Guarding her wasn’t his job, but he couldn’t let her die…even before she stole his heart.
Although Willow and Remi had only two nights together several years ago, the former Navy SEAL was pleased to discover that she was still working for the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela. In the politically tumultuous country to guard an oil executive during sensitive negotiations with the new president, Remi discovers the temptingly beautiful foreign service officer is being threatened. His protective instincts take over.
Willow Cardenas was receiving threats almost daily. Someone wanted her out of Venezuela. With a new ambassador, the country on the verge of civil war, and nowhere else to go, she couldn’t leave. The last thing she needed was an overprotective man in her life, even if she was drawn to Remi by memories of their steamy past.
Securing Willow is the fifth book in the Guardian Elite series. This story is a crossover with Susan Stoker’s SEAL of Protection: Legacy series and written in her Special Forces: Operation Alpha world.
If you enjoy reading second chance, military romance that keeps you on the edge, you’ll like this book that includes the men of Susan Stoker’s SEAL of Protection: Legacy.
Once again KaLyn takes us on journey fraught with emotion, drama and romance.
Remi is new to Guardian Security and this is his first opportunity for a long term assignment. An oil executive is traveling to Venezuela to prepare the reopening of oil wells and he needs protection. The economy has been going downhill as a civil war brews and he’s surprised to see Willow was still listed as Public Diplomacy Officer, he would have thought she’d been evacuated earlier. They have a bit of history from his deployment a few years earlier and he looks forward to seeing her again.
Willow is very good at her job, and she along with the Ambassador present a public face for the US in Venezuela. Instead of being sent home they merely moved her to an apartment within the embassy.
Now things get a bit complicated right off the bat. Ambassador Vance has been recalled and replaced after some disturbing files reach the US from an anonymous source. He was far too close with former president Mendoza.
The new Ambassador, Mark Snyder, has no experience and he let Willow know right off the bat he’d be depending on her knowledge and expertise.
I love the way Willow handles Mark ‘Bubba’ Wright and Decker ‘Gumby’ Kincaide, Susan Stoker’s SEALs, assigned to the new ambassador. The meeting with James Dunaway, the oil executive from Zon Petrol, also held many surprises for her. Not the least of which was Remi.
Planning oil well visits with heightened security would prove to be a challenge but with Blake ‘Rocco’ Wise and Remi working together it should be easier, at least for her.
With Willow keeping the threats against her a secret, I really wanted to scream at her.
This is a favorite scene as they wrap an initial plan.
As they passed the doors, she pointed out the various departments. “All members of the Cultural Affairs Office were evacuated as nonessential. As you can imagine, their job is to provide a conduit between the U.S. and Venezuela for history, art, and cultural exchange. There are still two locals manning the office.”
Pointing to the next office, she explained, “General Services is more like the accounting office. They actually left before the election. Bills can be paid from Washington just as easily as they can be paid here.
“Although they call this Foreign Agricultural Services, it’s really the economic development arm.” She grinned over her shoulder at Remi. “Joseph Allen works in that department. He’s the one who tried to get into the meeting.”
Remi chuckled. “I almost shot him.”
Willow stopped and turned to face him. “What? When?”
He quickly told her what happened in the limousine.
Since her door was next, she unlocked it and pulled him in before her giggle burst through. “I’ll bet he about pissed his pants.” She shook her head. “That little weasel. He is always sticking his nose in uninvited. He and former ambassador Vance were always traveling together. I don’t even like to be in the same room with that man.”
She shouldn’t have said that. What the hell was she thinking, being so casual with this man who was virtually a stranger? Yes, they’d had sex, but that was several years ago. He certainly had a different position now and she had no business trying to influence his opinion of her coworkers. As Mr. Dunaway’s bodyguard, Remi was going to have to be around Joseph Allen. “I apologize. I know better than to express my personal opinions. Please do not allow my views to influence your opinions of my coworker.”
Remi touched her shoulder. His hand was so warm and reassuring. “Don’t worry about it. I guarantee you I was not happy to find someone sitting inside the limousine, and when he gave me attitude, I was ready to shoot him. I already have a very firm opinion of Mr. Allen and I guarantee you it is not complementary.”
She barely heard his words, but they did penetrate through to her foggy brain. His hand was still on her shoulder. As though it were generating some kind of power, it interrupted clear concise thought.
Finally remembering why she had brought him there, she stepped out of his grasp and circled to the back of her desk.
Centered in the middle, on top of the disarray, lay another inner office envelope.
Urgent. Personal. The words were handwritten over the black ink.
She stared at it.
Her heart began to pound.
She recognized that handwriting. It was exactly the same as the others.
She could barely get enough air into her lungs.
God only knew what this picture was going to be. She had never gotten two in one day before.
“If you need a minute, go ahead. I have time.” Remi’s deep voice made her flinch.
She forced her eyes to meet his. “What?”
He pointed to the envelope. “That looks important. Go ahead and open it. We have time.”
“No.” She snapped out.
She needed to get a grip. She was not going to let this…asshole…continue to frighten her. Forcing in a deep breath, she tried to remember why Remi was there.
Oh, yes. Business card.
It wasn’t hard to ignore the envelope as she opened the second door on the right and found her box of business cards. As she held it out to him, she realized her hand was shaking and her gaze immediately fell to the envelope.
Remi grabbed the back of her hand with one of his and plucked the business card from the box with the other. “I see you have listed a cell phone number. Can I reach you here anytime, day or night?”
Her hand had immediately stopped shaking when he touched her. It was as though his calm demeanor flowed through her as well. “Yes, day or night. I’m on call twenty-four seven.” She couldn’t imagine an instance where he would need to call her at night, but at the moment she couldn’t think clearly about much of anything.
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm. Jolts of electricity flowed through her body as though she’d been struck by lightning.
No one had ever done that to her in her entire life. It was sweet. Romantic. And a tad bit overwhelming. She knew him, and yet she didn’t. What they’d had years before had been fun and completely physical. Did he want to pick up where they had left off?
At the moment, though, she felt more comfortable with him than with anyone else in the embassy. Hell. In all Venezuela. She had already let her guard down with him, expressing a personal opinion, as though they were friends.
With her hand still held securely in his, the heat from his kiss radiating up her arm, mixed with the turmoil of what was in the envelope on her desk, she reached for him, desperate for the comfort of his arms.
He pulled her shaking body to his, wrapping strong arms around her. He seemed to immediately know what she needed.
“It’s okay, Willow. I’ve got you.” Remi’s stroked his hand up and down her back reassuringly. “I know it hasn’t been easy for you lately. I can’t believe the State Department didn’t evacuate you as well.”
It was nice of him to say those things, but he couldn’t really know. She was needed even more, now. Besides, Venezuela was her home. She had nowhere else to go.
Getting a firm grip on her emotions, she took a cleansing breath and let it out slowly before she stepped out of his embrace. “Thank you, Remi, I needed that.”
He ran his hands from her elbows to her shoulders and back down, never losing eye contact. Slowly, he lowered his head until he touched his lips to hers. The kiss was sweet and brief.
“I just had to have a taste of you before I left. I’ll call you tonight.” He turned on his heel and exited her office.
KaLyn Cooper. Securing Willow (Kindle Locations 773-821). Aces Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.