Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kissing Alex by RJ Scott

Is running to a remote Scottish island the only way for them to stay alive?

Martial arts expert Lewis is the kind of bodyguard who slips under most people’s radar. Quiet, reserved, but constantly on alert, he’ll do his job, keep his charges safe, then relax by reading Shakespeare in his spare time.

When he’s given a case involving a spoiled celebrity singer, Lewis isn’t all that impressed. The job is nothing but babysitting a pretty boy, and he’s used to diplomatic postings with depth and challenge. What could he possibly have in common with the man he’s being forced to look after?

Alex became the envy of many when he and his fellow bandmates won second place in a huge TV talent show. He has more money than he knows what to do with, no life goals, an ex-boyfriend selling a sex tape and now, someone who wants him dead, or at the very least maimed.

Can Lewis keep Alex safe, even when things usually in his control go to hell? Is running to a remote Scottish island the only way for them to stay alive?

In this newest installment in the Bodyguards, Inc series, RJ Scott plays matchmaker once again.  This time, we have boy band member Alex and about-to-go on vacation Lewis.  I can honestly say I don't know what I can write that I haven't already made note of in the previous entries for this series.  I do enjoy how Miss Scott goes beyond the typical stereotypes in Kissing Alex.  Alex may not be what many see as a twink but being the smaller of the two does not mean he can't take control and lucky for him the big brawny bodyguard Lewis likes to be controlled some times.

The suspense that brings Alex to Bodyguards, Inc's door may play a relatively minor roll in the plot, but that does not make it any less mysterious, plus it beautifully sets up the next entry, Roman's Heart, which is expected early 2017.  Seeing Lewis as Laird of the Manor with his little brother and sister at his side is interesting and fun, showing a side to the bodyguard that very few get to see.  If you haven't yet read Bodyguards, Inc, the series is a collection of standalone novels in that each centers on a different bodyguard and client but personally, I suggest reading them in order if for no other reason that minor mentions of other characters will make more sense.

Overall Series(Books #1-4) Review Originally Posted August 2015:
Another great series by Miss Scott.  Even though each story is a standalone with the exception of characters being mentioned in passing or cameos, I'm writing an overall series review and each book easily deserves a 5 bookmark rating.  Many of us have some kind of bodyguard fantasy and with Bodyguards, Inc the reader gets a peak into the life of the occupation.  Each book has a little bit of everything, mystery, intrigue, drama, love, with definite levels of hotness throughout.  You might be thinking that what you have here is the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston movie Bodyguard with a gay twist, the truth is there are some similar elements but really, this series has so much more depth and appeal with every page.  Some say that relationships that are born during times of crisis and danger are not always everlasting but I think relationships, be it friends or lovers, can be built at any time and in these tales the author shows us how true it can really be.

Love's Design #5 Review Originally Posted December 2015:
I will say that Kirby and Stefan may not be my favorite couple working at Bodyguards, Inc but they are still completely and utterly adorable that ranks them near the top.  Kirby may feel like he's floundering when it comes to taking care of his niece and nephew but he is doing what is most important, he's keeping them safe, keeping them loved, and doing everything he can to keep them fed.  Which is where Stefan comes into the picture, perhaps reluctantly but he still steps up and does what he does best, kicks a little ass and protects the hurt and innocent, although he may question Kirby's innocence he knows the little ones are.  RJ Scott has done it again and this time she's wrapped it in a big, sexy, hunky, beautiful Christmas bow.


Chapter One

Lewis Nevin didn’t have to be a certified genius with an IQ of 147 to see where this conversation with Kyle was heading.

No, he just had to see the obvious clues—like Ross hiding in the kitchen and Kyle, his boss and his friend, looking all kinds of guilty. In fact, he’d known what Kyle had been hinting at since the very moment the owner of Bodyguards Inc. had called him into the damn office. He just said nothing and let it play out so that Kyle would be on the back foot.

Three years of working for Kyle, and Kyle had always accepted that every year from the end of March and into April he was unavailable for work. So why would he be suggesting things that meant this long-standing arrangement would be changing?

Kyle held up his hands. “You don’t even know what I’m asking.”

“I do,” Lewis said. “You want me to cancel my month off.”

“No, not at all.”

The piss and vinegar Lewis had sparking through his veins subsided in an instant, but the suspicion remained. Something was going on here.

Kyle continued, with a serious expression and determination in his tone. “I have this new case, and it’s personal to us.”

“Personal how?” Lewis wished Kyle would just cut to the chase.

“I have a client who needs somewhere to keep his head down for a couple weeks.”

“And you know I’ll be back mid-April.”

