Tangled Vows(3)

By: Stella Hunter

“Why don’t we just skip breakfast and go straight to the shower?”

Bailey pushed away from him as his lips came towards hers. The elevator doors opened, and she backed out while shaking a finger and smiling. “Uh uh. You want in my pants, you have to wine and dine me like a lady.”

“As if you could ever be considered a lady!” Mark said as the doors swished closed.

Bailey laughed. She and Mark had first hooked up almost two years ago, soon after she moved into the building. They weren’t dating; both had been clear on that point. It was only sex, and maybe even friendship, if she could ever again feel close enough to someone to call them a friend. However, Bailey enjoyed their banter, and the sex was a great stress reliever, even better than her workouts.

She entered her apartment and headed to the shower, feeling lighter than she had in a while.

Chapter 3

“Lennox, get your ass into the office now!”

Bailey grabbed Mark’s hair to stop his teasing as she pressed the phone to her ear.

“Sir?” Bailey questioned. Her boss didn’t usually yell at anyone. For an ex-military officer, he was the most mild-mannered person she knew.

“I need you here as soon as possible…” His voice was quieter but still gruff. “We have a situation.”

A situation? What the fuck? Memories of her past assignments at Halvard Protection Services paraded through her mind. She’d always been a top-notch security officer, and she couldn’t imagine anything she’d done to create problems. No, there was only one thing this could be about—Everett Parker. Son of a bitch. She sighed. Sunday was supposed to be her day off, and she’d been looking forward to using Mark to help her relax.

“I’m sure we do.” She couldn’t help the bit of sarcasm that laced her voice on those words. “I’m leaving now. I’ll be there in thirty.” She pushed Mark away and opened a dresser drawer to grab some panties. When Mark snatched them away with a wicked grin on his face and wagged his eyebrows, she just shrugged and tugged a pair of slacks from a hanger in her closet.

“Make it twenty,” her boss responded.

“It’s Chicago traffic. I’ll be there in thirty,” Bailey insisted as she pulled on her slacks sans panties. She was not going to speed just to hurry to get lectured—or worse, maybe fired—by her boss.

“Fine. See you in my office in thirty.”

Ending the call, she grabbed her panties back from a pouting Mark. “Sorry. Duty calls.”

Mark sighed and shrugged before pulling on his own clothes. “Yeah, I know. Give me a call sometime soon.” He kissed her on the temple before heading out the door.

Bailey sighed too. She almost wished she felt something other than lust for him. He was such a nice guy, and knew how to please in the sack. Shrugging off her regrets, Bailey ran out the door and headed for her car.


Bailey didn’t wait for a response to her knock before she opened Flanagan’s office door. “What’s the situa—” Her surprise closed her throat and didn’t allow her to finish her sentence. A figure standing near the window turned to face her, and her eyes met the same piercing blue depths that had triggered her nightmare earlier.

Everett Parker. In the flesh.

Flanagan stood from the chair behind his massive desk. “Lennox, I’m sure you recognize Mr. Parker.” He turned to Everett. “Mr. Parker, this is Bailey Lennox, the guard who recognized the threat to you last week. She’s one of my top employees.”

“Call me Everett, please.” His voice was deep and gruff, even more so than in his many movies. An unexpected shiver crawled up her spine at the sound. Now that was a voice any woman would dream of hearing whisper in her ear. Bailey started to understand for the first time why he was considered the sexiest man on earth.

Everett stepped forward and extended his hand to her. She glanced down at it before slowly extending her hand into his. Instead of the impersonal handshake she expected, he squeezed gently and placed his other hand on top, fully enclosing her smaller hand in both of his.

“Ms. Lennox. It is a true pleasure to meet you. I wanted to personally thank you for saving my ass at the movie premiere.”

The unexpected curse word jerked her attention back to his face, where she caught that famous grin of his. His shoulder-length hair was shaggy and mussed instead of its usual smooth appearance.

“It’s not every day you see that kind of dedication to a job,” he continued.

Bailey freed her hand from his before answering. “There’s no need to thank me. I was just doing what I had to do.” She turned back to her boss, who was still standing stiffly behind his desk, his fingertips resting on the surface. “What’s the situation that was so urgent?” Today was supposed to have been her day off, and all she wanted to do after her long week and even longer morning was get some sleep. As much as she could get with her nightmares returning.