“It better,” Trey murmured. “I don’t have any second choice or alternative options when it comes to her.”

Cade crossed his ankle over his knee and nodded. “It’s great to see you with a woman who makes you happy. Should I plan the bachelor party and order a tux for the wedding?”

“Not yet.” Trey wasn’t totally confident that if he popped the question, Devon would say yes. She might, but “might” was a far cry from diving into the rest of their lives together. They had both made that mistake once, but this time he knew he’d found the one. “We’re working on it.”

Cade’s sly smile told Trey he’d already expected the inevitable. “So I shouldn’t walk up to Devon and say congratulations?”

Trey’s eyes flew wide and he shot out of his chair. “Don’t you dare.”

“Whoa, okay. Got it, she’s not there yet, but you are. I’m glad you’re there, bro. Will I be the godfather of your first kid?”

Trey rolled his eyes. “Yeah, now for God’s sake, leave me alone so I can do actual work.”

Cade grinned and left, shutting the door behind him.

If Devon had been witness to this discussion, she might’ve run in the other direction. The Sorens were a rather proud, genetically territorial group.

Still, he didn’t want his family hounding her about when they’d get married and start replenishing the gene pool. He trusted Cade to keep the news of their advancing relationship to himself, since his brother would never sabotage something this important for him, but clearly his cousins knew the score. It was only a matter of time before Adam opened his big mouth and put Devon in an awkward situation.

Which meant, sooner rather than later, he needed to approach her with the option of making their relationship permanent. While that might shock her into a decision, maybe the two of them needed a boost of momentum. Something to propel them forward with his intention to take her as his woman, his wife, and the mother of his children.

Hopefully, she’d say yes.

Because he couldn’t imagine his life without her.

*

When a knock sounded on her office door Friday morning, Devon knew it wasn’t Trey. He would’ve strolled in without the formality of knocking.

“Yes?”

The last person she expected to see was Adam. They’d never exchanged more than a few words, and they weren’t on the friendliest terms. “Can I have a few minutes?” he asked.

Arching her eyebrows, she nodded, wary but curious. He wore his dark brooding personality like a shield that said get back. Before Trey, her own shield of sarcasm and calculated emotional distance had kept her heart safe. She wondered about the source of Adam’s conflict with the world and why he put up barriers, and if his trust or his heart had been as damaged as hers once was. Although she’d finally ventured beyond her barricades to meet Trey halfway, she recognized a kindred spirit. She’d never stopped to think about Adam in those terms. She suspected he had his reasons for his prickly characteristics, and her attitude toward him softened for the first time.

Having never seen him out of his leather jacket, she noticed the sleeve of tattoos on his left arm. She gestured to the impressive artistry. “Nice tats.”

He nodded. “Thanks. You got any ink?”

“Nah.” She shrugged. “I never found anything so profound I wanted to imprint it on my body for life.”

“Every mark I have tells part of my story.”

She found his statement rather philosophical for a muscle-bound biker and decided to extend the olive branch. “Someday, over beers, I’d like to hear those stories.”

Surprise registered on his face, though he nodded. “Sure.”

“But I’m guessing that’s not why you stopped by my office.”

“Right.” When he approached her desk and handed her a portable USB drive, he carried with him the scents of sun-warmed leather and summer wind.

She accepted his offering. “Um, thanks, but I have a million of these.”

His vivid green eyes sparkled. “Not like this one.”

Sitting back in her chair, she inspected the memory stick. “What’s so special about it?”

“Don’t know if Trey mentioned it, but I’m working with the bodyguards, matching their skills with clients’ personalities and experience. But I’m new at this. What do I know, right?”

“We all have to face a learning curve in the beginning,” she assured.

“Some take longer than others to come around,” he said wryly. “I had this idea for a tech gadget clients can use in emergencies. I don’t have an iPad or tablet or laptop attached to my hip, but a lot of people do. I went to Allen Guthrey and he made up some specs for what I wanted.”

That took serious initiative, forward thinking and intellectual investment. She realized Trey had a diamond in the rough with his cousin. The word specs caught her attention because she hadn’t heard anything about this experiment from Allen, but she encouraged her people to think outside the box. “What does it do?”

“I wanted a small device people could carry on them, in a coat pocket or purse. Something that wouldn’t look out of place or catch attention. And I wanted it to send a signal like an SOS, some kind of alert that goes straight to my phone, because I don’t read many emails.”

Unable to fathom her day without reading or responding to a single email, she tried not to gape at him. That would be like living without a toothbrush or coffee.

Apparently sensing her disbelief, he shrugged and stared at the floor. “Me and words never got along too well.”

Compassion filled her as she realized Adam had just admitted to having a learning disability. “I can’t drive a stick shift,” she blurted out to fill the awkward silence. “No one can be good at everything.”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “You can’t ride a motorcycle until you’ve learned how to shift.”

“No thanks.” She held up her palms in refusal. “I’ll leave motorcycle riding to the cool people.”

“I don’t know about that.” He rubbed his chin. “Hacking into computers is a pretty awesome skill if you ask me.”

Had she and Adam just bonded? Imagine that. She smiled. “Now that we’ve established our rank in the cool crowd, I want to know more about this thumb drive.”

“Sure. Allen brought me some of his ideas, and as of today we have the SOS prototype.” He started talking with his hands, more animated than she’d ever seen him. “It has a built in Wi-Fi signal. The instant the drive is plugged into a laptop or tablet, it sends a signal to me, Trey, Cade and Liam. Unless you’re in a third world jungle, your alert reaches us in seconds. Allen programmed my phone with a ringtone for only this device. It also sends an SOS text message. Using the same frequency as cell phone towers means we can track the client’s signal and estimate a GPS location.”


Tags: Vanessa Waltz Billionaire Bodyguard Suspense
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