“That’s too late, it’s needed now.” Kyle laced his fingers together and couldn’t quite look Lewis in the eye.

A myriad of emotions zipped through Lewis. Kyle was lying; somehow he was asking Lewis to give up his vacation time, his precious month on the island. “I’m not available now, and you said you didn’t need me to—” He stopped, his brain catching up with his words, and abruptly it all made horrific sense. “Hell no!”

He knew exactly where this was going.

“Hear me out,” Kyle pleaded.

“This month is my time.”

“I know, and if it wasn’t important I wouldn’t ask.”

Lewis held his tongue. As far as he was concerned, any job was important, and that was what Kyle usually thought too.

Kyle continued. “This is something Ben asked me for.”

Great. Now Kyle was pulling the fellow-bodyguard card.

Still, Lewis was abruptly worried. “What’s wrong? Is Ben okay? Is Daniel okay?”

Ben’s boyfriend, Daniel, was a nice guy, a singer with an expanding career. Lewis counted Ben as a friend—as much as Lewis had friends with the lack of down time he had.

“It’s not Daniel. He and Ben are in Japan at the moment. It’s a friend of Daniel’s.”

“A friend of Daniel’s?”

“You’ll recall the show Daniel was on….”

“I do.” Lewis wasn’t a man who sat in front of the television watching brain-rotting shit like that. Apart from his obsession way back with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, he didn’t watch much television at all. However, he’d caught enough about the show Kyle had referred to in the news, and he knew exactly who finished where in the competition. Not for the first time, he cursed his brain’s capacity to recall all kinds of useless facts.

Kyle prompted him. “The band that came second.”

“Twelfth Wonder.” Stupid name for a band.

“One of the boys is having some trouble.”

“Boys. Trouble.” Lewis repeated. Five boys—well, men, actually.

“He needs somewhere safe to stay for the next few weeks. He’s the loose end and leverage in a serious case.”

Lewis picked up the subtle inference that the man was in danger and that it would be better for certain people if he wasn’t around at all. This was something Lewis had seen before.

But… once a year, that was all, he was due vacation time, and he couldn’t believe Kyle was asking him to work. Nothing disturbed his family time on Stoirmeil or the work he did there. In fact, temper itched inside him, and he had to consciously force it back.

He didn’t get angry. “Wait. You want me herding a pretty boy when I should be sitting with my books and getting my downtime. Can’t you get him to a safe house or something?”

“This goes a lot deeper than one of our normal cases.”

“Bring him here.”

Kyle attempted innocence. “I just thought you might want to help.” When Lewis failed to react, he sighed noisily. “Okay, you have an island. We need a place where no one would find him.”

“It’s my time, Kyle. You know I need this month.”

Kyle looked a little guilty, and then his expression turned sly. “It seemed like a good plan on paper, but I told Ross it wouldn’t work.”

“This was Ross’s idea?” Lewis could believe that; Ross was one sneaky fucker. Then he caught Kyle glancing at the closed office door with a guilty expression. “It wasn’t his idea.” Not a question, a statement of fact.

Kyle nudged a folder toward him. “Okay, so it was my idea, but there is one thing. This one pays well, and all you’d need to do is watch over the kid and keep him off the grid.”

“I said no. I get one month, Kyle—less than that. Twenty-eight freaking days at home.”

“I had to ask, because I need a guy who can go dark for a couple of weeks, and y’know, you going to the island means that you’d be gone longer than that. His management team is willing to pay well, a year’s money for four weeks’ work. I can probably push them to more if you take it on. They want secrecy.”

“Who is this guy and what did he see?”

Kyle tapped the file. “It’s all in here. I think you should read the file and the background information, to see if this case is something you’d want to handle.”

“This singer. You know I don’t like working for shallow idiots without a single brain cell.”

Lewis hated his boss at that moment, which was shitty because he loved working for the tall sexy American. Bodyguards Inc. was one of the places where he felt at home. Years in military intelligence, man and boy, had shown him a lot, given him skills, but it was Kyle who had seen past the brains to the simple man beyond. Lewis hadn’t reached thirty-one without feeling he could judge character, and he judged Kyle to be a fair and excellent boss.

Kyle sighed again; he was doing a lot of that. “I know, and this could be a stretch. I don’t know the client at all. This is all being done covertly.”

Lewis tried once more to attempt an explanation. “Kyle, I have my commitments.”

Kyle leaned back in his chair. “Young Alex would fit right in. He’d stay quiet and keep out of your hair, and he’d earn you a big bonus for keeping him safe.”

