|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Protecting His Assets
Bad Boy Bosses
By J.K. Coi, Kate Fall, Tracy Montoya
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Kristina Coi
All rights reserved.
"This is bullshit!" There weren't any appropriate words to describe what Steve Nolan was feeling right now ... but that would do for starters.
He closed his hand into a fist on the thick oak desktop and glared at his business partner, Ben Harrison. "How am I supposed to get anything done with a babysitter dogging my every move?"
"Christ, Nolan. You're the one who made this course of action necessary. Maybe if you'd told me what was going on so I didn't get blindsided by emails from psychos, I would have given you the same consideration when I hired the security consultant." Harrison stopped pacing back and forth in front of Steve's office window long enough to level him with an expression of aggravation that managed to look simultaneously like heartburn.
Steve groaned and mentally talked himself down. The situation was making him crazy, and he hadn't meant to take it out on his friend ... or the as-yet-unknown bodyguard Ben had hired without consulting him, who wasn't even here to defend himself. Yet.
"And just what the hell did you think was going to happen when I found out what's been going on?" Ben continued.
"Nothing," he said, still feeling stubborn, combative, and frustrated as hell. "Because it's none of your damn business."
"When it starts to affect Optimus Inc., you bet your ass it's my business."
Ben was right about that at least. Nolan sighed, stopping himself from dragging his hand through his hair. "Listen, I'm doing everything I can to find out who's behind this, but I'm handling it. The police didn't seem to think there was anything to worry about, so —"
"If you're so great at handling this, why did I have to call the cops? Why haven't you mentioned this before, done something about it sooner? Since when do you just shrug off a death threat?"
"Technically, it wasn't a death threat. More like ... an expression of peevishness." In fact there'd been five of them. Five unsigned, undated notes slipped beneath his apartment doorway — and in one case, the door of a hotel room on the thirty-first floor of the Four Seasons. They may not have promised his death, but they'd threatened him with professional ruin and disfigurement of important personal appendages.
"Call it whatever the hell you want, but you aren't fooling anyone anymore. Real danger or not, this is already affecting our company and has to be taken seriously. That 'expression of peevishness' was leaked to the press, and if any more similar notes find their way there, our freshly released, brand new stock is going to plummet down to less than nothing before we even get the certificates printed." Ben glared. "And just for the record, the police didn't say there was nothing to worry about. They said they would look into it and that you should be careful."
Steve and Harrison had met through a common business associate and formed Optimus Inc. together. Nolan had the business savvy and public connections, while Harrison had the tech know-how. Their advanced machine-learning software specialized in AI analytics, and after a lot of work and an influx of capital from their new investors, they had finally released it three months ago to massive success.
"So I'll be careful, but I don't need a bodyguard," he said.
"It's a security consultant."
Steve snorted. "You can call it what you want, that doesn't change the fact that you're trying to saddle me with a babysitter."
"Too bad. I know you too well. Until we get some answers, this person sticks to you like glue."
Ben snapped his suit jacket and started for the door before Steve could voice another of his many objections. "The consultant has been recommended by the police department itself, and so you're going to facilitate."
In that case, the dude must be effective. He snorted. "Facilitate?"
"Damn right. It means you hand over those notes and cooperate while we figure out who's behind these threats. Understood?" His friend stopped with one hand on the doorknob and looked back at Steve with a fierce frown. "If you don't, I'll have no other choice but to bench you until the situation is under control."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"If you can't cooperate with the police and your bodyguard, then you're a liability to this company. I can't have that, Nolan. We can't have that. Especially not right now."
"You can't be serious. This is as much my company as it is yours." But Harrison looked pretty damn serious. Shit.
"You seem to have forgotten we have stockholders now. It's their company, too. Do you really think I'll have any trouble voting you out if your problems threaten to cost them their investments?"
Steve was almost positive that Harrison wouldn't really do that, but the threat proved how seriously he was taking this.
"You're an asshole," Nolan muttered. But he was an asshole who was right, and Nolan was an asshole for stressing his partner out about it. "Fine. I won't fire the guy as long as he stays out of my way and doesn't draw attention to himself."
Harrison chuckled. "Don't worry, I have a feeling the consultant will fit right in with your image, and everything will appear to be business as usual while the police figure this thing out."
"The police aren't going to figure out shit, and you know it." He had no illusions about how investigations like this panned out. "But I agree with you that I shouldn't have ignored this for as long as I did. You know I would never put the company in jeopardy."
