Home > The Protector(6)

The Protector(6)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

Breaching the glass doors of Logan Tower, I’m not surprised to find an X-ray machine and baggage scanner in the lobby. But if they think that’s going to stop me from getting a weapon in the place, they’re stupid.

I fall into stride beside a stunning Hispanic woman, keeping my eyes set firmly forward on the security guard. Seriously? All this high-tech detection equipment and this old boy is employed to monitor it? I shake my head in dismay. He must be ready for retirement, and he’s ogling the woman beside me rather than watching me—the 6' 4", towering, suited guy with a Heckler VP9 tucked away.

Okay, I’ll cut the dribbling security guard some slack. He doesn’t know that I have a concealed weapon, but I’m definitely more of a threat than the petite beauty who’s now brushing against my arm, oblivious to the security guard’s lust-filled gaze. Because her eyes are staring dreamily up at me.

I make a point of pressing our arms just a bit closer, winding her in. I hear her catch a breath. Then I make my move, stopping abruptly and turning, as if I’ve forgotten something, being sure to knock her bag from her shoulder.

It happens perfectly.

She yelps, dropping her bag and staggering back. I just catch her arm and steady her before releasing my grip. The contents of her bag scatter at her feet, and I bend to be the gentleman she will soon believe I am.

“Apologies,” I say robotically, gathering up some of her things. She’s soon on the floor with me, as planned, taking more time to straighten out her fitted shirt than help me collect her belongings. I mildly note the thin material hugging what I can see will be pretty tasty tits.

“No problem,” she gushes, just as the security guard joins us, willing to crack his bones so he can crouch to help and hopefully lap up some praise from the dark-haired beauty. Fuck me, I couldn’t have written this any better. I reach behind my back and pull out my gun, having a quick scan before I slide it with just the right force and accuracy across the marble floor on the outside of the X-ray machine. It comes to a smooth stop just under the baggage scanner on the other side.

“Here.” I hand the lady her bag and do the decent thing. I help Old Bones up before he actually cracks a bone. “Okay there?”

“All grand!” He laughs, his chest puffing out as he shakes off my helping hand. I smile on the inside. I actually smile, and it’s a genuine one. He sees me as competition. The mid-seventies, overweight old boy sees me—the thirty-five-year-old, ripped, renowned bodyguard—as a threat. Gotta love his pride.

“After you.” I sweep my arm out in gesture for the woman to lead on once the security guard has taken up his position.

Her smile. I swear, if I had twenty Jacks in me and it was the early hours, I might have taken her up on the blatant offer. I slip my hands into my pockets as she wanders over to the baggage scanner, adopting a shameless, seductive sway of her ample arse as she goes.

I laugh under my breath, but enjoy the show while it lasts, as I step up and empty my pockets of my phone, keys, and wallet, placing them neatly in a tray on the baggage scanner. Then I wander casually through the X-ray machine behind her. The old boy barely even looks at me, probably wouldn’t even hear the sharp chime if I were to set off the alarm. He’s too rapt by that curvy arse heading toward the elevator.

“You’re clear,” he mutters, giving me a brief moment of his eyes before he strolls back to his stool and grunts as he plonks himself on the seat.

Clear? He has no idea. I collect my things, and then dip to tie my shoelace, scooping up my handgun and tucking it back into its rightful place as I rise. Then I make my way to the elevator and join the beauty, glancing up at the floor indicators and joining my hands behind my back.

“Nice tie,” she muses, reaching over and stroking the silk that’s draping the length of my torso.

I fail to hold back my smile at her brashness, my eyes dropping to watch her fingers caress the material. “A lady who knows what she wants,” I say quietly, meeting her eyes. “Some men find that attractive.”

She bites her lip, pushing her chest out discreetly as she drops my tie. “They do?”

I laugh under my breath at her feigned innocence. “Apparently.” The doors to the left-hand elevator slide open, and I stroll in before her. No need for gentlemanly manners now. She’s served her purpose. I turn and press the button for the fiftieth floor. “Shame I’m not one of them. It’s been a pleasure.” I wink cheekily, just catching her look of incredulity before the mirrored doors meet in the middle. For yet another woman who’s encountered me, I’m a fucking bastard. Story of my life. Or, at least, for the past four years.

I’m carried quickly to the top of Logan Tower and exit into a minimal space, with white at every turn. I feel instantly cold. White marble floors, white walls—broken up only by a few abstract canvases that are equally as cold—and a huge white reception desk.

“Sir.” A high-pitched, delighted tone yanks my attention to a woman behind the desk. “How can I help you?”

“I have a three o’clock with Mr. Logan.” I scan the area, noting cameras at every corner. I’d put my life on the fact that he’s watching me now. My spine lengthens, my hands linking behind me as I return my eyes to the receptionist.

She straightens her shoulders and picks up the receiver. “Mr. Logan, I have a Mr.…” Her words fade to nothing as her slip registers. She looks mortified, and it only increases when I hear the booming demand of a man down the line. She visibly cringes, covering up the speaker piece of the receiver. “I didn’t catch your name.”

“That’s because I didn’t tell you my name.” I leave it there and watch as she dies on the spot.

“Your name?”

I flick a finger to the back of her computer. “Didn’t that thing tell you?”

“You’re not on the system.” She’s losing her patience, and I’m lost in my land of amusement once again, for, what? The second time today?

“Jake Sharp.” I put her out of her misery and she quickly removes her hand from the receiver, her body relaxing with relief.

“Mr. Sharp, sir. Jake Sharp.” She jumps in her chair, dropping the receiver. Logan’s reputation precedes him, it seems. I’d feel sorry for her…if I were the compassionate type. Which I’m not. She scrambles to retrieve the phone. “Yes, sir!” Slamming it down, she slumps in her chair and swallows, closing her eyes. “Last door on the left.” She points down the corridor.

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