Lewis didn’t fall back on cursing very often, finding it easier to construct an appropriate logical reason for his responses than to randomly swear. But he wanted to rant right now, using as many expletives as he could. He was adamant that he wouldn’t take on the job, convinced he was heading north tomorrow for his annual break, and utterly unmoved by anything Kyle had said.

Then the money smacked him in the face. How much money? And was it worth tilting the balance of his life just for more?

The harbormaster’s house needs a new roof; the café needs extending, and the trail needs developing.

He attempted to ignore the inner voice that told him he should at least look at the file. His inner voice won with its promises of financial help for Stoirmeil.

“I’ll read the file,” he said evenly, holding back the need to snap, and he scooped up the paperwork. “You know where I’ll be.”

He left the office without a goodbye, without, in fact, another word, storming past Ross and out into the mid-March air, which slapped him on the face with its frosty hands. He didn’t stop being angry until he closed the doors of the manor library behind him, finally safe in the one place he felt most relaxed.

Surrounded by the impressive collection of old books and wedged firmly in the wing chair by the unlit fireplace, Lewis opened the file.

The first thing he saw was a picture of the kid, who, according to his profile, was twenty-seven years old and thus only four years younger than Lewis

He looked young and sexy. Maybe it was the hair, a strawberry blond color, longer in the back and tucked behind the ears, artfully styled in some flicky pile on top — it made him look young. Or maybe it was the eyes, green, Lewis thought, with a hint of brown… hazel, then. The photo was clearly a promo shot by the way the stubble was just a certain neat length, and the pout of soft lips lent a smoldering air to the image.

But it was the lips Lewis really focused on—full and pink and pouty. Lewis had a thing for lips.

For kissing, actually. Clinically he assessed the photo, slapping it face down to one side on the small table next to the chair.

“Alex Cantrell.” He sounded out the name and then glanced down at the other information.

First was the contract amount: a solid quarter of a million would be the reward for anyone willing to put up with the boy band pretty boy who needed a safe place to sleep for the next four weeks.

Two hundred and fifty thousand pounds was enough to set up Stoirmeil for a year, and it would take the pressure off Lewis having to work 24/7.

He read on.

Alex James Cantrell, 27. Birthday April 1, height five nine. Originally from Edinburgh but moved to Bournemouth, on the south coast of England at age eight. Mother and Father deceased, both in their early seventies. Gay. Graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a 2:1 in business studies.

Pretty normal for the most part, apart from the fact he had no family, which had to suck. His parents clearly had him as a late in life baby. Then he re-read the information.

“Business studies,” Lewis muttered. Not quite the same prestige as the degrees in physics and statistics from Oxford and the doctorate in statistics Lewis held. Still, at least Alex wasn’t an idiot and could probably hold a small, somewhat intelligent conversation if needed.

Lewis realized where his train of thought was going, almost as if he was considering the job. He cursed himself and turned to the next page. This was the interesting part, the whys and wherefores of this young man needing a bodyguard, or, in this case, somewhere to hide.

The detail was sparse: Alex had been the victim of a physical attack with no associated hospital stay, and his ex-boyfriend was giving evidence against his own family. A sex tape had been released featuring the potential client and his ex.

Then Lewis saw something that hit him right between the eyes.


One word. A Russian family with a hold in the import and export of anything illegal, with a focus on drugs moving in and out of London and Birmingham. Lewis knew all about the Azarov family: the grandfather, Mikhail Azarov, who had his father’s Russian blood and the fierce passion of his Italian mother, ruled the family with ruthless efficiency. He’d spent over half his life in prison, running his family just as well from behind bars as outside in their Sussex mansion.

The fear of how much the Azarov influence had spread was never more evident than from the fact that the Prime Minister took regular briefings on the matter from the head of Scotland Yard, some of which Lewis had been a party to when he guarded the deputy prime minister last summer.

Azarov and the establishment had an uneasy truce, and the influence of that one man, along with his sons and his grandchildren, was far-reaching.

And Alex-freaking-Cantrell had an ex-boyfriend, Roman Azarov, who was willing to do what it took to shut the Azarov family down?

Well, that wasn’t good. Roman was a grandson of the head of the Azarov family.

What was Roman going to say in court against his family? How bad could it be to destroy an organization that had survived since World War II? Lewis scanned the rest of the papers, but that detail was nowhere to be found.

So Roman’s vulnerability was Alex?

That was why Alex needed somewhere to hide.

Suddenly the library was too closed-in, Lewis’s usual sanctuary invaded enough that he stalked out and into the huge kitchen. He dropped the file on the work surface, and the papers slid out with the photo top and center, Alex’s pouty lips and sexy face staring right up at him.

