Dexter Sinclair, twenty-eight, a former Navy SEAL, worked as a bodyguard. He had worked for some important people—movie stars and politicians, just to name a few.
After leaving the Navy SEALs and going home to his longtime girlfriend, he found out she had married his best friend.
This made him a very angry and bitter man, and he vowed to never trust another woman again. He had never been a player and wasn’t about to start now.
He had women throwing themselves at him, but he turned them all down. He rarely slept with a woman, only an occasional one-night stand.
After finishing up the last job, he received a call from a Thomas Greene, who offered him twice what his other clients paid him. So he agreed to meet with Mr. Greene to find out what the job detailed.
Mr. Greene was a self-made billionaire. He’d made his fortune in the fashion industry, which he and his wife started up together.
When his wife died ten years ago he married one of his models two years later. He had a daughter with his first wife, Roxie, but never had one with his second wife.
He loved his daughter and was overprotective of her. This caused problems between him and his young wife who disliked Roxie.
She was jealous of the attention he showed his daughter, she felt he should pay more attention to her instead.
Claudia Greene was fifteen years younger than her husband, she and Thomas had been having an affair while he was still married to his first wife.
When his wife died in a boating accident he told her they had to wait two years before getting married.
He said he had a reputation to think of and it wouldn’t look right if he married too soon after his wife’s death.
Roxie, twenty-three was a daddy’s girl and it almost destroyed her when her mother died and her father married Claudia.
She hated the woman right from the start, knowing she was with her father for his money.
They avoided each other as much as possible, though it was hard since they all lived under the same roof.
Roxie had gone to college and gotten her degree in fashion and went to work in her father’s company as a designer.
The mansion they lived in was huge so she didn’t have to face her stepmother that often, only for dinner and the occasional parties that Claudia hosted.
Her life was pretty good, the only thing she hated and argued with her father over was that he arranged a marriage between her and Joseph Metcalf.
Joseph Metcalf was thirty-five, a wealthy man who may or may not have ties to the Mafia. He was tall, handsome and had a muscular body.
He met Roxie at a party her father was hosting and knew he had to have her. He made her father an offer he couldn’t refuse in exchange for Roxie’s hand in marriage.
It was a cold and windy day in New York City when Dexter walked out of his condo. He couldn’t wait for the warmer weather to get here, he thought to himself as he buttoned up his jacket.
He was on his way to meet with Mr. Greene about the job he was asked to do. He made it a habit of meeting with the clients before accepting them.
He got in behind the wheel and started the engine of his black BMW. It took him the better part of an hour to reach the Greene’s estate. He pulled into the driveway, parked in front, and got out.
His eyes scanned the place. It was huge, and he would bet his last dollar there would be a pool and tennis court out back.
He walked up the steps, rang the bell, and waited patiently for someone to answer it. The door was opened by an older man with gray hair, wearing what looked like a tux.
“Can I help you?”
He looked at the man, guessing it was the butler. “I’m Dexter Sinclair. I have a meeting with Mr. Greene.”
“Yes sir. He is expecting you. Please follow me.”
“Have you worked for Mr. Greene very long?”
“About ten years, sir.”
“What’s your name?”
He walked behind the man, knowing right away that Douglas was a man of few words. It wouldn’t be easy getting any information out of him about the Greene family.
They stopped at a door, and Douglas told him to wait. He went in, closing the door behind him, and moments later he came back.
“You may enter now,” he said, closing the door once Dexter had stepped inside.
“Mr. Sinclair, I’m glad to finally meet you face-to-face. Please, have a seat,” Mr. Greene said, pointing to a chair as he shook his hand.
Dexter sat down after shaking his hand. He had heard of the man but had never seen him. The man was in his late fifties, had all his hair, and seemed to be in good shape.
He looked around the room and could tell it was the man’s office. The art that was hanging on the wall was expensive, as was everything else in the room.
He watched as the older man lit a cigar and held out a box of them toward him.
“Would you care for one?”
“No thank you. Those things will kill you,” he said, shaking his head.
Just then the butler came back with some tea and coffee. He handed a cup of tea to his boss and handed Dexter a coffee after asking him which he preferred.
