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Intoxicating is book one in the Elite Protection Services series.
Each book follows a different couple and can be read as a standalone.
- Forced Proximity
- Age Gap
What he really lacks is discipline.
Lincoln Hudson has just been handed the easiest job in the world. Babysit the spoiled son of a conservative senator, keep him out of trouble, and receive a six-figure paycheck. A paycheck he desperately needs. Wyatt’s father claims he needs Linc’s firm hand and discipline. One look at him and Linc agrees. Wyatt needs discipline.
Being the closeted gay son of a family values senator has left Wyatt Edgeworth with a reckless streak and a love of partying that just cost him eight months of his life and might cost his father his re-election. So now, he has a babysitter. A very sexy babysitter.
When Wyatt drunkenly confesses his attraction to Linc, they reach an understanding. Wyatt gets the companion he craves and Linc gets a paycheck, then, once Wyatt’s house arrest is over, they go their separate ways. For this to work, discretion is key, but with a reporter dogging Wyatt’s every move, that might prove impossible.
Staying together was never an option, but with each passing day, their feelings only grow. Will they risk it all for what’s supposed to be a harmless fling?
Warning: This book contains scenes which may trigger some people including self-harm, suicide attempt, past and present physical abuse, and implied past sexual violence.
LOOK INSIDE: CHAPTER ONE
LOOK INSIDE: CHAPTER ONE
“The senator will see you now.”
Lincoln Hudson stood, fighting the urge to tug at the neck of his white button-down shirt. He should have checked to see if his suit still fit before he agreed to the hasty meeting, but it was too late now. He’d been in fatigues so long the collared shirt was like a noose around his neck. Or maybe it was the job itself causing the choking sensation. Linc couldn’t be sure.
He followed the petite blonde woman down a stately hall lined with ugly blue and gold carpet and painting after painting of stuffy old white men. When they reached a set of double doors, she swung them open with a flourish and gestured for him to enter before flashing him an unenthusiastic smile and shuffling away. A man—presumably the senator—held up a finger in a ‘one moment’ gesture before swinging his chair away from Linc, as if that would somehow erect a cone of silence around his conversation.
Linc didn’t give a shit about the man’s phone call, so he prowled the room instead. He counted no less than three dead animals adorning the walls. Two from the endangered species list. Bookcases filled with leather-bound books took up the entire left wall. Linc wandered closer, trying not to roll his eyes when he noted almost every title involved the law, both secular and biblical. This guy must be a laugh at parties. The furniture was all shiny mahogany, and the man’s decorator had encased anything not made of wood in brown leather. The bar in the farthest corner of the room displayed an array of crystal decanters filled with only dark liquors. Linc would bet the man had Cuban cigars stashed somewhere in his enormous desk.
“That’s a beltway problem, Jerry. That’s not what I’m about. Listen, I gotta go. Yep. I have a meeting. You give Clare and the kids my love, and we’ll talk about this more when we meet at the club on Saturday.” The man paused. “No. Wyatt won’t be joining us. He’s meeting with some people regarding a clerkship. Yes, we’re very proud. He’s a great kid. Alright. We’ll talk soon.”
Linc returned his attention to the senator when it sounded as if he was wrapping up his conversation. The man hung up the phone, turning to face Linc, giving him his first real glimpse of his new client. He was broad-shouldered with golden-blond hair going gray at the temples and combed just so to hide his receding hairline. He’d lost his suit jacket and just wore a pale blue button-down shirt and a navy-blue tie, loosened at the neck. When he stood, Linc noted the man’s gut sagged over his belt despite the defined muscles of his arms and chest.
“Sorry about that. That man could talk the ears off corn, if you know what I mean. Montgomery Edgeworth. My friends call me Monty.” When he spoke, his tone was affable, his soft Southern drawl speaking of Georgia roots, not Florida. He extended his hand, and Linc shook it, noting the way the man squeezed his hand for far too long and with more strength than necessary.