He started some coffee and leaned there, waiting for the machine to do its thing. The Azarov family played on the wrong side of the law but had enough money to buy almost anyone off.

There were newspaper cuttings in those files—the tabloids going to town on the Alex Cantrell sex tape—but so far nothing had the press connecting Alex to the Azarov family, otherwise Ross would have made a note of it in the file. There were a few stills from the tape: grainy, but very definitely this Alex guy topping the hell out of a man with short hair. Was that Roman Azarov? Had the sex tape been revealed to discredit Roman? Did Alex know what Roman was doing?

“Lewis, hey.”

Lewis looked up to see Max amble into the kitchen, yawning widely behind his hand.

“Morning, Max,” Lewis offered with a smile. He liked Max. In fact, there was nothing not to like about the short guy who looked about twenty-one but was actually as old as Lewis.

“Coffee,” Max whimpered and slumped onto a stool.

“Late one?”

“Three-week rotation on a chat show host who won’t shut the hell up.” Max yawned again. “Idiot keeps announcing on his show that his guests aren’t the fathers of their babies, and it incites on-screen fights.” He shrugged. “He’s gonna get people wanting to stab him.”

“All resolved?”

“No, I’m still on the books. Adam’s covering me for a few days so I can sleep.”

“An intense one, then.”

Every so often you were assigned cases that sucked the life out of you. Charges who were complete idiots, putting themselves and their bodyguards in danger, or ones who refused to listen. It seemed as if that was what Max was handling.

Lewis poured coffees and passed one to Max along with cream and sugar. Max sipped at the black stuff and closed his eyes in ecstasy. “Thank fuck,” he muttered. “I needed that.”

“Where’s Prince Lucien?”

They were typically joined at the hip on any of Max’s downtimes.

Max grinned at him, then winked. “Still in bed.”

Lewis quickly changed the subject. “Do you know this guy?”

Lewis knew that Max, through his lover, Lucien, had a connection to Alex. Lucien was friends with Daniel, who’d been on the same show as the potential client. The way Max’s brain worked was, he collected random facts, and somehow they all stayed in his head. A collection of everything, which then never left.


“Alex Cantrell, from Twelfth Wonder.”

Max brightened. “Yeah, good kid. He was the one who gave Ben the heads-up on Daniel.”

Lewis nudged the file to Max. “He needs a bodyguard.”

“Shit, why? Overeager fans? Ben was saying some girl jumped Daniel the other day, asking to marry him.”

Lewis tapped the file with his index finger. “No, I wish it were that easy. An ex-boyfriend with links to the Azarov family, a released sex tape—by whom I don’t know—and a court case I don’t have details on yet but where Alex is vulnerable. Possibly the family wants Alex as leverage against the key witness.”

Max grimaced. “Ouch. The Azarov family. Are they the ones who run the drug route between London and Birmingham?”

Lewis nodded, then added, “Allegedly.”

“And a sex tape? With Alex in it?”

Lewis pulled out the still and pushed it toward Max, who looked at it, then looked up at him with an open-mouthed expression. “Shit. That’s, um—”

“Wrong,” Lewis said.

“Exactly what I was going to say.” Max grinned, then sobered. “Poor Alex. Bet the management of the band love that one. I always got the impression that Alex was supposed to be the clean-cut one. Cute and mysterious, not the ‘I’m gay and I actually have sex’ one.”

He opened the file and pushed past the photo of Alex. Max didn’t linger on Alex’s lips—but then, he had regular sex with his boyfriend. Nope, Max wasn’t in a desperate no-sex zone like Lewis was at the moment.


Then it hit Lewis. Having Alex in tow meant he couldn’t stop off for the night in Inverness to hook up with anyone who would be interested. Months of no sex were starting to take their toll, and Lewis had placed a lot of faith in that one night and being able to work through all his pent-up sexual aggression. Finding a guy who didn’t look at his height and broad chest and think he exclusively topped.

My life sucks.

Max interrupted Lewis’s thoughts. “Jesus. This isn’t looking good.”


“And this is your next case?”

Max looked at him expectantly as if he assumed Lewis was going to say yes.

“I haven’t said yes yet.”

Max whistled. “Hell of a payout. Not that you need the money, Mr. Scottish Jimmy McRich, laird of an island.”

“Ha-ha,” Lewis joked back dryly, deflecting the heat of any further questions.

Let everyone think what they wanted to; it made no difference to him, or to him doing his job. If only Max knew exactly how much he needed the damn money, or the kind of responsibilities he had, then he wouldn’t be teasing. The only one that did know was Kyle, and likely Ross, given they were the opposite sides of the same coin.

