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The Bodyguard: A Navy SEAL Romance
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I never thought I’d see Makayla Pierson again.
When I walked away from Makayla ten years ago, I swore I’d never look back. So did she, after the haunting lie I told her… But it was the only way to keep her safe and as far away from me as possible.
She’s better off without me. I don’t care if I’m broken without her.
But years later, when I’m hired by her agent to act as her bodyguard, I can’t keep myself away, especially when I learn how much danger she’s in.
Now she’s mine for a week, and I’m not going to let anything happen to her. Even if she seems intent on making my life a living hell. She always did know how to hold a grudge.
She doesn’t have to like me, she just has to follow every single one of my commands.
There’s only one thing I’m not sure I can protect her from.
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Ten Years Ago
Jesse Slade is the kind of guy my parents always told me to stay away from. He’s the guy every girl fantasizes about in the dark moments when no one’s watching–everyone from the sweet goodie-two-shoes girls to the party girls. He’s trouble. Broad shouldered, sculpted-like-a-god, trouble. Simple as that.
And he’s my boyfriend.
Don’t ask me how. Seriously. I couldn’t tell you. To act like I had any say in the matter would be a joke. The truth is Jesse chose me, and I had as much a chance of resisting him as I would of resisting getting swooped up by a tornado.
That’s Jesse. My gorgeous tornado of a boyfriend, and I wouldn’t trade him away for anything in the world. He leans on the counter beside me now, waiting for our milkshakes at Donovan’s Creamery.
Today was our last day of high school. Half the school is already here, laughing over milkshakes, burgers, and fries. The other half is probably already down at Ward’s Creek swinging into the crystal blue water like it’s their last day on Earth.
Everyone’s happy and full of excitement over what comes next, but something strange is happening with Jesse today. He isn’t carrying himself with his usual confident carelessness and he hasn’t tried to make me laugh all day. Most disturbing of all is that he’s hardly touched me all day. Normally, he always finds little ways to touch me, whether it’s kissing me passionately or just idly running his fingers along my back.
Something’s wrong. I know it so surely that it settles in the pit of my stomach like a rock. We’ve been together six months, and sometimes it feels like six years. It is my first long-term relationship, and I hope it will be my last. Yet I can’t shake the feeling everything is about to change.
“C’mon, babe,” Jesse says as he grabs our milkshakes and leads us toward our table at the corner.
He takes the seat across from me which only further proves that something isn’t right. My Jesse can’t stand to sit so far away from me, from day one he has always found a way to sit right beside me as if he can’t breathe without me being close. He wears only a simple white t-shirt and jeans, but the way the fabric of his shirt hugs the peaks and valleys of his muscular frame and broad shoulders is almost too much to take. Jesse rakes a hand through his messy, dark hair, pushing it away from his face only for half of it to fall right back into messy disarray.
“We gotta talk,” he says, not even touching his milkshake.
My hands tighten around the stem of my glass and my heart threatens to pound right out of my chest. Jesse was always too wild to be tied down forever, too powerful to stay in one place or with one person. Somewhere deep down I always knew that, even if I didn’t admit it to myself. I always knew, and still I hoped we could somehow beat the odds and I’d be able to stay with him forever.
I watch his lips move in what feels like total silence, not even needing to hear the words to know what he’s saying.
I sit in Bistro 51 with a plate of coffee and coconut crusted, dry-aged steak in front of me and the most delicious lobster macaroni and cheese steaming in the center of the table. Kennedy and I are seated in the V.I.P. section as a courtesy, but even that doesn’t always stop fans from coming up to our table and asking for autographs or pictures. As I take a bite of the steak and let the flavors unfold on my tongue one at a time, I wonder how I ever got this far.
“Do you ever feel like you’re faking it?” I ask Kennedy, my best friend and co-star on Stalked.
She looks up at me through thick eyelashes and purses her pouty lips. “All the time,” she says in a matter-of-fact way. “I can’t remember the last real orgasm I’ve had that didn’t come from my vibrator.”
I can’t help grinning a little. “No. I mean faking this.” I twirl my finger around, encompassing everything from the severe oil paintings in thick, expensive frames hanging on the dark wood-paneled walls to the servers who glide from table to table wielding thousand dollar bottles of wine. “It feels like just a few months ago we were eating ramen in our dorm, trying so hard to convince ourselves we weren’t making the biggest mistake of our lives moving out here. And now…”
“Now we’re living the lives of movie stars?” she asks. “It’s because we are movie stars. Basically, since TV shows are the new movies. At least that’s what Gary says. You shouldn’t feel like you’re faking anything, Makayla. You’ve earned this. Chug that fucking wine like it owes you money! Eat the steak with your bare hands if you want because you know no one will say a word to the great Makayla Pierson. Everybody and their dog watches you on TV and they adore you. Seriously.”