Lone Star Lovers, Book 7
Texas Heroes, Book 29
Confessing his deception means risking his career, but not coming clean with her could risk her life
Detective Sean Fitzgerald is hot on the trail of a man who is key to breaking a human trafficking ring, but he needs a way to get close without arousing suspicion. His opportunity comes in the form of film star Annabelle Quinn, who’s in town and in need of a bodyguard. Her best friend is his top suspect, and he can use the connection to break his case.
But when Annabelle comes mean so much more than a means to an end for Sean, his objectivity is in danger, and he’s painfully aware that the lies between them could doom any hope for a future for them. Lives depend, however, on him closing the case. When his deceptions endanger Annabelle’s life, can he convince her to trust him enough that he can save her?
Read an Excerpt from Texas Bodyguard
“Annabelle, over here!”
“Have you talked to Barry? Have he and his latest conquest emerged from the love nest?”
“How does it feel to have him cheat on you barely six months into your marriage?”
Cameras flashed, television cameras rolled, the gleaming shark teeth of entertainment reporters menaced as the crowd closed around her.
She couldn’t do this. What had she been thinking, trying to show up on the set as though her world hadn’t been shattered into a thousand pieces?
She hadn’t slept at all the night before, not after she’d seen the photos splashed all over the internet and the tabloids, the man she’d trusted with her heart and her dreams caught with a woman he’d apparently been involved with even before he’d met Annabelle.
She knew she looked like death warmed over, her eyes too scratchy for makeup, her unwashed hair scraped back in a ponytail. She was two days away from wrapping her role in this film, and she was determined to be the professional she’d always been.
But she had no idea how she’d play a romantic role with the slightest trace of sincerity when she no longer believed in love. All she wanted was to be alone, to climb under the covers and hide, not to speak to a soul. Even when she wasn’t in the midst of a scandal, her every move was charted. She’d accepted the lack of privacy as the price of success and done her best to get along with those she told herself were only trying to make a living.
But the undisguised glee on their faces, the naked curiosity to see how soon she’d break…the people she’d cooperated with showed her no mercy now, not even when her heart was breaking and she wanted to crawl into the nearest hole.
“Annabelle! She’s not even that pretty! How does that make you feel?”
She whipped around. “How do you think it makes me feel?” she yelled. “Why are you doing this?”
For a second, the only sound came from the cameras. Even hardened reporters were shocked.
Look what I’m turning into. The depth of her bitterness stunned her.
I can’t breathe. Frantically, she scanned for an opening as the crowd surged closer and the shouting resumed. Her heart pounded. Her vision blurred. Blindly she pushed to get away.
Just then, two beefy men shoved through the crowd, and she recognized them as part of the security crew for the production. The yelling only mounted as they whisked her away, and the cameras never stopped whirring.
Once out of sight, she half-collapsed against one of them.
“It’s okay, Ms. Quinn. We’ve got your back now. Sorry we weren’t here. No one expected you today.”
I shouldn’t have come.
Desperately she tried to get a grip on herself, though she was trembling. “I don’t know how to thank you.”
“Ms. Quinn, those bloodsuckers will never leave you alone, not after—” the second one halted in mid-sentence. “Um, sorry.”
After you found out when the rest of the world did that your husband has been cheating on you from the first, he might as well have said. When your marriage—your second marriage—turned out to be a lie. But none of that was anyone’s fault but hers.
“It’s…okay.” But it wasn’t. Barry had made them a freak show. Had made a fool of her.
She wanted to carve out his heart with a rusty spoon.
Her shoulders sagged. She didn’t understand why. What had she done? How had she failed? Was she only lovable from a distance, only as an image, not a real person?
Then she realized they were staring at her. “I’m…sorry. I’m just…” Sick at heart. And so very sad.
“Can’t trust anyone in this town,” the second guard muttered. “Folks will sell their own grandmas to get ahead.”
She knew he meant well, but she couldn’t handle sympathy right now. She would break.
She shouldn’t have come, but the madness was worse at her house. Her housekeeper had helped spirit her out the back of the property in disguise, but it hadn’t been enough.
She didn’t know what to do. Where to go. How to live with this. “Excuse me. I have to…” Vaguely she waved toward her trailer.
“Sure thing. You need anything, Ms. Quinn, anything at all…”
“Thank you.” She dug deep for strength. Tried hard to remember who she’d been only yesterday. She cleared her throat, composed her features. “Would you please tell Mr. Larson that I’ll be ready for makeup in fifteen minutes?”
“You’re going to stay?” The guard looked incredulous.