Trained(The Monroe Trilogy Book 2)

By: Cynthia Dane

Ms. Clayborn looked over her shoulder. “That is Mr. Monroe’s jet. I assure you. I’ve flown in it many times myself.”

Of course she had. When someone was the personal assistant to someone like Damon Monroe, they damn well did fly around in a… what was it called again? Alice glanced at her copy of the flight itinerary. Gulfstream.

She had only heard of those jets in passing. The sort of thing people liked to gawk over, but Alice never filed away into any pertinent part of her brain. Why would she? They only time she flew was in Coach. Otherwise she took the train, or the, ugh, bus.

All she knew about Gulfstreams was that they were super nice. And super, duper expensive.

“This way.” Ms. Clayborn gestured to the door leading to the tarmac. “We are to be in the air within fifteen minutes.”

The wind was plenty breezy outside, but not strong enough to delay their travel plans. If anything, Alice received a boost to her personality as she followed the assistant onto the tarmac. Warm breezes. Warmer sunshine. Pretty people in prettier clothes rolling their expensive suitcases toward one of the nicest private jets in existence! Alice felt like she was taking off for Hollywood, not Chicago. Her luxurious cold-shoulder sleeves flapping in the breeze as she pulled down a pair of thousand-dollar sunglasses and tossed her freshly trimmed hair into the wind helped matters considerably. I’m being so spoiled. I could get used to being this spoiled. If only the people at Blue Bird could see her now!

She cringed. After all, Alice had no job to return to.

“Welcome, Ms. Culver,” greeted the sweetest flight attendant Alice ever encountered. She wore a uniform of silky blue, a Hermes scarf wrapped prettily around her throat. “We hope that you enjoy your flight.”

“I will, thanks!” Someone plucked Alice’s carry-on from her hands and loaded it into the cabin. She followed, careful to step in her four-inch Louboutin heels so she wouldn’t go crashing down to the tarmac like the imposter she was.

Inside was even more luxurious. The perfect air temperature caressed Alice’s skin as she walked in, greeted by another attendant who asked if she would like water or champagne. Champagne! Was this how it felt to fly in the fifties? Once Alice suggested that water would be fine, Ms. Sarah Clayborn directed Alice to the front section of the plane. Yes. Section. As Alice soon found out, this was basically a traveling apartment!

Beige leather beckoned Alice to sit down in the fitted jeans she purchased at a boutique dedicated to nothing but jeans. Work jeans. Everyday jeans. Torn jeans. Deep pocket jeans (for women!) Jeans that ranged in price from $20 on clearance to $900 designer jeans that came with a guarantee. Alice had gone for a more humbling $400 pair. The salesperson had come into the fitting room with her to see if any alterations had to be made. For a few seconds, Alice truly felt like someone admitted to Monroe’s world. Would she one day be fitted for a new wardrobe if she continued down this path to being his girlfriend?

“You’re here.”

That voice hit her in the back of the head like a well-pitched baseball. Alice spun around in her armchair, shocked to find Monroe standing in the doorway between the front section of the plane and the back. He gestured for her to join him. Alice was still too dumbstruck to move. “I didn’t know you were here,” she said. Eventually she pushed herself up and grabbed her purse out of its wire basket.

“Of course I am here. Why wouldn’t I be?” Monroe scoffed. “Aren’t I going to Chicago as well?”

“You made it sound like we would be traveling separately.”

“You’re my girlfriend.” He said that loudly enough that two flight attendants turned toward them, and even Ms. Clayborn’s head slightly moved. “We also have no scheduling conflicts in this matter. Why would we travel separately? I have nothing to hide. Why? Are you ashamed to be seen with me?”

Alice took a step back, aghast. While Monroe did not give her a cold look, his voice was about a million degrees below freezing. Ms. Clayborn went back to her tablet. One flight attendant returned to stocking the wet bar. The last one, however, shivered.

“I am not ashamed,” Alice said. “How could you ask me that?”

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