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Mister Bodyguard (Morgan Brothers #4)
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A bodyguard, a beauty, and a bet.
“I’m hiring you to do more than guard her, Zander,” my new boss explained. “You’re gonna be her rock. Her human Valium. Her trusted friend. And she’s gonna be your mission from God.”
My buddies laughed when I told them about my ridiculous new job. They said, “Three months on a tour with a world famous beauty, glued to her hip, catering to her every whim? A hundred bucks says you’re gonna break down and bang her within the first month.”
The job, the bet, the girl. It was nothing but fun and games . . . until it became dead serious.
MISTER BODYGUARD is a standalone, friends to lovers contemporary romance in the MORGAN BROTHERS SERIES from USA Today Bestselling Author Lauren Rowe. The story of Zander Shaw—Keane Morgan’s devoted best friend who is an honorary Morgan Brother—and the pop star who brings him to his knees.
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Have a seat, Mr. Shaw,” Reed Rivers’ brunette assistant says, indicating a black leather couch in a small reception area. “Mr. Rivers will be with you shortly.”
“Thank you.” I unbutton my suit jacket, take a seat, and carefully place my résumé on the couch next to me.
“Would you like a glass of water?” the assistant asks.
I take in the small reception area. I’ve never been inside a record label before, but this is exactly how I’d pictured one. Modern, minimalistic furnishings. The LA skyline stretching beyond a nearby floor-to-ceiling window. And, of course, what record label would be complete without gold records, album covers, and framed photos of musicians lining the walls?
I scan the photos and spot the face of that white rapper, 2Real—the one who’s recently been topping the charts with his smash hit, “Crash.” My eyes drift again and stop on the unmistakable green eyes of Aloha Carmichael, the Disney star who grew up in front of the world and, when her TV show ended, reinvented herself as a pop star. My gaze drifts again and lands on the four guys of Red Card Riot. Even if Dax and his band, 22 Goats, weren’t poised to jet off to London to open for them on their world tour in a matter of days, I’d recognize that powerhouse band.
My stomach tightens, reminding me how much I want to walk out of here today as the newest member of Red Card Riot’s security team. Or, rather, as I like to think of it, 22 Goats’ security team. Getting to watch my honorary baby brother and his band open every night in jam-packed arenas across the world—seeing Dax transform into the global superstar he’s always been destined to become—would be a dream come true. Not to mention a welcome distraction from the acute ache that’s been ravaging my heart since Daphne blindsided me on Thursday night.
After four days of thinking about it—or, actually, obsessing about it—I’m no closer to understanding why she dumped me. I admit I’ve never particularly wanted to move to New York, but, like I told Daphne on Thursday night, I was willing to do it for her. Because I would have done anything for that beautiful girl. For fuck’s sake, when Keane—my lifelong best friend, my roommate, my Wifey, my brother from another mother—moved from Seattle to LA three months ago to pursue his Hollywood dreams and the girl of his dreams, I stayed behind for no other reason than to be with Daphne. I can’t follow my Wifey to LA when my future wife is going to art school in Seattle. That’s what I told Keane at the airport three months ago when he pestered me to join him a thousand miles down south. And I didn’t even doubt my decision to stay in Seattle with Daphne, despite how excruciating it was to say goodbye to Keane, because I knew I’d found the girl who’d taken Zander Shaw off the market for good.
Well, that and I wasn’t going to be a damn fool and give up my reasonably priced corner apartment only to have Keane come back to Seattle a couple months later asking for his old room back, either because he’d fucked things up with his new girlfriend, Maddy, or because, despite my boy’s ebullient charm, he’d found out breaking into modeling and acting in La La Land wasn’t quite as easy as he’d hoped.
As it turned out, my low-key worries about Keane Morgan making it in LA were unfounded. After only two months in Tinseltown, it was clear my boy wasn’t just killing it in LA, he was mass-murdering it. Just that fast, he’d already shot three small speaking roles and landed two national commercials plus a modeling gig for Calvin Klein underwear. And he’d moved off his little brother Dax’s couch and into his girlfriend Maddy’s place across the hall.
So, what did I do then, when I realized Keane wouldn’t be returning to Seattle? Did I ditch Daphne, my girlfriend of mere months, to join my lifelong best friend in LA? No, although that’s what I would have done if I’d known Daphne was gonna drop me like a bad habit a month later to attend art school in New York. No, back when I thought there was no “I” in “love,” when I thought Daphne was all-in the same as me, I did what any man caught between a rock and a hard place would do: I asked Daphne if she’d be willing to transfer to an art college in LA at the end of her next school term.
“I’m one step ahead of you, Z!” Daphne chirped. “I submitted an application to Cal Arts a month ago!”
Of course, I called Keane right away to tell him the spectacular news.
“But what if Daphne doesn’t get accepted to that art school in LA?” Keane asked.