"When a female bodyguard is hired to protect a rich playboy, she finds saving his life is easier than protecting her heart."When the past and present collide...
Somebody wants rich playboy Franco Callahan dead. When security expert Josephine Fortune arrives on his doorstep thanks to his sister Doriana, Franco finds it hard to refuse. He's had a secret attraction for the diminutive bodyguard since they met at Doriana's wedding five years before.
But attraction is all it is. Combat boot-clad Jo is not the kind of woman Franco usually loves and leaves. Which makes the ruse that Jo is his new live-in girlfriend just that until Jo gets a makeover. Suddenly seduction is on his mind and Franco has all the time in the world to pursue it--and Jo.
Martial artist Jo can take down men twice her size without blinking, but Franco's appeal outmaneuvers her emotional defenses. Jo's tough exterior hides a dark past, and Franco seems determined to learn her every secret. But he has secrets of his own.
The more Franco gets to know Jo, the more he realizes he needs her in his life, and not as his bodyguard. But as the threats to Franco escalate, Jo must use every one of her combat skills to protect him.
Can Jo keep both Franco and her heart safe, or will they pay the ultimate price for love?
A short while later, Jo’s wrap slipped from her shoulders as she and Franco stood just inside the restaurant waiting for Harris. With a gentle touch, Franco adjusted her wrap. His fingers slid over her nape in a soft caress that sent delicious heat over her nerve endings to settle in a knot of desire low in her belly. She stepped away from him and the enticement he offered.
“I wonder what’s keeping Harris. He should have been here by now,” she said. “He was only parked around the corner.”
“Probably got caught at a light.” Franco took a deep breath. “It’s a nice night. After that meal, I could use a walk. Why don’t we go down the street? He’ll see us.”
“Nope. We’re staying right here.”
“Don’t be a wuss. I thought you were tough.”
“Nice try. Insults don’t work with me. We don’t move until we see the car. It’s awfully quiet out there.” Jo opened her bag and slid out her gun, discreetly holding it at her side. “Stay here.” She stepped outside and peeked from the canopy covering the doorway. Elegant shops featuring beautiful clothes and upscale home furnishings lined the trendy street, deserted now. As quaint as the street was, she would have felt more secure if the restaurant was on one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
A black Town Car slid down the street. Jo breathed a sigh of relief and waited for Harris to pull up in front of the restaurant. She signaled to Franco, gazing from behind the glass doors, to stay where he was. Once she knew everything was safe, he could come out.
Gun drawn as a precaution, she scanned the street as she walked toward the car. But instead of Harris, two men, large, brawny, their faces shaded by caps, jumped out of the vehicle. They halted when they saw her and lifted their own guns.
“Get back in the car and drive away and no one gets hurt,” she said in a steely voice.
“Your one gun can’t stop our two. How about you and Callahan get into the car and we all drive away nice,” the larger of the two guys growled.
“Not happening,” Jo said.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Franco said, coming up behind her.
She had no more time to think as the first guy rushed her. Adrenaline pumping, Jo kicked off her high heels. She jumped and twisted, kicking the gun out of his hand, then slammed her own gun against his head.
“What the—?” Bleeding, he grabbed for her.
“Leave her—” Franco’s words were cut short when thug number two hit him on the head with the butt of his gun. He caught Franco under the arms as he went down, preparing to push Franco into the car.
The thug closest to Jo widened his eyes as her right foot connected with his groin. When he doubled over, she whacked him on the head again with her gun.
Franco’s thug let him drop to the ground and turned his gun on Jo. Screams came from up the street, then the sounds of running feet slapping the sidewalk. Apparently changing his mind, Franco’s thug bolted for the car. Hers, still holding his crotch, yanked open the back door and dove in. With the door still swinging wide, the car careened down the street.
Franco had regained his feet but reeled slightly, blood dripping from a cut over his eyebrow. Jo grabbed his arm, steadying him. Their Town Car sped toward them. When the car came to a screeching stop, Harris jumped out.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Someone put up construction barriers that closed off the streets and I couldn’t—”
“It’s okay,” Jo said, interrupting him. “Later. Help me get Franco into the car.”
A small group of bystanders had gathered nearby. “I called 9-1-1,” a man said.
Harris looked up from settling Franco into the backseat. “Thanks, but we can’t stick around. We need to get our friend to the hospital.”
Jo grabbed her shoes, wrap and purse where she’d dropped them on the sidewalk and slid in beside Franco. Harris slammed the door shut, then got into the driver’s seat and sped away.
“No hospital,” Franco said, rubbing his temple. Blood came off on his fingers.
“Yes, hospital,” Jo said. “And don’t ever disobey my orders again. I told you to stay inside.”
He reached out and touched her face. She felt his warm blood on her skin.
“You were magnificent,” he said just before he lost consciousness.
Jo settled him against her, cradling his head under her chin.
“Hurry,” she said to Harris.
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