Dr. Ryan Bergstrom has offended somebody, but he has no idea who is so upset with him. Ryan is a gifted medical researcher working on a drug that could slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Death threats and nasty pranks mean that the medical research firm has hired a bodyguard to make sure their golden boy is protected from his stalker.
Brendan Marek is an ex-Ranger currently working as private security. Ryan’s attracted to his new bodyguard but sure that a military guy wouldn’t be interested. But Marek is not a stereotype. Can they figure each other out while under siege?
It always felt stupid when the end of the workday took forever and came too soon. I hadn’t gotten half of what I intended done today and yet every time I’d looked at the clock only a handful of minutes had gone by. God, my focus was absolute shit.
Emily had gone on an errand elsewhere in the building and when she returned she set a box on my desk. “Reception said they forgot to deliver this with the usual afternoon batch.”
I glanced at the box. It was about eight inches square and labeled as being from one of the scientific supply companies. We got free samples of agar and bovine serum albumin and the like at least once a week from a variety of suppliers trying to woo us. I picked up a pair of scissors out of the beaker on my desk where I kept pens and highlighters.
“Oh hey, can you sign paperwork for tomorrow’s blood draw on monkeys four and nine?” asked Emily. “That way I can do them in the morning when you’re likely to be stuck in the staff meeting.”
“And that’s going to be such a thrill a minute.” I walked over to her desk and scrawled my signature on the appropriate line.
Brendan appeared in the doorway. “Are you about done?”
“Yeah, I need five minutes.” I went back to my interrupted task and slit the brown tape on the box. As I pried open the lid, there was a series of sharp popping noises and a stinging sensation on my fingers. I stumbled backwards, startled, fell over my rolling desk chair and hit the tile floor hard.
Instantly Brendan dragged me out of the lab and into the hallway. He propped me against the wall and took my hands, examining them, then ran his fingertips over my face. “What hurts?” he demanded. “Did anything hit your eyes?”
“No, I don’t think so. What the hell was that?” I winced and flexed my elbow. That joint had taken at least half of the impact, the other spot was where my hip had landed on the legs of the chair. I felt scattered and incoherent.
Brendan felt his way down my arms and legs. “I see a couple of pink marks on your fingers. Do you think you have any other injuries except for maybe a couple of bruises?”
One of his hands was still on my leg, and warmth there drew my attention. I shook my head and slowly realized that the “accident” alarm was screaming. I wondered who had hit the wall button, because it hadn’t been me. Emily stood a few feet away, looking worried. “Em’ are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Fucking hell! What was that?” she said.
“I’m not sure.”
By that time, three security guards and at least six other people were thundering down the hallway and trying to figure out what had happened. Emily stayed near me while Brendan went back into the lab. Through the open doorway, I could see Brendan gingerly poke inside the box with an ink pen. He squatted down and looked at the labeling, before coming back out into the corridor.
My boss had also arrived at this point. “The police are on the way. They should be here in the next five minutes,” Dr. Caldwell said. “Is it a bomb?"