Meet Max from Confined with the CEO & The Bodyguard: Gabriela

I’m excited to bring you the next installment in the CEO & THE BODYGUARD series! This book drops on 1/3/2021. Let’s start the year off right with a lot steam and a whole lot of heart.

Gabriela is a former model turned CEO who went through an early, abusive marriage and subsequent divorce. Thanks to the pandemic, her violent ex-husband has been released from prison. Fearing for her safety, she hires two bodyguards to protect her from him.

Max is a strong, silent softie who just wants to take care of Gabi. Ari left the Israeli Special Forces to move to the United States. He falls in love with Gabriela, but he knows he can’t be happy staying in one place. Will they find a solution to make the three of them happy forever? (Is that really a question?!)

Scroll down to read an excerpt.

Confined with the CEO & the Bodyguard: Gabriela

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The CEO and the Bodyguard is a luxury erotic romance series. Each story features a CEO, a bodyguard, and the woman who brings them to their knees. If you like low-angst and high heat, these MFM contemporary romance fantasies will leave you smiling…despite our locked-down reality. Content Warning: references to domestic violence.

Chapter One: Max

There are worse places to ride out a pandemic. That’s my first thought. 

My new assignment is nowhere to be seen. Fifteen minutes ago, I entered a code on the gate and then a second set of numbers to get through the front door. Good security—I spotted cameras peeping out at me along the short drive up to the main house. 

Inside, everything is white and gray with blue accents that are the same color as the ocean where I took my ex-wife on our honeymoon. It was fifteen years ago, now, but even though we didn’t last, the bright color makes me happy to see it. All the fixtures are gold. The effect is glamorous and feminine. You can tell immediately that she lives alone. No kids. No husband. 

I set my serviceable black duffle bag on the tiled foyer beside a flimsy-looking brass-and-marble console table. On it is a tree hung with masks. Nice touch, I think, as I look around for the owner of the house. 

Gabriela Ramirez. I recognize her name. She’s like the Latina Kim Kardashian—runs a makeup company, Gabi Beauty. But that isn’t why I know her. She used to be a model or something. 

Although, isn’t that true of everybody in this town? Even though I live in Los Angeles, I don’t really keep up with the celebrity scene. It seems like everyone here is either an actor, an ex-actor, or trying to break into showbiz. 

Except me. I’m just dumb old Max, good for punching the shit out of people who deserve it and not much else. 

“Hello?” I call. My accented voice bounces off the marble and echoes up a big, curved stairway. In the center of the foyer is a huge crystal light fixture. It is not lit, but it sparkles anyway. I head into the next room, a living room with a large window overlooking the ocean. Wow. 

There’s no place to sit down. The furniture is made of bent sticks. I think it’s called wicker. It looks too delicate to hold up the ass of a giant like me. I’m six-foot-three and two hundred pounds. I crush skulls for a living. 

Okay, not really. Mostly, security work is boring— 

“You must be Max,” a woman’s voice says behind me. I whirl. A decorative gold basket full of glass balls goes flying onto the rug. None break, to my relief. I gather them awkwardly, stick them back on the coffee table, and tug my suit straight as I go to meet my temporary employer, who then says, “Or are you Ari?” 

“Max,” I say gruffly. “Ari will be here as soon as his COVID-19 test results come back.” 

I look up. My heart stops. 

Gabriela is barefoot. She stands at the bottom of a stairway wearing nothing but a silky pink robe over matching pajama pants. Her blond hair is piled casually on top of her head. A couple of tendrils spill out over her shoulders. There’s a half-inch of dark hair at the roots—it’s clearly dyed, but I don’t care. I’m a sucker for brown-eyed blondes, and Ms. Ramirez is gorgeous. Her skin glows like polished amber and her light caramel eyes are lined with deep ocher and heavy mascara. 

“Excellent. I am in the middle of a conference call. We’re taking a five-minute break. I’ll show you to your room and you can settle in.” Her mouth might be plump and soft but the words coming out of it are wary and businesslike. It’s at odds with the generous curves of her breasts and hips. “Bring your bag.” 

I hoist my belongings and follow her, feeling like a cold black shadow haunting her house of light and warmth. “I can sleep in the hallway on a cot, if it makes you feel safer.” 

I’d sleep at the foot of her bed like a dog, if she asked me to. 

She doesn’t smile, although there is quiet humor in her gaze when Ms. Ramirez does glance at me. “Thanks for the offer, but it shouldn’t be necessary. When you’re off-duty, you should take advantage of the amenities. There’s a pool out back, and a full gym in the basement. Under ordinary circumstances I work out there four days a week with my personal trainer, but now, well…” She sighs. “Nothing is normal anymore.” 

“No, ma’am.” 

This makes her chuckle. “Where are you from, Max?” 

“Ukraine.” I’ve been in the United States for twenty years. My English is fine, but with my accent I sound like the villain in a Bond movie. I don’t like to talk much. I figure the world doesn’t need to hear my thoughts. 

