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Copyright © Lavinia Lewis, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Total-E-Bound.
Excerpt From: Bollywood Desires
"All-Star Security, how can I be of service?" Brent rested his elbows on the desk and used his thumb and forefinger to massage his temple. "I’m sorry, sir. I don’t understand Hindi...or Punjabi. Do you speak En-?" Brent stared at the handset open-mouthed before slamming it down in its cradle. He cursed under his breath.
"Another hang-up?" Jessie leant back in her chair and applied bright red polish to the nails of her left hand.
"Fifth time today and it’s only ten in the damn morning. Do you have any idea how much work we’re losing because Jack won’t get his head out of his ass and hire us a secretary who speaks Hindi?"
"We have a secretary who speaks Hindi." Jessie held up her hand to the light and admired her newly painted nails.
"Yes, and Jameela is great, but she only works three days a week. What about the rest? I’m a bodyguard, not a damn receptionist. I’m tired of this shit, and don’t you have any work to do?"
"Tea break," Jessie explained.
Brent looked at the clock on the tiny office wall. Jessie had been at work precisely forty minutes, and he hadn’t seen her do a damn thing. And when had he started using the word ‘damn’ so much?
He tugged on the collar of his white linen shirt and groaned out loud. The lousy air-conditioning unit in their small rented office only worked when it felt like it. Mumbai had two temperatures, it seemed. Hot...and ridiculously hot. Brent wasn’t a fan of either.
"Can you remind me again why we moved to this piss-poor excuse for a city in the first place?" vJessie put down the nail polish and stared at Brent, eyebrows raised. "I’d be delighted," she deadpanned. "My idiot husband got you drunk one night and convinced you the pampered princes and princesses of Bollywood would pay top dollar for experienced British security personnel. You, like the jackass you are, agreed with him. And here we are. So thanks for that. I owe you one."
Brent grinned. It was a good thing he’d known Jessie most of his life. If they’d just met he could have been easily offended by her sarcasm. But despite her dry wit, she was absolutely right. Brent had no one to blame but himself. He’d been working as a bodyguard in London when his best friend Jack had come up with the idea to move to Mumbai. Jack was convinced that Bollywood, India’s version of Hollywood, could do with a few more bodyguards and before Brent had time to think seriously on the idea they were already on the plane. That would teach him not to be so damn impulsive.
"Watch your mouth," he joked. "And if you value your life I wouldn’t let Jack hear you call him an idiot either."
Jessie snorted. "It’s nothing he hasn’t heard from me before. Besides, he happens to like my mouth." She grinned salaciously. "Especially when I use it to—"
"Please, God, don’t give me any details," Brent interrupted. "I only ate breakfast an hour ago and I’d like to keep it down."
Jessie chuckled. "Come on, Brent, you love hearing about my sexploits...admit it."
Brent was about to argue the fact when the phone on her desk started ringing. Jessie smirked and quickly picked up the handset. Witch.
"All-Star Security, how can we help?"
Brent’s eyebrows all but disappeared behind his hairline when Jessie began nodding and speaking to the caller in English. How the...?
"Slow down, sir, and start again. How exactly can we help you? Your client has been receiving death threats? I see, and has he reported the matter to the police? Yes, okay, yes. Oh, well, that does sound like something we can help you with. Yes, sir. I can get one of our top security experts to come out and have a chat to you about some of the services we provide." Jessie looked at Brent and rolled her eyes. "No, sir—the consultation would be free of charge."
Brent watched on in complete amazement as Jessie took the booking and finished the call. When she hung up she grinned, rather too smugly for his liking.
"What were you saying about needing another secretary?"
Brent frowned. "Just give me the damn details."
* * * *
"Bhenchod! Are you out of your fucking mind? No way am I having some amateur, star-struck, mall security guards following me around all day like puppies. I haven’t got time for this, Rahul. The IIFAs are in a couple of months, and until the award ceremony is over I need to be more accessible to my fans, not less. If we leave it another few weeks, all of the media hype will have died down and I’ll be able to continue using my current agency."
Raj knew he sounded like a petulant child but he felt entitled, damn it. How the hell was he supposed to get used to a new set of bodyguards with everything else he had going on in his life? And what if they couldn’t be trusted? He needed men around that would be able to keep their mouths shut about his personal life. The last thing he needed was people around him that would go blabbing to the press at the first opportunity.
"With all due respect, Rajkumar, you have no choice in the matter. A guard from your agency shot a man in cold blood. That isn’t going to go away. The press will never forget it, and the threats you’ve been receiving cannot be ignored. In any case, the agency I plan on employing is British, not Indian. A few of their bodyguards are members of the British Bodyguard Association. I did some checking and they are the best in their field, so you don’t have to worry about your guards being star-struck—they probably won’t even know who you are."