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Enjoy Chapter Six of The Cheapery St. Heroes! | Souls, Alternate Universe, Friendship

The Cheapery St. Heroes by Shawn Michel de Montaigne & KJH Cardinalis



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five


The Not-So-Femme Fatale


The shit I do for money

The streets were dizzyingly far below. The climb up the apartment stairs had been strenuous, and the little balcony with the sliding-glass door was still a couple of yards away. There was an access ledge, but it looked … precarious.

Closing her eyes, Esmeralda leaned against the wall to catch her breath. The black latex of her catsuit was like a second skin. She usually found that liberating. Right now, it was just sweaty and oppressive. The cool breeze on her face was the only reprieve.

Why do I do things like this?

Because it’s a lot of money.

She could call and back out, but who knew when the timing would work out again?

She took firm hold of the staircase railing and climbed over, facing the wall. Edging her right foot onto the ledge (being cautious not to hook the three-inch heel), she extended both arms and reached for the balcony with a whimper.

Don’t look down, don’t look down … Just had to be the thousandth floor, didn’t it?

Her fingertips pulled away from the railing.

Come on, girl, just one little step to the right

Her hand grasped cool metal. Pulling herself the rest of the way, she heaved herself up and over and stood gasping.

Next time I should resort to kidnapping again.

Well, here we go

Pulling her pistol from its holster, she checked the door by giving it a nudge. Yep, unlocked. Perfect.

Throwing it open, she slid inside.

Dresser and door on the left, bed on the right.

She turned the gun on the figure sprawled across the mattress. It was hard to keep her voice down and still sound menacing.

“You! Get up!”

He bolted upright, blond hair falling away from his face, the moonlight carving out a hard jaw and sculpted chest. In a swift, single motion, he bent toward the floor, reaching under the bed.

She cocked the gun. “Don’t even think about it! Now—” she grinned—“where is it?”

“Where’s what, sweetheart?” He slowly withdrew his empty hand from under the bed. “You know I’m a cop, right?”

“And you know I don’t give a damn, right? The money. Now.”

“You know you’re not gonna get it like that.”

“Is that how you want this to play out? Get up. Get up!”

When he didn’t move, she grabbed him by his hair. “I said get up.”

He struggled to his feet. She rammed the barrel of the gun between his shoulder blades, pushed him three steps forward, and kicked the back of his knee. He stumbled into the dresser.

“Hurry up,” she ordered, grabbing his shoulder and pulling him around to face her.

He glanced down, his grinning eyes drifting over her body as he slowly pulled a stack of bills out of the dresser drawer.

“This what you came for?” he asked, raising a corner of his mouth.

Here’s where it gets silly. Okay … sillier.

Returning his smirk, she snatched the stack of bills out his grip, then kneed him in the thigh while pushing the barrel to his temple.

“Not all I came for,” she breathed in his ear. “Where’s the rest of it—?”

“You’ll have to shoot me.”

The flatness in his voice was almost too much to handle. Sometimes the hardest part of this job was struggling not to laugh.

“Isn’t there an easier way?” she demanded, baring her teeth. “Maybe I have something you want.” Pressing the stack of bills down into her holster, she ran her hand over his broad chest, feeling his pulse quicken beneath her fingertips. “Can’t we work something out?”

He cocked his head and grinned. “Maybe. What’ve ya got in mind?”

Brinnnnng. Brinnnnng.—

“Is someone expecting you?” she demanded. “Well?”


“Damnit!” he growled. He grabbed the phone off the dresser.

“It’s work. Sorry, Es. Hang on, I’ve gotta take this.”

She tightened her fingers around his arm. “Make it fast,” she whispered. “I’m getting impatient.”

“You don’t need to do that. Mood’s already spoiled. You’re off the clock.” He flipped the phone open and raised it to his ear.

Backing away, she sighed and mopped her brow.

Climbed all that way. Damn, where am I gonna get the cash to pay our DMV fees now? Tessa’s only working twenty hours this week.

“Yeah … yep. Yeah. Got it. I’m on it. I’ll be right there.” He snapped the phone shut and glanced with frustration at her. “Figures. We planned this what, three weeks ago?”

“You know, Josh, your balcony is much harder to reach than you let on.”

“I can cross that ledge in one step! I used those stairs for a week when the elevator was out last year.”

She nodded down at herself pointedly. “Yeah. I’m five-one. I also got a thing about heights. And I’m wearing these bloody heels!”

“Why didn’t you cancel? Or you could’ve improvised. I’d have liked that.” He grinned.

“I took another look at the back of the building earlier today and I thought of just grabbing you after work, but we already did the whole kidnapping thing last time.”

He chuckled, his eyes glazing over, and started dressing. “Yeah, that was pretty good.”

“A cop with a fetish for criminals. You truly are one of a kind.”

“Only criminals played by lesbian prostitutes in latex catsuits with realistic props.”

“It’s not a prop. It’s my Airsoft 1911.”

“Oh yeah ... so it is.” He chuckled while gazing at it. “You’re the best, baby.”

