Bear to the Rescue(Bear Claw Security Book 3)By: Terry Bolryder
That had been close. What if the guy had attacked her? What if Bronson hadn’t followed her?
He put a hand to his forehead, unable to stand the thought of it. “All right,” he said, finally looking up at her. “Here’s how it’s going to go. One of us is going to be with you twenty-four-seven, at least until we figure out who’s behind this and what they want.”
“I can’t think of anyone else,” she said. “I don’t really get involved with illegal types. I prefer building secure systems and software, that side of things.”
“Well then, until we figure out how far they intend to go.”
Hercules nodded in agreement.
“You can’t do that,” she said, exasperated. “I need time alone. It’s nice that I have such… buff coworkers. At work. But I’m not going to live with one of you.” She frowned between them. “If you want, I’ll go stay with a friend.”
“You think that’s a good idea?” Bronson asked. “Then wouldn’t two of you be in danger? Honestly, I think it’s pretty stupid you haven’t said anything about it before.”
“Because, usually, these guys are too chicken,” she said. “And I try to do the right thing in my life. But if I went around worrying about what every person I pissed off was going to do about it, I couldn’t live my life the way I do.”
“Well, right now, you’re going to live it a little differently,” he said.
“That’s not your choice,” she snapped.
“I’m your boss,” he said harshly.
“I’m a freelancer,” she said.
“Who works for us,” he said.
Hercules cleared his throat. “Um, is there something I should be doing?” he asked. “Or you just want me on the lookout?”
“Yeah, just make sure if I’m ever not around, or out on a job, you watch out for her. And keep an eye on the building in general. And update Cage and Carrie so they can be careful, too.”
Hercules nodded, gave Regan a wave, and left.
Regan let out a sad breath. “I honestly didn’t think I was putting anyone in danger.”
“Given that the punk ran away when you saw him, probably true,” Bronson said. “But we aren’t taking any chances. Not with one of our workers.”
Not with my mate, the bear in him snarled.
But this wasn’t the time to explore that. He needed her to trust him. Let him into her space. Let him protect her. He needed it as much as he needed to breathe.
“Fine,” she said. “But not you.”
“Why?” he asked, leaning back and folding his arms. “I’ve done a ton of protection details. I promise I’ll treat this one the same.”
“Because,” she said, sounding flustered as she gestured between them. “Because of this… thing between us.”
The corners of his mouth turned up in a grin. “This thing?”
She went redder, just over the apples of her cheeks, and let out a huff. “You know what I mean. How are we supposed to keep it strictly business if you’re following me around all times of the day?”
“You can work on your own,” he said. “I’m just going to make sure you’re safe when you leave and until you get back.”
“Same thing!” she said with a little screech. “You’re impossible.”
“Yeah,” he said. “You should have figured that out in your research about me.”
Her lips flattened. “How do I know you won’t try something? You already love to… intimidate me.”
He let out a deep, booming laugh. “Regan, I don’t need to force unwilling women. If I want some lovin’, I only have to walk out that door and find it.”
“Insufferable playboy. I knew it,” she muttered.
He put up a hand. “Hey, I didn’t say I did want it. But I’m not some kind of rapist. I won’t make a single move on you if you don’t want me to.”
“I don’t want you to,” she said a little too quickly, heat in her smoky green eyes giving her away as she crossed her arms over her chest, as if hiding from him.
“Okay,” he said. “Then nothing will happen. Nothing unless you beg for it.”
“Beg?” she scoffed, looking at him agape. “You’re kidding.”
“Hey, I have to know you really want it.” He stood and walked over to her chair, grabbing the arms to turn it toward him. “Because I think things could be good between us.” His eyes raked over her. “But that’s up to you. And when I say that, I mean it. If you don’t beg, there won’t be one thing between us. Not one. Little. Kiss,” he said, getting closer with each word and then pulling away.
She let out a pent-up breath and looked slightly disappointed.
“I have a few things to wrap up around here before we head out,” he said, straightening and taking a long stretch that made her eyes follow the lines of his muscles. “You okay working on the new case until I can take you home?”
She nodded, defeated. But Bronson knew she had nothing to worry about. He was nothing if not duty bound, and he’d make sure she was comfortable. As much as he enjoyed teasing her, her safety was his number one priority.