“Guess they could get Adam back. He’s covering for me for a few days, and then he has a transit job to Greece, but he’s due back in the office at some point. I only know that because Ross muttered some dark shit about his stapler.”

Lewis focused on the information in that sentence and not on the stapler stuff. “Yeah, they need someone now.”

The thought of Adam taking the job unsettled Lewis. Adam was all happy and loved-up, with a boyfriend and probably a dog by now, and the Azarov family weren’t the kind of people you messed with. Better if one of the single bodyguards got involved.

Who was he kidding? Lewis knew he would be the one taking Alex where he’d be safe. Too many reasons why he was the perfect one for the job; they outweighed the negatives two to one.

Damn his organized brain and its need to have everything in a line.

“I think I’ll be the one to do it.”

Max nodded as if he’d assumed Lewis would do it anyway. “Adam doesn’t own an island in the middle of nowhere where a man could safely hide.”

Lewis didn’t want to even think that he was losing his four weeks of peace, where he was isolated and could find his center again.

Max poured another coffee, pulled out a red mug, and filled that as well. He yawned again. “Bed,” he muttered and left the kitchen and Lewis to his thoughts.

Lewis nursed his coffee, with resignation in every one of his thoughts. When he walked into the office, Ross looked up at him with that same expectant expression. “And?” he asked as he stapled papers together in a new file.

“Yeah, okay,” Lewis answered grudgingly.

“Full details of the court case to date are in your email. Flight BA7813 to Inverness City Airport, 0920 tomorrow. Alex’s management covered your flights. We’ll pay you for an extra two weeks at the end for you to be able to stay after this is over. It’s the least we can do.”

Ross didn’t bother to ask if Lewis needed to write that down. He knew as well as anyone that Lewis had a freaky brain.

“I’ll go to the airport tonight,” Lewis said.

“And I’ll book you a room, text you the details. Same place?”

Like that, Lewis had agreed to something he never thought he would. He left the manor; his company-issued Jeep ate up the miles to London and he ended up at the Hilton at Heathrow. He completed enough lengths in the half-size pool before his muscles turned to jelly.

By the time he fell asleep, he had rationalized the decision to take on Alex’s case. After all, the money would fix a lot of problems on the island. Just because he had someone he needed to keep an eye on, didn’t mean he wouldn’t get peace. He just hoped to hell Alex wasn’t high maintenance, the type of reality show diva expecting the world to revolve around them.

Knowing his luck though, Alex was exactly that type.

Chapter Two 
Lewis arrived at the airport an hour before the flight was due to leave, checking out the lay of the land, the people, and all the escape routes. His gaze zeroed in immediately on the man he was here to find.

“Marnie, be careful of yourself,” the man with the sunglasses said tiredly.

That had to be Alex. Slightly taller than the woman with him, he was likely the five nine Lewis had been expecting. His hair looked blonder, but not much was visible under a scarlet Ferrari cap.

“Jeez, how much crap is in this bag?” the woman replied in an incredulous tone. She hefted a huge suitcase from where it stood on the floor.

“For fuck’s sake, it’s just my stuff,” the man answered in a defensive tone.

Lewis listened to the exchange and scanned the small groups of people waiting for the 0920 flight to Inverness. It was obvious that it was Alex, simply because he was trying too damn hard not to be noticed. The combination of sunglasses on an overcast March day, a cap, and the whole aura of “famous person passing for normal,” made him easy to spot.

Lewis typically guarded politicians and dignitaries, the kind of person he liked to be around, with skills and opinions and doing something positive in the world. They didn’t need the whole I’m-not-famous façade. Very seldom were they anything but on a pedestal or in charge of a meeting or cutting a ribbon at a ceremony. None of them needed to hide; they needed someone to stop them being shot at and/or jumped on.

This was different. This kid—man—was part of a boy band, which didn’t bode well for a start, and probably had the brains of an amoeba, albeit an amoeba with a saleable voice as his only talent.

Lewis knew he was opening the box marked Idiot and placing Alex right in it, pouty, kissable lips or not, and he wasn’t going to feel guilty about it. Added to that, Alex had just spoken to the woman next to him with absolutely no respect—and made her carry the suitcase.

Two plainclothes security guys hovered to his right and behind him. From the way they watched the people around Alex, they were police or something similar.

Lewis crossed to the nearest one and flashed his ID, and without exchanging any words, the two men melted away leaving him with his two targets—one of whom was this tiny woman, the other this really skinny idiot wearing sunglasses on a cloudy London day.

