Secret obsession, p.1
Secret Obsession, p.1Part #12 of Red Stone Security series by Katie Reus
Red Stone Security Series
He’s the security she’s always needed.
Since she moved to Miami, Raegan Taylor has desired Ford Burke—a sexy and rugged cop. He’s everything she’s ever wanted. Unfortunately for Raegan, Ford’s kept his distance. But when a night out goes extremely wrong, his protective instincts kick into high gear, and he finds himself fighting for her in more ways than one.
She’s exactly what he was trying to avoid.
Once Raegan and Ford grow closer, the harder they start to fall for each other. But Ford’s past stirs up feelings he just can’t control, threatening to destroy everything they’ve worked for. And when he screws up, he may lose more than just his one shot with her.
And now someone’s ready to ruin it all.
Someone wants Raegan—and if he can’t have her—nobody can. He’s waiting. He’s watching. He’s lurking. Ready to strike. He’ll make her his. He’ll take down anyone who gets in his way—even a cop.
Copyright © 2016 Katie Reus
Cover Art by Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs
Editor: Julia Ganis, JuliaEdits.com
Digital Formatting by Author E.M.S.
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.
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Table of Contents
Thank You for Reading!
Sneak Peek of SWORN TO PROTECT
About the Author
For my husband, who puts his life on the line for strangers every day.
Raegan was practically vibrating with energy as she shut down her computer. She couldn’t remember the last Friday she’d actually gotten to leave at five o’clock. She loved her new job at Red Stone Security, but working with Athena in the new marketing/PR division kept them incredibly busy. Late nights and weekends were standard—the benefits and money were freaking worth the crazy hours. And she took full advantage when she was off, enjoying everything Miami had to offer.
“What are your plans for tonight?” Athena asked, stepping out of her office, a big smile on her face.
Raegan knew exactly why she was so happy too. She got to go home to her sexy fiancé. Even though Athena was only two years older than her, she seemed to have her shit together in a way Raegan could admit she envied a teeny bit. She’d traveled the world as an event planner for two years after getting a job at Red Stone and was so put together.
Raegan felt like an imposter most of the time. She’d grown up on a farm, hadn’t seen much of the world, and she knew people thought she’d gotten this job because she was Keith Caldwell’s niece. Which was sorta true. Of course, she wouldn’t have kept her job if she wasn’t good at it. “Going dancing with your cousin-in-law-to-be. Or whatever Dominique will be to you soon.”
“Let me guess, Ruby and Julieta are going too?”
Raegan snorted as she pulled out the small gift bag she’d tucked into her desk drawer, and stood. “Yes, which means Ivan will be there as a brooding bodyguard.” It was actually nice that Ivan went out with them. He was such a huge, scary-looking guy he kept pretty much all jerks away from them.
Raegan loved dancing but that didn’t mean she wanted to grind with every guy on the dance floor, and it seemed most guys couldn’t take a hint. It was like they thought that simply because she was dancing with her friends she needed a dance partner, and then said dance partner got to rub all over her. No thank you.
“Good. Remember the buddy system,” Athena said, falling in step with her as they headed toward the elevators. “And watch your drink at all times. And—”
“Oh my God, I’m going to start calling you Mom if you don’t stop.” Raegan pressed both the up and down buttons on the elevator keypad. “I’m going to see Porter,” she said when Athena raised an eyebrow.
“Okay, well, I’m allowed to worry. I can’t help it. You’re the best assistant I’ve ever had and I don’t like change, so if something happened to you I’d have to train someone else,” she grumbled.
“You’re such a liar.” Raegan knew Athena felt guilty over the kidnapping. She’d been extra protective since Vegas. As if she could have prevented what happened. Raegan had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time when Athena had been targeted by a nut job and had gotten kidnapped along with her.
Athena just shrugged. “Oh, Harrison wanted to know if we could both attend the Celebration of Chefs event tomorrow night. I know it’s last minute so I told him yes for me but maybe for you. Absolutely no pressure. This is just something fun for us but he wanted us—”
“I’m actually going already.”
Athena raised an eyebrow as her elevator arrived. She held her hand in between the doors so they wouldn’t close on her, but didn’t get in. “As in, with a date?”
“No, just as friends.”
Now her boss and friend’s eyes narrowed. “Is this with a certain billionaire who your cousins hate?”