But it doesn’t mean I don’t have them. 

Right now, I’m thinking about how Ms. Ramirez’s glorious curves would feel under my palms. It’s not often that I meet a woman I don’t feel as though I’d break in bed—especially not here, in Los Angles, where so many women starve themselves thin. Just my luck, this incredible woman is off-limits. 

It’s not like she’s in my league, anyway. That doesn’t stop my cock from trying to salute her as she shows me into a nice-sized guest room, though. 

“This is where you’ll stay for the next six weeks.” The term of my contract, and Ari’s. Ms. Ramirez licks her lips. Up close, her skin is so soft and perfect. The thought of touching her zaps through me like an electric jolt. Not that I’ll ever be so lucky. I put my bag on the pristine bench at the end of the bed. This room is done in muted grays. The furniture is driftwood-gray, the curtains storm clouds held back with lighter ties—a more masculine, but still very decorated, version of the aesthetic downstairs. 

“It’s nice,” I say, admiringly. It’s probably the nicest place I’ve ever been offered to sleep in. Better than any hotel, and I’ve been put up in some fancy digs as part of my job as bodyguard for hire. If I can avoid breathing for the next six weeks, I might even get through this without breaking every delicate, useless display item in her very expensive house. I am strong. I am not coordinated, which makes me a bull in this fucking China shop. Between trying to navigate through her decorations and keeping my hands and eyes where they belong—meaning off her body—the next six weeks are going to be a special kind of hell. I stick my hands in my pockets. 

“I should get back to my call,” says Ms. Ramirez. 

“Thank you, it’s nice,” I say again, inanely. Peeking out the window, I see why she gave me this room. It has a view of the gate and every vehicle coming or going. “Mind if I get the lay of the land while you’re working?” 

She nods once. “You’re the expert.” Her tongue makes a brief appearance between her lips. It’s a crazy thing to want, but how incredible would it be to see her lipstick disappearing bit by bit as she sucked me down her throat? Imagining it, I almost miss what she says next. “If you see my ex-husband, I want you to kill him on sight.” 

“Sure,” I say. “No problem.” 

Ms. Ramirez looks startled, as though she can’t tell whether I’m serious. 

It really isn’t. I’ll cheerfully dispatch her ex if he shows up. It’s why she hired me. 

I continue my inspection of the room, expecting her to go. Oh, there’s a private bathroom, too. Very nice, indeed. 

“I mean it,” Ms. Ramirez says vehemently. “He was released from prison early because of this pandemic. It’s been ten years, but I don’t trust him not to come straight here and finish the war he tried to start the day I left him.” 

She unties the robe and drops half of it open. My greedy gaze skims down her full breasts. She is wearing some sort of lacy bralette underneath. I imagine I can see a hint of her nipple and have to remind myself not to look. Then, my eyes lock on what she’s trying a to show me. 

A scar. 

My blood turns molten with fury. I know scars. I speak their language. 

Ms. Ramirez’s ex-husband tried to kill her. Judging from the placement, he came damn near sliding a knife between her ribs, tearing through her right lung and up into her heart. I curse in my native tongue. 

“Ten years ago, my husband promised me that the day he got out of prison he would come back and finish the job,” she says stoically. “Last week, he was released on good behavior because of the pandemic. He has an ankle monitor, but I don’t trust that to keep him away from me. That’s why you and Ari are here.” 

The look she gives me is sorrow inflected with fear. 

How dare her ex-husband hurt this incredible woman? I’ll give my life to protect her from harm. In that moment, the job changes from a simple assignment to a mission. 

But I’m no good with words. I say again, “Sure. No problem.” 

I hope she understands my meaning. My ex-wife said being married to me was like being shackled to a horny, uncommunicative rock. 

Ms. Ramirez covers her luscious body. “I’m counting on you and your partner, Max. I need to get through the next six weeks alive. If he comes here, I can prove my ex is still a danger and have Carl put away forever. If he doesn’t, I’ll believe he’s changed and can live my life freely. Either way, I need you and Ari to keep him from coming within fifty yards of me. I hired you to keep me safe.” She chuckles sadly. “Even though now, none of us are really safe, are we?” 

I shake my head. “No.” 

We won’t be, not for a long time. I’m not a scientist but if I were smarter, and if I’d had different opportunities in life, I might have trained to be a doctor. Or, maybe a nurse. I like helping people. But I’m not smart. Only strong. 

That is the service I sell. My body. My life to protect yours. 

I can’t pound a particle into non-existence. But I can try to deny it a path to reproduce. I’ll take every precaution to keep from infecting her, or anyone else, for that matter. 

And I can damn well kill Ms. Ramirez’s ex-husband with my bare hands if he dares to show his face in this beautiful home. 

“I’ll let you settle in,” says Ms. Ramirez. “I need to get back.” 

She pads away down the hallway to a double door, opens them, and closes both doors behind her. 

As I say, there are worse places to ride out a pandemic than in the mansion of a gorgeous CEO. But there might be easier locations to keep my sanity in check. 

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