Harmoni, daughter of the wealthiest man in the city, lives a life of privilege, but her overprotective father is determined to keep his wild child on lockdown. Harmoni is a skilled escape artist… Until her father hires one last guard: William, SWAT sergeant and Harmoni’s worst nightmare…or is he?
Age Rating: 18+
Falling for my Bodyguard by Cloclovilla is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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“Dad, this is ridiculous! I already have three bodyguards. It's a complete waste of money to have a fourth!” I yelled.
Since two of the neighbor's sons were abducted two months ago a lot had changed for our family. My dad immediately made us move to a different part of our city.
I was born and raised in Newshire, a city in South Carolina. A place called home for more than a hundred thousand people. I had always enjoyed our city, the people here were friendly for the most part and, the community had tried to keep it green by creating many parks, growing flowers and keeping the forest at the border of our city intact. Unfortunately, no city can be entirely perfect, the crime rate was surprisingly high for the size of our city.
I always believed it was linked to a large number of wealthy families in the city, many heads of large enterprises had chosen to live here. I was well aware of this as I grew up surrounded by their children. Their, spoiled, annoying and entitled children.
Therefore, I didn't mind moving away from them, I was happy to no longer live in a neighborhood where everyone was constantly afraid for their reputation and image. What made it even better was that my father moved us a few blocks away from where my best friend Emily lived.
The part I didn't approve of was the sudden need to hire people to follow me around all day. They wouldn't all be working at the same time. Thank god for that, but it was starting to get on my nerves. I was eighteen years old. I didn't need to be looked over constantly.
I'm not saying we couldn't afford it, on the contrary, we had plenty of money since my dad is the head of a multimillion enterprise, the Pearson enterprise. Yet, I didn't see the need for another bodyguard since I already had three.
“Well, if you didn't always get yourself in trouble I wouldn't have to add another person to your security detail!” he shouted back. I fisted my fist in an attempt to put out the flare of anger that coursed through my veins.
“You are impossible! I went for ice cream with Em and was back only ten minutes past my curfew,” I shouted back throwing my hands up in the air, as my eyes turned to slits. “One more bodyguard isn't going to make a difference trust me! I'm eighteen, and I will do whatever the hell I please!”
Truth be told I didn't go out much. The only times I went out was either to get ice cream with Em or sneak out to sleep over at her place so we could watch movies all night. Occasionally, when things got too much I would also go to my regular hideout to decompress and think. I know, not very exciting, but it was enough for me.
“You better watch your language young lady! I will not accept this kind of disrespect, especially in my own home. Plus, you didn't just come home late: you escaped your bodyguards AND didn't even bother respecting your curfew. Might I also remind you that although you are eighteen you are still financially dependent which means if you want the money to go out in the first place, you follow the house rules? Which includes your curfew!” my dad continued, getting just as rilled up as I was.
I groaned, rolling my eyes at the broken record I was talking to. I felt a weight fall into my belly, as I realized there was nothing I could say to change his mind. Knowing that I turned around and went back to my room making sure to slam the door as hard as I could. Very mature. Yeah, I know.
I slid down again my door, as I forced myself to take a deep breath. Falling down to the floor, I rested my head on my knees.
At first, I hadn't minded the bodyguards, I mean who wouldn't like having three handsome men following you around. However, I soon realized that they truly were following me everywhere which left me little privacy. The only time I could breathe was when I went to school since they wouldn't enter with me, but would guard the school perimeter instead, or when I was in my house.
The worst part was that since they were working for my dad, they made sure I would always follow the house rules. Which basically dictated that I had no life. I had to be home right after school. If I saw my friends I had to have permission from my father. He needed to know where I was at all time and with who, and of course, I had to be home latest at seven which meant absolutely no time to hang out with anyone after school. It was honestly ridiculous. I was eighteen but he still treated me like I was in elementary school.
This is why for the past few weeks I have made it my utmost priority to escape my security detail every chance I got and enjoy life with Em. I managed to do it so many times my father decided it was time to reinforce my security. Not what I had in mind. I guess I didn't really think this through.
After another few calming breaths, I stood up and moved to Iay in bed. Fishing out my phone from my back pocket, I dialed the number that was all too familiar. After only a few rings a sweet cheery voice answered.
“Hey Har, what's up?”