Harrison grunted. "I know that. And I understand why you didn't want me to know about this, but you would do the same thing in my place to protect me or the company. Which also means you're going to take care of this ASAP so Beth stops worrying about you. It's cramping our wedding plans."
Steve stifled a curse. Harrison and his fiancée were old business rivals who had reconnected at an industry event in the islands last year. Steve had kept this ridiculousness to himself specifically so his friends wouldn't worry about him when they were supposed to be planning a wedding and wallowing in their gooey, romantic happiness. That, and because he'd already been involved in enough drama to last him a couple lifetimes. This stalker crap would only drag that up in the tabloids again and get blown way out of proportion.
"You just can't stand that Beth likes me better than she likes you," he teased.
"You're right; she does like you. That must be why she named the new puppy Stevie." Ben chuckled as he opened the door. On the way out, he told someone waiting in the hall to "Go on in," and "Good luck."
Steve groaned inwardly, but he stood up and came around his desk.
A woman stepped inside his office stiffly, without smiling. There, she pulled up short and didn't move another muscle. She wore a stark black suit and sensible black shoes with short, square heels, and carried a slim leather briefcase in her hand. Her posture was stiffer than a board, and she looked him up and down as if examining a slug stuck to the bottom of her shoe.
He'd been expecting the bodyguard but was more than willing to put that particular meeting off for a few more minutes.
Besides being dark, it was impossible to tell what color the woman's hair was, pulled back in the tightest bun he'd ever seen. But the style showed off high, prominent cheekbones, and when she raised her chin, he was struck dumb by her brilliant blue eyes. Eyes that could drag a man out of the darkest hole and into the light.
He didn't know why she was in his office, but he was already making plans to take her somewhere more private and ruffle her up.
"Can I help you with something?" Had Kathy scheduled a meeting without letting him know?
"I'm here from the security agency ..." God, her voice was all throaty. The stuff of midnight wet dreams. It made him instantly hard. "I'm the bodyguard."
The sweaty, naked images he'd conjured up careened to a halt like a thirty-car pileup on the expressway.
What? She was ... what?
He wasn't sexist, and he had no doubt this woman was good at her job or Harrison wouldn't have hired her, but ...
"Do you have a problem with that?" She put one hand on her hip, but her smooth voice registered no surprise to his reaction.
He looked her over again, this time trying to focus on something other than the beckoning shape of her mouth, the graceful column of her neck, and the curve of her hip that was just perfect for his hands to hold on to. But no matter which way he turned, she still didn't look like the bodyguard type. If she lunged in front of him to take a bullet, she wouldn't even make a big enough target to keep him alive.
Not that he wanted her to take a bullet for him, of course, and it wasn't ever going to come to that.
"No, of course there's no problem. I guess I just expected a beefy dude with no neck wearing dark glasses, but you are much more my style." He gave her his most disarming smile, but her eyebrows only arched over those ocean-blue eyes with disdain.
He wondered at her reaction. Had they met before? Had he slept with her and forgotten to call the next day? He was usually very careful to keep his assignations entanglement-free, but misunderstandings had been known to happen no matter how upfront he was about his intentions.
"I believe your partner hired a woman because you're always surrounded by women, so nobody will think twice about my presence at your side."
Even though it was impossible to ignore the derision in the woman's purposely professional tone, Harrison was probably right. If Nolan had to have a bodyguard for a day or two, who better to have at his side than a beautiful woman? The tabloids were used to that, and it wouldn't even be worth the memory space to snap a photo.
"I suppose that's fair, but if you're going to fit the image, you might have to take off that ugly suit," he said, annoyed with her arrogant assumptions. By the pinched look on her face, she'd walked in here with her mind already made up about him, probably based on nothing more than the top five hits of a Google search.
She frowned and smoothed a hand over her jacket but didn't protest his assessment of her outfit. He'd thought for sure he would have gotten a rise out of her that time.
He walked forward and caught the faintest hint of cinnamon. Not enough to be overpowering. Just enough to make him think about tasting her. He shook off the thought and stuck out his hand, realizing he didn't know her name.
"I'm Steve Nolan, but I guess you figured that out."
"Good afternoon. I'm April Porter." Once again, her melodic voice wrapped around him like a velvet sheath, in sharp contrast to her austere appearance. It conjured unbidden images of darkened rooms and unmade beds. He self-consciously cleared his throat. She met him halfway and took his hand.