What was this guy trying to prove, anyway? Did he think Linc was looking to get into some kind of dick-measuring contest with him? Linc had met dozens of men like him in the service, insecure assholes trying to exert their dominance with these over-the-top displays of masculinity. He found the whole thing rather tiresome.
Monty gestured for Linc to sit. “Thanks for taking the time to come in and talk. You’re the third bodyguard I’ve hired in the last six months, and quite frankly, this is taking up too much of my valuable time.”
Linc gave a terse nod but said nothing. Jackson had warned him not to let Monty Edgeworth’s affable nature sway him. His friend had used the words ‘snake charmer.’ Linc didn’t care if the senator was Satan incarnate as long as his check cleared at the end of this job. “No problem at all. I was already in town visiting Jackson when the job came up for reassignment. He seems to think I’d be a good fit.”
The smile slipped, and Monty nodded. “That’s right. You two served together, correct?”
“Yes, sir. Two tours in Afghanistan.”
“Jackson’s good people, even if he spends most of his days babysitting celebrities.”
Jackson Avery did a lot more than guard celebrities, but Linc wasn’t about to waste his breath to say as much. Monty didn’t seem like a guy who wanted people to correct him. Instead, Linc turned his focus to the job. “You need me to protect your son? Has there been some kind of threat against him?”
The senator laughed. “Oh, no. Nothing like that. Honestly, the only threat to my son is himself. He’s…well, he’s spoiled is what he is. My wife and I, we gave him anything he wanted because we lost our first boy when he was real young. Now, he doesn’t have the sense God gave a turnip. I need somebody to keep an eye on him over the next six months.”
A million questions popped into Linc’s head. He started with the unusually specific time frame.
“What happens in six months?”
“Election Day. I can’t afford a scandal right now. I’ve held this seat for six years, and I’m not about to lose to a thirty-something, guitar-playing vegan who thinks Bernie Sanders is the goddamn messiah.” He snorted. “Topher Arroyo wants to legalize pot and let the gays run amuck, and if he was any more pro-choice, he’d let women drown their babies right up until their first birthday. Who the hell names their kid Topher, anyway? Hippies, that’s who,” he finished, his voice hitting an impressive high note.
Linc clenched his jaw, but his face remained impassive as he stared at the spot dead center of the man’s forehead. Jack was right. This guy was a fucking douchebag. “So, you want me to…what? Babysit your son? I’m not great with kids.”
Once again, that laugh. “My son’s twenty-two years old. He might act like a toddler, but I promise there are no diaper changes. I need you to keep his name out of the papers.”
Linc frowned. “No offense, but you realize you’re paying six figures to babysit a grown man, right?”
“Ten minutes with my son and you’ll feel like I’ve robbed you blind.” Monty reached into his desk and grabbed something from the top drawer. He tossed a stack of pictures toward Linc. He caught them as they scattered across the glossy surface.
Linc picked them up. At first, he wasn’t sure what he looked at, but then, he realized it was a car accident. The remains of a white Maserati sat crumpled on what looked to be a highway. It was nighttime, despite the artificial light flooding the pictures. As he flipped through the stack, he noted most of the photos were pictures of the car taken from different angles.
“This was his first accident two years ago. He walked away from that wreck unscathed.”
“His first accident?”
Monty’s face collapsed into a frown, making him look much older than his age. “Hmm. He’s been in three others since then.”
“Was he under the influence?”
“Not the first time. Just stupid and reckless. We convinced the judge he’d had a seizure, and they let him go.”
Of course, they did, Linc thought, allowing himself a mental eye roll.
Linc continued to thumb through the photos. Halfway through the stack, the images changed. First, the remnants of a black BMW 2-series wrapped around a light pole and then a Lincoln Navigator sitting half in and out of what looked to be a community swimming pool. The final images showed what had once been a small white SUV. The car’s front end now sat in the front seat, and the vehicle itself was folded in on all sides, like a giant had crushed it in his fist.
“This was his most recent accident. He had a fractured orbital bone, a broken femur, six shattered teeth, and a lacerated spleen. My wife had to be medicated for weeks from the stress.”
