Smoke curled past the woman’s eyes; she squinted at Ben. He held out the money and repeated his offer. “It’ll only take five minutes. Just say ‘nice to meet you, you’re welcome to stay as long as you need’ and then ask me to drive you to the store or a meeting or something.” He wiggled the money in the crone’s face. “I’ll bring you right back to this bar,” he promised.
The woman kept her eye on the wad of bills, figuring out the extra number of drinks she could buy tonight. Ben could tell she was reaching the decision he hoped for. He raised the money to eye level and smiled his honest, dimpled grin, the grin that all the females in high school fell for, even the teachers.
Her hand shot out, but Ben was quicker. He held the money back, peeled off the top bill, and handed it to her. “I’ll give you the rest after you convince her that you’re Mrs. Kremer. Agreed?”
He half expected her to tuck the bill down her blouse, but she opened her purse, dropped it in and closed it. She took a final puff, crushed the cigarette butt under foot and grabbed the passenger door handle to yank it open. This wasn’t the first time she had gone home with a stranger, but it was the first time she had entered a teenaged boy’s littered sedan. And such a handsome boy, too, with that dark blond hair and clear blue eyes. She hadn’t always been the best judge of character, but this kid was easy to read – he was innocent.
(excerpt from chapter 1 of SHELTERED by Debra Chapoton copyright 2012)