Protecting Lulu

By: J.M. Jeffries

Bennington closed his eyes. “I’m not risking my sister’s life on the personal vendetta of an idiot.”

Hell, Noah didn’t trust that man to find his shoes much less stop a crime.

Noah considered all his options one more time. “When do we meet your sister?” That should give him more of a clue as to whether he’d accept the assignment or not.

Bennington checked his gold Patek Philippe watch again. “She should be here any time now.”

Translation, the princess is taking her sweet time, Noah thought. He’d bet the twenties in his wallet, the sister would be at least another half an hour.

Bennington glanced at the open double doors into the reception area beyond. His face suddenly looked pinched and worried. “While we’re waiting for her, I’d like to meet the rest of your team.”

“I’ll get them,” Harrison said and walked out of the office.

Fratricide. Lulu Bennington pushed open the double doors of the studio where her talk show was filmed. She marched across the marble foyer to the elevator. She tapped manicured nails on her silk clad thigh as the elevator doors opened in front of her and she stepped inside with Aiden Montez, her personal assistant. How could her brother do this to her? Treat her as though…as though…. She was going to murder him. She didn’t want a bodyguard. She didn’t need a bodyguard. She could take care of herself.

Aiden slid his key card through the security channel that would take them directly to the penthouse floor where her brother’s office was located. The elevator doors closed with a whisper and it automatically began to rise. The digital numbers on the panel flashed as she counted her way upward. “I’m going to kill him.” She looked up at the security camera, the one anomaly in the elegant, old world styled elevator. “I’m going to kill you, Wilder.” No answer. She didn’t expect one, she just needed to vent before she faced her brother. “I don’t need protection.”

Aiden gave a dramatic sigh. “Diva, rein it in. You’re giving me a headache.”

Lulu gave a heavy sigh. In the brass paneling she could see her face taut with tension, her shoulders stiff with irritation. Though she did take a moment to assess the way her peacock blue, silk skirt and matching blouse clung to her curves. Lanvin always treated her right. Well dressed and ready for combat, she lifted her chin and dared her reflection to look like anything other than the person she already was—a woman in charge of her life. Kill him, kill him, kill him, she thought in a cyclic mantra as she tucked a wayward strand of black hair behind one ear.

She gazed at herself dispassionately wondering if she did give in to her desires how she’d keep the blood off her dress. Dry cleaning was expensive. She’d brought Aiden along, just in case she really lost her mind and hit her brother over the head with one of the statues in his office. He stop her or least help her hide the body. “He ordered me to his office as if I were his minion.”

Aiden shrugged. “That’s his style.” Aiden studied his own reflection in the brass panels. He leaned forward and fluffed his hair. Bless his heart, he gave her a run for her money. Next to her, Aiden was the vainest person she knew. She loved him for it.

“Wilder is being dramatic. I can’t think of a single soul in my life that I’ve angered to the point where they want to harm me.” She didn’t think the driver of the car that almost ran her down even saw her. The letters, though, were a different story. There had been something so personal in the threats that Lulu almost shivered at the memory of reading them. But then again she got crazy letters all the time. It was the price of being in the public eye.

Aiden stroked the pencil thin mustache adorning his upper lip. “Since Luscious became the number one fashion magazine on the planet, I suspect every fashion editor in Paris, London, Tokyo, Milan and New York is on the list of people who want to kill you.”

Luscious was Lulu’s fashion magazine. Since Lulu had spent seven years prowling the catwalks, she knew how bitter fashion girls could get. She might understand the ire of the fashion industry if Luscious were like most other fashion magazines, but it wasn’t since it catered to plus size women like she was now. Models for her magazine had to be at least a size twelve to get on the pages.

Luscious sold glamour and style to the average sized woman. Lulu wrote many of the articles herself telling women to love themselves and not be what the fashion industry thought they should be. Women needed to be happy about who they were. The fashion industry spent a lot of money selling unattainable fantasies and telling women they couldn’t be anything unless they were skin and bones.

“If all those fashion people wanted to get rid of me, they should poison my cheesecake and not try to run me over.” Or send her ridiculously silly letters with the words cut out from magazine letters spelling out her demise. How childish was that?

“I’d rather be run over.” Aiden snickered.

Lulu grinned. Nobody messed with her cheesecake. “I’m trying to find my inner calm here. I don’t need some big, burly, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal bodyguard following me around, prying into my life and judging me.”

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