Secret Bodyguard

Secret Bodyguard


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Secret Bodyguard by Lori Crawford, Valerie Tibbs

Erica Kellogg is a former Olympic synchronized swimmer who has been blackballed from the sport she adores. She's dealt with her loss by joining a world renowned security firm where she can lose herself in a myriad of dangerous assignments. Needless to say, she's not thrilled when she learns her latest case barely amounts to babysitting duty. If that weren't bad enough, Trevor Cole, the man she's been assigned to protect is, in her opinion, nothing more than a spoiled rock star. She doesn't count on finding out there's more to him than meets the eye or falling in love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492158936
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/11/2013
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.42(d)

About the Author

Lori Crawford has two great passions. Television and writing. As a child, she was a walking TV guide. When not watching TV, she was devouring every book she could get her hands on. Nearly a decade later, her love for reading developed into a passion for writing. She graduated from short stories and imaginary friends to write her first novel when she turned sixteen. It went on to languish in the bottom of a drawer where it rightfully belongs.

Lori went to Washington University in St. Louis with the sole intention of becoming a lawyer. She adored her participation in undergraduate mock trials. Even though she garnered outstanding witness and outstanding attorney awards something was missing. She just could not shake her passion for writing and television.

The summer after her sophomore year, Lori won an internship at CBS News in New York. Even though she was never a fan of news programs, she eagerly took the position. Upon arrival, she was ecstatic to learn that As The World Turns, her favorite daytime drama, was filmed in the same building. Their writers' assistant took her to lunch before the summer was over and she was hooked. She finally discovered how she was going to combine her two passions. Lori was going to write for television.

She returned to college and jumped wholeheartedly into entertainment. She produced Black Anthology during her junior year and turned the first profit in the show's history. When she produced it the next year, they were able to work with an increased budget due to the previous year's success.

After graduating with a B.A. in Psychology and Writing, Lori moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career. She set out to gain experience in the entertainment industry by obtaining access to sets via background work. From there she moved on to work in offices at such auspicious companies as Warner Bros., HBO, Court TV, Disney Television Animation and Touchstone Television.

She's been a Preacher's Kid her whole life.

Read an Excerpt

Erica knew when she was being watched. She'd had that instinct to some extent ever since she could remember. After joining the firm, she'd worked to hone it until it became yet another reliable asset in her ever growing arsenal. It was because of that instinct that she knew the moment Trevor Cole first laid eyes on her. She hadn't realized it was him until she'd looked up and caught him staring over the railing at her. He couldn't have realized it, but the sun, being generous with its light, not so much its heat, hit him perfectly from her position on the dock. She could see his eyes through the glasses and confirm his stare. Though Erica had seen pictures of the man, she wasn't prepared for the sheer magnetism he exuded. She'd have to be careful she didn't get sucked in. Thank God for his golden blond hair. Blond men were not her type.

Still, she couldn't help but prefer that his first glimpse of her hadn't been when she was wearing a bulky coat and boots. A cool breeze danced across the dock reminding her why she was dressed the way she was. In her brain, she understood her reaction to seeing him for the first time. Over the past day and a half, Erica had immersed herself in everything Trevor Cole. Both the public reports from newspapers and other publications and the private ones that she could only access through Trecam. On a personal level, she liked that he was a decent guy. On a professional one, it sucked.

Because of his boring background, Erica recommended that Caitlyn assign a team. One person on the front lines gathering evidence and protecting Trevor, while the other person ran down the leads. Hoping to avoid the whole audition thing, Erica volunteered forbackground duty. Her boss took the recommendations under advisement and amended assignment as needed. All except the part where Erica wouldn't have to deal with Trevor in person. Hence Erica's reluctant appearance on the dock. Caitlyn assigned the lead tracking to Jason.

Not wishing to make her assignment even harder, she decided not to alienate the man before they'd even met. That's why Erica deferentially dropped her gaze first. She turned her attention to the women and the man in the wheelchair in front of her. She knew from her research that the man was Detective Cameron Dobbs and the thin woman was his wife Marcy. Cam and Trevor grew up on neighboring ranches. The two pursued different paths with Trevor going off to college to major in music and Cam heading to the Police Academy, but even distance hadn't cooled their friendship. When Cam was shot in the line of duty a year ago, Trevor bought his current residence in the area and moved closer to help Marcy with Cam's care.

It told Erica a lot about the kind of man Trevor was. He could've hired nurses, but he'd been pretty hands on with Cam's recovery. She didn't want to be, but she couldn't help being impressed with Trevor. At least on paper. Now she was about to meet the man himself. Erica climbed aboard the yacht and joined the party.

Trevor kept his hands planted on the hips of the latest giggling girl who'd cornered him. In part because it was the only way to keep her from plastering herself all over him where he was seated on a stool. But more because he was able to keep her out of his line of sight so he could watch to see if the woman in the coat came to his party. He couldn't help the stab of disappointment that shot through him when she failed to materialize long after Cam, Marcy and their guest boarded. Trevor shook it away. Of course she wasn't coming to his party. She hadn't belonged. Aside from her strange attire, she'd had an expression on her face that indicated a brain was involved. He looked at the current girl chattering away in front of him. That wasn't an issue with this one. Tuning back in, he was annoyed to learn that she was still talking about her nails.

Trevor mustered up his rock star smile. "Sorry, darling. Some friends just arrived that I really must see to." Without waiting for her consent, he set her out of his path and went to find his best friend.

* * * *

Cam fought his way through the crowd to an out of the way corner with Marcy and her friend Winnie. It never ceased to amaze him how many self absorbed people showed up to these parties. When he'd said, "excuse me," few of them spared him a glance and swayed a millimeter or so out his path. Until they'd felt the cold steel of his chair threatening to take off their legs. He'd even brought his skinny chair. Amazing.

Poor Winnie turned beet red while she stared at a young woman who'd just removed her already skimpy top presumably so the beefcake behind her in the tiny red Speedo which did nothing to conceal a thing could rub sunscreen on her back. Cam knew his wife meant well, but there was no way this Winnie person was a match for Trevor. Marcy had to be the worst matchmaker in history. It brought a smile to his face to remember how she'd been convinced that he was the perfect match for her cousin. Cam'd gone along with it and befriended the cousin to learn how to woo Marcy. Best thing he'd ever done. He'd be the first to cheer when Trevor found the same thing. He glanced at Winnie and fought a grimace. She wasn't it.

Marcy read his expression and flicked his ear. "Give them a chance," she hissed bending close.

"I just don't want to you to be disappointed if the sparks don't fly."

"Don't be ridiculous. Winnie is a lovely woman."

They both looked her way and were dismayed to discover that her reddish tint had become a hideous purple. Marcy stepped in front of the other woman to block her view of whatever shenanigans the young couple was engaging in.

"What am I doing here? How did you talk me into this? What could Trevor see in me when he has all this ... this ... this around?" She tugged the collar of her blouse away from her neck. Cam figured the woman was going to pass out if she didn't take a breath soon. He shrugged. That would just get them out of there that much faster.

"Trevor is a great guy. Not at all like these other guys." Marcy looked around. She frowned and Cam turned to follow her gaze. He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing when he saw his friend had a bony blonde hanging on his arm when he made his way toward them. Trevor took one look at Marcy's glower and shook the blonde off to continue the trek alone.

Marcy turned on a smile for Winnie. Patted her hand. The woman looked like she was going to puke at any moment. "Just be your sweet self. None of these women can hold a candle to you. You'll see."

"Hey, guys. I thought you'd never get here." Trevor greeted the trio when he strolled up. He turned on his rock star smile. Cam knew it was for Winnie's benefit. Marcy gave Trevor a big hug and pushed him closer to Winnie.

"Hey, Trev. This is Winnie Winslow. I was bragging about my husband's perfect friend, and she didn't believe you existed so I had to make the introduction." Cam squeezed Marcy's hand. She was trying way too hard. Trevor looked amused.

"Great. I'd like to meet this guy, too." Trevor looked around, and Winnie snorted a giggle. Marcy turned red with embarrassment. Cam yanked her down on his lap and gave Trevor a wolfish grin.

"Now that the two of you have met, would you mind making yourself scarce so I can enjoy my wife for a minute?"