“Don’t kid yourself, baby. I’m the only game in town.”

“True. Other prostitutes say they do everything …” he rolled his eyes “… but they really stick to job description only. But I think you’re kidding yourself sometimes.”

“Yeah? About what?”

“You own the biggest Airsoft collection I’ve ever seen. You’ve built a practice range in your backyard, and you have way too much fun planning these gigs with me. I know having sex with me bores you to tears, but you’re pretty creative about the setups. That time you managed to grab me across the street from the station without anyone noticin’ was just … crazy.”

“Not this time,” she grumbled.

“That’s because this was my dumb idea. And you did it anyway. Know what I think?”


“I think you have a suppressed desire to become an action hero.”

“Ha-ha, yeah, whatever.”

“You’re in the wrong line of work, baby. You’re a good shot and you like plannin’ ops. The whole prostitute-with-the-heart-of-gold thing … you wear it well, and you’re amazing just the way you are—but you could be so much more. You should be plannin’ ops that actually … well, do somethin’ other than get me off. You should be usin’ that sharpshooter aim for somethin’ other than amusin’ yourself on weekends.”

“Really. And what should I be?” she asked sarcastically, “A criminal? A soldier? A secret agent?”

“Naw … you should be a cop!”

Oh no, here it is again. The you-should-totally-join-the-force-and-be-my-partner obsession.

She sighed. “I think that boat sailed. Anyway—” she held out the money—“I can’t take this.”

Reaching down, he closed her hand over the bills.

“Not your fault. Plus, I think I owe you hazard pay for that balcony. I’ll drop you off on the way to the cop shop. Next time we’ll stick to somethin’ that doesn’t involve breakin’ and enterin’ through the back.”

“Breakin’ and enterin’ through the front doesn’t really have the same flair. Plus,” she grinned, “the back is your favorite.”

“Did you climb all the way up here? You’re sweatin’ like a Coke bottle at an August barbeque.”

“Do you have to live on the eighth floor?”

Damn, girl! Why didn’t you take the elevator and just use the hall door to access the stairs?”

“The front door takes that key card thingy! I couldn’t get into the building. It’s not like I could call; that would’ve ruined the entire thing. ‘Hi, could you come down and open the front door so I can come upstairs and pretend to rob and seduce you?’

“Maybe you can hijack my car next time.”

“We’ve done that one.”

“Drag me into an alley and mug me.”

“Done that one.”

“I should just send you my wishlist and let you surprise me.”

“Surprise you, at a scheduled date and time?” She raised an eyebrow.

“Raises the anticipation—” he winked—“among other things. I get to wonder whether at the scheduled date and time I’ll be kidnapped, robbed, molested, tied up in a basement and beaten ...”

She laughed. “Thanks again for being so reasonable.”

He shrugged.

“When are you gonna get yourself a girl, baby?”

“Tried today. Chick at the library. Asked her out for coffee. First time I’ve tried in a while. To find a girl, I mean—a girl I wasn’t payin’. There was somethin’ about her. You know, like she could be a real fox if she just let loose a little.”


He sighed as he sat on his bed to tie his shoes. “Forget about it. She’s a bitch.”

“Well, isn’t the phrase ‘mean librarian’ a redundancy?”

“I thought … well, she seemed different. Different than the women I usually date.”

“You’ve had terrible luck as long as we’ve been friends. I’ll never forget when you fell for Tracey in English Lit … Oh,” she groaned, “and Debra—Debra!—in the eleventh grade. Remember her? Debra? I knew from that moment you’d be a walking romantic disaster zone.”

“That’s what I mean,” he snarled, glaring up at her. “I’ve got bad taste. I’m tired of always goin’ for the bad girls, and then endin’ up disappointed when they really are … well, bad girls. I thought if I just dated someone not like the women I usually go for … Pfft.”


“I just remembered. You dated Debra too.”

“It was just that one time,” she protested.

“It was while she was dating me!”

“Ah, if she’d only realized we hung out.”

“—and compared notes.” He laughed. “Cheatin’ little minx.”

“Oh, by the way, can you still pick up Molly from daycare next week? Tessa is going on that trip after all.”

“Sure, no problem. Oh, tell Tessa that casserole went over great at the department fundraiser. That woman is a friggin’ kitchen goddess. Still up for a flic Saturday?”

“Yep. Anyway, thanks again, Josh. You’re my number one customer. You shouldn’t be. With any luck, you’ll seduce the mean librarian and she’ll make an honest man out of you and I’ll lose your business forever. I can replace you with some bore who doesn’t make me work as hard.”

“Only if the mean librarian likes latex.”

She sniggered.

“And only if she turns out be as awesome as Tessa,” he added. “You two are my gold standard for a perfect marriage.”

“I’ll tell her you said that.”

“But best mates,” he said, winking, “that’s forever.” He bent and gave her cheek a kiss.

“Cheers to that.”

“One day I’m gonna get you to enroll in the police academy.”

“Fat chance, baby.”

“We’ll see,” he said, grabbing his coat. “Let’s get goin’.”


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