"Are you afraid of the dark?"
The eerie text message was only part of a night to remember for security ace Shane Peters. One minute he was dancing with Princess Ariana LeBron, holding her in his arms at a gala attended by world leaders, the next he was fighting for their lives when the lights went out and gunmen held them hostage. Their demands were simple: Give them the princess.
For Ariana, duty and honor were everything. Until she met Shane. Minutes in the brash American's arms made her feel like a woman for the first time. But could the man who'd safeguarded priceless antiquities save her from the gunmen? With the lights low and the summer heat rising, he'd surely give the princess a night to remember.
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June 11, 2007
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Excerpt from Royal Lockdown by Rebecca York
"May I see your picture ID, sir?"
The armed man made the request politely. But Shane Peters harbored no illusions about what would happen if he refused. he'd be hauled off to a cell in a Boston police station and held for investigation.
"Of course," he answered as he pulled his wallet from an inside pocket of his tuxedo jacket and extracted his driver's license.
The Secret Service agent checked the ID carefully, then asked for his Social Security number, which was matched against a list of guests cleared to attend the reception on the observation deck of the John Hancock Tower, New England's tallest building.
Since 9/11, the Boston landmark had been closed to the public. But one of the lessees had been instrumental in arranging an international trade agreement that had just been signed by the president of the United States. Tonight the observation floor was open for a reception in honor of the agreement, and guests had come from all over the world.
To commemorate the momentous occasion, President Stack and Vice President Davis would both be attending the event. Of course, that was highly unusual, since protocol dictated that they remain in separate locations as much as possible. But they would only be together on site briefly.
Because of the unprecedented joint appearance, the Secret Service had gone into overdrive on background checks for everyone scheduled to be in the tower-from the honored guests to the waiters and kitchen staff.
The line to pass through security moved slowly. Shane watched some of the formally dressed men and women being ushered through the metal detector. He knew that in his custom-tailored tuxedo, he could pass for a member of the upper classes. But he was also aware that men and women with any security experience tended to mark him down as "dangerous." So he wasn't surprised when he was singled out for the wanding treatment.
He struggled to stand cooperatively as he let the guy do his job. Too bad he knew the drill better than the man wielding the wand.
Shane owned his own high-powered company called Executive Security. That much was on the public record. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. He was also a member of Eclipse, an elite force that took on jobs too sensitive for the FBI or the CIA.
He and the other members of Eclipse had all met in the Special Forces. Most of them would be here tonight, although only some of them were actually on duty.
They hadn't been on a mission together in several months, and Shane was looking forward to seeing the guys. Of course, if they knew what "Wild Man Peters" was up to tonight, they'd haul him off to the funny farm before he made it into the reception room.
He repressed a grin as the guard sent him on his way--without even checking the special pocket sewn under the arm of his tuxedo jacket. Sewing wasn't one of his favorite skills, but he'd made the modifications himself, to keep the alteration secret.
He waited at the elevator, then rode upstairs with a nice selection of the rich and famous. Most of them had the look of confidence and well-being that money brought. It amused Shane to think that he could buy and sell most of them.
Between his security business and Eclipse, he'd made all the money he was ever going to need. He could retire to his very comfortable underground mansion in the White Mountains and keep busy with his electronics inventions. But inventor was only a small part of his job description. He was too restless to work in the lab every day.
Instead he thrived on challenges--like the one he'd set for himself tonight.
The elevator stopped at the sixtieth floor, and the glittering crowd exited, ready to party. Before they were permitted to enter the reception room, they were treated to a second security check.
Although some of the guests muttered about being stopped again, Shane had been expecting it.