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They call me the Cherry Popper.
Because there’s only one kind of woman I like to screw.
I pay top dollar for the experience. And sometimes women don’t want me to pay at all.
I get off to their tightness, their tears. I get off to the drops of blood on the sheets. All men have fantasies…I just happen to be rich enough to fund mine.
When Monroe comes into my life, she has a hefty student loan that she can never pay back. On top of that, she’s responsible for paying for her mother’s cancer treatment…even though she lost her anyway. Suffocating in debt, she doesn’t have many options.
To sell her virtue to the Cherry Popper.
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It was that time of the month.
I dreaded picking up the mail in the lobby of my apartment building because that was the only thing waiting in my box. Bills and pizza coupons.
The pizza coupons were the only thing I had to look forward to.
Because I was definitely eating on a budget.
I sat at the kitchen table in my apartment and opened each envelope.
The first was a bill for my student loan for my undergrad. The second was a bill for my masters. The third was a medical bill. And then I had to worry about the other essentials, like electricity and water. After deducting all my bills from my paycheck, I was left with a hundred bucks.
I had to survive for the next two weeks on a hundred bucks.
I stared at the papers around me and felt the hopelessness inside my chest. The reason I’d gone to college was so I could have a good job someday. Now I was a marketing executive for a clothing company. I had a great salary and benefits. But the job was in Manhattan, so I had to live in the city—which cost a fortune on its own. With all my other bills, I was broke. I was living just to pay bills at this point.
So much for the American dream.
I would move out of the city and commute, but I couldn’t afford a car. I couldn’t even afford a down payment on one. I could move to Brooklyn or Queens, but having a decent apartment was the one luxury I wanted to maintain.
But if I wanted food, I’d have to give it up.
And I did like food…a lot.
I hated to sit around and feel sorry for myself, but tonight, that was impossible. This would be the next twenty years of my life, working to pay bills. I would work forty hours a week just to come home and eat crackers, sleep, and then do it all over again. I didn’t even have enough money to go out on the weekends. I would never find a guy to spend my life with because he would run the second he heard how much debt I had.
And I couldn’t blame him. I would do the exact same thing.
“You aren’t going to order anything?” Cindy sat across from me at the table in the deli. We both worked in the same office, so we took our breaks together at the same time. She worked in accounting.
“Not hungry.” I just sipped my water and thought about the crackers I would eat at my desk when I returned.
“Are you sure there’s nothing wrong?” she asked. “You’ve been down all week.”
Because I was drowning in debt. “Do you have a roommate?”
“I’m looking for a roommate. And a new apartment. I just can’t afford my place anymore.”
“I have three roommates, actually.”
“Three?” I asked incredulously. “Are you in a townhouse?”
“No. Two-bedroom apartment. Two girls per bedroom.”
Oh my god, they were like rats. “Seriously? What do you do when you bring a guy around?”
“Go to his place,” she said. “There’s just not enough room there. Only one bathroom.”
That sounded like a nightmare. “How much do you pay in rent?”
My jaw dropped. “You pay a thousand dollars for that?”
She nodded. “It’s all I can afford. How much do you pay for yours?”
“Two thousand…but it’s too expensive. I can’t swing it anymore.”
“What are you talking about? You must make at least $70,000 a year.”
“Yeah…but I have a ton of student loans. Even if I were only paying a thousand dollars in rent, I would still be drowning.” I left out the part about the medical expenses, which I would be paying off until the day I died.
“That’s too bad,” she said. “I had a friend who was in a really tight spot. She was so desperate, she sold her virginity to Slate Remington.”
I heard every word she said, but it took a few seconds to actually process it. “She sold her virginity…? People still do that?”
“Yep.” She picked up her sandwich with both hands and took a bite. “And she got a fat check for it.”
“A hundred thousand.”
My jaw dropped again. “He paid that much for it?”
She nodded. “That’s his thing. They call him the Cherry Popper.”
“That’s his thing?” I asked. “So, he does this on a regular basis?”
“That’s what I hear.”
The guy sounded like a huge douchebag, even if he paid well for the product. He was probably some rich asshole who had so much money he didn’t know what to do with it—so he spent it on pussy. He could buy whores, but instead, he wanted something cleaner. But despite how much I despised it, I could really use that money… It would take away a good chunk of my debt. “What’s his name again?”
“Slate Remington. You don’t know who he is?”