You've got to be kidding me!" I yelled. "There is no way in hell that I am going to do that!"

I knew that Jack had wanted something when he had invited me to lunch -- his treat. The cheapskate never does anything for anyone else unless there is something in it for him. But if I knew he was going to ask me to do this, I would have never come.

Jack sighed. "Need I remind you that you owe me one?"

I shook my head. "I know that you saved my life -- I would do whatever it would take to save yours if you asked me too -- but this is worth waaaaaaay more than my pathetic life has ever been." I shot him my 'devil may care' grin that used to melt his heart when there was more than friendship between us.

Jack rolled his eyes. "Don't even give me that look. It won't work this time."

I stomped my foot and adopted a cute pout. "And why not?"

"Because there is no one else who could do what I am asking you to do."

"Sure, there is," I said, a wicked grin parting my lips. "There are plenty of men out there that you could hire. Just leak to the press that he's gay, and everything's taken care of."

Jack laughed. "If only if were that easy. Look, the guy made some bad foreign investments on the advice of an ex-girlfriend, and now there are some people that want to take him out because he knows too much."

"What people?" I asked.

Ignoring me, Jack continued. "Anyway, I have hired a couple of bodyguards for appearances, but we need someone on the inside. Someone who can escort this guy to social functions, accompany with him on the tour bus, stay in his hotel room and the like and not cause bad press."

I snorted. "If the guy had any sense, he wouldn't be worried about some bad press."

Jack laughed. "Oh, but he does has sense. It's not him; it's the record label. Warner Brothers is not about to let an artist who sells millions of records and has a history of playing sold out venues to fall from grace."

"And since Warner is providing the cash, you have to do as they ask." I sighed dramatically. "Ahhhh, the pains of running a service that protects the rich and famous."

He laughed again and reached out to cup my face. "The one thing I am going to miss the most about you when you are one tour is your sarcasm," he said seriously, continuing before I had a chance to protest. "Look, I met him, and he's a good guy. He just made some lousy choices and is being held responsible for some things that he had no control over. Anyway, there are other women that I could hire, but none of them are as capable as you are. You're the best...beautiful, intelligent, could kick my ass..."

"Okay!" I shouted. "Stop, before you make me blush and agree to things I will regret."

Jack sighed, giving me his best puppy dog eyes. "Will you at least meet the guy before you say no? Unless, of course, you're not up to it...."

My eyes narrowed and a glared at him, as anger rose in me from his implication that I might not be able to do as he asked. "Fine," I agreed, instantly knowing that I would regret the decision. "When?"

"Two o'clock tomorrow at this building," he said, handing me a card with an address on it. "Just come on in; we'll be waiting for you." He shot me a sly grin.

"You knew I would say yes, didn't you?!" I demanded.

Jack nodded. "I know you too well."

I rolled my eyes, disgusted at how easily I had let Jack manipulate me. Unfortunately, I tended to believe that Jack always had my best intentions in mind and let my guard slip. Whatever. He was just as bad as the people I spent years killing...absolutely ruthless.

"So I'll see you there?" he asked as I pushed myself out of my chair.

"Yeah, I'll be there, you manipulative bastard." I grabbed my coat and started to leave. Turning partially around, I threw out one last cheap parting shot. "You're not going to miss my sarcasm, but you can say good bye to the occasional pity fuck that I give you."

I turned around and strode out of the restaurant, looking at my watch. Two thirty. By that time the next day, I will have agreed to devote the next few months of my life protecting the famous Kale Dregan.