door.
What Grant had seen in Mandy, on the other hand, was an opportunist.
It was after her third visit with the senator, probably about the time she felt safe in assuming that she’d become one of his regulars, that she’d started things in motion. Although it would be months before Grant realized it.
She had exited the hotel—the Four Seasons that time—nearly four hours to the minute after she’d arrived and surprised him by ignoring the open cabs that drove by. Normally, the girls made a fast getaway from the hotel, probably to shower. Instead she lingered for a moment, then turned and strode toward his car in her high-heeled black leather boots. She knocked on his window and cocked her head at an angle when he unrolled it.
“Want to join me for a drink at the bar?” she asked in her pack-a-day voice.
While normally such a suggestion from a woman would have certain connotations, Grant had sensed this was more than a casual invitation. True, he was a good-looking guy and worked out everyday to maintain the muscular build he’d acquired in his Marine Corps days, but seeing how she’d just had sex with another man—his boss, no less—the idea of her hitting on him right then was just gross.
Thus assuming there was more to it, Grant had agreed. Truthfully, he was intrigued. And he was more intrigued, an hour later, when he left the hotel bar having gotten nothing from Mandy other than the distinct impression that she’d been chatting him up over drinks. She’d seemed eager to learn about him and his background, yet all she’d revealed about herself was one minor (and frankly, not exactly jaw-dropping) detail.
“It’s not like I want to be an escort forever, you know,” she said with a sigh.
No shit, really? And here he’d thought prostitutes had such good 401(k) plans.