Nathaniel is a cop, assigned to protect professor and well-known writer
Asher Munro. Asher has been receiving threats, and as the situation gets
worse and worse, Nathaniel and Asher have to spend a lot of time together,
for Asher's protection.
Their attraction goes far beyond what a policeman should feel for someone
under his care, so Nathaniel denies what he feels, even when Asher confronts
him with his own needs. Someone wants Asher dead, though, and Nathaniel
wants the man very much alive. Can they keep Asher safe and deal with what
they feel for each other?
A frown creased the smooth brow of Ellie Holden, her deep blue eyes narrowed
in concern as she paced up and down on the sidewalk outside the offices of
the Police Department, occasionally turning toward the stairs, only to
falter and return to her pacing, the envelope clutched in her hand becoming
creased and moist from the sweat of her palm.
What the hell was she doing? This was none of her business. If Professor
Munro wasn't bothered, why should she be?
But she couldn't make herself walk away. She liked the professor, he didn't
Ellie turned determinedly toward the stairs and managed to climb three
before groaning and doing a 180 and planting her backside on the bottom
Problem was, she didn't want Professor Munro to get mad at her -- he had
already made his feelings on the subject clear. He might not like her making
decisions for him.
Maybe he was right. Maybe it was nothing
or maybe it was something.
Ellie hung her head and groaned again.
"Ellie?" Her head snapped up at the sound of her name.
"Are you okay, sweetie?" Anna Keegan asked, balancing two Starbucks cups in
one hand to push back a stray lock of red hair that had escaped the neat bun
at the nape of her neck.
"Hey, Anna." Ellie smiled wanly, standing and brushing off the seat of her
jeans. "I was just" She trailed off with a shrug.
Anna tried not to show her concern, unused to the younger woman being
anything other than outgoing and cheerful. "You here to see Nathaniel?" she
Ellie glanced at the crumpled envelope in her hand. "I was just, uh, well"
She sighed in exasperation at her own indecision. Okay, this didn't have to
be a big thing. She could show him the letter, see what he thought -- the
professor didn't even have to know.
"Yes, yes I am," Ellie said, more firmly than she felt.
Anna indicated the stairs with a cup laden hand. "After you."
After only the slightest of hesitations, Ellie climbed the stairs to the
front door, aware of Anna watching her closely. She held the door open for
Anna and pressed the button for the elevator. As they rode up to the third
floor in an uncomfortable silence, Ellie could feel the tension in her
shoulders travel down her arms, and panic seized her breath. She had to
fight the urge to press the stop button.
The elevator dinged and the doors slid open at the third floor. Ellie moved
toward the bullpen on leaden legs, nodding and returning greetings from
detectives and uniforms alike.
"Yo, Nat, you've got a visitor." Ellie flinched at the sound of Anna's voice
next to her, feeling inexplicably exposed.
Detective Nathaniel Holden looked up from the file on his desk, deep blue
eyes lighting up, a smile turning up the corners of his mouth at the sight
of his daughter. He uncurled his long, muscular frame from the chair,
crossed the bullpen in a few strides and enveloped Ellie in a bear hug. "Hi,
honey, come to visit the old man?"
"Hi, Daddy," Ellie replied, returning the hug.
Her lack of enthusiasm caught Nathaniel's attention. He pulled back and held
Ellie at arms length. "Honey? Something wrong?"
Ellie looked at the envelope, her fingers flexing, her whole body exuding
indecision. She finally looked up at Nathaniel. "Can we talk? Somewhere
"Sure," he said, his concern evident in his voice. He draped an arm around
Ellie's shoulders. "Let's go into the break room." He steered her toward the
room at the corner of the office, briefly looking over his shoulder to Anna,
a question in his eye. His partner, still holding the two Starbucks cups,
shrugged and turned toward her own desk, opposite Nathaniel's.