Protecting Lulu

By: J.M. Jeffries

Noah had met Gideon in Afghanistan while both had been hunting terrorists and he had seemed a logical addition to Noah’s staff besides bringing some valuable training to the table.

“What do you do?” Lulu asked.

“I can neither confirm nor deny what I do,” he grinned. It’s not like he could bring up ‘I was a hired gun on the government payroll’. That didn’t make for polite chit chat.

She giggled in the most charming manner. “This is rather exciting.”

Gideon shook his head. “Ms. Bennington, we don’t like excitement.”

She gave him a small pout. “I’ll see what I can do about that.” She turned to Ian Richardson. “We’ve met. Ian Richardson, or should I say Lord Chattsworth?” She held out her hand.

Ian bent over and kissed her fingertips. “I’m in America now; titles are for when I’m back in England playing the Earl. Who could forget you? Ten years ago, wasn’t it?”

Suave English bastard, Noah thought, a spurt of envy hitting him. Ian was one of best agents MI-6 ever produced, because no one would think a titled English playboy had what it took to be a spy. Ian could have shown James Bond a thing or two. Never at a loss for words, always polite, and the kind of man ladies fought over.

Lulu’s eyes lit up. “London at the Vivienne Westwood fall show.”

“I remember as though it were yesterday,” Ian half purred. “You wore the black wedding gown at the end of the show and brought down the house. I’m honored you remember me.”

Lulu laughed. “I never forget tall, blond, and titled. What are you doing here?”

“Aiding a damsel in distress,” he said.

Oh for Christ’s sake, Noah almost grabbed Ian to pull him away from Lulu. Ian could turn on the bullshit and now everyone was knee deep in it. All they needed was for these two to be swapping crap for the next couple of weeks or however long it took to catch her stalker.

Noah closed his eyes, working to contain his irritation.

Lulu turned to Noah and he felt the urge to flee. Already he could tell this woman was a force to be reckoned with and Bennington was afraid that one minute with this over-powering woman would send Noah running for the hills. Noah was made of sterner stuff than that, but still he’d felt the urge to get away from her as much as he wanted to kiss her. What the hell was wrong with him?

Noah forced himself not to walk out the room. All of a sudden, he knew exactly why Wilder Bennington had hired him instead of using his own security force. Lulu Bennington was no one’s fool and she’d run rings around anyone who knew her well. At least with Noah, Wilder had a chance to keep to her safe because he wouldn’t be influenced by her dynamic nature.

Her gaze moved up and down him like she was studying him. “And you are?”

Her low sultry voice mesmerized Noah. Maybe running for the hills wasn’t a bad idea. “Noah Callahan,” he said, proud that he didn’t stutter. He held out a hand and she grasped it in a strong grip.

She just stared at him for a second her brown eyes widening. What no witty remark?

“My, you are a whole lot man.” She tilted her head at him in a flirtatious manner that made his throat so dry he thought he’d choke.

What did a guy say to that? “Yes ma’am.” How lame! He needed a new line.

She seemed to recover. “Well, first things first, no ma’am, no Ms. Bennington, call me Lulu. Everybody does.”

Noah just stared at her. His body may be tired, but his libido wasn’t. He opened his mouth to object, letting her know rule number one was never get personal with a client. But she’d already moved on and he was left with the words unsaid.

“What happens now?” Lulu asked a query in her eyes as she looked at Noah.

“We need to work out some logistics,” Noah said.

“I think we should all go into the conference room,” she said, “where we can spread out and discuss this.”

Bennington stepped forward. “I’ll meet--”

“Wilder, you stay here.” She planted her hand on his chest. “We’ll be fine by ourselves.”

“Lulu.” he said in a warning tone, his eyes sparkling with annoyance.

Lulu brushed some lint off his shoulder. “Wilder, you’re the one who insists I need a bodyguard to protect me over my objections. You’ve done your part. Besides, you hover and make people nervous. I’ll behave, I promise.” She batted her eyelashes at him.

Noah forced himself not to smile. She had her brother’s number, too.

Bennington took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Pinky promise,” he said and held out his hand, pinky extended.

Lulu laughed. “Pinky promise.” She twined her pinky around her brother’s and they shook.

The dull headache that had been plaguing Noah since he’d gotten off the plane was turning into a raging migraine. His head said he should gather his people and get the hell out of here because this woman was not going to make their job easy. His gut demanded he stay. She was in danger and he wanted to make sure she was going to be all right. Whether she wanted them there or not.

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