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People think they have Camille Logan nailed: daddy’s girl; beautiful, spoiled young woman with her father’s bank balance to fund her lifestyle. But Camille is determined to have a life free from his strings. Out on her own, she’s made mistakes, including one that found her clawing her way back after a stint in rehab and plenty of bad press. Now, after fighting so hard to be independent and happy, she finds her life threatened as a result of her father’s ruthless business dealings. Caught between resentment and fear, Camille prepares herself for the measures her father will take to protect her. But nothing could prepare her for the ex-SAS sniper who crashes into her life.
Jake Sharp resides in his own personal hell. He was distracted from duty once before, and the consequences were devastating–both personally and professionally. He vowed never to let that happen again. Accepting the job of bodyguard to Camille Logan isn’t the kind of distraction from his demons he should take. Women and Jake don’t mix well, yet protecting the heiress seems the lesser of two evils. But Jake soon discovers that she isn’t the woman she’s perceived to be. She’s warm, compassionate, her presence settling, and his duty to protect her soon goes deeper than a well-paid job, no matter how hard he fights it. He needs absolution. He comes to need Camille. But he knows he can’t have both.
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His eyes, wide and terrified, stare up at me, his body frozen beneath mine. The heat, the dust, the sounds of screams around me—it’s all making it nearly impossible to focus. But I must focus. I blink rapidly, shifting to keep him secure, pushing him into the gravel and grit under me. I’m not supposed to be here. I should be out of sight in the surrounding hills, invisible amid the overgrowth and rocks. The unknown, unseen threat.
The man I’m holding prisoner is thin and malnourished, and the whites of his eyes are tinged by yellow. This brainwashed fucker has taken out two of my comrades. The intense ache in my shoulder reminds me that he nearly took me out, too. I should have stayed in position. I’ve fucked up. A reckless, selfish need to rain holy hell on these fucked-up arseholes has resulted in the deaths of two soldiers. It should be me lying dead in the dirt a few meters away. I deserve it.
His heart is beating frantically behind the thin material of his filthy T-shirt. I can feel the thuds punching into my chest, even through the layers of my clothing and bulletproof vest. But that evil glint in his glazed eyes is still there as he mumbles a jumble of foreign words up at me.
He should be.
“See you in hell.” I pull the trigger and put a bullet in his skull.
* * *
I bolt up in bed, sweating and heaving, the thin sheets sticking to every part of me they touch.
“Motherfucker,” I breathe, allowing my eyes to adjust to the early morning glow until I can see the inky skyline of London from the panoramic window in my bedroom. It’s 6 a.m. I know that without even looking at the clock on my bedside cabinet, and it isn’t only the rising sun that tells me so. The alarm in my head that explodes at the same time every morning is both a burden and a blessing.
Throwing my legs off the side of the bed, I grab my phone, not surprised when I find no messages or missed calls.
“Morning, world,” I mutter, tossing it back onto the nightstand before extending my arms toward the ceiling, stretching my tight muscles. I roll my shoulders, breathing some air into my lungs before letting it stream out calmly through my nose. Leaning forward, I rest my forearms on my knees and stare out across the city, pushing back the nightmare to a safe corner of my mind as I breathe slowly through it. In and out. In and out. In and out. I close my eyes and thank the power of forged serenity. I’m a master at it.
But then my muscles tense all over again when the bed shifts beneath me. My hand slips straight under the mattress to pull out my VP9 before my mind has even voiced its command.
The gun is aimed at my waking target before my eyes have even focused.
I’m on my feet, naked as the day I was born, arms steady and stretched at full length in front of me. The 9mm handgun fits too well in my grasp.
“Hmmmmm.” The soft purr sinks into my mind, and I take in the tangle of long, naked limbs stretching out on my bed. My mind plays catch up, taking me back to the bar that I landed in last night, and I immediately shove the gun out of sight, just in time for her eyes to flutter open. She smiles lazily and lengthens her slim, tight body on a stretch, a calculated move designed to have my mouth watering and my cock twitching with want.
Too bad for her. There’s only one thing on my mind. And she isn’t it.
“Come back to bed,” she whispers, lustfully gazing over all 6 feet, 4 inches of my body as she props herself up on her slender elbow, her chin resting in her hand, long fingers drumming the smooth skin of her cheek.
I don’t give her the attention she’s demanding. I’m anticipating a very disappointed woman on the horizon. Same scene, different day.
I walk away, feeling the stabs of a filthy look being thrown at my back. “Sorry, I have things to do,” I say bluntly over my shoulder, without giving her the privilege of my attention while I speak. I haven’t got time for this. “Feel free to help yourself to a banana on the way out.” I round the corner into my bathroom.
The floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls give me a 180-degree view of the city, but all I can see is my haggard face in the mirror. I sigh and brace my hand on the side of my sink as I flip on the tap and stare at my pitiful reflection. I look as shit as I feel. Damn fucking Jack Daniel’s. My palm comes up and runs over the roughness of my jaw, just as I hear “You’re a fucking asshole!” followed by the telltale signs of a naked woman falling into my bathroom. I can’t disagree with her. I am an arsehole. An uptight, vengeful arsehole. I wish I could let the peace and quiet settle over me, but in my life there is no peace. I see their faces every time I close my eyes. Danny. Mike. They were like brothers, and even four years later, I know it’s because of me they’re dead. My stupidity. My selfishness. There’s no escape. Only distraction. Work, drink, and sex are all I have. And without an assignment at the moment, I’m down to two.