Drake O’Rourke is an ex-cop-turned-bodyguard. Drake’s cocky attitude and heavy drinking have lost him more than one job in California, and he can’t afford to turn down his new assignment. He shows up to work for Nicolas Templeton, a well-known billionaire. But it turns out it isn’t Mr. Templeton he’s guarding—it’s his adult daughter. Catherine Templeton is spunky, assertive, and beautiful, but it turns out she’s also blind. Will Drake accept the job? And if he does, can he ignore the chemistry between him and Catherine?
Age Rating: 18+
Drake was sitting in the office of Spencer and Spencer, an agency that hired out bodyguards for those who needed protection.
He crossed his right leg over his left one, loosened his tie, and waited to be given his new assignment. His head was still pounding from last night.
Once again, he’d drunk way too much the night before and ended up taking some blonde he’d met in the bar back to his place and had sex with her.
He’d woken up butt naked. The blonde had been gone, the used condom on the floor the only evidence of what had happened.
“Here’s your new assignment,” his one boss said, sliding the folder across the desk in front of him.
He opened the folder and read the information inside. “Templeton—I’ve heard of him. Why would he want to hire us when I’m sure he’s got his own men? I’ve also heard that some of his businesses aren’t legal.”
Keith looked at his brother Cain before answering. “Those are just rumors. As for your question, Mr. Templeton has been using this firm for some time now, and he requested someone that can be trusted. You’re the best in the business, but you have to cut down on the drinking and control your temper.”
“Well, maybe I don’t want the job,” Drake said, tossing the folder down without reading the rest.
Cain sat back. “Drake, because of your ways, you’re having a hard time keeping jobs. This job pays triple the normal pay, and you also get to live in one of the most exclusive mansions in California.”
Drake’s eyebrows lifted, and he looked at the two men sitting across from him. “Triple? Why triple—what aren’t you telling me?”
Cain cleared his throat, and Keith played with the pen in his hand—a sure sign that they were indeed keeping something from him.
“It’s nothing, Drake, nothing at all. It’s just that we promised the man the best guy we have. His business means a lot to our company. He can make us or break us.”
Drake stared at the two men, twin brothers in their late fifties. Only one was bald, while the other had a full head of hair. Both were short and on the heavy side.
“All right, I’ll take the job. So when do I start?”
Both brothers looked relieved. “Today. Go home and pack your bags,” Cain said, smiling and standing up to shake Drake’s hand.
“One more question. How long is this job going to last?”
“Four to six months,” Cain answered.
To him, that seemed normal, so he didn’t question it. Drake picked up the folder but only to take out the address, leaving the rest behind. He knew all he wanted to know. The rest he would figure out along the way.
“All right then, guess I’ll see you when the job is over with.”
Once he was gone, Keith turned to Cain. “Don’t you think we should have warned him about the girl?”
Cain laughed. “He’ll find out soon enough.”
“What if he quits when he finds out?” Keith asked, starting to sweat.
“Drake’s a stubborn son of a bitch. He’ll stay on the job just to prove a point. Who knows, this might be just what he needs, someone to put him in his place, knock him down a peg or two. But I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall when he meets her.”
“I hope you’re right about him staying. She’s already chased away every other available bodyguard,” Keith said, rubbing his temple.
As soon as Drake walked out of the air-conditioned office and outside, the California sun beat down on him. His muscles ached, and he started sweating, so he removed his jacket and tie, undoing a couple of his shirt buttons.
He walked over to his car—his pride and joy, a 1966 Ford Thunderbird—and took off to his small apartment. There, he packed his bags and made sure everything was turned off after packing his weapons and handcuffs.
He looked around and shook his head. The place really was a dump. He had on many occasions thought about using the money he’d inherited from his family estate to buy a better place, but he’d sworn never to touch that money.
He found his way to Templeton’s mansion and let out a whistle when he saw it. It was like something out of a movie. The only way in was through an electric gate, which was guarded by two armed men.
He sat in his car and waited while they walked over to him, keeping his dark sunglasses on.
“State your business,” snapped one man who looked like a giant with his huge muscles bulging through the sleeves of his shirt.
“I’m here to see Mr. Templeton. He’s expecting me.”
“Name,” the giant snapped at him once again, placing his hand on his gun.
“Drake O’Rourke,” he answered, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel while the man looked at his clipboard.
The man, seeing his name, asked him to step out of the car. “Open up your suitcase slowly, and don’t try anything funny.”
He then ordered the other guy to go through the luggage—and when the man did, he held up the gun and handcuffs.
Drake removed his glasses—it was hot, and he was starting to lose his temper. “Guys, I’m getting a little sick of this. Put my things back before I get really mad and kick your asses.”
The men looked at each other and laughed, then the big one spoke. “Why do you have these, and what are you planning on doing with them?”
“Your boss has hired me as a bodyguard. I might need them.”
The two men smiled at each other and the smaller one spoke. “This is the guy the boss was telling us about.” He put Drake’s things back inside the case, all the time chuckling. “Let him through.”
Drake got back in his car and stared at the two men. “Mind telling me what’s so funny?” he asked before driving in.
“Oh, you’ll find out soon enough. Good luck, man—you’re going to need it.” The small man then motioned for Drake to drive through.
The bigger guy shook his head and grinned. “Poor bastard. I wonder how long this one will last?”
