Home > Alpha Bodyguard

Alpha Bodyguard
Author: Luke Steel

1

 

 

My ass starts to go numb on the wooden park bench. The breeze on the back of my neck is chilly, but the setting sun warms my face. It’s a gorgeous day, the air crisp with distant snow and the scent of wealth. I’ve been waiting nearly an hour for this client. Properly speaking, the studio is my client. Sally Swanson, starlet on the rise, is just the job. I stretch my legs out in front of me, wishing I could ease my tight muscles. My long legs weren’t made to fit in economy seats on airplanes, but it was get here yesterday or lose the gig. The emailed contract included a pixelated copy of a boiler-plate headshot, and I checked out some movie stills online, mostly independent and small budget stuff. Would I recognize her without makeup? Not sure.

My position affords a broad view of the winding trail around the park, and I scan the runners. Several points on the trail are blind, which leaves me antsy. Ms. Swanson has picked up more than your average social media stalker, it seems, because the wanker got hold of her private number for some up close harassment, and then vandalized her trailer.

The trailer was what spooked the studio. Tight schedule, big budget, and finicky talent. They want Swanson undistracted, the agency said. Something about a multi-film franchise. Can’t blame them. Casting a next-to-nobody in a film bigger than her whole career is a fucking big chance to take, and a stalker on location screws over the whole crew.

One of these skinny women in leggings is bound to be my gig. She’s making me wait, as they do, and it’s pissing me off. This job’ll be a pain in my ass. A blonde walks toward me with a coffee in one hand, cell in the other, and a chihuahua wearing a spiked collar trotting in front of her. That looks about right. Giant sunglasses cover half her face, so it could easily be her, but she passes without looking my way.

Could be the one settled conspicuously in the middle of the green space, lounging on a yoga mat with a cigarette and an iPhone. She’s got a white cap pulled low on her head, as lesser starlets do when they’re pretend-incognito, secretly hoping someone will take their picture for InTouch magazine. Shit. My eyes move faster, roaming in circuits around the park. Who let this girl wander around the park by herself? You have to take this shit seriously.

My phone shrills in my jacket pocket.

“Yeah?” A skeevy man in a parka much too heavy for the weather approaches the yoga mat woman, and I tense.

“Quinn, this is Ronette. Is Sally with you yet?” The film’s executive producer has been calling every twenty minutes.

“No, Ronette. I’m here at the park, but Ms. Swanson hasn’t showed yet. Is this cause for concern?” Skeevy parka dude keeps walking, and yoga lady never even noticed him.

Ronette gives this raspy, veteran smoker’s laugh. “Hell, no. I should have warned you she’d probably be late. Sally is the worst kind of independent. Doesn’t think she needs help from anyone. I think she’d lose a limb before she asked for directions to the damn hospital. She keeps to herself anyway, and specifically objected to having someone follow her around.”

“That right? She doesn’t have a—what’re they calling it—a squad? A PA or anything?”

“Not Sally,” Ronette says with a laugh. “She’s a squad of one. Listen, text me when she shows up. When you two get back to the set, I’ll meet you to go over our current security and the shooting schedule, and to introduce you to the cast and crew.”

 

“Right, then.”

I disconnect the call, dreading the gig more than ever. It’s bloody hard to protect someone who doesn’t want you there. But I’m surprised, too. She’d be the first starlet I’ve met who didn’t relish the added attention and importance of a hulking bodyguard in their entourage.

I lean forward to rest my forearms on my thighs, as if that will make this bench more comfortable. More runners have joined the track, and I catalog them as I wait for my reluctant starlet to show. A runner in black emerges from behind some shrubs on the far side of the path. She’s been around a few times, and I’ve noticed her every time. She’s wearing a black cap, long-sleeved black runner’s top, and black leggings, and she’s dead focused on the run. No headphones. Her thighs are slim, but the curve of toned muscle is unmistakable under the stretchy fabric. For the last three laps at least, she’s been maintaining what has to be a brutal pace.

I shift on the bench again. It’d feel good to stretch out and push my body like that, running out the stiffness in my muscles. I fuckin’ hate it when people waste my time. She’s on the end curve of the trail now, winding around toward me. If I weren’t on the clock, I could just fall in beside her, take a chance with that one. I can picture us, running until our legs give out, and then I’d take her back to my place—a hotel, the closest thing I have to a place—and shower before getting sweaty another way.

Her lean body pounds down the trail. I lean back and widen my knees to ease the tension in my pants. For fuck’s sake. I’m good at this job, but it’s hell on a man’s sex life. I might as well be military again. I’m on the clock 24/7 when I’m on, and I haven’t had more than a week between jobs in longer than I can remember. I don’t regret the work I’ve put into building my reputation, but I miss women. No—I miss having a woman. Someone who could be with me for the long haul. My last relationship just didn’t survive my career, and I can’t blame her. A lot of the guys in my trade pay for the girlfriend experience and let that be enough, but that’s never been my style.

 

I stare down at my hands before watching that runner gets my dick so hard that passersby take me for some park bench perv. It’s a lonely life sometimes, and that suits me fine most of the time. But right now? Right now I’m horny as hell.

Black running shoes with neon yellow laces step into my field of vision.

"Are you my man?" a breathy female voice demands.

I jerk my eyes up to flawless beauty. Even without makeup, the sharp angles of her face create dramatic shadows that make her look classic, sculpted in honey-colored marble. A scowl gathers in two delicate creases between her long, arched eyebrows. Dark, intense eyes glare at me from under a black cap. A few strands of mahogany-brown hair cling to her neck, worked loose from the ponytail hanging down her back. Oh yes, love. I could definitely be your man.

“Sorry?” I relax my face into an easy smile to hide my filthy thoughts.

"Are you Quinn Buckley, the bodyguard the studio hired to babysit me?”

You’ve got to be shittin’ me. I upgrade the warning label on this job from pain in my ass to shitshow, thanks to my libido and those leggings. I’d have never pegged this one as the starlet in need of hired muscle.

“Aye, that’ll be me.” I stand and offer a hand, autopilot engaged. “Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Swanson.”

She takes my hand and props the other on her hip. Her posture is a challenge: shoulders thrown back, chin jutting forward, feet planted widely. My hand dwarfs hers. My callused palm slides over her smooth one. A snapshot of my earlier fantasy flashes in front of me. If her hand is this soft, I can only imagine her more tender flesh. The way it would feel on mine. I drop her hand before my hard-on becomes obvious.

“Thanks for meeting me here.” She jerks her head toward the parking lot, so I grab my duffel and I fall into step beside her. “I needed to get away from the shoot for a minute.”

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