Home > Lost & Found (PASS #4)

Lost & Found (PASS #4)
Author: Freya Barker

 

Chapter One

 

 

Bree

 

“No.”

I’m fuming.

“It’s not a question.”

Yanis Mazur, long-time boss and perpetual pain in my ass, pulls up that arrogant right eyebrow of his.

“That’s not in my job description.”

I fist my hands on my hips. Not that I really believe it would in any way intimidate Yanis, not much does.

“It’s an assignment within an existing contract that requires an operative. That’s you.”

He dismisses me as he goes back to scribbling notes on a legal pad.

That really pisses me off and I lean down on his desk.

“Get someone else to do it.”

He emits what sounds like a growl and I watch with some measure of satisfaction as his nostrils flare. Reluctantly his gaze meets my glare.

“Who would you suggest to be an appropriate candidate to double for a thirty-eight-year-old, five-foot-nothing brunette then? Dimi? At six four and with full-on facial hair? Or maybe Shep, black and bald?”

Dammit.

I don’t want to attend a Denver movie premiere, I don’t want to pretend to be Bobby Lee Rose, and I really don’t want to wear a goddamn dress.

Our client, Boulder Records, hired us last year to provide additional security for some of their A-list artists at certain public events. Now one of those A-listers—country singer Bobby Lee Rose—has landed herself in a private rehab facility for alcohol and substance abuse. Boulder Records desperately wants to keep that information under wraps, so they’ve requested a double to attend a highly publicized movie premiere in her place. Bobby Lee’s latest hit is also the movie’s theme song and she is expected to make an appearance.

I have the unfortunate honor to be five foot two, brunette, and somewhat similar in shape and looks to the singer. It saves the record label from having to hire an actress to play the role, thus reducing the risk Bobby Lee’s true whereabouts will be found out.

I see the reasoning behind it, but I’m not an actress. I’m a security specialist, and this assignment forces me well out of my comfort zone.

“No one’s gonna buy it,” I try as a last-ditch effort.

“They will. The right clothes, hair, makeup; you’ll be a dead ringer,” he reassures me. “Besides, Roddy Cantrell is going to be by your side.”

Ugh. Bobby Lee’s on-again, off-again boyfriend is not exactly an incentive. The guy is a sleezeball. Also a country singer for the same label, but more known for his collection of famous conquests than he ever was for his music. If I were Bobby Lee I might’ve started self-medicating too.

“Nobody better ask me to sing,” I grumble, knowing I’m beat.

His mouth stretches in one of his rare grins, unsettling my equilibrium.

“If anyone asks questions, you have laryngitis. Bobby Lee just finished her tour; it wouldn’t be a stretch.”

With that, Yanis turns back to his laptop and this time I heed the cue and take my leave.

“Oh, one more thing,” he calls after me as I walk out of his office. “Lena has your ticket. Sue is expecting you tonight and picking you up at the airport in Denver. You’ll be staying at the house in Deer Creek.”

I grind my molars so hard my jaw hurts as I make my way back to my desk.

Great.

Sue Paxton is Bobby Lee’s personal assistant, and what Yanis so modestly calls the house in Deer Creek is in fact an ostentatious gated mansion about forty-five minutes out of Denver, in the middle of nowhere. I’d rather stay at a hotel in town so I can be on my way home on the first flight out after I make my appearance.

I spend the next few hours at my desk, working on stuff I’d hoped to be able to do this weekend. Not like I have much of a personal life anyway. Not even here at the office where only Yanis and Radar, our computer specialist, have a space of their own. Most days I share the large office space with my colleagues, Hutch and Dimi. Even Kai and Shep, who take care of most of our international assignments, have desks in the bullpen. I’ve learned to wear noise-cancelling earbuds, play a rainfall soundtrack, and keep my head down when I need to concentrate.

A hand appears in front of my face and I swing around in my seat to find Lena waving a ticket at me. I pull out my earbuds.

“If you still need to pack, you need to leave now,” she says, a stern look on her face.

“What time is?”

“Plane leaves in an hour. You need to hustle.”

“Shit.”

It’ll take me ten minutes to get home, five to pack, and fifteen to get to the airport. I’m going to have to run.

I make it onto the plane with just seconds to spare and the annoyed flight attendant waves me to my seat. I shove my pack under my seat and quickly buckle up. It’s only an hour flight and I spend almost more time navigating Denver Airport—even with just a carry-on—to locate Sue.

She only has me beat by a few inches but just like me, Bobby Lee’s PA works hard at being inconspicuous, which makes her hard to spot in a crowd. Dirty blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail matching my own, nondescript clothing, and a pair of sensible shoes make her blend in. Anything to defer attention away from her and toward her high-maintenance employer.

“We have to make a stop at Roz Taylor to fit your dress.”

She starts talking when we’re still ten feet apart.

“Hello to you too.”

She almost looks surprised.

“Oh, right, hi. Sorry, force of habit.”

“So…a dress? Do I have to?”

“Sorry,” she starts, not looking in the least apologetic. “It was commissioned from the designer six months ago for this purpose.”

I let out a sigh.

“Fine. But I hate heels, can I at least wear flats?”

That earns me a look of abject horror.

“Roz would have a heart attack. The dress was intended to wear with cowboy boots. Standard two-inch heel, can you handle that?”

I nod. What a relief, I’d envisioned myself teetering across the red carpet on a pair of stilettos.

Roz turns out to be a matronly, graying woman, who looks more like someone’s grandmother than the hottest, up-and-coming designer, as Sue claimed her to be on the way here.

The dress she fits me into is an old-style barmaid’s dress. My B-cup tits almost hit my chin when she cinches up the corset that creates an impressive waist on my less than hourglass figure. Tough to breathe, but all I have to do is walk from the car to the theater, sit down in a chair for the two hours or so the movie will take, and then someone can cut the contraption off me.

Forty-five minutes later, we walk out of the studio to Sue’s car. Roz is going to drop by the house a few hours before the event to help me ‘finish the look.’ I don’t know what that means. I’m not sure I want to. They whispered something about big hair and a smoky eye while I was in the dressing room putting my own clothes back on. I have my fingers crossed they were talking about somebody else.

I also have instructions to eat light, since the dress is tight on me and I can’t be bloated. In my line of work, you eat when you can and you do it hearty. Never know when the next meal will be. My request to stop at My Brother’s Bar to pick up a Johnny Burger is nixed in favor of a salad from Parsley I don’t think could sustain a gerbil.

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