She needs his protection…
But can he protect his heart?
Radio personality Kelly Bonner isn’t convinced she needs a bodyguard, especially one as intensely good-looking as Detective Donovan Walsh. Yet beneath Donovan’s tough-guy facade is a man struggling to raise his sister’s children. A man Kelly could care about…if he’d let her. Now she’ll have to find a way to convince her big, bad bodyguard that his family—and his heart—are safe in her hands.
“Are you awake?” Avery whispered in the dark.
Kelly was sure it could not be time to wake up yet. She lay still, hoping Avery would fall back asleep.
“Kelly?” No such luck.
“Avery, it’s not time to get up yet.”
“Why not? You’re awake. I’m awake. We can get up and make pancakes.”
Kelly had no intention of trying to cook in this house unsupervised again. One smoke detector fiasco was enough.
“Let’s wait until your uncle is awake. I bet his pancakes are way better than mine.”
“He’s awake. I heard him go downstairs.”
Kelly propped herself up on her elbows and scanned the floor around her bed for her phone. It was just after five in the morning on a Saturday. There was no reason anyone needed to be up this early on a Saturday unless they were a first responder or they delivered babies. No one else was needed.
“Are you sure it was your uncle?”
“I think so.”
Kelly rolled out of her bed and onto the floor, army-crawling to the door. Her body resisted as she pulled herself up to her feet. It was way too early for this, but it made her nervous that Donovan was up. Maybe there was news about the stalker.
“Maybe he went to get us doughnuts!” Avery hopped out of bed and bounced all the way over to Kelly like a carefree bunny. “Remember he said he would get doughnuts this weekend?”
Doughnuts was reasonable at this unreasonable time of day. “Let’s go check.”
The door made a noisy creak when she opened it. Avery would never be able to sneak in and out of this room when she was older. The two of them padded downstairs in search of Donovan. No one was on the first level either.
“See, he went to get doughnuts,” Avery said, gripping the hem of Kelly’s sleep shirt.
The sound of metal clacking on metal came from the basement. He was working out? They followed the noise down the second set of stairs.
Donovan was in the basement wearing shorts and a tank top. He had dumbbells in each hand, he lift them parallel to the floor or until his arms were even with his shoulders. The muscles in his biceps and shoulders bulged under the strain.
Strength and power emanated from him. Donovan didn’t just look like he was in the military, he looked like he could take on an army. Watching him made her feel like she had a superhero for a bodyguard.
“Are we getting doughnuts for breakfast?” Avery said, scaring Donovan half to death. He dropped one of the weights as he spun around and clutched his chest.
“How long have you two been standing there?”
“Only for a minute,” Kelly said, hoping he didn’t think she was a creeper.
“You said we could have doughnuts today, remember?” Avery persisted.
“Let’s leave your uncle alone to finish his workout and then we can talk about breakfast.” Kelly grabbed Avery by the hand and tugged her gently up the stairs. “Sorry for bothering you.”
“I’m really hungry for doughnuts now,” Avery complained.
“Let’s go back to bed until the sun comes up.” She tried to get Avery to follow her back to her room. Kelly stopped halfway up the stairs. “Come on, Avery. It’s too early.”
“Did someone say they were hungry for doughnuts?” Donovan’s voice came out of the darkness.
“Me!” Avery squealed.
“We can go back to bed for a little bit. You can finish your workout.”
“Or we can get doughnuts,” Avery suggested. “Can I go with you?”
“Why don’t we all go? Run upstairs and get dressed.”
Avery sprinted past her. Donovan stopped one step below Kelly so their faces were even.
“Sorry,” she said again. “She’s an extremely early riser and, since she’s my roommate, she makes me one too.”
“Did you sleep okay?”
“Yeah,” she lied. “Did you?”
“I tossed and turned because I can’t turn off my brain,” he admitted. “That’s why I got up and tried to workout. Thought maybe I needed some physical activity to calm my mind down.”
“Why do I feel like I’m responsible for the overthinking?”
He reached up and tucked her hair behind her ear and cupped her cheek. “Probably because you were.”
Even in the shadows of the early morning, she could see that warmth in his eyes. She put her hands on his shoulders and gave a little squeeze to reduce some of the tension there.
“If it makes you feel any better, thoughts of you kept me up for a while as well.”
His thumb brushed across her cheek sending a shiver down her spine. She stared at his lips, remembering how nice it was to kiss him yesterday. She had been imagining it for so many days, she had worried the actual kissing wouldn’t live up to the fantasy, but thankfully she had been so very wrong.
“We are really good at torturing each other,” he said.
All Kelly wanted to do was kiss him again. She closed her eyes and prepared for take-off.
“I’m ready! Let’s go!” Avery came racing by, causing them to jump apart. “Why aren’t you ready? I’m hungry.”