The Bodyguard (Norcross #4) - Hackett, Anna

Chapter One

I can’t wait to wrap my hands around your neck and squeeze. To watch you struggle, and see the fear in your eyes.

With a sniff, Princess Sofia of Caldova crumpled the note in her hands.

Her stalker wasn’t particularly creative.

She leaned back in the plush seat of the private jet and threw the ball of paper like a mini basketball. It hit the rim of her empty water glass, bounced off the table, and rolled to the floor.

She looked out the window. San Francisco lay in the distance. They’d be landing soon. It had been a long flight from Caldova, with a stopover in New York to refuel. She’d be happy to get off the jet and stretch her legs.

She’d hoped to escape her stalker for the week and a half that she’d be in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the bastard had slipped a note into her bag. He was proving very industrious, and extremely annoying.

She rubbed her temple. She’d been born royal. She’d grown up in the spotlight and was used to people being interested in her life, talking about her, and prying into her private affairs. But her stalker was starting to give her the creeps.

Her parents were worried, so they’d saddled her with extra security for this trip. She eyed the two Palace security guards at the front of the jet. It was their job to deliver her to her new bodyguard—Rome Nash.

Sofia’s belly did a fluttering, sickening roll. Why, of all the men on the planet, did it have to be him?

Embarrassment filled her like hot, sticky goo. She’d first met Rome four months before, when he’d provided her security for a ball she’d attended in New York with her parents. He was former military, and worked for a private security firm in San Francisco.

The moment she’d first laid eyes on him, her body had malfunctioned. Even now, she remembered the hot ripple that had passed through her when he’d introduced himself.

She pressed her head back against the headrest. It took no effort to remember what he looked like, probably because she’d thought of him every day since. He was big. Tall, broad shoulders, long, powerful legs.

His dark hair was shaved close to his scalp, and his skin was a beautiful dark brown. Strong brows sat low over eyes that were a startling pale green.

He’d been with her the entire night, and when a crazed gunman had stormed the ballroom, Rome had carried her out, locked them in an office, and kept her safe.

Then she’d ruined it all by kissing him.

Embarrassment was a hot rope around her throat.

He hadn’t kissed her back.

Sofia closed her eyes. After that, the police had arrived and she’d been swept away by her father’s security team. She’d flown back to Caldova the next day. She remembered acutely the impassive, cool look on Rome’s handsome face when she’d kissed him.

Not a flicker of interest.

So, he wasn’t attracted to her. She got it. She wasn’t attracted to every handsome man she saw.

She swallowed a groan. She hated that she’d humiliated herself, and no doubt embarrassed him.

Well, she was a princess, and pretty used to dealing with uncomfortable situations. She’d survive spending almost two weeks with Rome. She just needed to be professional and polite.

Besides, she had a very important job to do in San Francisco. She wasn’t about to let anything, or anyone, distract her from it.

Her laptop resting on the table in front of her chimed. She opened it.

Her best friend’s face filled the screen.

“Caroline!”

Her friend smiled and waved. Caro’s golden hair was pulled up in a messy bun, and she looked tired. They’d met at university years ago, and after a spilled latte in the campus coffee shop, become fast friends.

“Sofie, you look wonderful,” Caro said.

“As do you.”

“Liar,” Caro replied with a laugh.

“Are my godsons asleep?” Sofie asked.

“You mean your god-monsters? Hans is getting them settled. No doubt they’re asking him to read story number ten.”

Caro had adorable, energetic, two-year-old sons. Sofie spent as much time with them as she could.

“I’d prefer to be with you.” Caro waved her hand in the air. “Wearing glamorous dresses, attending galas to celebrate exquisite jewelry collections, and having hot flings with sexy Americans.”

Rome’s rugged face filled Sofie’s mind before she squashed the image. She smiled. She’d give her favorite tiara to have Caro’s life. Hans was often away on business, but he loved his wife and sons. They had a gorgeous, sprawling home on the outskirts of the Caldovan capital.

And freedom. To be who they were,