Thursday, November 17, 2022

Mike: Brotherhood Protectors World by Regan Black

$4.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


When hope is lost, truth is blurred, and your life is on the line, it’s time to call in the Guardian Agency...

Actress Lauren Marie Woods just witnessed her agent’s murder. Now his killer is after her and the police are sure she pulled the trigger. More alone than ever in Hollywood, Lauren needs the kind of help only the elite Guardian Agency can provide.

Mike Stone is beyond jaded when it comes to actresses and Hollywood. But one thing is immediately clear: rising star Lauren Marie Woods will end up dead without his help. The real question is whether or not the former Navy SEAL can guard his heart from the beautiful actress.

Lauren must give the performance of her life to survive and help Mike catch the killer. But what will it take to crack the tough shell of the man who makes her want far more than his protection?

Author note: Previously published as Too Far Gone, this novel has been updated and revised for your enjoyment.


Relaxing on his surfboard, Mike Stone floated out in the Pacific Ocean, watching the water for one last good wave to ride into shore. He started most days out here, breathing the salt-tinged air and feeling the ocean move him. The habit kept his mind level, his body fit and ready.
He felt the wave he wanted driving closer and popped up on his board, riding the powerful curl until it spit him out near the shore. Wading in, he shook out his hair and let the wind dry him off as he walked to the battered Jeep he kept running just for surfing.
Securing his board, he climbed into the driver’s seat and immediately reached into the lock box for his cell phone. He cringed at the flashing light of a waiting message. As a Guardian Agent bodyguard, he was expected to be accessible and ready to answer at all times.
The hour he allowed for surfing was the only time he was away from his phone. He checked the text message and relaxed. Instead of the single-word command of ‘protect’ that indicated a new assignment, this message was from Hank Patterson, a friend and fellow Navy SEAL, retired.
Seemed Hank was going to be in town for a few days while his wife Sadie, an A-list actress, dealt with some business. Mike replied immediately with a couple of times and suggestions for places they could relax.
It would be great catching up with one of the few who understood life after the adrenaline-rush of SEAL teams.

Chapter One

West Hollywood, California
Tuesday, December 9, 5:45 p.m.

Lauren Marie Woods finished reading the script and turned it upside down on the small table as if hiding the title page would somehow make the entire mess go away. She’d chosen to read through the project alone and in public at a popular diner. It was the most effective way to keep her reactions—good or bad—in check. In Hollywood someone was always watching, eager to take an embarrassing photo or to start rumors that stirred up trouble.
Everyone interested in success played the game, but she preferred to go about it more quietly than most. Lauren saved the drama for the set instead of allowing it to seep into every nook and cranny of her personal life. According to her agent, Desmond Trinity, that was part of the problem. Desmond insisted her need for privacy was the reason her career wasn’t punching the right high points. If only she’d cut loose occasionally, seek out some bad-girl publicity, and develop her inner diva, she would be in demand.
On that, they disagreed. Lauren believed there were better ways to stand out than a creating a trumped up drug charge at Hollywood’s hotspot of the week or throwing a bogus tantrum on Rodeo Drive. Lauren wanted to be known as the impeccable professional among her peers. She cultivated a reputation as a dedicated and competent actress that directors and producers could count on. Everyone in town knew she showed up on day one and gave her best effort until the project wrapped. Still, she consistently got offers from directors who wanted nothing more than her generous curves on screen or her ability to scream on cue in low-budget horror films.
In time, Lauren had pinned down the real problem: Desmond. Her agent, and on-again-off-again boyfriend, never suggested her for more substantive projects. Sure, she held the choice role as fan-favorite Dr. Loveless on the Harper Cove daytime drama. She and Desmond agreed one hundred percent on the benefit of steady work. For her, it was the security of the paycheck padding her bank account and for Desmond, her success on the show boosted his talent agency’s reputation.
Trinity Talent represented some of the top television and film stars. She’d been luckier than most new faces in Hollywood when she’d shown up ten years ago at the tender age of eighteen and landed his representation. He’d arranged her first auditions and she’d been working regularly almost from day one. Truly a stellar success story for a girl from small-town Kansas.
She glared at the offensive waste of paper on the table. With this script, far from stellar, Desmond had done it again, damn him. He’d told her this could be her breakout role, but obviously he’d been referring to her ability to break out of a demon’s lair wearing only skimpy underwear. Why couldn’t he—just once—support her vision for her career?
She gazed through the diner window at the glittering city lights along Sunset Strip until the surge of anger eased. Her arrival in Los Angeles had been like all those lights: bright and exciting, full of hope and dreams. If she wanted to push her career to the next level it was clearly time to sever her contract with Trinity Talent. The task would have been far simpler if she hadn’t allowed their relationship to become personal along the way.
Not for the first time, she regretted giving in to his romantic overtures all those years ago. He’d been charming and smooth, and she’d been young and naïve. Lust and a grudging mutual respect weren’t a solid foundation for love and weren’t nearly enough to change Desmond. Without her role as Dr. Loveless and the self-imposed psychology research that went along with it, they wouldn’t have lasted six months under the same roof. The research allowed her to deal with the highs and lows without losing her mind. Too bad her long-running performance as the ‘adoring girlfriend of Desmond Trinity’ would never be recognized with an Emmy or Oscar award.
Angry again—with both of them—it seemed her inner diva was suddenly willing to burst into the limelight with a world-class fit. What a scene it would be if she indulged the urge. For a moment, she imagined it. She could call him to meet her here, pour coffee over the useless script and toss it in his face. She had worked too hard, invested too much in her career to keep playing the bombshell screamer or ditzy girl-next-door. She wanted real roles. She wanted to dig into substantial parts that her fans would embrace.
Desmond was at the top of the echelon in Hollywood, and he consistently found those roles for other clients. For reasons he refused to explain, he’d never sent her to an audition for a part that had the potential to lift her out of the current rut and onto the A-list. He had several big-name clients and she understood she wasn’t right for every script that crossed his desk. Still, as the longstanding man in her life, she’d expected a certain level of emotional commitment and professional support.
After all this time he had to know it wasn’t about fame or being more popular than other actresses, not for her anyway. The more meaningful roles would allow her to grow creatively and provide the challenge she craved. She tapped her French manicured nails on the script. Obviously, he had no intention of opening his eyes as either her agent or her boyfriend. Or maybe he was afraid she’d outgrow him and move on. Either way, he was cheating her. And cheating on her. Again.


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