Raegan resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “They don’t hate him and I’m not having this conversation again. Just tell Harrison I’ll be there.” When her elevator dinged she ducked into it and called out, “Have fun with your sexy man tonight!”
Athena grumbled something but Raegan missed most of it as the elevator door whooshed closed. She adored her older cousins but they were ridiculously overprotective. Because of their age differences and because she’d never left the Midwest until almost a year ago, she’d never been close to them. But now that she lived in Miami and worked for their company it was like she had three older brothers who thought every man was an enemy. And they’d apparently recruited Athena into their way of thinking.
Raegan might not have much world experience, but she’d been fending off the opposite sex since she was fourteen. She could take care of herself.
Besides, there was only one man she was interested in and he seemed to have absolutely zero attraction to her. She’d never even seen a flicker of awareness from him, which, perversely, made her want the sexy cop even more.
So there was no reason she shouldn’t do whatever she wanted with whoever she wanted. But she hadn’t been lying to Athena—tomorrow she was just going to the Celebrity Chef event with a
The soft elevator music flowed into another bland song as the car arrived on the floor for one of her adorable, overprotective cousins: Porter Caldwell.
When she reached the plush office of his assistant, she was surprised to find it empty. The door to Porter’s office was cracked open and she heard male voices. Normally she wouldn’t interrupt, but she heard both Porter and Grant talking and knew they wouldn’t mind.
After a light knock she started to step into the office, but felt all the air rush out of her lungs when she saw that it wasn’t just Porter and Grant, but Ford Burke as well.
The sexy man made her feel like that naïve little farm girl she’d been trying to shed. Just looking at him turned her knees to mush. He was tall, with ridiculously broad shoulders she wanted to run her fingers over. He kept his dark hair closely cropped and had a neatly trimmed beard that on most guys she wouldn’t have liked. She’d never been a fan of facial hair until Ford. But she’d had a fantasy or two of what it would feel like to have his face buried between her—
She blinked when she realized they were all staring at her. She felt her cheeks heat up and wanted to kick her own butt. Raegan wasn’t sure if they’d said anything to her directly so, holding up the little gift bag, she said, “I brought this for Maddox.”
Just like that, Porter’s normally hard expression softened. “You spoil him,” he murmured, moving away from the desk, a grin on his face.
“Of course I do. I’m going to hold onto the title of favorite older cousin forever and I have no shame buying his love.” During her lunch break today she’d found a cute little boutique downtown and snagged an adorable Darth Vader pajama set. On the front of the shirt it said ‘Not Afraid of the Dark Side.’
Laughing, Porter kissed her forehead and pulled her into a light embrace. “You coming by for dinner tonight?”
“I can’t. Plans with the girls. It’s why I wanted to bring this to you now. But I’ll stop by tomorrow to see my little man.” She didn’t want kids of her own for years yet, but little Maddox had completely stolen her heart. He’d just turned one last month and was walking and babbling like a little maniac. And she loved spoiling him.
She was vaguely aware of Ford watching her, but of course he was—she’d interrupted them. She wished his focus was on her for other reasons.
“Where are you guys going tonight?” Grant asked and before she turned to face him she could hear the frown in his voice.
“None of your business,” she said cheekily, giving him a frown of her own when she saw the plethora of weapons on Porter’s desk. “What the heck is this? Are you guys starting your own army?”
To her surprise, Grant’s cheeks flushed the faintest shade of pink. “Maybe don’t say anything to Belle about this?”
Now that surprised Raegan. As far as she knew her cousins didn’t keep anything from their wives. “Um, about what? Your new arsenal?” She eyed the guns again. They all looked really old.
He nodded at Ford. “They’re antiques and Ford’s helping me refurbish them.”
Raegan smiled at Ford, murmured “Hi,” and he just nodded, his expression the same as it always was. Brooding.
Grant just continued. “Once they’re in good shape they’ll be worth a lot but…”
“Belle gets annoyed with too many guns around the house?” Raegan guessed. She’d grown up on a farm so she was no stranger to guns, especially not rifles, but she’d seen how some of the guys at Red Stone acted around their guns. They might as well stroke them and start calling them ‘my precious.’
“Well, we’re…pregnant and—”
“Yeah and she’s really emotional right now and wanted me to get rid of all my guns so I’m waiting to tell her about this…” He trailed off, shrugging.
Raegan pulled him into a big hug. “Congrats! How far along is she?” she asked, stepping back.
