Last week I brought you a little sumthin’ from my upcoming WRP release of TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. This week, I have another new WRP release coming out SOON from a new series called PRIDE OF BROTHERS. The first book is Rick’s Story.
Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. An elite bodyguard and P.I., he’s used to denying his emotions and ignoring his feelings in order to keep those in his care safe, at all costs. When lawyer Abigail Laine becomes the target of a vengeful client, Rick slips in to protection mode even though Abby refuses his help.
Four years ago Rick left Abby standing on a balcony alone, after walking away from a kiss that sent them both reeling. His refusal stung, and Abby’s sworn to forget it so she can protect her heart and move on with her life. But now she needs Rick’s professional help and her reluctance to accept it could just cost her her life.
Can these two stubborn and independent people put their troubled past behind them and learn to trust one another?
Rick was seated on the couch, his laptop on the table in front of him, an open bag of potato chips next to it.
“Where did those come from?”
“They were in the bag from Kandy,” he told her never looking up from his typing. “Josh took pity on me and sneaked them in.”
She pulled a bottle of water from the fridge. “Why would Josh need to take pity on you?”
If shamefaced had a proper name, it would be Rick, because that’s exactly the expression he wore on his face at her question. His shoulders curled forward a little, his neck almost disappearing into them. The tips of his ears turned ruddy, and he cleared his throat a few times before reaching for his own water bottle and taking a good chug.
He wouldn’t meet her eyes.
“Answer me,” she commanded when he put the bottle back down on the table.
She watched his neck work and couldn’t decide which emotion was stronger: the need to hear the answer to her question, or the desire to crawl into his lap and lick his neck—and every other part of him.
It was a testament to her analytical training that she opted for an answer.
“Maybe pity was the wrong word.”
Rick scrubbed his hands through his hair and cupped the back of his neck. “Fine, but don’t get all pissy when I tell you, okay?”
For an answer, she cocked one of her eyebrows and dropped her chin.
“When we were over there, I happened to mention to Josh you don’t keep any junk food in the house. No cake, no chips, pretzels. Nothing to snack on.”
“Not true. I always have cut fruit in the fridge.”
The breath he blew between his lips told her what he thought of fruit as a snack. “Like I said, nothing to snack on. I kind of told him I was, you know, going through withdrawal, from the lack.”
She couldn’t help it: she laughed.
Rick straightened up in his seat, his eyes squinting at her. “You don’t have to laugh at me. You did ask.”
“How old are you?”
“What does my age have to do with anything?”
“You just said you were going through withdrawal because you haven’t had crappy snacks to munch on. Don’t—” She held a hand up to him to silence what he’d been about to say. “The stuff you like is crappy from a nutrition standpoint. The last time I heard someone complain like you was my nephew Declan when were all at the beach last month. He’s nine. Which is the age I’d expect a kid to be who’s made a statement like you just did.”
Rick shook his head. “I knew you were gonna get pissy.”
“I’m not being pissy because I eat food that’s actually good for me. You don’t live here, Rick. I do. You can fill your apartment to the ceiling with junk food and I won’t care, but this is my home, my space, and I don’t stock it full of bad food choices.”
“Why are you so hyper-vigilant and OCD about snacky stuff? It’s not gonna kill you to have a cupcake or some cheese puffs, you know.”
“Spoken like a man who can eat whatever he wants.”
“The hell does that mean?”
“It means you don’t need to worry about your weight. Ever. You’ve never struggled with an extra ounce of body fat in your life, Rick. I know that for fact. You have no idea what it’s like to count every calorie and watch every single thing that goes into your mouth because of the inevitability it’s going to wind up on your ass. I do. I wasn’t blessed with my grandmother’s metabolism like Kandy and most of my sisters. Ellie and I take after our dad’s side. We’re the only ones who do. One more thing to despise about him,” she added, pursing her lips. “I’ve had to deny myself food everyone else can eat with abandon since my teens. And it’s a struggle. A monumental one. I’m strong-willed, but sometimes willpower can only go so far, which is why I keep healthy foods around me so if I do snack, at least it’s on something I won’t obsess over about the calorie count.”
She took a long pull from her water bottle.
Rick’s gaze stayed on her while she drank. He didn’t seem embarrassed any more. In truth, she couldn’t tell what was behind that penetrating stare of his. She placed the bottle down on the counter next to her broken shoe.
“Come here,” he said, holding out his hand.
He wiggled his fingers. “Just, come here.” When she didn’t move he added, “Please.”
He took her hand when she got close and yanked her down onto his lap with her legs resting on the couch.
“For the record,” he said, winding one hand around her waist, the other across her thighs, “I love your ass. I love every part of your body. And whether you weighed fifty pounds or three fifty, you’d still be the sexiest woman I’ve ever known, Abigail.”
The words seeped into her soul. She wanted to believe them.
“And I’m sorry I dissed you to Josh. You’re right, I don’t live here, and I have no right to complain about anything. So, I’m sorry.”
Abby sat, quietly, staring up at him.
“What?” he asked when she tilted her head to one side.
“Contrition looks good on you.”
Intrigued? Stay tuned for more announcements on cover reveal, preorder links and release date!
And don’t forget, DEARLY BELOVED is still on sale until 8.23.19 Get your copy before book 2 comes out so you’ll be all caught up!
get your copy here:
Until next time ~ Peg