Lewis had done his homework. Twelfth Wonder was crazy big. Over six million songs sold, a million albums, success in the US, and all that in the three years since they’d won second place in a Saturday-night talent show. They had fans that adored them, and they had fans that obsessed over them, and not always in a good way. Lewis guessed he shouldn’t call Alex on the sunglasses if that was what he was expected to wear as part of his boy band uniform.

Casually he checked out the groups of people in departures, mostly business people staring down at their phones, none of them would take a second look at an average guy in jeans. But Alex apparently expected them to.

Yep, diva.

The woman with Alex was small and sharp, hovering over him as if she wanted to touch him at every moment. She was struggling to get the heavy suitcase upon the weighing platform, while Alex stood there, not attempting to help at all.

Great start.

Lewis reached in front of her and lifted the case onto the platform and, in doing that, he caused two things to happen: the woman looked at him with shock and fear in her eyes, and Alex shrank back against the nearest wall, with a dramatic gasp.

Jesus, the singing diva’s jumpy.

“Lewis Nevin,” Lewis said immediately. Then he lowered his voice, “Bodyguards Inc.,” and held up his hands in a gesture of innocence.

A couple of people had glanced over at Alex’s gasp, and the last thing Lewis needed was an audience. Instead, he focused on the suitcase. The thing was damned heavy and ended up checking in overweight. Paying the excess distracted the woman and, while she did so, Lewis stood impassive and watchful. Alex moved away from the wall. He seemed embarrassed and a bit shaky on his legs, looking around Lewis, probably for the two cops who’d brought him here.

“Marnie.” She introduced herself when she handed Alex his boarding pass. “I’m Alex’s PA.”

PA and general dogsbody, if her lifting the suitcase was anything to go by.

Lewis shook her hand and watched the case until it was out of view. Then he held a hand out to Alex with the same “Lewis Nevin” introduction.

Alex looked at him blankly, his eyes half-closed, and only after a slight pause did he shake Lewis’s hand, weakly and quickly as if he couldn’t bear the touch.

What the hell was wrong with people that meant they gave these ineffectual handshakes? Lewis always found people who offered a limp handshake were equally limp people. Yet another chalk mark in the column of “why the hell am I doing this again?”

Money. You want the money.

Lewis pulled himself together; he was a professional, and once he had Alex somewhere safe, he could get on with what he needed to do for the next month. The Isle of Stoirmeil was a quiet place. There he could focus on other things and look after Alex at the same time. Alex didn’t look like he was going to be hard work—it looked as if a stiff wind would blow the man over.

Okay, so he was being harassed, chased down by the bad guys, and had a video of him fucking his boyfriend spread all over the Internet, so likely he would be happy with a month of isolation. Alex looked like he needed fresh air, exercise, and a whole lot of feeding up. Davey would see to that, with Sorcha primping and poking at him and making him smile.

Marnie waited until they boarded the flight, her hands constantly playing with the tassels on her purse, reminding Lewis of a hyperactive kid. Alex, on the other hand, sat absolutely still in the waiting area, with his eyes closed and the white buds of his headphones in his ears. He passed through checks without speaking, and then found his seat on the plane, again with no words.

Lewis saw him wince as he sat down and fastened his belt. “Are you okay?”

Lewis was good at reading body language; he had to be when he assessed potential enemies for weaknesses, and Alex looked like he might be in pain.

Alex only nodded, and that was his answer.

Lewis buckled up and settled back for the flight. To anyone who looked at Lewis, he appeared to be a regular guy, albeit tall and broad. That was his superpower. He wasn’t hulking like Ben, or hard and scary like Adam; he was the businessman in the tailored suit, taller than most at six three, but in proportion. Muscles were there, but he was more lithe than muscle-bound. Still, he was on the job, and he’d already scoped out the other thirteen passengers on this small internal flight.

He knew the staff by name. Assessed that the guy in the seat three rows ahead of them was full of self-importance and bluster and that one of the women three rows back was pregnant and on her way to Scotland to tell her boyfriend.

This was all intelligence gathered from observations and overheard snatches of conversation. He’d seen all that, knew all that, and he was good at his job. He was also accurate at reading people. Marnie had been all efficiency and almost motherly concern. When she’d left Alex at Departures, Lewis thought she might well break down in tears. She’d hugged Alex, and with a few whispered words, she’d left.

Alex had taken a step to follow her. That was telling: he clearly didn’t want to be here; he wanted to go with Marnie.

But Alex now? Lewis couldn’t get a quick read of him; he was an enigma wrapped up in a puzzle. Alex was quiet, a little out of it—well, a lot out of it, actually, and Lewis suspected drugs. He fired off a quick email to Ross, asking him to check a drugs connection of any kind. Covertly he kept an eye on Alex, but they didn’t exchange a single word, and Alex fell asleep an hour into the flight. He slept until the captain announced they were five minutes from Inverness.