“About four months. We wanted to wait until she was a little past the first trimester, but we were going to announce it next week.”
“That’s great. I’m so happy for you guys.”
“Thanks.” He grinned in a way she’d never seen. A mix of pride and a little bit of terror. Which was just way too adorable.
She heard her phone buzz in her purse, knew it would be Dominique telling her to hurry up. A relief, since it would get her out of here and away from Ford’s penetrating gaze. “I’ve gotta run, but can I call Belle and congratulate her?”
“Yeah, of course. Why don’t you come over for dinner Sunday? Her mom gave us a couple casseroles,” he tacked on when she would have automatically asked if he was cooking or Belle was.
“I’ll be there.” After giving her two cousins another quick hug, she nodded once at Ford, who’d been quiet as usual. “Nice to see you again, Ford.”
He just watched her with that brooding stare he seemed to have down pat, and made a sort of grunting sound that could have meant any number of things. And damn it, she kinda liked it. Which was ridiculous. She was no one to him. Just Grant, Porter and Harrison’s younger cousin.
Just as she reached the door, Porter said, “Hey, are you going to the Celebration of Chefs event tomorrow night? Harrison said something about you and Athena maybe going. If you are, you can catch a ride with me and Lizzy.”
Thanks to Porter’s generosity she was renting a one-bedroom condo in the same high rise he lived in with his wife. Many, many floors below them, and her place was a lot smaller, but it was a great home. She knew they’d bought it as an investment and had been planning to rent it out, and when they’d offered to let her rent it, it had been impossible to say no. Partially because of the way they’d guilt-tripped her into it but also because it was a safe place and they’d given her such a great deal.
“I won’t need a ride, but thanks. I’m going with someone.” When her phone started ringing she used it as an excuse to race out of there before they could question her about her ‘date’ that wasn’t actually a date. They wouldn’t see it that way though.
She actually had gone on one date with him back in Vegas but since then she’d made it clear she just wanted to be friends and he was okay with it.
She’d dated other guys in Miami since, but nothing ever went past the first date. And she knew it was because she was so incredibly attracted to Ford “too sexy for his own good” Burke.
* * *
“What’s that look?” Ford asked as Grant and Porter exchanged an annoyed glance between them. Now that Raegan was out of the room he could finally breathe again. The woman made him crazy. She was a combination of sweetness and jaw-dropping sexiness. Impossible to resist.
“Nothing,” Grant muttered, turning back to the desk. But he looked at his brother again. “You see the way she ran out of here?”
Porter went back to his standard stoic mode now that Raegan was gone, and nodded once. “I bet she’s going out with that dick again and didn’t want to tell us.”
Ford didn’t like the sound of that. At all. Sweet Raegan had had him twisted up for damn near eleven months. He’d met her at a few of the Caldwell family functions and each time it was like he forgot to act like a human. He couldn’t even talk to her, and he’d never been nervous around women. Hell, he’d done undercover work for a year back when he’d been on the drug task force. He was comfortable around people as a rule.
But around Raegan? He was a moron.
She was a decade younger than him, or at least close to it. He didn’t think she was older than twenty-three. And that made him feel ancient and a little bit like a perv. But he couldn’t help it.
She had that girl-next-door thing going on and it pushed all his buttons. If she’d been anyone but Grant and Porter’s cousin he’d have asked her out by now. Or at least tried to. Because God knew talking didn’t come easy when she was around.
He cleared his throat. “What dick?”
Grant crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned against the front of the desk, looking ever
“Especially one like that,” Porter muttered, starting to put one of the rifles back into its case.
“Like what?” He’d never asked about Raegan, had basically forced himself not to ask Grant about her, but screw that if this British guy was bad news.
“Some rich prick,” Grant practically snarled.
“Harrison said he was inquiring about using our services,” Porter tacked on, using a terrible British accent.
It was like the two men had devolved to adolescents, but he understood the sentiment. Raegan was beautiful, no doubt, but she was sweet and way too kind for her own good from what he’d seen. The kind of woman assholes would like to prey on.
Ford rubbed the back of his neck, forcing himself not to ask any more questions. No good would come of it. He didn’t need to know who she was or wasn’t dating. Even if he hadn’t been able to fuck anyone else since meeting her. His dick knew what it wanted: Raegan. He had good taste, that was for sure.
Secret Obsession by Katie Reus / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes