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Hunter Sloane is a no nonsense ex-mercenary with his own security firm.
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“Look this way Tara. Over here Tara.” She turned this way and that like a puppet on a string as flashbulbs went crazy with each turn. The dress she wore didn’t leave much to the imagination, but I guess that’s all part of the image.
She wore an engaging smile but I could see the strain on her face and the barely hidden tension in her body. She moved almost as if she were following a script, like someone who counted the steps while learning a new dance. I’m guessing she wasn’t too fond of this part of her job.
I walked a few paces back as usual and let her do her thing, my eyes peeled to the crowd, my senses on full alert. This was the most dangerous aspect of the job, her out in the open like this with so many unknowns in the vicinity; at least it had been until a day or two ago.
That my friend is when I lost my damn mind; when the man I’d always thought myself to be, morphed into this stranger whose skin I now find myself walking around in. Days later I still can’t make sense of this shit, but it is what it is. I’m nothing if not flexible.
I’m not in the habit of being taken by surprise though. My life is too structured for that. But I have to say that for the first time since early childhood, something has been able to get under my skin, and I’m fucked if I like it. A man’s life shouldn’t be changed when he least expects it for fuck sake.
I feel listless and out of control, like something else is at the helm. For a man like me, a former marine accustomed to discipline and order, this bullshit is fucking with my head. I’m not even going to get into the number it’s doing on my heart.
I never give that shit a second thought, except when it comes to its health. So you can imagine when the shit sparked for no fucking reason, like someone took an electric shock to it, the fuckery damn near stopped me in my tracks.
I knew down to the fucking minute it happened, and why. And had I been a damn female, I would’ve written the shit down somewhere for posterity’s sake. It’s one of those things they tend to want to remember, down to the date and time. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be forgetting, memo or not.
Since I’m not a girl and wasn’t built that way, I stored the shit to memory and let that be enough. I had no worries about forgetting. Who can forget the minute their whole life changed for fuck sake? The shit that’s plaguing me now is, do I let myself get suckered in, or should I fight the good fight and put an end to this shit before it goes too far?
The shit has been on my mind for the last day and a half, taking over all aspects of my life. ‘She’ has taken over my well structured world and turned it to shit. A little slip of a girl who never speaks above a whisper, and who’s so far outside the norm of my ideal that it’s hard to fathom why the hell this is even happening.
I didn’t give anything away though as I kept a professional distance while she gave this crowd of vultures what they wanted. When the strain was starting to show in the slight tremble of the hand she had on her hip, something only I could see because I was so intensely focused on her, I moved in and got her out of there.
She didn’t argue, not even when I kept my hand in the small of her back as I led her away from the glaring lights to the safety of the car. I had my own gutful of tension but for entirely different reasons, at least I thought they were. But for all I know she could be suffering the same fate as I.
I’ve been on her for a couple weeks now. Her handlers had been the ones to hire me; well not me exactly, they’d contacted my firm, but all my guys were already out on other jobs so I took the bait. Fucking fate I guess, and even I know that no matter how bad a motherfucker is, he can’t fuck with fate.
It was the first time since I’d started the company that we’d been stretched so thin. We were in high demand all of a sudden because of a job we’d handled six months earlier. Up until then we mostly flew under the radar. Our fees were high enough that we didn’t need more than a few jobs a year to keep the business afloat.
But after that job when we went into a foreign country to bring back the socialite daughter of a mogul, who’d been taken for ransom by rebels in the fucking Gobi desert, shit blew up and we were still trying to figure out what the fuck.