Miami Bodyguard (Kendall Family Book 5)(10)

By: Jennifer Ann

They were ready to crucify Charlie just a few days before he asked my sister to marry him, based on a rumor that he was cheating on her. The whole thing started because he was seen having dinner with his new publicist, who just happens to be a hot blonde.

“I’m supposed to feel better because of Theo?” Charlie holds my glare, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Are we talking about the same jackass who wasn’t man enough to stand up for you at the premiere?” He shakes his head slowly. “This isn’t up for discussion, Ang. You need a bodyguard, and you won’t find anyone better than Asher.”

“That’s funny, because who I choose to hire isn’t up for you to decide,” I retort, digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands.

My brother-in-law doesn’t budge from his firm stance. “He’d be one of my employees. I could use the extra tax write-off.”

Stubborn SOB. He’s clearly not going to cave.

Too bad for him, neither am I.

Letting out a heavy sigh, I shift my gaze over to my little sister. I’m still grateful they came for the premiere, but I don’t need them micromanaging my life. “Sorry, Ev, but that tour will have to wait for another time. I should get back on set in case they’re ready for me earlier than expected.”

Asher takes a step closer, cautiously licking his lips as his eyes search mine. “Can I have a minute alone with you before you go? You might think these two tricked you into the idea, but I want you to hear my take on it before I head back home.”

I meet his dark green eyes, shining bright with hope, and drop a blunt sigh. Not sure how I could stay mad at someone who makes my stomach flutter the way he does. Besides, my sister and Charlie dragged him all the way down here, and now all he’ll get is a little sweat and sand. I can’t help feeling a little sorry for the guy.

“Fine,” I decide, crossing my arms. “We can talk in my dressing room.”

Evelyn bounces on her feet, not even attempting to contain her excitement. “We’ll wait here!”

“Come on,” I grumble, tugging on the sleeve of Asher’s t-shirt. Charlie’s not as obvious about it, but I can tell by the smirk he’s fighting to hide that he’s pleased, and already thinks he won.

I lead Asher down the hallway, all too aware of the constant thrill from his body being in close proximity to mine. It’s a valid reminder why I can’t let this happen. He’s an added complication that I can’t afford.

“What, no star?” Asher asks as I’m nudging the door open.

I glance at the piece of paper with my name scribbled in pen that’s barely sticking to the door anymore, and shrug. “It’s a reminder I’m expendable in this business.”

“That’s a load of shit,” he mutters to himself as we step inside.

Until we’re alone in the stark room behind a closed door, I hadn’t stopped to think how bringing him back here could lead to temptation. He takes up so much of the room that it seems half its usual size. My body wants to gravitate toward him like he’s the sun, and I’m the earth. Even when I move over to the couch, there’s not enough space between us.

“Are you happy?” he blurts before my rear has connected with the cushion.

I press my lips together, lifting my chin to meet his curious stare. “I thought we came in here to discuss your side of the why-you’d-make-a-good-bodyguard argument.”

“We did.” He stands with his arms crossed over his chest, looking as intimidating as hell. He’d definitely be cut out for the job if I weren’t so set against getting involved with him on any level. “And I want to know if you’re happy. Last time I saw you in Brooklyn, you weren’t doing so well. I get the feeling that hasn’t changed.”

My cheeks warm when recalling neither of us had much on for clothing that night. Still, I frown back at him. “What does it matter?”

“It matters to me.” With his brows lowered, he takes the cushion beside me. “I’ve watched quietly from the sidelines for a long time now, and I’m not exactly sure I like what I’m seeing. When Charlie and your sister offered me this opportunity, I had the same reaction as you. I was annoyed they were suggesting that you needed someone to watch over you. You’re obviously doing just fine, or you wouldn’t have made it this far. But you’re down here on your own, and your family’s too busy to help you navigate through all the bullshit. I could be your connection to home—your compass.”

A giggle bursts from my lips. “My ‘compass’? That’s cheesy, even for you.”

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