Foreword by James Patterson
Read by Erin Cottrell
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around November 1, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Abbie Whitmore is good at her job. She knows how to protect people, and she’s always right — until Congressman Jonathan Lassiter comes along. The presidential hopeful refuses to believe that his politics have put him in danger, yet Abbie’s determined to keep him safe. But how can she protect him while she’s guarding her heart?
Original romances presented by James Patterson
Novels you can devour in a few hours
Impossible to stop reading
When I first had the idea for BookShots, I knew that I wanted to include romantic stories. The whole point of BookShots is to give people lightning-fast reads that completely capture them for just a couple of hours in their day—so publishing romance felt right.
I have a lot of respect for romance authors. I took a stab at the genre when I wrote Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and Sundays at Tiffany’s. While I was happy with the results, I learned that the process of writing those stories required hard work and dedication.
That’s why I wanted to pair up with the best romance authors for BookShots. I work with writers who know how to draw emotions out of their characters, all while catapulting their plots forward.
Because you have this book in your hands, you’re about to be engrossed by Jonathan and Abbie’s story in Bodyguard. Since Abbie heads up the security detail on Jonathan’s campaign tour, they’re in a situation that makes it unlikely for the two of them to fall in love. Yet author Jessica Linden writes chemistry that is absolutely magnetic, all while she flips romantic tropes on their heads. You’ll be blown away.
Abbie Whitmore stood at the back of the crowd at the steps of the town hall, easily blending in with the mass of people also dressed in somber dark suits. She wasn’t scheduled to arrive until later that evening, but she preferred doing recon in person, instead of just reading a case file.
This was an eye-opening experience. Though she lived outside of DC, she didn’t pay attention to politics. It was all a sham. Though politicians had some margin of power, she knew there were other players who pulled the strings in Washington.
She zoned in on the charismatic man on the podium. The pairing of his suit and tie was impeccable, and no doubt the work of a professional. His dark hair was styled in such a way that it didn’t look like anything had been done to it at all. It matched well with his five-o’clock shadow.
Men and women of all ages cheered after nearly every sentence he spoke, pressing forward to try to get closer to him, as if proximity would cause some of his charm and charisma to rub off on them.
The Beloved Bachelor of Capitol Hill…that was what the society pages had called him—a completely cumbersome title, but if the shoe fit…However, his bachelor status wasn’t why she was here. She was here because he was too golden for his own good.
And someone was going to kill him for it.
“Just remember”—he stopped to flash a blindingly brilliant smile—“I hear you and I am here for you.”
The crowd erupted, shaking signs, hooting, and hollering. If she didn’t know better, Abbie would think she was at a Justin Bieber concert.
Lord help her.
Jonathan Lassiter gave one last wave, then exited the stage using the rickety wooden stairs that had been erected on the left.
That was her cue.
She ducked her head down and strode through the throngs of people, heading in the direction of the parked car waiting to whisk the politician away. Even though she flanked his team, swinging wide to avoid detection, she still beat him there. He was too busy posing for selfies.
Wonder if he’ll have to sign anyone’s breasts. Abbie almost snorted.
Once at the far side of the car, she reached into her purse to pull out a thin metal wire. On a whim she tried the door handle first, shaking her head when it was unlocked.
Amateurs. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been killed already.
She slid into the backseat of the car, and no one was the wiser.
She didn’t have to wait long.
The driver opened the door, and with one final wave Jonathan Lassiter took his seat across from her.
In one swift move Abbie extended her leg and lodged the base of her shoe on his Adam’s apple, the toe and the heel of the shoe straddling his neck. Game over.
“If I wanted you dead, you would be.”
Jonathan blinked, and swallowed with some difficulty. Though she had to hand it to him—he kept his cool. “Do you mind removing your Louboutin from my jugular?”
Abbie’s response was to apply more pressure and narrow her eyes at him.
Then, slowly, she lowered her leg.
“You might not want to be so blasé about your safety.”
Jonathan adjusted his tie and studied the woman sitting across from him. At first glance, she appeared sweet and vulnerable, like she was one of those women who followed the trend of too-thin supermodels. His instincts also told him that there was more to her than her looks.
He’d felt the muscles in her long leg firsthand when her red-soled stiletto was rammed under his chin. Frail was not the word for her.
Lithe. That’s what she was. This wasn’t a woman who dieted to keep her trim figure.
Her copper hair was pulled tight at the nape of her neck, making her cheekbones appear even more severe and angular. The creamy skin on her face showed no signs of freckles, and her makeup was barely there. She was a natural beauty.
And her eyes were so goddamn cold and calculating she’d rival any supermodel on the runway. He would know. He’d dated a few of them.
The car pulled away from the sidewalk, his driver unaware that anything unusual was happening in the backseat.
Jonathan adjusted his cuff links. “You weren’t due to arrive until this evening.”
“Change of plans.”
“If you had done me the courtesy of contacting my people, I could have arranged to set up a proper first meeting.” He smiled at her. “You wouldn’t have had to break into my car.”
“I didn’t,” she said smartly. “It was unlocked. You take your safety seriously for granted, Mr. Lassiter.”
“I’m a man of the people,” he replied. “I like to be available to my constituents. After all, they’re the reason I’m here.”
“Perhaps they’ll enjoy attending your funeral as well.”
He chuckled. “I doubt that.”
She reached into her bag, pulled out a thick file folder, and slapped it on his lap. “Copies of phone transcriptions and intercepted e-mails. All threats against you.”