He was used to the clammy handshakes of his managers, all of whom seemed to bleed nervousness from every pore just being in the same room with their CEO, no matter what he did to put them at ease — although he tended to have much better luck with the women. But when Ms. Porter shifted her bag into the opposite hand and held out her arm, her palm was cool and dry, her grip strong. It proclaimed loud and clear that she would be difficult to intimidate, even more difficult to rile.
He couldn't help his curiosity. How did a woman who looked like a goddess become so rigid and controlled? He'd never been able to resist a challenge, and she was so very stiff and sober-looking, it was like a carrot dangling from a stick in front of him. He might not want a bodyguard, but he wouldn't mind the distraction of getting a woman like this to open up for him, like a juicy pineapple that was succulent and sweet once you got through the hard and prickly shell.
She clasped her hands over the handle of her bag and held it in front of her like a shield. This was a woman with something to prove, all right. The devil inside him was already aching to shake her up.
He waited for her to say something more, but nope, that was it. She looked as if she could stand there waiting patiently for an eternity. It made him vaguely uncomfortable. All that calm and stillness was unnatural, especially to someone whose longest stretch of inactivity was the four hours of sleep he crashed into every night.
Suddenly restless, he moved to the sidebar and opened the small refrigerator hidden behind a sleek mirrored panel. He and Harrison had finally been able to upgrade their offices just a few months ago, courtesy of a massively successful product launch, but now they needed another influx of investment capital to ramp production up to the next level. "Can I get you something? Water? Beer? Scotch?"
"It's twelve thirty in the afternoon." Ah, that voice. Despite the thread of disapproval, it was like warm caramelized sugar drizzling over his body —
"Then it's legal, right?"
"I'll pass, but thank you." Her lips pursed. She definitely disapproved. This might actually be interesting ... and probably very wrong of him.
He shrugged and straightened again, moving to the big windows as he twisted the cap off the bottle of water and tipped it back for a long gulp. He watched her reflection in the glass, wondering when she would get impatient, but she only stood there ... waiting.
He'd just met her, but there was something about her that had immediately rubbed him ... not wrong, but ... he wasn't sure. It felt like being in the cockpit of a jet and fighting the urge to punch it right into overdrive. He didn't know why or how, but just looking at her, standing there all subdued and calm, provoked him. He turned his back on the windows to face her again. "This job is a waste of your time and abilities," he said. "If you happened to want to hand in your resignation, I would make sure you still got paid."
She took a step forward, the look on her face telling him that she was clearly considering it. And why not? It was easy money for someone in her position. She could take it and still get another client before the end of the day.
He met her halfway until he towered over her and they stood only inches apart. "That doesn't mean we couldn't still see one another," he murmured, looking down at her pink lips and thinking about kissing her right here, right now. "Perhaps one night next week?"
With her head tipped back and that intensely direct gaze fixed on him, she lifted one slim brow, and his gut clenched with another hard stab of sexual awareness.
"That's pretty bold," she said, biting her lip suggestively.
He shrugged. "I don't like to waste time when I see something I want."
"And you want ... me?" The rigid bodyguard persona had finally cracked, and her voice lowered to a delicious purr. His nostrils flared with triumph, letting him have more of her irresistible cinnamon scent.
"From the moment you walked in the door, baby," he admitted, lifting his hand to the back of her neck.
She shivered and her eyes fluttered, her body swaying closer so briefly it might just have been his imagination. A few baby-fine tendrils of her hair had come free and brushed his knuckles. He wanted to bury his fingers in her bun and tug her head back until her lips parted in protest and allowed him access to her mouth. Then they'd see how long she could hold on to her restraint and control.
"Even in this cheap, ugly suit?" she asked in a husky voice, running her finger down the lapel of her jacket and into the collar of her blouse, pulling it aside to show him the delicate edge of a pink lace bra.
Shit, she was screwing with him ... and he deserved it.
He realized his mistake right away and let her go. She spun away and crossed the room. He'd gone in too hot when he should have played this one cool.
In his defense, it had been a while since he'd contemplated getting with someone outside of his social circles, where the women understood who they were dealing with and they wanted the same no-strings, no-expectations sex that he wanted.
She turned back to him with her arms crossed. "Why don't I stay for a little while?" Her voice was already cool and detached once more, but her eyes were still ablaze, and he had felt her reaction to his touch. She couldn't hide that from him now. "At least until I look at the threatening notes you've received and see what I can do about finding out who sent them."
