Harris (Alpha One Security #1)

By: Jasinda Wilder

I scooped up the bandoliers and draped them over my neck, snatched up the rifle, and followed him out of the barn. Once we were outside, he used the keypad on the outside to close and lock the doors, arming the alarm.

I stalked past him toward the house. “You say that now, that you’ll bring me on the next one. But you won’t. That one will be too dangerous, too. I’m not fucking helpless, Nick. Or have you forgotten Brazil?”

He was right on my heels, probably staring at my ass despite our disagreement. “No, I haven’t forgotten about fucking Brazil. My job is to keep you safe. Putting you in harm’s way is doing the exact opposite.”

I stopped in my tracks, spun around and jabbed a finger into his chest. “No, Nick, your job is not to keep me safe. Your job is keep me happy and to love me. I love it here; I love being an information analyst. It’s challenging, and rewarding. It’s the best job I’ve ever had, and not just because it’s with you. But I’m fucking bored. I don’t need you to babysit me, to keep me shut up in the compound like some fainting daisy prima donna. I can hold my own and take care of myself, and you fucking know it. I can be an asset…I am an asset.”

Nick snarled, a rare expression of extreme frustration and anger. “We’re not having this conversation right now, Layla.” He shoved past me and into the kitchen via the back door. I followed him.

And, of course, who should be sitting at our kitchen table, sipping a cup of coffee but Puck Lawson. Five-nine, barely, but what he lacked in height he more than made up for in breadth. He was built like a wrestler, barrel-chested, arms thick as my thighs—which, let me tell you, is fucking thick. Trim waist, quads so massive it was ridiculous. Bald as an egg, naturally swarthy skin tanned darker by the sun, and sporting a black beard so long and thick it spread across his chest. Gimlet, intelligent brown eyes that never missed a thing. He reminded me of one of the dwarves from The Hobbit, actually, and not at all in a comical way. He was dangerous. Liked to drink a little too much, and liked to fight when he drank. Liked to gamble, and won more than he lost. Quick with his fists, quick with comebacks, and quicker yet with a trigger. I’d seen him perform feats of sharpshooting that shouldn’t be possible, pinging a nail head with a handgun from seventy yards, one-handed, without even really trying. Of course, his skill with firearms was tertiary to his real talent: forensics. He had a Ph.D. in forensic science, actually, which came after a tour of duty in Iraq, and eight years as a special agent with the FBI before being lured away by Harris with the promise of a massive salary and a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy regarding Puck’s wild ways.

Puck liked his women, too. I’d seen him down in town on several occasions with more than one woman on his arm, and never the same one twice. And now he was in my kitchen. The men weren’t allowed in our home, as a general rule. When Nick was home, I was naked more often than not, either post-fuck or ready for another round. Which meant the guys stayed out.

Because of situations like this. I hadn’t bothered to arrange the bandoliers at all, so they were all just hanging around my neck, not covering diddly-squat. And Puck being Puck, he wasn’t shy about staring.

I scooted over to hide behind Nick. “Puck, what the hell are you doing in here?”

He grinned over the rim of his coffee mug. “Waiting for the boss.” He gestured at Nick with the mug.

“Well couldn’t you have waited out front?” I glared at him from around Nick’s back.

“Could’ve,” Puck drawled, “But then I’d have missed this little treat. Got yourself a fine-ass woman, Harris.”

Nick’s voice was colder than ice and sharp as razors. “Get out, Puck, and stay the fuck out.”

“I’m going, I’m going.” Puck stood up and moved to the front door, taking the mug with him, walking backward, and still trying to get another glimpse at me.

“Puck.” This came out as a whip-crack. “Talk about Layla like that again, look at Layla like that again, enter this house again—I’ll fucking bury you. Got it?”

Puck didn’t seem fazed. Just winked at me. “I didn’t mean no harm, boss. I just can’t help admiring a work of art.”

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