“That’s genius.” Why hadn’t she thought of anything this remarkable? “I’m serious. This adds a vital layer of protection for your clients. One more reason people should hire bodyguards from Soren Security instead of the competition.” She tilted her head in admiration. “You’ve given this company a huge boost to its bottom line. I’m totally impressed.”

“Really?” A tinge of red colored his sharp cheekbones. “You’re not just saying that.”

“I don’t give out compliments lightly. They have to be earned.” She snorted. “Just ask my team.”

His half smile transformed the sharp, rugged planes of his face. “Cool. Then we’ll start production next week.”

“Sounds good. The sooner the better. In fact, you’ll want to think about sending a notice to your staff and clients describing the device and its uses. Get together with the marketing department and have them create some descriptions, pamphlets and literature for this special added security measure. A patent is probably your next step.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll leave that to people who know what they’re doing.”

“Nice work, Adam,” she said sincerely.

“You should’ve seen me testing this thing. I rode my Harley all over the city and into the mountains with a laptop bag strapped to my back. I got some strange looks.”

“Innovation is rarely trendy. Sometimes you have to go to extremes, and it’s always worth it in the end.”

Nodding, he seemed to take her words to heart. She handed him back the USB drive, but he waved away her gesture. “Keep it. We’ll have more soon. Besides, I know Trey would want you to have it.”

A perceptive glint stole into Adam’s emerald eyes. She curled her fingers around the thumb drive and slid it into her purse. “Thank you,” she said softly. “I appreciate that.”

“No problem.” Shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans, he shrugged. “Guess I should get this ball rolling in marketing. Good suggestion. I wasn’t sure what to do next.”

“Oh, and tell Mindy who’s in charge of PR, so she can connect with the marketing department to write up a press release. This is going to get a lot of attention. You should be proud.”

He turned to leave. “I’ll be proud when it saves someone’s life.”

“Thanks for coming by, Adam.”

He sent her a nod and left.

Mind spinning with possibilities, she grabbed a stack of sticky notes and jotted down ideas as they came to her about ways she could improve the SOS device by syncing it with their IT network. Creative juices flowing, she felt jazzed about the new technology feature. It truly was brilliant. Adam turned out to be full of surprises.

As she moved from quick thoughts to a more detailed plan of implementation and integration, she switched to note cards that she’d add to a Gantt chart for her team to follow as they embarked on the project. It seemed like ages since she’d worked on something innovative and game changing, too swamped with keeping the status quo at Soren Security to orchestrate a new rollout plan.

Excitement coursed through her veins. This was what she loved, thrived at, lived for—bringing innovation to the masses. Making a difference. Not exactly the types of projects she would work on at ActionNet, but the inner sense of empowerment was the same.

A startling thought stopped her in her mental tracks. If she contributed to these worthwhile projects regularly, would she need to change careers? After all, the ability to problem solve and the sense of contribution gave her joy, not specifically the content. The SOS device would save lives. She could never attribute that impact to a video game.

Had she stumbled on a way to achieve work satisfaction while staying in Denver? When she realized her fingers were trembling, she set down her pen. The specially equipped USB drive not only boosted security and profits for Trey’s company, it provided her with purpose and ignited her passion. The realization was both exciting and unnerving, because it led to a greater question. Could she give up her dream job in Phoenix to take a chance on her dreams here with Trey?

While she enjoyed moments of spontaneity, abrupt life changes terrified her. There was no guarantee of a safety net if she took the plunge and remained. Except for Dan, she’d never altered her life plans for any man, and had sworn she never would again. Her heart couldn’t take the risk. Honestly, she hadn’t fully invested her thoughts or emotions into a future with Trey, anticipating her move and their inevitable separation.

But now? Anxiety speared her and she blew out a slow breath. Now she didn’t know where she stood or how she felt about taking the biggest risk of all—offering her trust to him without reservations, without second guessing.

Trey wasn’t a man who approached anything halfway. She had to give him all or nothing. Also, she realized how much easier their relationship had been when she didn’t have options, when she knew what she wanted and believed the job in Phoenix would give her what she’d been missing.

“Crap,” she muttered. It would destroy her if Trey came to the same conclusion as Dan had the day they were supposed to get married. If that happened, she would’ve stayed here for nothing. Out of a job, out of love, out of hope.

While she prided herself on being a strong, successful, independent woman, she doubted she could recover from a repeat of Dan’s abandonment.

Dampness pricked the backs of her eyes, and her heart cramped.

“Damn it.” She pressed the heels of her palms against her lashes until the flood of moisture disappeared.

Looking for a mindless escape, she scrolled through work emails, deleting or responding as needed. When a professional external email came up in her queue, she straightened and scanned the contents. Then she returned to the top, sharpening her concentration.

Dear Ms. Leigh,

Our company, Developer’s Muse, recently partnered with ActionNet, Inc. to develop an exciting game prototype called Generation A (A for Apocalypse). We met with their staff but were unable to find the right fit. Then they described the unique skills you’re bringing to the ActionNet team. We were sold. Your personal and professional credentials exceeded our expectations. We would refer to your expertise on every level of development, from storyline and characterization to development and deployment. We’d like to hire you as a contractor through ActionNet. If you are interested, please respond via our Human Resources manager, Ellen Stafford, so we can set up a separate interview with you. We will travel to your location. We hope you will consider our offer.

Tags: Vanessa Waltz Billionaire Bodyguard Suspense
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