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USA Today Bestselling author Nadia Lee!KRISTEN
Hot. Sexy. Desirable.
Three words Antoine swore he’d never associate with me. It isn’t easy falling
for your older brother’s best friend, especially when he’s a sexy as hell,
hard-headed, over-protective alpha male. Unfortunately, he still treats me like
the little sister he never had.
When a topless picture of me hits the front page of a tabloid site, I get a
whole crop of stalkers and weirdos. The only man I know who can keep me safe is
Antoine Boucher. This time I won’t make it easy for him though.
Accidental power outage–check.
Robe that accidentally opens for a peep show…
Hot. Sexy. Desirable.
Three words I should never associate with Kristen…but I do. It’s wrong, of
course. Not only is she my best friend’s baby sister, but I’m not exactly the
kind of guy who takes girls home to meet my mother. Just ask my exes.
My mom, however, would be ecstatic if I brought home a girl. Especially since
my eccentric grandfather came up with this crazy scheme to get me to marry and
produce an heir in order to inherit his billion dollar fortune. Mom is nagging
me to go for it, but no thanks. I don’t need Grandpa’s money. I have plenty of
When a freak breaks into Kristen’s apartment–nude–I know what I have to
Watch over Kristen 24/7.
Keep my hands to myself.
Make sure my meddling mom never learns about the situation.
Piece of cake, right?
the scene around me, feeling like an observer looking in from far away. It
seems crazy I’m in the center of this…insanity. My small apartment buzzes with
activity. Four cops fill the living room and bedroom. The pervert is face-down
on the living room floor, wrists cuffed tight. He’s bleeding from a gash on his
forehead and from his mouth and nose, staining the carpet.
are scattered on the floor. They’re from my brother’s wedding ceremony. Ming
Ming told me I should take them because they’d be good for about a week and do
wonders for my home. Well, they’re toast now. Somehow the vase survived the
head smashing. Guess the human head isn’t as hard as I thought.
I dropped the vase as soon as it hit him, ready to kick the guy the way—and in
the place—he deserved. I’ve been taking self-defense courses since my
kidnapping scare, and I wasn’t going to be a victim.
Antoine, appearing out of nowhere, pushed me behind him and took care of the
beating up himself.
looks the nicest and most understanding out of the bunch took my statement
already, and now I’m waiting for them to be done with Antoine. From time to
time, they steal a glance in my direction. I feel my shoulders rising. They’re
probably judging me. A topless girl flashing an underage boy. She probably
asked for this…
feels like an eternity, I’m allowed to leave, along with my purse, laptop bag
and a carry-on case with toiletries and a change of clothes and shoes. Antoine
and a couple of officers escort me out.
swarm of paparazzi outside. “Fucking vultures,” Antoine says.
worry. We’ve got guys to run interference for you,” the nice cop says from
behind us. Officer Brady, I remember now. Mr. Understanding. He looks
all-American wholesome, with golden hair and sky-blue eyes, smile lines fanning
from the corners.
enough, there are officers pushing a sizable crowd of paparazzi away from me
and Antoine as we make our way to the SUV. Antoine shields me as he helps me
inside the car, and he moves quickly getting in. Then he honks once and starts
moving the vehicle with more speed and menace than I expected.
paparazzi part. They can probably sense Antoine is very willing to mow them all
down if they don’t get out of the way.
Antoine’s direction. His jaw’s tight, muscles bunching and un-bunching. Crap.
notice the blood on his knuckles. “Are you all right?”
me like I’m crazy. “Of course.”
blood on your hand.”
it around the steering wheel. “I didn’t feel anything when I punched him, and I
don’t feel it now either. Not my blood, anyway.” He adds under his breath,
serious situation. A pervert violated my home and sense of safety. The stains I
later noticed on my sheets made it obvious what nauseating things the creep was
doing while waiting for me to come home. I’m going to have to get rid of the
bed now. That sleazy site is trying to paint me as some kind of whore who
doesn’t deserve any consideration or decency, and many, many people are piling
help it. I snort, then giggle uncontrollably even as my eyes prickle with
tears. I place a hand over my belly as the muscles there clench hard.
