Protecting Lulu

By: J.M. Jeffries

His dark brown eyes made her feel at ease and safe. She could tell they were going to be friends. “How is this going to impact my life? And how fast can you find this man, or person.” She bit her bottom lip. “I’m assuming my stalker is a man and I shouldn’t assume anything, correct?”

“You’re a public figure,” Harrison said, “which means we have a big suspect pool. The impact on your life is going to be profound,”

Glancing around the table, she felt an inkling of fear. They all looked at her gravely. They were taking the threat far more seriously than she was. She hated feeling powerless. She’d spent a lot of years afraid that the people who had killed her parents would come back for her and Wilder. The sense of vulnerability froze her to the core and she was fighting hard not to let it engulf her again. “How do we narrow down this suspect pool?”

“We dig into your personal life try to determine who your enemies are,” Noah Callahan said quietly, as though aware of her fear.

She wanted to say she didn’t have any enemies, but did she really know. Digging into her personal life didn’t sound like a fun idea. She looked over at Ian for some kind of support. “How deeply do you dig?”

Aiden returned to the room holding a tray with a carafe of coffee, a teapot along with mugs, a plate of cookies, creamer and sugar packets and several cans of soda along with glasses of ice. Lulu eyed the cookies, snicker doodles—her favorite. Aiden set the tray in the center of the table. He fussed over the placement for a moment while everyone watched him. He glanced around the table, suddenly aware that everyone was watching him. He stopped fiddling with the tray and came to stand behind her.

Ian smiled at her. “We understand that people have secrets. We don’t judge.”

Her secrets weren’t what she was worried about. Her gaze slide over to Noah Callahan who scowled. He was judging right now. From the expression on his rugged, face rather harshly. His ice blue eyes seemed to peer into her soul and she didn’t know if she was more turned on or frightened. Aiden put his hand on her shoulder, the gesture reassuring.

“Thank you.” She took a deep breath. “What do you need?”

“Who knows your schedule?” Noah Callahan demanded.

Harrison had collected all the letters and replaced them in his briefcase. He snapped the case closed.

She held up a hand and ticked off on her fingers, “Besides Aiden, Maris my secretary, Sid my driver, Calvin my butler and, to some extent Wilder.” Only because Wilder insisted he know how to find her in case of an emergency.

“Until we know for absolutely sure,” Noah said quietly, “everyone is part of the suspect pool.”

Aiden’s hand tightened on her shoulder. “Not me. I would never hurt Lulu. Neither would anyone on her personal staff.”

Noah eyed him curiously and then shook his head. “Maybe not, but loyalty isn’t a guarantee of anything.”

She considered her personal staff family. “Nonsense, my house staff has been with me for years. They would never hurt me.”

Noah leaned forward and placed his hands flat on the table. “Family means nothing. From this moment on you trust us and only us. If your staff loves you the way you say, they will want you to be safe and will understand what needs to be done to keep you that way.”

Lulu realized she had no choice. As much as she wanted to believe no one wanted to hurt her, she knew she could be wrong. She’d been a public figure for years. Some people hated her because she was wealthy, some because she modeled, or now because she wasn’t a model. She was honest and told women to live, love, and enjoy life, and that they had a right to be happy no matter their dress size. “I want this situation over as quickly as possible. How can you make that happen?”

Noah stood up. His wide shoulders and muscled six foot plus body filled her vision and she fought not to gasp. He was all man and she felt heat just thinking about him.

“We get total access to your life twenty four/seven,” Noah said. “You are going to have to trust us and do exactly what we say when we say. No questions, no arguments, no nothing. We have two options. We can put you out there and see what shakes loose, or we hide you until this over.”

She thought about what he said for a moment. “You mean use me as bait?” She rolled the idea around in her head.

“If you want to catch a predator,” Ian said, a sympathetic look on his face, “you have to give him what he wants and wait for him to go after it.” .

She tried not to squirm in her chair. “How do you give someone what he wants when he wants me dead?”

“We put people in place,” Noah replied, “and you go about your life and when your stalker makes a move, we catch him, or her.”

At least she wouldn’t be stuck in a cage being kept safe. She couldn’t simply put her life on hold. She had several charity events coming up that she helped organize. February sweeps were only a few weeks away and she filmed two talk shows a day, three days a week. She hadn’t missed fashion week in ten years. People’s livings depended on her. She had to get this done as quickly as possible. “Then that’s the option I choose.”

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