Sometimes you have to go beyond the call of duty...
Bodyguards In Bed
There's just one cardinal rule when it comes to being a bodyguard: no matter how tempting it may be, never, ever get romantically involved with the person you're protecting. But as these sensual novellas prove, even the most important rules are made to be broken--again and again and again. Join acclaimed authors Lucy Monroe, Jamie Denton, and Elisabeth Naughton as they open the files on an undercover operative who finds a sexy surprise under his covers, a hot case involving mixed messages and mistaken identities, and a mission impossible protecting a provocative beauty who lives to love dangerously.
Yeah, it's a hard job, but someone's gotta do it.
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Bodyguards in Bed by Lucy Monroe
Danusia wiggled the key in the lock on her brother's apartment door. Darn thing always stuck, but he wouldn't make her another one. Said she didn't come to stay often enough for it to matter.
Yeah, and he wasn't particularly keen for that to change either, obviously. He'd probably gotten the wonky key on purpose. Just like the rest of her older siblings, Roman Chernichenko kept Danusia at a distance.
She knew why he did it, at least, though she was pretty sure the others didn't.
Knowing didn't make her feel any better. Even in her family of brainiacs, she was definitely the odd one out. They loved her, just like she loved them, but they were separated by more than the gap in their ages. She was seven years younger than her next youngest sibling. An unexpected baby, though never unwanted--at least according to her mom.
Still, her sister and brothers might love her, but they didn't get her and didn't particularly want her to get them.
Which was why she was coming to stay in Roman's empty apartment rather than go visit one of the others, or Heaven forbid, her parents. She did not need another round of lectures on her single status by her baba and mom.
The lock finally gave and Danusia pressed the door open, dragging her rolling suitcase full of books and papers behind her. The fact the alarm wasn't armed registered at the same time as a cold cylinder pressed to her temple.
"Roman, I swear on Opa's grave that if you don't get that gun away from me, I'm going to drop it in a vat of sulfuric acid and then pour the whole mess all over the new sofa Mom insisted you get the last time she visited. If it's loaded, I'm going to do it anyway."
The gun moved away from her temple and she spun around, ready to lecture her brother into an early grave, and help him along the way. "It is so not okay to pull a gun on your sister...." Her tirade petered off to a choked breath. "You!"
The man standing in front of her was a whole lot sexier than her brother and scarier, which was saying something. Not that she was afraid of him, but she wouldn't want him for an enemy.
The rest of the family believed that Roman was a scientist for the military. She knew better. She was a nosy baby sister, after all, but this man? Definitely worked with Roman and carried an aura of barely leashed violence. Maxwell Baker was a true warrior.
She shouldn't, absolutely should not, find that arousing, but she did.
"You're not my brother," she said stupidly.
Which was not her usual mode, but the six-foot-five black man, who would make Jesse Jackson Jr. look like the ugly stepbrother if they were related, turned Danusia's brain to serious mush.
His brows rose in mocking acknowledgment of her obvious words.
"What are you doing here, Danusia?" Warm as a really good aged whiskey, his voice made her panties wet.
How embarrassing was that? "You know my name?"
Put another mark on the chalkboard for idiocy.
"The wedding wasn't so long ago that I would have forgotten already." He almost cracked a smile.
She almost swooned.
Max and several of Roman's associates had done the security at her sister Elle's wedding, which might have been overkill. Or not. Danusia suspected stuff had been going on that neither she nor her parents had known about.
It hadn't helped that she'd been focused on her final project for her master's and that Elle's wedding had been planned faster than Danusia could solve a quadratic equation. She'd figured out that something was going on, but that was about it. This time her siblings had managed to keep their baby sister almost completely in the dark.
A place she really hated being.
Not that her irritation had stopped her from noticing the most freaking gorgeous man she'd ever met. Maxwell Baker. A tall, dark dish of absolute yum.
Once she had seen Max with his strong jaw, defined cheekbones, big and muscular body, not much else at the wedding had even registered. Which might help explain why she hadn't figured out why all the security.
"It's nice to see you again." There, that sounded somewhat adult. Full points for polite conversation, right?
