Miami Bodyguard (Kendall Family Book 5)(5)

By: Jennifer Ann



I haven’t been able to scrub the fucked-up imagery from my memory, and the woman at my side won’t shut up about her favorite scenes the entire time the plane taxis to the gate. Once we’re given the clear to unbuckle our seat-belts, I hand over her carryon from the overhead bin, and swipe mine out before slipping into the exit line. Like a jerk, I don’t bother saying goodbye or asking for her number. I’m too worked up thinking how thousands of people witnessed Angie acting naked.

Just as I’m heading out the airport’s automatic doors, I get a text from Evelyn saying they’ve pulled up to the curb. Hardly have a chance to suck in the thick, suffocating air before arms twin around my neck, and a very round belly slams into my gut.

“Ash! I’m so happy you’re here!”

Once I’m able to recover from the surprise ambush, I chuckle and give my best buddy’s little sister a squeeze. “Hey, Ev! You’re really…pregnant.”

She pulls away, studying me behind large sunglasses. Underneath a floppy sunhat, she’s unrecognizable. “How could you not know? They must post half a dozen pictures of me online every week. I swear the world is obsessed with the size of my stomach this time around. It’s like no one famous has ever had a second child before.”

“Hunter said something awhile back, but I guess I forgot.” I shrug and rub at my unshaven jaw, wondering why it’s always assumed that everyone stays up to date with celebrity news. They don’t report that kind of shit on ESPN. “You look great though. What does Mia think about becoming a big sister?”

“She’s too young to understand. I’m sure she’ll hate it when she no longer has my undivided attention.” Hooking her arm through mine, she leads me to a sleek town car parked a few yards away, its suited driver sitting behind the steering wheel. “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but it was kind of nice having time off from mommy duty while down here. Shar and James were saints to take her. They already have their hands full with Franklin, and Shar’s even bigger than I am. Mia adores her auntie though. I’m expecting her to pitch a fit when we pick her up tomorrow.”

“Wait. You’re leaving tomorrow?” I cock a brow at her. “Thought you invited me to come hang with you for the week.”

“I’ll fill you in on the details over lunch.” Pinching her lips together, she pats my arm before motioning to the open trunk. “Throw your things in. We found this great seafood joint near the pier that serves killer mojitos—at least according to Charlie. If you don’t need to freshen up, we can head down there now.”

Though made suspicious by whatever’s up her sleeve, I toss my duffle bag into the trunk and slam it shut, stoked by the idea of someone serving me drinks for a change.



It’s a little more tolerable to sit in the sweltering heat once I have a fresh mojito in hand. The view of buildings standing tall behind the blue water, hordes of people spread out in the water and on the sand enjoying the hot day on the Miami coastline isn’t something I’ll forget anytime soon. A guy could adjust to this view versus the flat planes of home. We’re seated on a large outdoor patio in a private corner where the host promised we won’t be bothered by fans. Both Charlie and Evelyn became relaxed right away, removing their hats and sunglasses. Dante, Charlie’s bodyguard, sips on a water from a few tables away, keeping a close watch on the other patrons.

I’m too preoccupied to fully appreciate that I’m over a thousand miles from home and near the ocean. Don’t know why they’d invite me down when they’re leaving, but I need to know. Evelyn’s as chatty as ever, and crafty about avoiding the subject weighing heavily on my mind.

Setting my nearly empty glass on the table, I lean back and rest an ankle over a knee. “Can we talk about why I’m here if you guys are leaving?”

Evelyn nods hesitantly, then takes a long sip of her lemon water. She meets my gaze with watering eyes. “Angie’s…not doing so well.”

A tick passes through my jaw. “What’s goin’ on?”

“After the premiere the other night, she collapsed in the hallway outside her apartment,” Charlie answers, waiting for my reaction while crossing his inked arms over his chest. “Someone called nine-one-one and they took her by ambulance. She had an unusually high amount of benzos in her system, so they pumped her stomach to be safe.”

The fuck? “Benzos?” I ask.

“Anxiety meds,” Evelyn clarifies. “She took five times the prescribed dosage. The ER doctor told us they can become highly addictive to some people.”

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