Emily and I had known each other since kindergarten but saying that we were always friends would be a lie. We actually hated each other at the beginning, we had been assigned to sit next to each other and Emily would color everything pink meaning that: one, I could never use the pink pen and two, the only time she let it go was when it was out of ink.
That was enough for me to hold a grudge against her. Our hatred turned into friendship when another boy decided to dump an entire bucket of sand on her head when she was playing in the sandbox. Let's just say I went completely crazy on him, scratching, biting and pulling his hair. Yes, little me was not to be messed with.
Emily was a petite redhead with light blue eyes, if I said she wasn't absolutely beautiful I would be lying. I could see how she made people turn their heads when we walked in the street. Luckily, we were inseparable meaning my bodyguards would also be protecting her. I guess there was a positive aspect to this after all.
“My dad wants to set me up with another bodyguard,” I whined remembering the conversation I just had with my dad. “Can you believe it? That's four Em. Four!”
“Why are you complaining Harmoni you'll have another pretty face to look at,” she started, making me scoff.
“Stop drooling Em. Even you know this is not the point.” I couldn't help the chuckle that escaped my lips. Emily had developed a crush on one of my bodyguards. The youngest, Benjamin Parker. I could see why she was interested in him. He was young with sandy blond hair, deep blue eyes and don't even get me started on his ripped body. Exactly her type. Unfortunately for her, he wasn't giving her a time of the day.
They were all well-built but I guess that came with the job. However, they were serious and distant. I was glad they hadn't tried to befriend me and would stick with some polite greetings. “It's going to be even harder to sneak around now!”
“I know Harmoni, we'll figure something out. To be honest, I still don't know why your dad is so strict about us hanging out together, we literally grew up together,” she sighed, the wash of disappointment that came over her was hard to miss.
“Don't worry about it Em he's like this with everyone, not just you,” I tried to reassure her. It was true, my dad could be quite an overprotective mama bear. He was the most paranoid person I knew. He refused to let me take a taxi because taking a taxi would immediately be similar to voluntarily being kidnapped. Yes, he's a bit extreme and after eighteen years, I'm still trying to get used to it.
We talked a bit, Emily had always been the angel chasing my dark clouds away. We spent so much time laughing and teasing that I had accepted my father's decision by the time my dad screamed for me to come down for dinner. I wondered what this new bodyguard would be like. I hope he would just get up and leave.
I was going to put my usual plan in motion. The corner of my lip curved upwards, I mean how hard can it be to make someone quit their job right? I had succeeded once, maybe it would work again.
After dinner, I sat down at the desk in my room and started planning, trying to see what I could pull for him to give up protecting me.
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“Good job, team! That was a great save!” I congratulated my team, once we were in the van, on our way back from our mission. We had managed to save a family which had been taken hostage by a gang member. We were able to infiltrate the house, neutralize the assailants and secure the hostages. It had been precise and well-executed. I didn't expect any less from one of the best SWAT teams in Newshire.
“Thanks, boss!” they answered back, smiling widely. Looking at each of them, I was proud to be their leader. They each possessed unique skills that made this team lethal.
Once we arrived back at the station, we headed for the changing rooms to get rid of all the equipment we were carrying.
“Hey, guys! I just wanted to ask if any of you heard of a side job?” I asked while opening my locker and placing my vest in it.
Looking at their questioning faces I elaborated on my reason.
“I'm going to renovate my apartment, so I thought a little extra cash could be nice. Make sure I don't get into any financial problems later, you know?” Renovating could easily get expensive and I didn't want to risk losing all my savings because of it.
“Sorry, Huntz. I haven't heard anything, but if I do, I'll let you know,” answered Officer Li. Cayden Li had been in my team the longest and was the person I turned to for advice most of the time. I considered him my second in command and had been talking with the Captain to have it made official.
The others agreed to let me know as well. I wasn't in a rush, but it would be useful to be able to make some extra bucks, the tools and material I needed weren't cheap.
After exchanging our goodbyes, my team headed home since it was the end of our shift. I decided to hit the gym to put in one last workout before doing the same. Staying fit was quintessential to our work, but for me, training had also become a tool for me to organize my thoughts.
When I walked out of the locker room, I spotted him immediately. My brows curved in confusion at the intruder. He stood out like a sore thumb. Everyone in SWAT considered the others in this building as a family after all our hands were in our colleague's hands, in other words, we knew everyone, and he was definitely not one of us. All eyes were on him as he walked past different outlets.
