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DescriptionTo protect a patient from dirty cops, former First Daughter Maggie Stone seeks out former Secret Service agent Jack Bennett, the best in the business. But Jack remembers her as code name WILLOW, a flighty heiress who made his life a living hell. Though she no longer looks the part of the reckless wild child, the story she tells of crooked cops and people vanishing in thin air doesn't do much to inspire confidence.
But when the bullets start flying, old instincts kick in. Once a bullet catcher, always a bullet catcher....
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Excerpt:"Remy saw a police detective murder a man in cold blood, Jack. We're fairly sure New Orleans police officers are involved in the disappearance of Remy's foster parents."
"This isn't New Orleans. We can call the local police or even the Mobile FBI field office, though that may open a whole other can of worms. They get twitchy about kidnappings." Jack leaned toward her and laid his hand over hers where it curled over her knee. "You can't play fugitive, don't you see that?"
She closed her eyes, trying to still the sudden thunder of her pulse. God please, she thought. Please don't let me turn back into that foolish little girl who fell for her bodyguard.
His voice swept over her like a caress, hammering at the walls around her heart she was desperately trying to shore up. "If I help you break the law, it's big trouble for me, too."
She opened her eyes to look at him, her gut tightening.
"I have a lot to lose. My license. My gun permit." His dry, reasonable words drove away the warmth his touch had created. Barricades went up around her heart, easing her fears even as her body went cold with despair.
Jack was right. She knew he was. Her actions would have grave consequences for everyone involved, and it wasn't like Jack was some old friend she could depend on to help her out no matter what. She'd have to make it worth his while.
After all, he'd been paid to protect her before.
She straightened. "I'm not asking you to do this for free. I can get you money when it's over. You know that."
A dark look passed over his face. "I'm not putting you off here to jack up my fee."
She swallowed a rush of angry disappointment. "So you're really not going to help me."
He didn't speak, but she saw the answer in his eyes. Her heart dropped, weighted down by disillusionment she hadn't even realized she was capable of feeling anymore.
Why had she ever thought he could fix things for them? She should have known better; that kind of trust in other people went against everything she'd learned over the past ten years.
Everything Jack himself had taught her.
She had to think of Remy. Three weeks ago, she'd convinced the scared boy to tell the police what he'd seen. Remy had wanted to keep his mouth shut and stay away from trouble. But Maggie had convinced him to tell the truth, to trust the authorities to do the right thing.
He'd been burned. So had she. By the cops she'd trusted to do right by Remy—and now by the man she given one last chance to help her.
Nobody was going to help them. She understood that now.
Remy glared at Jack, his expression a blend of fear and disappointment. Maggie pulled her hand from Jack's and touched Remy's thin forearm. He twitched, his dark eyes darting to meet hers. She tried to speak reassurance with her own gaze as she turned to Jack. "Okay, go call the police."
Remy jerked, but she dug her fingers into his arm.
Jack released a gusty sigh. "I'll be right back." He stood, reaching out to brush back a strand of hair hanging in Maggie's eyes. Her cheek tingled at the passing graze of his fingertips. She steeled herself against the sensation.
Make the call from your office, she willed.
She watched with relief as he disappeared through the door to his office. The second he was out of sight, she stood, pulling Remy to his feet.
She kept her voice low. "Let's get out of here."
Code Name: WillowBy: Paula Graves