Alex woke, startled and panicked, his hands gripping the seat; he yelped. A high-pitched sound that had him clamping his lips shut and looking at Lewis directly.

Lewis met his gaze, but he didn’t comment on the panic or the yelp. Alex’s eyes were a little clearer, the hazel-green prominent in a face lined with exhaustion.

Something wasn’t adding up here. Lewis leaned in and Alex shrank back. “What drugs are you on? Do we need to get more? Because you realize that when we get to the island, that’s it. No people on corners peddling whatever poison you crave.”

Alex blinked at him, evidently assessing whether or not he should answer.

Then he pointedly looked out of the window. “Fuck off,” he said, clearly and straight to the point.

Lewis had to give him full marks for the delivery, if not for the content of the comment. Maybe he hadn’t asked the question right. Then he realized he couldn’t expect much from Alex. Telling Lewis to fuck off was probably Alex at his cerebral best.

Lewis probably deserved the acerbic reaction anyway. Kyle often said he was too direct, though it usually went down fine. His clients didn’t have time to pussyfoot around an event; they needed guidance from an expert in keeping them safe. Lewis had to admit he hadn’t been entirely respectful and polite; he’d allowed his own resentment at having to do this looking-after-Alex thing during his month off to color his words.

Yet, Alex had just told him to fuck off, very bluntly. Apparently money didn’t polish a dull stone.

Lewis sat upright waiting for the plane to land, visualizing the arrivals area. And all the time he watched Alex and was acutely aware of everything around him.

All was quiet.

Author Bio:
RJ Scott has been writing since age six when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and was told to write a story. Two sides of A4 about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born. She reads anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror; however, her first real love will always be the world of romance. From billionaires, bodyguards and cowboys to SEALs, throwaways and veterinarians, she writes passionate stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and more than a hint of happily ever after.


Kissing Alex #6

Bodyguard to a Sex God #1

The Ex Factor #2

Max & The Prince #3

Undercover Lovers #4

Love's Design #5

Bodyguards Inc Volume 1

Bodyguards Inc Volume 2

Bodyguards Inc Volume 3

Fire, Fury, Faith Audiobook by ND Jones

Title: Fire, Fury, Faith
Author: ND Jones
Series: Winged Warriors #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Audiobook Release Date: December 6, 2015
Narrator: Ryan Vincent Anderson
Issa, tribal chieftain and warrior, dies trying to protect his family and tribesmen from slave traders but is given a second chance at life as an angel. Having lost his home, daughters, and life by forces beyond his control, Issa, a Guardian Angel for four centuries, has yet to come to terms with this “failure.” So when a rogue demon attacks and almost kills his wife, Serwa, Issa goes on the hunt. Serwa knows the pain of loss, the burn of fire, the heat of love. She is a Healer Angel, bound to help, to heal, to protect. And the person she wants most to heal is Issa, her husband, her soul mate, her warrior. But what is a woman to do when a husband's guilt and fury challenge the very foundation of their marriage?

"Love Across the Ages" --Audible Review
If you could sum up Fire, Fury, Faith in three words, what would they be?

What was one of the most memorable moments of Fire, Fury, Faith?
The information the author gave about the brutality of the slave raid. The author didn't dwell on the ugliness of such events, but told just enough so the reader could get a feel for its cruelty and impact on its survivors - Serwa and Issa

Which scene was your favorite?
Serwa 's forgiveness. She was a powerful angel with a good heart. But she wasn't the type of angel that was all goodness and light. There were depths to both main characters. But Serwa was a forgiving character, which endeared her to me.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Issa's efforts at redemption was heartbreaking as much as it was heart-warming to see how much he loved his wife and daughters. He was a true Guardian Angel.

Any additional comments?
I hope the author continues with the second book in the series.

Author Bio:
N. D. Jones lives in Maryland with her husband and two children. Having earned a M.A. in Political Science, she is a dedicated educator. She taught high school social studies for nine years. Currently, she is a professional development specialist with a local Maryland school system, working on increasing student achievement through teacher and administrator efficacy. N.D. is also a continuing education student who is pursuing her doctorate in education in Community College Leadership. A desire to see more novels with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, inspired the author to take on the challenge of penning such romantic reads. She is the author of two paranormal romance series: Winged Warriors and Death and Destiny. N.D. likes to read historical and paranormal romance novels, as well as comics and manga.

Narrator Bio:
I was born and raised in Queens, NY, and I currently reside in Los Angeles, CA.