We all knew who he was. James Pearson, head of one of the most successful companies and one of the wealthiest men in the city. Mr. … Pearson was well respected in the city, and his story was well known. A typical born poor worked hard and became a wealthy and influential man story.
He was well-liked as well for his charity work and the different scholarships he had created and sponsored to help people from less fortunate families.
I couldn't help but wonder what would bring him here to SWAT headquarters.
Mr. … Pearson went to the Captain's office where they started conversing. I shrugged my shoulder. It was none of my concern. I simply wanted to get my workout done and head home.
I was wiping the sweat off my face with a towel after working on my last outlet when Captain Woods called me to his office. I knock and waited.
“Captain?” I asked as I pushed the door open, unsure why I was called into his office.
“Sergeant Huntz. Please have a seat,” he gestured toward the chair in front of him. “I overheard earlier that you were looking to make some extra money. Is that still the case?” he questioned, shuffling through some papers on his desk.
“Yes Sir, that is correct,” I answered, still unsure where this conversation was headed.
“Since that's what I thought, I wanted to offer you this job that just came up. Mr. … Pearson is looking for an additional bodyguard for his daughter. He's been very on edge since the kidnappings two months ago of the Lakers' son and the Bradley son.”
My stomach twisted as I remembered that event. I had been part of the team coordinating the extraction of one of the boys. Unfortunately, the culprits had gotten away, and the boy had suffered some injuries which would scar him for life both physically and emotionally.
“Being a bodyguard is a full-time job,” I stated, creasing my eyebrows in confusion. “I don't see how it would fit my schedule.”
“Well, Mr. Pearson has been thoughtful enough to explain he already has a few bodyguards but wants someone to fill in some gaps. He is more than willing to adapt to our shift schedules, and the pay he mentioned is quite generous. It would be more than you would make here with overtime. Plus, we already have too many people trying to do overtime,” he admitted with a loud sigh.
Mr. Woods had always been very considerate of the people employed here. He would fight for higher salaries and honestly had our back. It didn't always work out, but we all knew he gave it his best.
“You would mostly be working there on weekends and a few hours during the week, mostly after the girl is out of school. Mr. … Pearson would like to have someone on temporarily for a few months. So think about it. I don't need an answer now, but I would like to hear back from you latest tomorrow so I can offer this to others if you decide to decline,” he explained, getting back to the papers on his desk.
“Understood Captain. Thank you for the heads up.” With that, I walked out of the office, feeling more conflicted than I had in ages.
Later that evening, I was lying in bed pondering whether I should accept this job. It seemed rather straightforward, the pay was good, and the hours were flexible. The question was, did I want to deal with a spoiled rich teenager during my free time. I didn't need the money enough to do a job that would bring me a headache each day.
I kept weighing the pro's and the con's and came to the conclusion that I could survive a few months and if those months didn't go well I could simply ask to leave rather than extend my contract, and the extra money would put my mind at ease just like my presence would put the father's mind at ease. Win-win right?
On that thought, I finally let my eyelid fall. It had been a long day.
Walking into the office the next day, I went straight to the Captain's office.
“Set me up,” I told him, hoping once again that accepting this job was not a mistake.
Everything was set up rather fast. By the end of the day, I was called into the office. Approaching one of the meeting rooms at our disposition, I could see various people I had never met in the past. Four were dressed entirely in black and wore an earpiece. They must be the current bodyguards, and the other was none other than Mr. … Pearson. Taking a deep breath, I walked into their line of sight.
“Sergeant Huntz! I'm so glad you have agreed to join us!” he immediately greeted me when I walked in. He approached me his hand extended. I gratefully shook it, smiling back at the man before me.
“Thank you for the offer, Mr. … Pearson,” I replied politely. It was my first time talking with the man. He wasn't what I had in mind. He was very cheerful and energetic, the exact opposite of a cold and secluded CEO.
“Oh no, please call me James,” he told me before adding “My daughter, Harmoni just left to use the bathroom, but she should be back any minute. In the meantime, let me present you to your colleagues. This is Logan Dass,” he said, pointing to the man standing on his left.