When Drake pulled up to the mansion, he was greeted by another giant of a man who was clearly packing heat.
“I’m here to see Mr. Templeton,” Drake said.
“Follow me,” the goon ordered.
Drake got out of his vehicle and walked behind the man up the stairs. The door was opened by a butler.
Drake was shown into a large room, which was obviously the man’s office, and he was ordered to wait and not to touch anything.
He sat down to wait and looked around the room. It was expensively decorated. Several famous pictures hung on the wall.
Behind the desk there was a glass showcase that held different types of weapons: guns, knives, and other instruments of torture.
The butler walked in carrying a tray with coffee and tea. “Mr. Templeton will be right with you, sir. Is there anything you require?”
“No, I’m good,” Drake replied. The truth was he would have preferred a cold beer or a shot of whiskey, but considering it was early, he thought better of asking for one.
Seconds later, the door opened and a man in his late fifties walked in. He was tall, his hair a silver-gray, and one could see he was not a man you would want to anger.
Drake stood up and shook the man’s hand, then sat back down when he was instructed to.
“Mr. Templeton, you have a beautiful home. I just want to say that I’ll do my best to keep you safe. But I have to ask: why me, when you have so many men surrounding you already?”
“Mr. O’Rourke, it’s not me you’ll be protecting. It’s my daughter, Catherine.”
Drake felt his head throbbing. Now he knew why his bosses had been acting so weird. They’d known he wouldn’t have taken the job if he knew he was to be the bodyguard for some young, spoiled brat.
“All due respect, sir, but I don’t do babysitting. I think it would be best if you got someone else to do the job.”
“You won’t be babysitting, Mr. O’Rourke. You’ll be protecting my princess. You will go wherever she goes, do what she wants. You’ll be with her twenty-four seven.
“I don’t have time to find anyone else and it’s only for a few months. In three weeks, I have to go out of the country and can’t take her with me.
“I need someone I can trust to keep her safe, and I was told you were trustworthy. I will give you a huge bonus when your job ends.”
“Is your wife going with you, or will I also be watching over her?”
“My wife died in a car accident eight years ago.” Mr. Templeton blinked back the tears. After all these years, he still missed her.
“I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t know.” The last thing Drake wanted was to watch a kid, but with the bonus he would be getting later, he figured he’d stick it out. After all, how hard could it be taking care of a kid?
“Will you take the job?”
“Yes, I’ll take it. Where is your daughter now? I should meet her before I get settled in.”
“She’s out by the pool. I’ll have your bags taken to your room. I had one made up for you—it’s right across from Catherine. I want you close to her in case she needs something.
“There is something I should tell you. She can be a handful, a little on the wild side, and she will test you, push your buttons. I suggest you stay firm and tough, but never disrespect or hurt her. Is that understood?”
“Understood,” Drake answered, and he stood up. “Now, take me to her so we can get acquainted.”
Just then, a man walked in, went over to the older man, and whispered into his ear. Mr. Templeton then turned to look at Drake.
“I have something that I need to deal with. Stanly here will direct you toward the pool area. You go ahead, and I will join you both shortly.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea, sir. I might spook her. She doesn’t know me. I could always go check my room out, and when you’re free we could go together.”
“Believe me, Mr. O’Rourke, you won’t spook her. She’s aware that you’re coming today. I will be out as soon as I can.”
Drake followed Stanly out and through some rooms until they reached the back area of the house.
“The pool is out that way,” Stanly said, pointing to a large glass sliding door. “I’m sure you’ll find Miss Templeton either in the pool or in the garden, which is off to the side. Good luck, sir.”
Drake narrowed his eyes at the man. “Why is everyone wishing me luck? Is the child that bad?” He saw the smirk on Stanly’s face and felt like punching him.
“Child?” he chuckled. “It was nice meeting you, sir. Too bad you won’t be here for long.” Stanly walked away, leaving Drake confused.
When Drake walked outside, he felt the heat from the sun beating down on him and wished he wasn’t wearing a damn suit.
He reached into his pocket and took out the sunglasses, put them on, and looked around at his surroundings.
He noticed the garden first. It was spectacular with its different flowers and statues. Now, he wasn’t a decorating type of guy, but he did appreciate beauty.
It dawned on him that there were no guards outside in the back, though there were security cameras everywhere. But why would a child be out here all alone unless she had a nanny? But his new boss never mentioned one.
As he moved farther, he saw the pool, and there was a woman lying on a lounger, wearing dark sunglasses. She appeared to be sleeping, and there was no sign of a kid around.
As Drake moved closer, he couldn’t help thinking this must be the nanny, and his eyes wandered over her body. She had dark hair and wore a skimpy bikini.
He got hard looking at her body. She was a hot little number. He would have to find out who she was before he made a move on her. She might very well be the boss’s girlfriend, even though she looked way too young for him.
When he reached her, he smiled down at her, wanting her to see his dimples. Women seemed to go for them.
No matter where he was, if he saw a woman he wanted to get into bed, all he had to do was show her the dimples. It worked every time.
“Are you going to say something, or just stand there looking at my body?” she said in a very rude tone of voice.
He didn’t care for her tone, so he dropped the smile. “I’m looking for Catherine. I was told I could find her out here. If you’re the nanny, you’re doing a lousy job—I don’t see the kid anywhere around.”
“I’m Catherine, you babbling baboon.”