Trey rubbed the back of his neck where ropes of tension knotted. “If any of our bodyguards’ locations or clients’ information leaks, we’ll have more than the press and shareholders jumping down our throats. The litigation would bury us in days.”

“I’m well aware.” Cade’s grim expression hit Trey hard.

Trey was the one who’d convinced his brother and two cousins to ditch the dangerous underworld as bounty hunters, including back-alley brawls, dodging bullets, and dragging in criminals. They’d sold their lucrative but life-threatening Las Vegas business for this posh, tame, corner-office gig. The transition hadn’t been smooth, especially for Adam and Liam. He could take the boys out of the brawl, but couldn’t take the brawl out of the boys. Trey needed his company to thrive, so there were no reasons or excuses for any of them to return to that old life. His brother sighed. “My immediate concern is keeping the lights on during the press conference I have to give in five minutes.”

“Go,” Trey said. “I’ll handle this.”

“I can cancel.”

“That’ll look more suspicious. The press corps is here, and Mindy’s waiting for you. Devon and I will figure this out.”

“Yeah, well, don’t get in Devon’s way, or she’ll flatten you. That woman is fierce.”

One of the many attributes that made her so valuable to him. “I’ll handle her, too.”

With a curious look, Cade gave him a two-finger salute. He straightened his tie, smoothed a hand down the front of his well-tailored suit, and left to face the press.

Trey went in search of Devon.

As he neared her fourth floor office, his steps slowed. The prickle at the base of his scalp returned. He found her door shut, but heard the constant click-clack speed-typing within. He raised two knuckles and knocked.

The click-clacking didn’t pause a beat. “Go away. I’m fending off Armageddon.”

“Good. That’s why I hired you,” Trey said as he entered despite her instruction.

Devon stopped typing and flicked him a glance. “I can’t believe the bastard slipped past my firewalls.”

Her frustration mirrored his. “You couldn’t have predicted this.”

“Do you know how many years of education and trial and error it took me to be able to construct the impenetrable?”

From everything he’d seen while working with her the past year, he knew she possessed a rare talent in her field. “Enlighten me.”

“Thirteen. This guy is good. Damn good. I have to figure out where he’s coming from. Why he’s doing this.”

“How do you know it’s a he?”

Devon spread her arms. “I’m a woman in a man’s field, Trey, I’ve been outnumbered from day one. Trust me, it’s a guy. One who has something to prove, considering I haven’t cracked his code yet. It’s like he’s expecting applause for beating me at my own game.”

“The lights are out on the sixth floor.”

“Are you serious?” She huffed. “Now he’s really pissing me off.” She stepped out from behind her desk carrying a pile of sticky notes covered with short nonsensical phrases couched between parentheses. “Hold these.”

She dumped the stack on him and went to her wall of whiteboards. He was Devon’s CEO and one of the owners of a billion dollar company. Apparently, his status didn’t matter to her. She’d reduced him to her glorified assistant. Fortunately for her, she was the only person in the building who could counteract the looming disaster that threatened to shut his company’s doors. He’d shine her shoes if she asked. She probably knew it, too.

“He obviously scoped out my barricades in advance,” she said, using an eraser to wipe a section of the whiteboard clean. “This doesn’t have the feel of a corporate hacker fishing for intel. What is he after?”

Trey didn’t respond. He didn’t have the answer and he figured she just needed a sounding board to think out loud. She did that often with him. Often enough to make him wonder if maybe he wasn’t imagining this connection between them. The ember in his gut burned hotter.

While she made hieroglyphic marks on the whiteboard, he took the unguarded opportunity to let his gaze roam over her body, from her sleek dark hair that fell to her shoulders to her slim waist and down to her gorgeous legs.

Thank God for skirt suits. That’s all she wore to the office, usually in bland colors like black, brown or beige, nothing to detract from those bright red lips. The lace fringe of a white camisole usually peeked out from the V of her lapels. Probably not an attention-grabber for most, but that hint of lace taunted Trey like a while flag of surrender just out of reach. Damn but he wanted to play capture the flag with her.

The knot of lust pulled tighter. He gave his head a quick shake and blew out a controlled breath. His company was in serious trouble and he needed to remain focused on that, not Devon’s sexy mouth and body.

Trey’s phone buzzed. Grateful for the distraction, he retrieved it from his pocket. A text message flashed from Isaac Atlas, Director of International Sales, a long-time family friend and newest recruit from their hometown of Vegas. He skimmed the text.

Fifth floor computers down. Losing power. Something I should know about?

Trey shoved Devon’s sticky notes into his suit coat pocket so he could use both thumbs to reply quickly. Keep your people calm. Tell them routine maintenance. Will fill you in asap.

He received Issac’s swift reply. Cool. Time for another round of Office Olympics. Gotta keep my chair race high score. Ignore thumps and crashes.

Done, Trey texted back. What he’d told Mindy in the elevator was true . Guys like Isaac, who’d brought his sales experience here after selling his motorcycle dealership in Vegas, reinforced how fortunate the four of them were. He and Cade and their cousins couldn’t have stepped into his new, safer, cleaner world of corporate America without these people. Trey owed them all a huge debt of gratitude and the promise that their jobs and careers were locked in stone. Some obnoxious hacker was not going to destroy his achievement with the click of a mouse.

Slipping the cell phone into his pocket, he said, “Devon, we’ve lost the fifth floor.”

She whirled around, her eyes wide. “It’s picking up momentum, moving through the network faster.”

“If this thing compromises the third floor, I’m pulling the plug.”

“Only as a last resort.” Her eyes pleaded with him.


Tags: Vanessa Waltz Billionaire Bodyguard Suspense
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