Defended & Desired (Billionaire Bodyguard 2) - Page 1

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  • Chapter 1

    Trey Soren believed nothing could ruin his day.

    With his finance team’s Congratulations! still ringing in his ears, he strode across the main floor’s pale Travertine tile. His confident footfalls echoed in the expanse.

    Today, especially, it pleased him to take in the six-story view from the center of his headquarters. This building housed a future filled with opportunity, and was well worth the investment, sweat equity, and patience. Rich redwood contrasted with chrome. Features like frosted glass and white leather offered a tranquil environment for guests entering the lobby. Trey had the contractors install two-story vertical fountains on opposite ends of the room. A series of drop-lights hung at varying heights from the skylight ceiling, creating an asymmetrical chandelier.

    Modern luxury with sleek lines boasting calm strength—impressions Trey expected his company, Soren Security Bodyguards, to give to its high-end clientele.

    A commotion in the lobby caught his attention. He spied two camera crews mounting the steps. The elevator dinged and the doors opened. Literally saved by the bell, he ducked inside out of habit, though he didn’t have to. The elevator’s tall dimensions accommodated his Nordic ancestry, a benefit of having helped design the building.

    He wanted to make his exit before a reporter cornered him. Not that he had any problem with public speaking or putting on the dog-and-pony show. It just didn’t make his Top Ten list. Besides, his brother, Cade, had not only become the face of Soren Security, but with his electric-blue eyes, dusty blonde hair and easy smile, the cameras, not to mention the women, loved him.

    “Mr. Soren, wait,” a familiar voice called.

    Trey’s hand shot out to stop the elevator doors from closing. Mindy’s straight blonde ponytail swished as she darted in, juggling a stack of binders.

    “Thanks.” She craned her neck to look up at him and smiled. “I need to go over talking points one last time before Cade and I meet with the press.”

    Trey nodded to the petite PR guru. “Did Cade mention we’re holding off on releasing a statement this morning about our initial public offering?”

    “I figured that when CNBC called me to confirm your brother’s flight to New York for the in-studio interview. Congratulations, by the way.” She beamed at him. “The four of you worked really hard for this.”

    A proud grin tugged his lips. Their company consisted of a collaboration between him, Cade, and their two cousins, Adam and Liam. “That happens when you have a support team like we do. Everybody did their part. Making Soren Security into a company worth people’s investment is an achievement that belongs to all of us.”

    She whipped a pencil from behind her ear and scribbled sideways on a sheet of paper. “Nice quote. I’m using it.”

    Trey adjusted his cufflinks. “Have at it.”

    Mindy rattled off her talking-points itinerary. Sounds and details faded to the background. Trey fixated on the buttons lighting up overhead as they floated up floor by floor. Intrigued by the latest physical phenomenon, he wondered if his response would happen again–the tingle at the base of his scalp when he approached the fourth floor.

    Devon Leigh’s floor.

    Instantly, Devon’s you-know-you-want-to-kiss-me red lips came to mind. A hot ember of attraction sparked low in his gut.

    Aside from being gorgeous, the woman was Mensa smart, quick with comebacks, and had a dry wit that always made him laugh. Plus, he was pretty sure she could hack the Pentagon’s uber-secure network in less than five minutes. Not that they’d ever need that particular ability, but he liked knowing her impressive skill put her in an elite class, and she worked for him. Though she was serious and hardworking ninety-percent of the time, when she smiled, his world stopped spinning to hold on to the moment.

    Trey wanted one thing: more of that smile. He wouldn’t mind tasting it either, feeling the soft texture of her lips against his, the slick curl of her tongue when he slid inside her mouth—

    “Mr. Soren?”

    Trey snapped his attention to Mindy. “Yes.”

    “If you see Cade, will you tell him we need to meet before the press conference? I can’t seem to get a hold of him.”

    “Sure. Good luck with the press.”

    Mindy scribbled another note on her paper as she exited and the doors closed. Then his phone vibrated in his suit pants pocket. He pulled up a text from Cade.

    Problem. Conference room. Now.

    Trey frowned. He wasn’t giving up on his perfect day yet, or the chance of seeing Devon. Cade possessed a tendency toward the dramatic. Although, he rarely demanded a meeting without good reason.

    The elevator dropped him off on the sixth floor. He strode toward the conference room centrally located between his and Cade’s offices. A wall of windows framed a picturesque view of the Rocky Mountains surrounding the Denver skyline. Opposite the oval conference table, they’d decked out the space with a bar and pool table, things they used to blow off steam during eighteen-hour days. Plus the most comfortable couch in existence and a sixty-inch flat screen TV for times when they had to pull an all-nighter. Trey thought of the stocked bar again, and wondered if he’d need support from it by the end of this conversation.

    He pushed through the double-doors and saw his brother’s face. His stomach dropped. Tension pinched Cade’s blue eyes, and a muscle ticked in his jaw.

    Without one word exchanged, Trey suspected his perfect day now dangled by a thread. “What happened?”

    Cade’s shoulders formed rigid lines beneath his merino wool suit. “We’ve been hacked.”

    “What?”

    Cade responded with a dismal nod. “Our routers are down. If the press try to access Wi-Fi in the building and can’t connect, they may suspect a problem.”

    Trey’s heart pounded. “What about Devon?”

    “I just talked with her. Apparently this infiltration is eroding our main systems and shutting us down floor by floor. All of our sixth floor computers have already crashed.”

    The lights flickered and dimmed. Trey glanced up in horror. “What the hell?”

    “Everything from our lights to our security cameras to our laptops is under siege.”

    “Has Devon found the source?”

    Cade shrugged. “I assume she would’ve told me if she had.”

    “If anyone can fix this it’s her.”

    “This has to be mitigated before it reaches the second floor. After all we’ve gone through in the past year getting this company cogent, it’ll be career suicide if I have to explain to the press why our security company can’t secure its own computer network.”