“This is Benjamin Parker, and this is David Solt,” he continued his introduction. Benjamin seemed to be the youngest of the three, but his serious expression showed that this job was essential to him. I would expect nothing but the best from the entourage of Mr. … Pearson. While he was introducing each man, they all nodded to me politely.
“I believe your Captain has already given you the information regarding this job but feel free to ask me anything that's unclear,” he resumed, his smile never wavering.
“I will keep it in mind.” His smile was contagious and I soon felt the corner of my mouth curve upwards. This man was friendly. He didn't look down on people because he had money and gave in no way the feeling that he thought he was superior to us. I have to admit it was quite refreshing. The few rich people I had met weren't like this. Actually, they were quite the opposite.
“And this is Josef,” he finally said looking at the man on his right.
“Welcome to the team Huntz,” he offered with a friendly smile.
“Josef is my main bodyguard so you will be seeing him around quite often,” James explained.
As Mr. Pearson finishes his sentence, the door to the meeting room opened, revealing a young girl.
She looked to be twenty even though I knew from reading her file that she was only eighteen. I had also learned that she was quite small, 5'4, but seeing her in real life, I towered over her with my 6'2 height. Her long wavy brown hair shaped her face and emphasized the light jade-green color of her eyes. Even I couldn't deny that Harmoni Pearson was a natural beauty.
She offered me a smile that didn't reach her eyes. I reached my hand out, ready to greet her but she simply looked down at it, before looking back into my eyes and rolling her eyes. Rude!
“So that's my new jailer? I'm not impressed. Plus, another man sticking to me like glue really isn't going to change much,” she said curtly, looking straight at her father. I let my hand drop back to my side. I had clearly been right. She was a spoiled brat. I was already internally face-palming myself for having accepted this job.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes when she smirked, clearly amused by what had just transpired. I guess what I missed was the malice in her eyes. Great. Just great.
“Harmoni!” her father chastised.
“It's okay James,” I told him before turning to Harmoni “She's just a child.” Truth be told I was only 23 myself, but somehow I knew these words would have an impact on her. Clearly, I was right.
She huffed and crossed her arms before slumping down on an empty seat and turning her attention out the window.
“You should deem yourself lucky that Sergeant Huntz has chosen to protect you during his free time young lady. He is one of the youngest in his position and has already been rewarded by various titles by the mayor of this city. He deserves to be treated with respect!” he explained to her harshly.
She didn't answer or bother to look our way, pretending she didn't hear him. On my hand, I shouldn't have been surprised that Mr. .. Pearson did his research on me. I'm not one to talk about my achievements. Somehow it always seems like bragging when I do.
Poor James, he seemed so embarrassed by his daughter's behavior. I have to admit that this didn't look promising. I had to remind myself that it was only temporary and that I had dealt with much worse. After all, my little sister was a few years younger than her the last time I saw her and believe me Harmoni's attitude was nothing compared to my sister's.
My sister had run away while I was on tour with the army. The thought alone created a heavy feeling in my stomach like a hundred rocks had suddenly been dropped into it. I did my best to push the thoughts of my sister out of my mind, and focus back on the situation at hand.
Harmoni didn't say anything else while we discussed a few details of my employment contract. Although, I did catch her glancing at me a few times, probably cursing me in her head. If her constant pout and glare were any indication, she wasn't fond of our new arrangement.
“Can I go now?” she finally voiced. Annoyance and boredom clear in her tone of voice.
“Almost,” her dad responded. She sighed loudly and looked back out the window, crossing her arms against her chest dramatically.
Once we were done, she rushed out the door, both Benjamin and David following her closely while Logan fell into steps with me.
“She's not that bad after a while,” he reassured. “She just needs some time to warm up to people.”
I nodded, not really sure what to answer. I hoped he was right. Otherwise, it would be a long four months as James had just informed me the this would be the length of the temporary period.
Additionally, he clarified that I was the one with the most experience. I had done a few bodyguarding jobs when I had just returned from tour. Still, this came to me as a surprise since Logan was older than me, but I didn't bother to question him. For this reason, he appointed me team leader. I would have a few days to get accustomed to how things worked before I would officially take on that responsibility.
The first event she would be going to was this Friday. James had mentioned that a fundraiser was organized at his company, to raise money for third World countries.
With one last sigh, I went to take my things from my locker and headed home.
Tomorrow would be a new beginning. Good or bad, that still needed to be determined.
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