Born To Protect

Sixteen years ago, he disappeared from her life. Now, he’s the only one who can protect her.

Today’s he’s a member of Elite Force Security, but sixteen years ago he belonged to one of the wealthiest families in Connecticut. Following his father’s conviction for investment fraud, Connor Anderson left behind his privileged life and everyone associated with it, including Becca André. All that changes the morning she sits down next to him inside a busy D.C. café and asks him to lunch.

For the past four years Becca has worked in Washington, D.C., where the greatest physical threat she faces each day is a paper cut. However, everything changes when Becca’s stepsister goes missing and someone tries to kidnap her. Now, the only person she can rely on is her long-ago summer fling, Connor. A man she never forgot and the one she’s falling in love with again.

Despite the women who’ve passed through his life, Becca is the only one Connor’s ever truly cared about. And he’ll do anything to keep her safe.

But will it be enough?

Read an excerpt from Born To Protect

He’d never been more grateful for sunglasses than he was now. The dark shades let him watch Becca with her none the wiser. At the moment, his eyes feasted on her delectable ass as she bent to spread out the blanket she’d brought along for their picnic. When she finished,she turned, depriving him of the view he’d been enjoying, and took one of the multiple bags he held.

“I’m surprised it’s not busier here today.” Becca sat on the blanket. “On the weekends, this place is usually full of people. Maybe it’s too hot.”

He sure as hell was hot, but it wasn’t all due to the weather. His internal temperature had jumped ten degrees the moment he saw her walk toward him outside her town house. Even being inside the home with its central air conditioning hadn’t helped.

“You come here a lot?” If he kept them both talking, he might get through lunch without kissing her. But that was a big if.

When he accepted her invitation, he’d expected it to be a one-and-done kind of day. He’d see her, do a little catching up, and then they’d go their separate ways for another fifteen or twenty years. His thoughts had been deviating from the plan since he walked intoher house. Exactly how far they’d deviate was still in the air, but tasting her lips at least once seemed like an excellent addition to the plan.

“Whenever I can. I like to run here. I find it more relaxing than running on the sidewalk or on the gym’s treadmill.”

His eyes traveled up from her lilac-painted toenails to the hem of her shorts, and an image of them in bed with her legs wrapped around him formed. “You were on the cross-country team in high school.” He didn’t know how but he remembered she’d run cross-country in the fall and played tennis in the spring.

Becca nodded, the same piece of mahogany-colored hair she’d been pushing behind her ear since she came downstairs falling free again. Before she could move it, he did.

“I was on the cross-country team at Georgetown too.” She handed him his sandwich before pulling out her own. “Working for the senator takes up most of my time during the week, but I like to come here and run on the weekends. At least until it gets too cold. Then I settle for the treadmill at the gym.”

She leaned forward, and her neckline dipped just enough to provide him with an excellent view of her cleavage. The mere sight had his blood going from simple simmer to full boil. When she sat up and readjusted her top, hementally reached out, tugged it down again, and then closed his hands around her breasts. Since what his mind was telling him to do was out of the question, at least for the moment, he unwrapped his sandwich instead. A definite poor substitute for what his hands really wanted.

“What about you?” Becca asked. “Do you still do a lot of hiking? You used to go skiing a lot too.”

Except during football season, he’d spent many weekends hiking as a teenager. Sometimes he’d go with friends and other times he’d go alone. It’d been almost a year since he’d last gone. It’d been even longer since he’d strapped on a pair of skis.

“I hike when I can,” Connor answered. “Last time I skied I was at Harvard.” He’d skied more because his family enjoyed it and regularly took vacations to the best ski resorts in the country than because he’d loved the sport.

“I haven’t skied in ages myself. I loved it when I was younger, but for some reason, the last few times I went,I didn’t enjoy myself.” She licked a dab of mayo off her finger, and he wished she wasusing her tongue on him instead. “My last boyfriend enjoyed hiking, so we used to go a lot.”

Last boyfriend. He interpreted her statement to mean she wasn’t involved with anyone. He wasn’t looking for a woman in his life, but he wouldn’t refuse a few fun months with Becca either.

“Things between Tate and me ended not long after I moved down here to work for the senator. The distance made having any kind of relationship too difficult. So I guess it’s been about four years since I last hiked.” She grabbed a potato chip from the bag sitting between them. “I wouldn’t mind doing it again.”

She popped the chip into her mouth and chewed before speaking again. “Actually, the first time I ever went hiking was with you. We went to Bear Mountain State Park in New York. Do you remember? It was so darn hot that day.”

Connor remembered. They’d hiked until they found an isolated spot with a superb view of the Hudson River. Then they’d stayed there, talking when they weren’t making out. He hadn’t been back to the park since.

“There are some decent hiking places not far from here,” Connor said. “If you’re interested, I’ll show you.”