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Wicked Force (Wicked Horse Vegas #4.5)
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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett…
Joslyn Meyers has taken the celebrity world by storm, drawing the attention of millions. But one fan’s affections has gone too far, and she’s running to the one place she hopes he’ll never find her – back home to Cunningham Falls.
Kynan McGrath leads The Jameson Group, a world-class security organization, and he’s ready to do what it takes to keep Joslyn safe, even if it means giving up his own life in return. The one thing he’s not prepared to lose, though, is his heart.
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Jerico must really want something big from me to spring for such an extravagant meal. It’s not the first time I’ve eaten at The Ledbury but I definitely don’t make it a habit. Trendy Notting Hill fine dining isn’t high up on my list of things that make my world go round.
But Jerico knows that. He and I have shared many an MRE in the hills of Afghanistan as our country’s military forces combined and worked together to flush the Taliban out. We’re both former marines but Jerico served the stars and stripes and I served the Queen of England. Just as our countries were strong allies, so too were Jerico and I.
I approach the maître d’s podium and smile at the lovely blonde behind it. “8PM reservation. Jameson.”
“Of course, Mr. McGrath,” she replies with an elegant incline of her head that doesn’t match the East End, Cockney accent that she tries to hide. “Mr. Jameson is already seated. If you’ll follow me.”
It’s no chore following the blonde who is wearing a simple black but well-fit dress through the restaurant. I keep my eyes pinned on her arse as we weave our way through tables set with the finest china and crystal available in London.
I almost run into the back of the woman when she comes to a stop beside a table that could hold four but is set for two. My gaze regretfully leaves her backside and I focus in on my buddy, Jerico Jameson, sitting there. He smirks at me, no doubt probably having watched me ogle the woman as we walked his way.
“Here you are,” the hostess says, and I give her a nod of thanks.
Jerico stands up as she pivots to leave and holds his hand out to me. I grip it hard, not to crush it but to pull him to me for a quick half-hug where we mutually pound each other on the back. We last saw each other over a year ago at Camp Leatherneck in the Helmand Province. I was shipping back to the Royal Marine base at Bickleigh Barracks, home to 42 Commando, where I’d served for the last six years.
When I’d left, Jerico was heading back out with his unit for more reconnaissance operations to locate insurgents. We’d, of course, stayed in contact and I was more than thrilled when he called to say he was in London and wanted to get together.
I release Jerico and he grins at me. “Did I detect you getting a little soft under that suit coat?”
Snorting, I unbutton said suit coat and pull a chair out to take a seat. “Let’s hit the gym tomorrow and compare bench presses, mate.”
Jerico laughs and sits down opposite me. “You actually look real good, Kynan. Civilian life agrees with you.”
I snort again because it most certainly doesn’t agree with me. While I knew I didn’t want to stay in the military anymore, I also have come to realize that I don’t want to continue working for my father’s luxury car dealership. While joining the family business is a fine way to spend my time until I figure out what the fuck I want to do in life, I’m not going to make a career out of wiping dust off Aston Martins sprawled across the showroom floor.
“I take it you’re not enjoying life as a car salesman,” Jerico ventures and then raises his hand to get a waiter’s attention.
“Yeah, not my life’s ambition,” I admit but say no more as the server approaches.
Jerico orders a scotch and I order a beer. When we’re alone again, I ask him, “And what have you been up to since you got out?”
Mostly we stay in contact via email with a few calls in between. I know Jerico officially got out of the marine corps just a few months ago, but I wasn’t sure what he’d been doing since.
“It’s funny you should ask,” he says as he leans casually back in his chair, placing one forearm on the table. “Because I’m here to offer you a job.”
My eyebrows snap upward. “What kind of job?”
Jerico shoots me a sly smile. “I thought we’d shoot the shit a bit and catch up on each other’s lives but if you want me to jump right in…?”
I’m not one to waste time. “Let’s not wag off. Tell me what you got.”
Expression turning serious, Jerico leans forward to put both arms on the table. “I’m starting up a security services firm. I have some financial backing and you’re the first person I’m offering a job to.”
I study him for a moment, noting the way his dark green eyes are unflinching as they stay pinned on me. “Security services can mean a lot of things. Give me a little more detail.”
Jerico shrugs. “Could be something as simple as protection services or security consultations.”