Here is the e-book cover:
Great job, Joie!
It's in final proofing and formatting stages. In the meantime, here is the next chapter....
NEXT TO THE word bodyguard, Ryan Lock's least favourite description for his profession had to be bullet catcher. Although sacrificing your life to save the person you were protecting was the ultimate price you may have to pay, close protection work was more a matter of intellect than muscle. In a world that mostly attracted what his former colleagues in the British Royal Military Police's elite close protection unit dubbed 'thick-necked twats', Lock saw himself as more of a problem solver than hired muscle. Right now he was headed to Los Angeles to deal with a rather obstinate Antipodean problem who went by the name of Jason Durham.
"Man, I could get used to this," said Ty Johnson.
Lock glanced over at his six foot four African American business partner as he stretched out his long legs and waved over a member of the private jet's crew to freshen up his drink. Next to Lock, his fiancee, Carrie, was busy tapping away at her Mac Air, their yellow Labrador, Angel, asleep at her feet. She looked over at him and he smiled.
"You okay, cowboy?"
He leaned in for a kiss. "Better than okay."
Across from them, Ty rolled his eyes. "You two are disgusting."
"Not jealous are you, Tyrone?" Carrie teased.
"Hey, don't even go there, sister."
"I dunno, prison together? I've heard the stories about how that goes. And it's not like I'm saying there's anything wrong with it," she teased.
Ty tutted his disapproval, put his headphones back on and went back to reading his magazine. For his part, Lock was glad that Carrie could find some humour in what had been a terrifying experience for both men when they had recently gone undercover in Pelican Bay Supermax in Northern California.
"You're bad," Lock said, feigning seriousness.
"I know," she said brightly, returning to her work.
Lock dug out a folder of papers outlining his and Ty's latest job and began to review them for the third time. It all looked pretty straightforward – an easy, well paid gig that would tide the business over and pay for his and Carrie's wedding.
The principal – the term used in close protection circles for the person you were actually protecting – was a young actress called Summer Clements. The problem was a highly unpredictable movie star boyfriend called Jason Durham. Durham had grown up in Australia and built his career on a carefully cultivated tough guy image. From what Lock had gathered, the bar for tough guy status in Hollywood wasn't that high. He also suspected the relationship was partly one of convenience. While Summer's career was in the ascendancy, Jason's was a little rocky. He'd had two recent stints in rehab, several arrests, and obviously had, what in modern parlance had come to be termed as, an anger management issue. Lock thought of them more as asshole management issues.
Summer's representatives had contacted Lock directly, making him a susbtantial offer for what amounted to a week's work. Not only did they want their young client protected, he also suspected they wanted Lock to offer a longer term solution by explaining to her ex by whatever means he felt most appropriate that the relationship had indeed ended. Saying yes had been a no-brainer.
Lock and Ty could be highly persuasive in such situations and they both could use the injection of cash. Plus, free first class travel and a pretty heavy stipend that included hotel accommodation and a separate place for Lock and Carrie (a beach house in Malibu owned by the actress) hadn't sounded too shabby either. More than that, if there was one thing that Lock didn't have any time for it was guys like Jason Durham. Over the years he had seen the havoc wreaked by men who abused their partners, and while he wasn't sure what the long term solution was, he was happy to make the world a little better one asshole at a time.
As Ty went to collect their rental car, Lock waited with Carrie. She had a get together planned with a former colleague who had relocated from New York to Los Angeles a few years ago. That would leave Lock free to go meet Summer and get a better feel for what he was dealing with.
He slipped a hand around his fiancee's waist. Their relationship hadn't been without its bumpy patches, most of which were related to his work, but he still felt like the luckiest man alive. Carrie was beautiful inside and out, a strong woman who knew her own mind yet hadn't allowed her career as a news reporter to render her cynical about the rest of the human race. He couldn't wait to begin their life together. They already had the dog who was busy trying to eat the end of the lead and now they could go for the rest of the package; the house with a white picket fence, and kids. They'd both had a life spent on the move. Now they craved some quiet domesticity.
As Ty pulled up in the rental, a black Range Rover, Lock helped a taxi driver with Carrie's luggage and kissed her goodbye. He waited until the cab was out of sight, put Angel in the back, and clambered in next to Ty who took off at speed as they headed for West Hollywood.