Sam and J.J. meet for the first time at Blake Enterprises.
Sam Carson checked her reflection in the decorative mirror as she pushed through the glass double doors leading to the reception area of the executive offices. It was time for Regency Private Security Group’s annual audit of Blakes Enterprises. The Blakes were one of the richest families in Texas and Regency’s most esteemed clients. One couldn’t tell from driving by the Twelve Horseshoes ranch that the security was so state of the art only a few people in the country had it. Their patriarch, John Jacob, ramped up his already tight safety measures when Jake, his first grandchild, was born. They looked like, for the most part, a hard-working family of ranchers who lived a quiet life. But there was a lot of money and man power involved to maintain that simplicity.
“Hi Anna Beth. Nice to see you again.” She smiled at the executive assistant.
“Hi Sam. It’s audit time again isn’t it?” Anna Beth mused.
“Where is my favorite CFO?” Sam looked around. Bo Jamison normally greeted her in the reception area with a present when she came for the audit.
“Mr. Jamison is on a forced extended vacation. Mr. Blake instituted a new policy that everyone had to take a vacation this year, even though he never does.” She laughed.
“Good for Bo. When is he returning? I can adjust some things on my calendar and reschedule.” Sam whipped out her cell phone and opened the appointment app.
“That’s not necessary. Mr. Blake will be filling in for him. He’s waiting for you in his office.”
“Oh. OK, thanks.” She tried to keep her smile intact. In all the years she worked with the Blakes, she’d never met the elusive John Jacob Blake Jr. Sam strode down the corridor draped with expensive artwork and football memorabilia, stopping when she reached two huge oak doors and gingerly knocked on it.
“Hello Mr. Blake. I’m Samantha Jane Carson, the security specialist assigned to your family. I hear you’ll be replacing Bo for the audit.” She extended her hand.
Sam swallowed hard when he stood up. The gorgeous six-foot three, broad shouldered ex-football player turned corporate magnate was as deliciously rugged in person as he was in photos. There had to be a law against a man that good looking just roaming around Dallas, hell the state of Texas. His freshly divorced status was becoming the talk of the town. Women far and wide were vying to become the next Mrs. John Blake. Those trademark beautifully intense, probing green eyes were looking at her like she had two heads.
“Is something wrong?”
“Call me J.J.” He pulled out a box of cigars from his desk drawer and handed them to her. “I thought you were a man.”
“I get that a lot.”
“The cigars Bo told me you liked certainly was a misdirect.” He raised an eyebrow.
“Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good cigar.” She folded her arms over her chest.
J.J. gave her a once over. “I wouldn’t peg you as a cigar smoker.”
“Well, I use them to barter for things.” She shrugged.
“Favors. This brand is very hard to come by and they give me leverage when I need it. It’s helps to have a leg up in this business.”
“How does Bo know your taste in cigars?”
“I mentioned this brand to him during one of my visits and he was thoughtful enough to track them down.”
“He speaks very highly of you but he left out a crucial detail.” He quipped.
“You have a problem working with women?” She raised an eyebrow.
“I believe women are capable of just about anything and I wouldn’t dare underestimate you, Samantha Jane.”
“Good to know. Now that we’ve cleared all that up, do I get a handshake now?” She gave him an expectant look.
A small jolt of electricity flowed between them when his big, strong calloused hand engulfed hers. It was rough like he worked them a lot, not the hands of a man who sat in an office all day long making executive decisions. He had a firm grip but she could tell he was holding back. When she tried to pull away, he relaxed his hand and his thumb lightly caressed the back of hers. He motioned for her to sit down so she did.
“What exactly does Regency do for Blake Enterprises? I must admit I never get involved in the security aspect of the company. Give me a complete rundown but take it slow and be gentle with me. Treat me like I’m a virgin.” He smiled and canyon deep dimples appeared.
“We…provide security for Blake Enterprises and all of its subsidiaries, including your homes. Regency patrols all properties, vets employees and provides protection details when necessary. I manage the more sensitive investigative needs of the family that require discretion.” She stammered.
“Give me an example of something that would require discretion.” He ran a hand through his hair.
“Well, let’s use you as an example.” Sam leaned forward. “You’re a hot commodity since your divorce. I would collect data on the women you date to make sure no one is taking advantage of the situation.”
“So you ferret out gold diggers?” He laughed.
“And keep away the crazies. I just ask that as you bask in the glow of singledom, I would consider it a personal favor if you took pity on my staff and tried to behave. We all took a collective sigh of relief when Tate settled down but Tyler keeps us plenty busy helping him escape the clutches of some poor girl who thinks she’s in love with him.”
“My brother has a robotic pelvis. One of these days it’s going to get him in trouble.” J.J. shook his head.
“I hear Michelle gives him a run for his money.”
“You know about Michelle?” His eyes widened.
“I know many things. All of you have had your fair share of exploits. Your files read like an action movie.”
“So how often do you have eyes on us?”
“We do occasionally pop up at public appearance events or at your favorite haunts like the Bright Star. We dress in plain clothes, blend in with the crowd and keep our distance. We can discreetly imbed ourselves deeply into our clients’ lives to make sure you’re safe without you feeling like your privacy is being violated.”
“How deep do you go?” He scratched at his beard.
“As deep as I need to get the job done.” Sam bit her lip.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt!
New character on the horizon: Bo “Bubba” Jamison Jr., who is Bodine’s (Manager of the Twelve Horseshoes ranch and good friend of the Blakes) son!
Check out J.J. & Sam’s playlist!
Current WIP – Coming Soon!
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Copyright © 2014 Rhonda Laurel. All Rights Reserved.