Stress, not fear, Linc couldn’t help but note. He was sure it wasn’t an accidental choice of words.
The last photo showed a boy on a stretcher with an oxygen mask hiding the lower half of his face. Blood and sweat plastered matted blond hair against the boy’s forehead, his left eye swollen shut. The right eye was open and looking at the camera. There was a bleakness in the look that felt like a kick to the stomach. Linc shook his head, pushing all the pictures back across the desk but one.
“The other accidents were minor enough I just paid for the property damage.”
Jesus. The douche apple obviously didn’t fall far from the douche tree.
“But this last accident from eight months ago, my son totaled his Porsche going a hundred miles an hour down I-95. He lost control of the car, spun out, and once again, collided with the concrete barrier. They say the only reason he lived is that he was so goddamn intoxicated he was ejected from the car. It's a miracle he’s alive,” he muttered, sounding like it was inconvenient, not miraculous.
“He seems to have suffered some serious injuries,” Linc noted, unable to tear his gaze from the picture of the boy.
“Not serious enough,” Monty muttered. That did get Linc’s attention. At his raised brow, the older man’s shoulders slumped. “I didn’t mean that. I’m just frustrated. He’s a good kid. He’s just…confused. He lacks discipline. Rules. Order. That’s why Jackson thinks you’ll be a good fit. He won’t charm you like he did the others.”
“I’m sorry if this is out of line, but your son is twenty-two years old. I can’t just move into his house and watch him against his will.”
“The hell you can’t. My son is currently on house arrest, which he received after failing his court-mandated breathalyzer tests. He might be an adult according to the law, but he relies on me to live. Until this accident, he was finishing his final year at the University of Florida before moving on to law school. He had to take a year off to serve out his sentence, but he knows he belongs to me. He certainly doesn’t have the skills or ambition needed to support himself. He’ll do what I tell him. He’ll do what you tell him.”
Linc’s eyes dropped back to the picture, his dick intrigued by the notion of the green-eyed boy doing anything Linc told him. He shook the thought away. “Sir, if he’s on house arrest, what do you need me for? If he’s got an ankle monitor, aren’t the cops already keeping tabs on him?”
“He’s left the property twice despite the damn monitor. He’s got two weeks left on his house arrest, and then Miami-Dade’s finest are releasing him back into society. I need you to keep him out of trouble so they don’t extend his sentence, and then I need you to keep his name out of the headlines for the next five months. It’s a damned miracle I’ve kept the house arrest a secret.”
Monty sure loved to throw the word ‘miracle’ around. Linc suspected the senator didn’t fully understand the word’s definition.
“The one good thing about that Topher kid,” Monty continued, unaware of Linc’s inner monologue, “he’s determined to run a ‘clean’ campaign, so he hasn’t tried to dig up any dirt on me. He only wants to debate the ‘issues.’”
Linc didn’t trust anybody who used air quotes as much as this man did. “So, I’m not a babysitter, I’m a prison guard?”
“If you consider living in a seven-thousand-square-foot penthouse apartment overlooking Biscayne Bay a prison, then sure, you are the world’s luckiest and most well-paid prison guard.”
These people were everything Linc hated about the world. “Alright, then. I’m in.”
The senator’s face lit up, and he once again stood, extending his arm. “Excellent.” Once his hand was around Linc’s, he squeezed tight. “Let me be frank. I cannot stress the importance of discretion enough. Understood?”
“I signed a non-disclosure agreement when I took the job with Elite.”
“Excellent. I trust you won’t mind signing another one my attorney drew up on your way out.”
Linc frowned but nodded. “I suppose not. That’ll be fine.”
“Then there’s nothing else to say but welcome aboard. Once you collect your belongings, my driver will be happy to take you over to the house.” Linc had a hand on the doorknob when the senator spoke once more. “Don’t forget you work for me, Mr. Hudson. No matter what my son tells you.”
Linc closed the door behind him, a headache throbbing behind his left eye.
He hoped this job was worth it.