He leafed through the papers, but they weren’t anything he hadn’t seen before. His team back in the capital had showed him similar documents last week, before he’d set out on the campaign trail. It had taken a call from the White House for him to accept personal security above and beyond what he felt was reasonable and needed.
The woman sitting across from him was the last thing he’d expected.
“I meant I doubt these threats will amount to anything.”
“Regardless, they shouldn’t be ignored.”
Jonathan closed the file and handed it back to her. “You never introduced yourself, Miss…?”
“Abbie Whitmore.” She didn’t bother to hold out her hand but instead scrutinized him with her cold eyes.
“Miss Whitmore, I’m afraid your presence here is an overreaction on the part of my well-meaning associates. If special protection were assigned to politicians every time a threat was made against them, well…” He trailed off and chuckled. Then he unbuttoned his suit coat, making himself comfortable.
Her nostrils flared slightly. “You may not take the threats against your life seriously, but I take my job very seriously. So I plan to have the pleasure of keeping you alive for the foreseeable future.”
He met her hard stare with one of his own, one that made lesser individuals stand down. She held her ground.
“Fine,” he said tightly. He knew when to cut his losses. Besides, it wouldn’t be much of a hardship to have this gorgeous woman following him around for the next few weeks.
“The plan is to introduce me to your staff as a new aide who you’ll be working very closely with. I don’t want them to know my real purpose for being here.”
He frowned. “Isn’t that a bit extreme?”
“No. What’s extreme is what might be done if Hak Tanir gets to you. The last guy who crossed them was disemboweled, before taking two slugs between the eyes at point-blank range. His own mother couldn’t recognize what was left of him.”
She flashed a picture on her cell phone to reiterate her point. The blood drained from his face, and much to his disconcertment, she gave a little nod of satisfaction, putting her phone away.
“The legislation you spearheaded allowed the US government to make large strides in stopping Hak Tanir and several of the human-trafficking rings they’re responsible for. As a result, you now have some dangerous enemies in some pretty high places.”
“I wasn’t the only one who supported that bill.”
“No, but you were, and are, the spokesman for it.”
He shifted. “They can’t possibly think that killing me will stop us from trying to put an end to terrorism.”
“I doubt they think that. What’s done is done. But now they’re out for vengeance. Or perhaps they want to make an example out of you. Either way, you’re in need of protection beyond the normal detail assigned to a congressman on the campaign trail.”
“I will gladly let you join my team, but this can’t interrupt my reelection efforts,” he said firmly, the blood having returned to his face. “That legislation was just the beginning. There’s still a lot more work to be done.”
The disdain that had lined the edges of her face shifted slightly, morphing into something else. She nodded again, only this time he thought he detected a hint of respect.
“You aren’t any help to anyone if you’re dead.”
Jonathan stared at Abbie incredulously, like the words she was saying didn’t make sense.
“How else can I shake their hands?” His tone was exasperated, and he’d been pulling at his hair so much that it was standing on end.
And damn if that didn’t make him sexier. It only made her dislike him more.
Abbie crossed her arms. “That’s my whole point. No one should be allowed to come close enough to touch you.”
“I’m not the goddamn queen of England.” He loosened the tie at his neck and undid the top two buttons of his shirt, then collapsed into the chair.
Abbie’s eyebrows rose. The security measures she wanted to implement weren’t even that severe, but the usually smooth politician was becoming unglued.
Good, she decided. He shouldn’t be comfortable. Someone wanted to kill him. She’d thought she made the situation clear to him in the limo yesterday, but he was still fighting her.
He sighed. “My platform is built on being a man for the people. It’s what I’m known for. But it’s more than that. That’s who I want to be. That’s why I got into public service. I’m not some elitist who isolates himself from the people he represents.”
Before she could stop it, a bitter laugh escaped her lips. “You are the definition of an elitist. You grew up in one of the wealthiest families in America.”
Shit. She’d just crossed a line. She didn’t have to like the guy—or where he came from—to keep him alive.
It had taken her two days to place him. Besides seeing him on the news, she could have sworn she knew him from somewhere, but nothing in his file indicated that they would have crossed paths.
But she’d figured it out this morning. He had been friends with her ex, the asshole she’d dated all through college. The man she had thought she’d marry. And the man she apparently hadn’t been good enough for.
He’d blindsided her when he ditched her for a socialite who could further his law career. So she’d accepted a position with the Cartwright Agency and never looked back.
At first she’d been concerned that Jonathan would have remembered her, too. But after remembering him in that limo, she knew it was an unfounded worry.
She might as well be just another woman seeking to take a selfie with him. He didn’t have a clue who she was.
And she felt stupid for thinking he might.
Jonathan’s face hardened at her words, making him seem dangerous. Abbie was impressed, and her respect for him went up a notch. She hadn’t thought this pretty-boy politician had it in him. She waited for his response. “I don’t see how my upbringing is relevant to your current assignment. But for the sake of being cooperative, is there anything else about my life you’d like to discuss before we move on?”
“You’re a politician,” she said, dismissing his question. “Your life is public record.”
The truth was she had everything in his file, right down to his shoe size. She was nothing if not prepared.
“That’s not what I asked.”
Abbie sat at the table and rubbed her temples. At twenty-nine, she was one of the youngest agents at Cartwright to have taken on solo assignments. She’d protected witnesses from the Mob while they were waiting to testify at trial, before sending them on their way in the Witness Security Program. She’d gone undercover in a gang in Chicago to protect a confidential informant. She’d even spent time in LA guarding an A-list actress from a stalker.
- On Sale
- Nov 1, 2016
- Hachette Audio