Trevor chuckled. He took Winnie's hand. She looked at him with a serious case of disbelief and hero worship. "I think that's our cue to get lost. You game?"

Star struck, Winnie managed a nod. She looked quite a bit like a bobble head doll, but Trevor retained his smile while he set out to be a good host. He led her away through the crowd.

* * * *

At last, Erica emerged on the main deck of Trevor's yacht. She'd taken advantage of the chaos to explore the boat so the layout in her memory was more detailed than what she'd learned from a blueprint. During her explorations, Erica took the time to appreciate the lushly appointed amenities. Trevor had spared no expense on the dark mahogany which appeared polished within an inch of its life. The heads were done in marble and the furniture thick and comfy. Luxury exemplified.

Now that she'd finished studying the yacht, Erica wanted to get a look at each guest. It was a long shot, but if she could ID his tormentor and put a stop to it at the party, she'd be a very happy camper. And she'd be free for assignment on a juicier case. She looked over another mindless couple when they raced past her to a stateroom. Erica sighed, a girl could dream.

She made her way up to the Flydeck where she'd glimpsed him heading earlier. Trevor was chatting with the woman who'd arrived with his friends. Erica wasn't sure what surprised her more, that Trevor appeared to be listening or that he'd given his attention to the one female who was still wearing a full set of clothes. Erica considered her own costume hidden under her coat and shrugged. It wasn't quite as revealing as most of what she'd seen, but she didn't want to be lumped in with the rest of the partygoers either. Part of her job today depended on standing out.

She looked around the deck and took a deep breath. It was time. The pool sat in the middle of a casual teak deck crowned with a bubbling hot tub. That many people in one hot tub was just ... wrong. Erica shook off her shudder and spied a stereo on a shelf at the far side of the deck. She turned her attention back to the pool which was raised about three feet so that meant it couldn't be more than four feet deep like she'd expected.

Routine modifications came to her while she slunk toward the stereo, careful to blend with the crowd. She sat on the ground out of Trevor's view and shed her coat and boots.

The brisk air sent a shiver through her. What kind of nut threw a party on a yacht in this kind of weather? Even packed like it was, the steam rising from the Jacuzzi was pretty inviting. Nothing came from the pool. She shuddered to imagine how cold it was. Surely people would be in it if he kept it heated. Or maybe she was the sole person crazy enough to want to swim in this weather.

Erica slipped the CD in the stereo and pressed play. When the music pounded on the deck, Erica stood up and nailed Trevor with a look. A little thrill of satisfaction shot through her when his head snapped her way. She had his full attention. She saw the crestfallen look on his companion's face, and vowed to feel bad about the interruption later. She did her walk on in time to the music.

Erica hoisted herself up on the side of the pool, holding Trevor's puzzled gaze the entire way. She could feel that other people were watching her little performance, too. Let them watch. She was prepared to be amazing in four feet of water. Trevor would be floored and hire her on the spot. She would put a stop to the threats on his life in record time, and they'd both go their separate ways. All without him being any the wiser, of course.

Trevor hopped up from his seat and raised a hand. Erica smiled at him, confident she had him hooked and slid into the pool. It took just a second for her to realize that there was no water in it. Erica's smile morphed into shock when she saw that the pool was even deeper than she'd figured. The bottom was about seven feet down, and she hit it with a less than graceful thump. The wind whooshed out of her. She landed in a tangled sprawl. She lay there for a moment trying to gather her wits.

* * * *

Trevor hurried to the side of the pool and looked at the woman who'd captured his attention from the dock. What in the world had she been trying to do?

"Are you hurt? Can you move?" he called to her. More guests gathered around the sides of the pool, giggling at her expense.

"Yeah. I think." The last part of her answer was a mere whisper while she experimented with moving each limb. She looked up at the laughing guests and flushed crimson over her entire body. And what a body it was. The woman was a knock out. Long legs attached to full hips. He watched, fascinated, while each muscle flexed during her inventory. She arched her back emphasizing her tempting bosom that barely remained tucked inside the fanciest swimming suit he'd ever seen in his life.

He drew his eyes up to her face and was dismayed to note that she'd caught him checking out her boobs. He fought his own embarrassed flush. "Do you need a hand?"

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