He then left the room, closing the door behind him.
“Mr. Greene, let’s get down to business. I need to know why and who you are wanting me to protect. What all is expected of me?”
He looked at Dexter, raising an eyebrow. “I like a man who gets right to the point. I heard you were the best, and I want to hire you to protect my daughter, Roxie.
“My daughter is my life, and someone has been stalking her, leaving death threats.”
“Do you have any of these threats on paper to show me?”
“I do,” he said, and he opened his drawer, pulled out a brown envelope, and handed it to him. “She has also received some text messages, but to see them you would have to ask to see her phone.
“There have also been some gifts delivered here for her, stupid things like teddy bears, candy, and some sexy lingerie.”
Dexter read the papers. Some of them mentioned that she was going to die a slow and painful death.
Some of them were almost like love letters, saying how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. None of it made much sense to him.
Usually, if someone said they loved you, they wouldn’t threaten your life. Unless she knew the person and had turned him down, causing him to think that if he couldn’t have her, no one could.
“Do you have all the items this person sent her?”
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“I want to see them.”
“All right. I’ll have Douglas bring them,” he said, picking up the phone. After talking for a few minutes, he hung up. “He’s bringing them. Now I need to ask, will you take the job?”
“That depends. What all do you expect me to do?”
“You will watch over her twenty-four seven. Where she goes, you go. You will never let her out of your sight, so that means you’ll have to move in here until your service is no longer needed.
“I’ve checked into your background. You’re an ex–Navy SEAL. You’re not a player, so I’m not worried about you taking advantage of her.
“I’ve heard you are straightforward and never get involved with the women you are protecting. I want you to take the job, so I’m willing to pay double what you usually get paid.”
Just then the butler walked in, carrying a box, which he placed on the desk.
“Sir, will there be anything else?”
“No, you can go.”
Dexter stood up and opened the box. He pulled out a box of chocolates. They were unopened, so he opened them.
He dumped the contents onto the desk and rooted through them, then did the same with the other two boxes.
Thomas squinted his eyes, wondering what madness this was. “What in God’s name are you doing?”
“I’m checking to see if they’ve been tampered with. Sometimes a criminal will inject poison into the chocolates. I don’t see any tiny pinpricks, so they seem all right.”
He then checked out the candy, but he couldn’t find anything to be concerned about. Then he picked up the sexy black lingerie and held it up. It was lacy and see-through.
He placed it down and looked at Thomas. “I thought you said there was a teddy bear.”
“There was. There is. But my daughter thought it was cute, so she wanted to keep it.”
“I want to see it.”
Thomas stood up straight. He really didn’t like Dexter’s tone. “It’s in her room, and she’s not home.”
“Where is she?”
“At work. She’s a designer in my company.”
“If you’re so worried about her safety, why is she not here where she can be watched by the many guards you have walking around the place?”
“Mr. Sinclair, do you take me for a fool that would let her go without an army of men watching her?”
“I still want to see the bear.”
“I’m sorry, but without my daughter’s permission I will not go into her room. I respect her privacy.”
“Then we have nothing more to talk about. I’ll let myself out. It was nice meeting you.”
“Wait. You would turn down the job just because I won’t invade her privacy?” He knew by the look on Dexter’s face that he would walk, and he couldn’t let that happen.
“Okay, I’ll have Douglas fetch it and bring it down. Please, sit while I make the call,” he said, picking up the phone. Hanging up, he sat back in his chair and stared at Dexter.
“You are one stubborn son of a bitch, but I like you. You’ve got a lot of guts talking to me this way. You do realize who I am, don’t you?”
“All due respect sir, I don’t give a damn who you are. You could be the Queen of England for all I care. When I take on a job, I’m in control. I’m the boss, and what I say goes.
“My main concern is to protect the person I’ve been hired to protect.”
Thomas sat back. Something told him that this was the man who could keep his daughter safe.
“I understand you are married. Where is your wife?” Dexter asked, sporting a smirk on his face when he saw the older man was at a loss for words.
“My wife is visiting friends in Switzerland and won’t be back for two weeks.” He looked up when Douglas came in carrying the bear.
“Miss Greene will not be happy that I entered her room and took this,” he said, setting the bear down on the desk.