"What are you doing here?" he asked again, apparently not caring if he got any points for being polite.
She shrugged, shifting her backpack. "My super is doing some repairs on the apartment."
"What kind of repairs?"
"Man, you're as bad as my brother." They hadn't even made it out of the entry and she was getting the third degree.
Really as bad as her brother and maybe taking it up a notch. Roman might have let her get her stuff put out of the way before he started asking the probing questions. Then again, maybe not.
"I'll take that as a compliment." Then Max just paused, like he had all the time in the world to wait for her answer.
Like it never even occurred to him she might refuse to respond.
Knowing there was no use in attempted prevarication, she sighed. "They're replacing the front door."
"Does it matter?" Sheesh.
He leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms, muscles bulging everywhere. "I won't know until you tell me."
"Someone broke it." She was proud of herself for getting the words out, considering how difficult she was finding the simple process of breathing right now.
This man? Was lethal.
"Who?" he demanded, frown firmly in place.
Oh, crud, even his not-so-happy face was sexy, yummy, heart-palpitatingly delicious. "I don't know."
"A break-in?" he asked in that tone her brother got sometimes, the one she secretly called his work voice.
"An attempted one, yes. Whoever it was didn't expect the crazy loud alarm Elle installed the last time she visited."
Neither had she. It had woken Danusia from an exhausted sleep after too many hours going over research data. If her heart wasn't so healthy, it would have stopped.
She only hoped whoever had tried breaking in and disturbed her sleep hadn't been so lucky.
"You don't talk like a professor."
"That's because I'm a student." Sort of. She was an adjunct professor during the school year, but it was summer and she was firmly in researching student mode.
"Roman said you're getting your Ph.D."
She shrugged. Playing down her academic accomplishments was a long-held habit for her.
He looked her up and down. "You're pretty young to be going for your doctorate, aren't you?"
"Not if you consider I started college when most of my peers were starting high school." When even being reminded of how out of step with her peer group she was didn't dampen his effect on her libido, she was in serious trouble.
"That's my point."
"Don't play dumb, Professor. We both know you're smarter than that."
"Don't call me Professor."
He just gave her a look.
"Being younger than my peers is bad enough. I don't need to talk like a total geek on top of it." The normal college student speak was something she worked diligently on. It was too easy to let five-syllable words slip into the conversation when she wasn't thinking about it.
"Why not? You should be proud to be so intelligent."
"I am more than my brain." Not that other people seemed to realize that.
Sometimes, even her family, as wonderful as they were, tended to treat her like an extension of her I.Q. They were all highly intelligent, but the fact that she'd outdone every one of them academically put her inside a bubble that could get really lonely.
Not that she ever complained. She wouldn't disappoint her family for the world. And being anything less than grateful for the opportunity of the amazing education she'd had would do that.
"Why didn't you just stay in a hotel overnight?" Max asked, apparently dismissing the subject of her smarts.
"The super wasn't sure he'd get to the door right away." And she hadn't wanted to stay in her apartment alone right now.
Her roommate wouldn't be back until a few days before fall term started and that was weeks away. Rebekah had gone home for the summer, while Danusia had opted to stay on and work on the research for her doctoral thesis.
The attempted break-in had shaken her; not that she'd admit that to anyone else.
"Bullshit. A new door for you is his top priority."
"Now you really sound like my brother." And she didn't feel sisterly toward Max. Not even a little.
"Do you want me to talk to your super?"
"I'm perfectly capable of handling this on my own," she gritted out. She was not his little sister and even if she had been, Danusia was twenty-four. "I'm an adult, or hadn't you noticed?"
Something flared in his gaze that sent butterflies on suicide bombing missions in her stomach. "I noticed."
"I don't need anyone talking to my super for me, not you, not my brother. Understood?"
Amusement curved his lips and he saluted, way too precisely for him to be anything but true military. "Understood, ma'am."
She laughed. "Oh, knock it off."
"You've got Roman's temper."
"Most people think my brother doesn't have a temper." He was too cold to be considered temperamental.
"I've known him a long time."
"You haven't known me very long, but you've already sussed out one of my secrets."