During my formative years I mainly expressed myself through art and music. Highlights include performing in the all-city Queens band as a saxophonist and copyrighting my own comic strip character. Later I was accepted in to a five year architecture degree program at the esteemed Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Unfulfilled with architecture alone, I found new artistic outlets in the performing arts at CMU, while simultaneously studying architecture. I choreographed and danced in dance shows, modeled in runway shows, and acted in short films and mainstage plays.

Determined to follow my passion for performance, I went straight from CMU to CalArts in Valencia, CA, where I earned an MFA in acting.

Everything I have learned - from my early years of drawing and music, to my architectural years of spacial planning and design, to my time at conservatory acting training - continues to feed the art that I create with each project that I’m involved in.

ND Jones

Ryan Vincent Anderson

Fire, Fury, Faith #1

Heat, Hunt, Hope #2

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Pre-Order Blitz: Offbeat by Nikki Lynn Barrett

Title: Offbeat
Author: Nikki Lynn Barrett
Series: Love and Music in Texas #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: May 31, 2016
Cover Design: Robert Barrett
Life is full of choices...

Right before she turned sixteen, Taryn McAllister made several rebellious choices, one which led her to become the drummer for a major teen sensation country star. After a deadly accident, she made another choice - to get back on the wagon and play drums again, no matter that it took adapting because she's confined to a wheelchair.

Now another set of choices is thrust upon her. After reconnecting with her estranged best friend, Taryn is offered a chance to play drums for a local Texas band ready for the Nashville move. Her once strong confidence is shaken, and she's torn between her love of music and the reality that it might not work out.

Chris Roland made a string of bad choices, and it's left him feeling numb. Now he's playing the drums temporarily for his sister's band, but he knows this isn't the life for him. Problem is, he doesn't know what direction to go. He knows what he doesn't want, but can't decide on what he does want.

And then he meets Taryn, the feisty drummer who could be his replacement. He's relieved for a chance to break away....that is until he gets to know her. And while he's getting to know her, she's helping to open up a part of his soul that was long dead and buried.

It's high time to make the right choices. It's just a matter of deciding what choice is right.

“Okay, I've got the book.” Chris wrangled himself away from the woman's arm. “Alice, have you met Taryn? She's playing drums for Baby Stetson. We managed to steal her away from Kyra Sanders.” His eyes met hers, and Taryn knew right off the bat this made him uncomfortable.

Ah. This must be one of his casual sex partners. Fan-friggin-tastic. Taryn gave Alice a long glance. She could see why Chris was attracted to her. Alice had long, dark hair, big breasts, and plenty to offer. So what the hell did he continue to see her for if he could get things from women like Alice?

“Really? You play drums?” Alice didn't hide her shock.

“She's one of the best drummers I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.” Moving around Alice as she continued to gawk, Chris settled in the chair again, then slid the book over to Taryn. “Pick your poison.”

“Don't let Kyra hear you say that,” she giggled as she searched the book for Kyra's song listings. Then she realized Alice still lingered. “It's nice to meet you, Alice.” She stifled a laugh at the woman's look. She must not get rejected often. The feeling lasted for less than a minute before Taryn's insecurities crept in.

Not that she'd ever had a lot of success rates with men, but now she had a lot more stacked against her.

“Yeah, nice to meet you, too.” Alice faked it. She made it obvious. “You played drums for Kyra Sanders? Like seriously?”

“For three years.”

“Nice.” Alice brushed it off, then faced Chris. “Call me sometime. Soon. We need another good time.” She practically purred before sauntering off, swaying her ass as she moved.

“Taryn-” Chris started.

“Let me guess. She's one of your casuals,” she said at the same time, flipping the pages of the book back and forth in her hands.

“Was,” he corrected.


“Yes. Was. I don't want to be that person any longer.” He reached across and covered one of her hands. Taryn froze. The way she reacted to his touch scared her.

“What kind of person do you want to be?” Her voice cracked. Damn, she needed water.

“The person who gets and keeps your attention,” Chris said softly.

“But-” She darted a glance towards the way Alice went.

“Don't, Taryn. Don't look back at her and compare. I know you are. I didn't even remember her name until Melody said something about it being the girl who works at the inn. I know, it sounds bad as I say it.”

Yeah, yeah she was. Damn him for figuring it out.

Author Bio:
I'm an avid lover of books. I've been writing as far back as I can remember, completing my first "book" by fifth grade in one of those one subject spiral notebooks. I have a passion for music, photography, jewelry and all things creative. I live in Arizona with my husband and son, but dream of being somewhere much colder and stormier. For now, I'll have to live that life through my characters and stick it out with the summer heat.



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