Thursday, September 15, 2022

Gamble: Brotherhood Protectors World by Regan Black

$2.99 or Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


From USA Today bestselling author Regan Black comes a sizzling Guardian Agency adventure that sends an attorney racing to save his ex-wife from imminent danger...

In addition to a thriving law practice, Patrick Gamble helps manage the Guardian Agency, an elite private security firm based in Chicago. And their newest client is none other than Patrick's ex-wife Billie Hamilton.

Billie walked away from their marriage, certain it was the only way to survive a crushing heartache. But she's never trusted anyone else the way she trusts Patrick. When a criminal organization declares open season on her, she races for the only safety she can be sure of: the expert protection services of the Guardian Agency.

Patrick won't trust Billie's safety to anyone else, but keeping her alive means keeping her close, leaving him vulnerable to the unforgettable attraction that no amount of time and distance can cure.

With her enemies closing in, Patrick and Billie must decide if surviving will be enough or if they're willing to fight even harder for a second chance at true love.

Chapter 1

“Mr. Gamble, this is Cheryl. I have an urgent caller on hold. I believe it’s agency business.”

Patrick stifled a groan. It wasn’t the receptionist’s fault he wanted a break. His world was too connected these days. What he wouldn’t give for a week off the grid, out of reach of any cell tower or internet connection.

He’d left the Chicago-based law office of Gamble and Swann in the capable hands of his partner while he trekked out here to Leavenworth, Kansas for the release of a prisoner whose conviction they’d just overturned. He and Swann employed an excellent, if eclectic, staff for both their legal practice and the Guardian Agency—a pet project of their first and most influential client.

“You aren’t sure it’s agency business?” he asked.

Cheryl had been with them for more than five years. She had a knack for getting a read on potential clients as well as potential hires when they needed to add to the roster of protectors who handled the field work on personal security cases.

“She won’t give her name and insists on speaking with you directly,” Cheryl replied without a trace of the exasperation she must be feeling.

Female caller. It was a start. “What else do you know?” he asked.

“Other than you’re currently parked in front of Leavenworth prison?”

“Yes,” Patrick said. “Other than that.” Technology was an asset, he reminded himself.

“The woman is calling from a truck stop off of State Road 20 near Belvidere.”

“You’re right, sounds like a client,” Patrick mused. “Swann should take it.” He’d given himself plenty of time, but he’d prefer to keep his mind on the task ahead of him rather than multitask on a case he couldn’t do anything about from here.

“She sounds like an attorney herself,” Cheryl countered. “She asked to speak with Patrick, rather than Mr. Gamble.”

He closed his eyes. Counted to ten. “I am on a case.” In just a few minutes he was due to walk Connor Brady, an innocent man, out of that prison and escort him back to Chicago where he’d become the newest addition to the Guardian Agency research team.

“I’m aware of that, sir.” Cheryl’s tone went cool. “I’ll do what I can to take a message.”

He checked his watch, a gift from his ex-wife to celebrate their graduation from law school. A smart man would’ve sold it and Patrick had tried to do just that a few times over the years. But the watch was a gleaming reminder of a time when they’d been madly in love and believed they could change the world.

She had.

Arguably, he and Swann had done so as well. They just didn’t publicize their successes, at the request of their primary client, and to better shield the people the agency protected.

He knew when he was beaten. “Put her through,” Patrick conceded. Their private security business ran on word of mouth, if someone was pressing to speak with him and using his first name it had to be a close connection. Most people referred to him as Gamble, Swann’s partner.

“Yes, sir,” Cheryl said on a rush of relief. “Thank you.” After a click and a moment of silence, Cheryl spoke again, “You are connected, ma’am.”

The caller didn’t say a word. Had she hung up?

“Hello?” he prompted. “This is Patrick Gamble.” If the caller didn’t start talking, he’d hang up. There was too much on his plate to play games.

A soft sniff came through the speaker. “Patrick, it’s you.”

His skin went cold, then hot, at the sound of that voice speaking his name. He reached to loosen his tie, feeling choked already. Stopping the movement—he would not be disheveled when he picked up Brady—he lowered his hand to the steering wheel.

“Billie.” His grip tightened, his knuckles going white. “What’s wrong?”

He couldn’t think of a single reason for her to call him directly. Billie Hamilton, United States Attorney for Montana had called the Guardian Agency when a criminal organization had started picking off witnesses in one of the biggest cases of her career. In that instance, she’d dealt only with Swann. The whole thing had been ruthlessly polite and clinical right down to the check for services rendered.

Why wreck that beautiful status quo now?

“I-I’m in t-trouble, Patrick.”

The stutter seized his full attention. It only came out when she was at her lowest point. His need to shelter and protect her crackled through him like an electrical current. She’d never actually needed him to stand up for her. His persistent habit of trying to help her had been one of the recurring problems in their relationship.

In law school she’d misinterpreted his natural inclination to defend her as a lack of confidence in her ability to handle a crisis on her own. If someone gave her crap during a class, he made it clear they should stop. It didn’t matter if she’d already dealt with the snide remarks or bullying behavior. He went out of his way to drive home the point that she wasn’t alone.

He drilled down to the basics. “Are you in a safe location?”

“For the moment,” she replied. “This is a prepaid cell phone. I’m using only c-cash and I’m in a dumpy roadside motel west of Chicago.”

The slight annoyance in her tone had him resisting a smile. “The good places don’t take cash.”

“Who knew?”

Actually, they both knew that, but there were clearly more important concerns. “How did you get there?”

“Bus. I bought a one-way ticket to New Orleans and got off at a transfer point. From there I called a cab to take me into town and after I wandered a bit, I picked up another cab to get here.” Her breathing wasn’t steady. “So far, no sign that I’ve been followed. I need your help, Patrick. There was no one else to call.”

Considering the resources available to her in her professional capacity, that was a serious statement about her predicament. She’d been thorough and smart, though she sounded exhausted. 

“I’m out of town.” He closed his eyes, did the math. It would take a bite out of the expense account, but he could change up the flights. “I’ll be back late tonight. Send me the address.” He recited his personal cell phone number and waited a beat until the text came in along with her room number. “What sent you running?”

And what scared you enough to run to me?


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