"They're nothing," he said. "The police have a copy of the one that was emailed this morning, and they're looking into it now. I assume they'll track the IP address, find out the note was sent from the library or a cafe from a fake account, and that will be the end of it."
Excerpted from Protecting His Assets by J.K. Coi, Kate Fall, Tracy Montoya. Copyright © 2015 Kristina Coi. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is book # 2 in the Bad Boy Bosses series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. I just recommend reading it in the order planned by the author so the reader has full knowledge and understanding in order to enjoy the book. April meets Steve when she is hired to be his bodyguard. He has a lot of issues with this, because he feels she does not dress the part worthy to be seen with him. He has no issue with her job and her being a woman. Maybe his issue is just that he is attracted to said woman. Steve does not really take the threat seriously until it pour over to those he cares about and almost causes a tragedy. April wants to help him but is afraid if they get more involved it will effect her career. Can she do her job and resist the man? The couple in this story deserve their own movie! I found them to be just fun enough, just hot enough that I could not put this book down. ***This ARC was given by Netgalley.com and its publisher for an honest review.
*ARC received from Entangled Publishing in return for an honest review* April Porter is hired as Steve Nolan's bodyguard after he receives several threatening letters. Steve can't stop thinking about his beautiful bodyguard, and wanting her the way he has never wanted any woman before. April is attracted to her client, but despite his attempts to make their relationship personal, she can't forget the last rich man she was involved with who really hurt her. She knows she needs to keep her focus on the threat to him all the while trying to fight the threat he is to her heart. I liked the characters and enjoyed this mildly suspenseful romance. I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.
This book did not start so well, I never thought I'd give it a five stars when I started reading. But after a few chapters the story picked up, it turned very interesting and I got engrossed in reading. Characters started to sound more and more intriguing and there was a sense of mystery which kept me entertained through out. I especially loved the ending, it was really good. Nolan is a math geek although you won't be able to guess that from his appearance. He can't sit still and keeps himself busy. His company is on the verge of success and suddenly someone wants to harm him. Whoever this person is, it is clear that they have been stalking him. He is in need of a bodyguard... April is good at her job and she doesn't think guarding Nolan would be a problem at all. But she is in for a surprise. Firstly, he is not a very happy client and seems reluctant to accept her help. Secondly, he is devastatingly handsome and she is attracted to him which causes her to lose foresight. Never a good thing when she is supposed to protect him from potential psychopath.
The Sexy bodyguard and The CEO Steve Nolan is being stalked and the stalker continues to get more brazen with their attempts on his life. Enter April Porter, his new bodyguard, The chemistry is hot and April doesn’t want to feel anything for Steve. He is too cocky and he is too arrogant but April does her job because that is what she is paid to do. Steve cant get April out of his head but he continues to pursue her. April continues to do her job and does what she can to keep Steve alive while they try to figure out who is after him…while the chemistry is intense between them There are twists and turns but this story speaks for itself and the ending is great. I liked the story but I did find it was hard at time to warm up to this story and connect to the MC. I did like the premise of the story . Overall the story took alittle warming up to but the ending was good. I would have like to see Steve grovel a bit more but overall it’s a good story, My rating: 3.9 stars *** ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for my honest review****
I love a great story that offers a twist from the norm. This book offers one in that instead of the hunky guy being the protector, it is the woman. Add in a bit of suspense and intrigue and this author brings a solid read that is captivating and entertaining too! This was the first time I have had the pleasure of reading this author's work. I found the story interesting with the addition of some suspense and mystery. It added more to the plot than just the romance aspect, which was great too. The two main characters were written as strong individuals with a lot of heat simmering between them. With plenty of sexy, hot scenes and a hope for the future, this book left me wanting to read more. I felt the ending was rushed a bit. You are given a HEA but I want to know how these two end up; how they make it work. I just wanted more closure overall. I enjoyed this read very much. A good page turner with strong characters that work great together. An author to watch!
