The first time I saw her in the flesh, I knew she’d be trouble. But, trouble is my business so I didn’t worry until later.
I’d driven in from the City of Angels, losing myself in a long stretch of desert nothingness, finding it again in the bright neon sunburst that is Las Vegas.
I knew just where to look for her—as far on the wrong side of the tracks as one could get in Sin City. In my line of work, it pays to be cozy with bad people and worse places. I had pictures, so spotting her wasn’t difficult.
I’d thought this would be a routine job. In and out, done. A dog, a steak, and a hefty paycheck waited for me at home.
Then I saw her, Sky Harlow, and I wasn’t so sure I’d called this one right at all.
She wasn’t what I’d expected. Say chippy from sleeze-ville Vegas, and you didn’t picture this Snow White, Goth princess, siren-witch. She belonged on the screen or in a painting, not walking the boulevard. The girl in the pictures I’d seen was younger, fresh-scrubbed, but I could still see her under the makeup. Smoke and mirrors was her game, just like mine. Like always recognizes like.
I rolled my window down. She leaned in, all femme fatale, kitten-with-a-whip gorgeous, and agreed to come with me to a cheap motel off-strip. Five hundred bills had more to do with her trust than my good looks.
I sat in the room’s only chair, careful not to touch the armrests. The place reeked of stale smoke and paid-for sex. Outside, I heard loud voices, car horns, and the screech of tires. I focused on her. It wasn’t hard to do. Sky was a vision of succulent flesh on display. A lock of hair fell like a raven’s wing over her left eye whenever she looked down— innocence defiled, and liking it.
She perched on the edge of the bed, her knees almost touching mine. I drew away and, spreading her legs, she showed me that she wore nothing beneath her slinky red skirt. Her cunt was smooth and had a tender pink center. Nothing I’d not seen before.
“Please, don’t do that.”
My hands cupped her knees, pushing them together. Her skin was hot and I pulled away, as if burned. Maybe I was in hell. I was dizzy.
“Then get talking, Mister. I haven’t got all night.”
She crossed her arms over pert little breasts. They spilled fetchingly over tight black leather—a corset that hugged her tiny waist like a lover’s hands. She really wasn’t my type. I liked my women tall, cool, and blonde. Classy. Sky was raw sex, blood and razors, stings and nettles with an angel’s face.
“I want you to talk. I want to know about you, about your life.” I wasn’t lying. I’d been paid to find out, but looking at her, I really wanted to know who the fuck she was. I cared and had no idea why.