Calculated Risk (Blackbridge Security #5) - Marie James


As the fixer for Blackbridge Security, Quinten Lake is the man that comes in and cleans up after people make stupid decisions.

Which means he didn’t want to be the one teaching lustful women gun safety.

There were guys on the team better suited for the task.

Get in and get out, that’s his motto, something he lives by not only at work but also in his personal life.

And he could be doing just that if it weren’t for the internet.

But if #BlackbridgeSpecial weren’t trending online, he would’ve never met Hayden Prescott.

He wouldn’t be wondering why she won’t make eye contact with him.

He’s supposed to teach her the skills to protect herself, but his ego is encouraging him to be her means of protection.

She isn’t impressed, and he’s left wondering if she’ll ever open her eyes and finally see him.

Chapter 1


“How many?” I ask before Wren hands me the list.

“Fourteen,” the Blackbridge IT specialist responds as he digs through a stack of paper on his messy desk.

“There are only seven lanes,” I remind him.

“I know,” he says with a shrug, but I highly doubt the computer guy has even stepped foot inside of a gun range. “They’ll double up. You can learn as much from observing as you can doing a task, and before you make fun of me for not being very proficient in firearms, that goes for nearly everything in life.”

I look down at the list when he hands it to me, but I don’t really spend much time going over details. There’s no way to determine just by a list of names which of these women are in it for the wrong reason.

The goal is to teach women gun safety and how to shoot properly. The problem is, Wren used our company website like a thirst trap for horny women, drawing in over three hundred women for this six-week long class.

“I’ve picked the women that I felt needed the most help. The online bots I set up flagged those with 911 calls, repeated hospital visits, and women getting restraining orders. That sort of thing.”

The simple list in my hand gives none of that information, and I’m actually grateful it doesn’t.

I’m the crisis management consultant for Blackbridge Security—the fixer if you will. As such, I do a lot of work with politicians and people in the spotlight when they mess up or have some sort of scandal brewing that could have dire consequences for their public image, which in turn has the ability to ruin their livelihoods.

As the in-house fixer, the less I know about these women, the better. I’m tasked with gun safety, not digging deeper into their lives and eradicating the issue that caused them to need the class in the first place. When I see a problem that I think has a fairly easy solution, I normally steamroll whoever is in the way to fix it. I’m very proficient at my job.

And that begs the question of how I’ve been the not-so-lucky one to end up teaching this class instead of our weapons expert, Kit Riggs.

“So, like all domestic assaults?” I ask him, because how can I look down at a list of women, knowing they need help and not want to intervene?

“There are a couple in there, but one has a violent brother getting out of prison soon. One woman was in a gang, and they haven’t taken too kindly to her leaving that life. A couple more work night shift and have problems on their walks home after work. Three have had recent break-ins, one was even a home invasion. I picked the ones that flagged as needing us the most for this first class.”

“First class? This isn’t the only class?”

A scoffing sound comes from the corner of the room, but I don’t look in that direction. I’m surprised Wren’s African Grey parrot is just now making his presence known. The bird has a foul mouth and an attitude problem.

“Deacon mentioned having more than one to meet the need.”

I could choke my boss, but being out of a job on a Tuesday morning isn’t on my to-do list.

“And none of the other guys offered to help?”

“You’re on your own with this one,” Wren says as he spins away from me and begins typing quickly on his computer.

Knowing when I’m being dismissed, I turn to leave, bowing up and hitching the front of my body toward Puff Daddy.

The bird stands to his full height, wings spread as his head bounces up and down. “Come at me, bro!”

I shake