I enjoyed this bodyguard romance with a twist, since it's the woman that's the bodyguard in this one! April was a strong and convincing character (and she gets some action scenes to prove her mettle) with enough vulnerability to make her a more complex character. Steve comes across as a dedicated family man, a playboy but with a good heart (and with much of what's been reported about him just gossip and not reality). The two of them made a good match. I did find it a bit confusing that Steve was referred to sometimes as "Steve" and sometimes as "Nolan" (his last name). Eventually I figured out that if it was in his point of view he was Steve, and if it was in April's point of view he was Nolan (though it wasn't always consistent, which accounted for my confusion - this may have been fixed in editing, as I read an advanced copy). I would have preferred just one name as it felt sometimes like there were 2 heroes, and that was a bit distracting. However the plot moved well, the sexy scenes were well written and the overall story arc was good. 3.5 stars.
3.5 stars Protecting His Assets was a good read with an interesting plot and well developed characters. I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between Steve and April, they had great chemistry and both were likable/entertaining characters. Overall a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I highly recommend this book.
CEO Steve Nolan has been receiving threats under his door so his partner at the company has decided to hire a bodyguard to watch over him. He did not expect someone like April. April was raised by her former boxer father and was almost an FBI agent. Definitely not the typical girl that he's used to but he still feels a strong chemistry between the two of them. Steve and April both have a lot of secrets and walls built around themselves but as they hang around each other more they feel those walls slipping. I really enjoyed this one. I would say this one is more of a "slow-burn" type of romance but I still liked it a lot. I enjoyed watching their character slowly open up to each other while also battling their attraction for most of the book. I loved that April wasn't your typical "save me" type of heroine and was actually really tough. I would say this one was probably more of a 3.5 for me but I'll round it up to four. I thought the mystery was a little too easy to figure out but it didn't bother me all that much.
This one started out slow for me but quickly picked up pace and made for a great read. The characters were both strong and well developed and I found that I really liked the twist of the female being the one protecting the male in this story! J.K. Coi does a great job with this one and you will not be disappointed when you read it! Steve is a business owner that is receiving threatening letters and his partner has decided that it is time they get some help with figuring out who is behind all this madness. They are worried about Steve's safety now above all else. When Steve and his partner decide to hire a security person, Steve never dreamed that it would be a female that would be sent to protect him. When April walks into Steve's office, he is immediately taken aback and does what most men would do and tries to make his move on her. Without success, Steve and April move onto handling the business that she is there for. Steve is very reserved in providing information to April, but she is determined to find out who is behind all the threatening letters. April has had a rough past and is in the area because her dad is receiving radiotherapy at the moment. She has had to leave her training so that she can be closer to him and help out, but he does not want her there. April has had a tough go at it with her ex husband as well. He was a rich guy as well so guys with money don't really appeal to April anymore. Her ex sort of ruined that for her. With April being around Steve and trying to figure out what is going on with the threatening letters, will she end up falling for Steve despite her past with rich men? You have to read this one to find out. There are some steamy scenes but they fit in well with the story. I thought that this story flowed really well and made for an easy read. You will enjoy it!
When wealthy CEO Steve Nolan’s business partner finds out Steve has been sent threatening letters, much to Steve’s chagrin he insists he has a bodyguard. Imagine the CEO’s reaction when the bodyguard is a feisty, determined female . . . . life’s getting interesting! Steve Nolan finds it difficult to agree to basic security instructions from his beautiful bodyguard. Instead of treating her role seriously he immediately tries to seduce her – not a good move when his life could be on the line! She’s April Porter and has already got a host of problems – her father is having radiotherapy and doesn’t want her to visit, her ex was a rich jerk, she’s had to leave her training to be there for her Dad and now her job is guarding another rich jerk, but boy what a handsome, attractive one! He resents revealing anything about his past that could be pertinent to discovering who he is being threatened by and why so isn’t really supporting April’s attempts to put an end to the threats. As they get to know each other the mutual attraction grows, but so do the threats. Can April keep him – and her heart – safe? This is a twist on the contemporary romance where the female lead is protecting the male. There are plenty of other twists in the story which starts out slow and builds up to a somewhat climatic ending. It is an easy read, a great story to escape into and, after the slow start, a real page turner as the reader also wants to discover from whom the threats originate. If you enjoy your romance with strong characters and a thread of mystery and suspense, this may well appeal to you. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
Loved this one! Steve and April are great characters and the chemistry between them is very believable. What starts out as a simple job for April quickly turns into much more. Steve Nolan is rich, powerful, and being threatened. April's job is to keep him safe. As his bodyguard she is suppose to blind into the background but Steve has different thoughts on that topic! Now not only is April protecting Steve, she's trying to protect her heart. Definitely one I recommend.