“Don’t worry about it. I will talk to my daughter,” Thomas said, dismissing him. He handed the bear to Dexter. “It looks like a normal bear to me.”
He took the bear and checked it out before answering. “Cameras and bugs can be put in them. It’s done all the time,” he said, reaching for the letter opener that was on the desk.
He stabbed it in the neck, ripping it all the way down. He then removed all the stuffing but found nothing. He took hold of the eyes and pulled them out.
“What the hell is that?” Thomas swore, looking at the item in Dexter’s hand.
“It’s a camera.”
Thomas wiped his brow with the back of his hand.
“My God, she had that bear in her bedroom. So someone has been watching her as she changed and slept. I want this bastard found and put away for life.”
“I want to see the rest of your home. Every room.”
“Does this mean you’ll take the job?”
“Good. Follow me, Mr. Sinclair, and I’ll personally show you around.”
They started at the bottom floor and worked their way up. Dexter checked out every closet and the basement. He even went through the wing of the house where the staff stayed.
Then he was taken to the bedrooms upstairs and looked through Roxie’s room. As he walked around the room, he got a good idea of what kind of woman she was.
Her closet was full of designer clothes and shoes. She had enough to open her own shoe store. He could never understand why women had to have so many shoes.
Everything in the room was expensive. She had great taste, and he figured she was spoiled.
“Must you go through her closet?”
He looked back at Thomas. “Seeing what she has and how she lives gives me an idea of what kind of person she is. Whether they will be easy to deal with or difficult.
“If I am to protect your daughter, I must insist that you never undermine me or argue with me.
“I will be in full control, and if I feel she shouldn’t go somewhere or be near someone, that has to be my choice. Is that understood?”
“Understood. But you might have a hard time convincing Roxie. My daughter is a very strong-willed young woman. Be prepared to be cussed out if you push her too far.”
“I’ve handled the worst there is. I’m sure I can handle her. I will need the plans for this mansion and her daily schedule.
“Also a list of her friends, coworkers, old and new boyfriends, and anyone else she knows. I’ll need a room close to hers, and she has to be told not to go anywhere without me.”
“I was told you would want these things, so I have it all ready for you. It’s in my office. As for who all she sees and talks to, you’ll have to ask her.
“I can tell you about her coworkers and past boyfriend.”
They went back down to the office, where Thomas poured them both a scotch. He handed one to Dexter. “Sit. My daughter will be home soon, so until she gets here, let’s talk.”
“Talk about what?”
“Well, since you’ll be living in my home for however long, I’d like to know more about you. I know you’re an ex–Navy SEAL, but I know nothing of your personal life.
“Are you involved with anyone? If so, is she going to get in the way of you doing your job?”
“First of all, my personal life is none of your business. Second, I’m not involved with anyone, and even if I were, it would not interfere with my job.
“There’s nothing more you need to know about me. I will leave now and pack my things and be back in the morning.”
“Wait. My daughter should be home soon. Why not wait and meet her?”
Dexter looked at his watch. It wasn’t like he had anywhere special to go. He figured he might as well meet the woman. “All right. I’ll wait.”
“Good. Let me pour you another drink,” Thomas said. He picked up both of their glasses and poured more scotch into them.
“I’ll make sure to have your room ready, and if there’s anything you need, just ask.”
“Is that your daughter in the photo?” he asked, pointing to one of the pictures on the man’s desk.
“Yes, that’s my angel,” he said, picking up the picture. He stared at it, smiling. “She looks a lot like her mother. Now, this one is my wife. My second wife. Claudia.”
Dexter looked at the photo. He could tell she was much younger than her husband, but he kept that to himself. “She’s lovely.”
“Yes, she is, and quite a handful. As you can tell, she’s younger than I am, about fifteen years younger.
“She loves to travel. But as I’m a busy man, I can’t always go with her, so she goes with friends.
“To be honest, I don’t like her going without me. But it makes her happy, so I allow her to do what she pleases.”
Dexter sat back, listening to the man going on about his wife and daughter. It was obvious he had two spoiled women on his hands.
Just then the door opened, and a woman with dark hair walked in.
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