Antoine gives me the look normally reserved for a ticking time bomb. “Are you
could’ve been worse. What can I do except laugh?” I wipe the tears from my
eyes. “I’m not going to cry, Antoine. I’m not giving them that much power.”
shoulders relax a fraction. “Good.”
bit, then say, “I’m sorry you missed the look on his face when I picked up the
vase and started screaming.”
his lips quirks up. “You need to work on your scary face. I didn’t see any
puddle of piss when I busted in there.”
gross.” I giggle again. “It’s bad enough that he bled all over the living room
what incinerators are for. Afterward, you can redecorate your place the way you
see fit.” Antoine says with mock seriousness, “With pink carpet.”
favorite color.” He shoots me a teasing grin. “Isn’t it?”
suddenly I’m feeling all giddy he noticed.
rings. The screen says Dominic. I inhale, then add an extra bit of perkiness to
my voice and hit the green button. “Hey, brother! How’s Bora Bora? Getting
bored with paradise yet?”
makes a face and shakes his head almost imperceptibly. Guess I overdid it.
the hell is going on?” Dominic demands.
means is, ‘Are you all right, Kristen?’” Liza says, her voice laced with
fine,” I say. “I’m okay.”
alone?” she asks, then makes a soothing noise, probably for my brother. I can
picture her running a hand down his shoulder and arm.
a car with Antoine.”
probably be easier and faster with all of us on speaker,” she says.
hit a few buttons on the console, and my phone’s connected to the Bluetooth
speakers in the car.
call from the police,” Liza explains.
forgot. LAPD and the sheriff’s department all think she walks on water. She’s
raised so much money for both over the years.
rapist in your room, Kristen! This… Argh!” Dominic can’t even continue. I’ve
never heard my older brother at a loss for words.
happened,” I say. “The only thing that’s hurt is his head…which I bashed with a
vase. Also, Antoine hit him. Like, really hard.” The memory of his fist
connecting with the creep’s face is still satisfying.
man,” Dominic says. “I owe you one.”
Antoine says. “What are friends for?”
idea,” Liza says. “We’re both off the Internet. If I’d known what the Blaze
did, I would’ve had Tolyan deal with them.”
Tolyan! Not that I
don’t like him, but getting Tolyan involved would mean no Antoine.
me,” Antoine says. “I told him I’d handle it.”
you did…? Suddenly,
I feel a little bit more optimistic.
obviously can’t stay at her place now,” Dominic says.
doing hotels forever,” I say, doing my best not to bounce around. But
Antoine can stay with me to keep me safe! What a brilliant idea. Not that
I’m going to say that out loud because if I do, Antoine will do the exact
opposite. The man can be positively perverse.
going to suggest that,” Dominic says. “You should stay at my place until this
face. Dominic’s penthouse has excellent security. But at the same time, I’ve
worked very hard to establish my independence and make my own way in the world.
That’s why I live in a small apartment that I can afford, rather than the big,
swanky place he wanted to rent for me. I never want to be known as “that girl
who mooches off her rich brother.”
Dominic should’ve done is suggest I stay at Antoine’s place…
right,” Liza says. “You have to be careful.”
nobody!” I protest.
are is a fresh, juicy target,” Liza says. “Famous without any scandal attached
to her name yet.”
expression turns stormy.
continues, “I called Ryder, and he’s going to have his people handle things for
you. You don’t have to do anything except sit tight and let them work their
Normally I would be squealing at the mention of her brother Ryder Reed. He’s
one of the hottest leading men in Hollywood. Voted the Sexiest Man Alive four
times, he has the face and body to match the title, with the kind of blue eyes
that can make a woman’s heart stop. Unlike some stars who are only pretty in
pictures, he’s fabulous looking in real life too, almost unnaturally so. He
struck me dumb when Liza introduced us.
all that, he isn’t my type…because my kind of guy is Antoine. I glance at my
perfect man and give him a small smile.
grows more serious. “She didn’t ask for the publicity,” he points out, his
voice flatter than a squished pancake.
precisely why Ryder’s team is going to handle it,” Liza says. “They can do
whatever necessary to minimize the damage, and restore normalcy to her life as
quickly as possible. They’re experts at this.”
needs a bodyguard,” Dominic says, talking like I’m not present for the
conversation. “I’m not having her run around free for some pervert to grab or
flash or whatever.”
Someone professional, un-bribable and loyal,” Liza adds.
Great minds think alike!
one else I trust more,” my brother adds.
Liza’s voice is lighter.
brow furrows as my brother and his wife go on and on about how perfect Antoine
is. Oh no. He’s going to find a way to excuse himself.
handle it personally,” Antoine says.
did he just say fine? I pump my fist. “Yes!”
Dominic and Liza say at the same time, while Antoine glances over.
heat, and I cover them with my palms, doing my best not to grin like an idiot.
I should be ridiculously embarrassed, but I’m too happy to care. Finally,
something has gone right on this disastrous day. And the pleasure’s going to be
emotional contemporary romance. Born with a love for excellent food, travel and
adventure, she has lived in four different countries, kissed stingrays, been
bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.
trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she can be
found reading books by her favorite authors or planning another trip.