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The Protector Book 3: His Word

The Protector Book 3: His Word

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My high school sweetheart is trying to ruin my life… again.

A decade ago, Freddy Finch betrayed me.  Now he’s back, and he wants me to be an undercover asset for the CIA.

When I think everything is going well,
when my paintings are finally selling,
when I might actually make it as an artist...

He shows up.  He’s wicked, brooding, and every girl’s most sinful fantasy...including mine.

No problem, Finch. Just ruin my life, why don’t you.  Again.

I’m stuck between a rock and a very large, very hard place.

But as the operation gets more dangerous, Freddy becomes more irresistible.  I have to choose between trusting the man who betrayed me, or closing my heart off to him forever.



🔥 Action & Adventure

🔥 Second Chance

🔥 Bodyguard

🔥 Military

🔥 Steamy/Spicy

Chapter 1 Look Inside

Of course I was late.

I checked the time on my phone and glanced out of the taxi window, biting my lower lip. The Russo Art Gallery was still at least ten minutes away, and the exhibition had already started.

The biggest night of my life, and I couldn’t even manage to be on time for it. No matter how hard I tried, clocks always seemed to work differently for me. Little gremlins lived inside the gears and made time run faster when I wasn’t expecting it.

Well, that was the only logical explanation I could come up with.

I could play it off as the ‘fashionably late artist’. Maybe I could tell Gianni that I was late on purpose because I wanted to make an entrance. He was Italian, after all. He’d understand theatrics.

My leg bounced up and down as the taxi came to a stop at a red light. I swallowed, trying to push down my frustration. It was no use being mad at the taxi driver—this was my own fault.

Today was the first day that my art would be showcased in a gallery. Not only that, Gianni Russo had agreed to feature me—me, of all people—at the biggest gallery event in Washington D.C.

Butterflies crashed around my stomach as the taxi drove on, and I gulped down a lungful of air. It was a beautiful Saturday evening, warm for September, and the city was alive and buzzing with energy that only served to make me more nervous.

I’d planned on getting to the gallery early, before the crowds arrived. I’d planned on hanging back and observing from some dark corner as people commented on my pieces—maybe even hiding in my studio at the back of the building. But now, I’d be making a grand entrance as if I were some sort of celebrity. Everybody would see me come in, and I’m sure Gianni would make a big deal of introducing me to D.C.’s social elite.

I’d be the center of attention the instant I walked in.

Also known as my worst nightmare.

I needed to find a way to be on time to these things. Maybe I could set all my clocks fifteen minutes ahead. I sighed, gripping the silky fabric of my dress and smoothing it out again. Changing the clocks never worked, because somehow, I’d then just take fifteen extra minutes to do everything.

I’m telling you—gremlins.

Being perpetually late was a flaw, but I couldn’t help it. No matter how hard I tried to be on time, I always managed to lose myself in my own world.

I should have told my best friend, Tanya, to sneak into my apartment and change the clocks without me knowing—but I lived with my boyfriend, Jayden, and he always loved making me feel bad about being late. I didn’t want to give him more ammunition.

Shaking my head, I took another breath. It would be fine, right? I could tiptoe in without anybody noticing. I’d sneak into my studio whenever I needed a break from the crowds.

Jayden said he’d be there as soon as he finished work, so I could use him for support.

“You okay?” The taxi driver glanced at me in the rearview mirror. “You look nervous. Big date?”

“Something like that,” I answered with a forced smile. It still seemed surreal to tell people that my paintings were being showcased. It was something I’d dreamed of since I was a little girl. All the stacks of sketchbooks, the paint-stained clothes, the thousands of dollars I’d spent on art school—it all led up to this moment.

And I was late.

I pulled up my phone camera and checked my makeup for the thousandth time. My phone buzzed. It was Tanya, telling me she’d be a few minutes late.

You and me both, girl.

We turned the final corner and I typed out a quick answer. I hadn’t heard from Jayden since this morning, and I had a bad feeling I’d be going in there on my own. I sighed, shaking my head to clear my jumbled thoughts.

The Russo Art Gallery was a grand building with big white columns and a wide, marble staircase—perfect for making an entrance, and terrible for walking in without anyone noticing. I paid the cab driver and slipped out of the taxi, taking a deep breath. Gianni had organized multi-colored lights to shine on the front of the building, so the whole place looked even more grand than it usually did.


Just breathe.

My eyes swung up the steps and my heart dropped to my stomach. Right there, hanging from the apex of the roof—draping down the front of the entire building—was a forty-foot banner with my name plastered all over it. My eyes widened and my heart leapt in my chest. A subtle entrance would never have been possible, even if I had been early.

Gripping my clutch in one hand, I gathered the silky, royal blue fabric of my rented gown and started up the steps. A limousine pulled up behind me. I glanced back to see an older woman in a floor-length, black gown and a man in a tuxedo exit the vehicle. They followed me up the stairs, the man giving me a funny stare. I glanced away from him just as my toe stumbled on the last step. My open-toed shoe caught on the lip, pinning my long gown to the stair as I flailed forward and lost my balance.

An ugly little yelp escaped my lips as my arms and legs went akimbo. I went flying forward, straight into the grand marble staircase leading up to my first gallery exhibition.

Of course I did.


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