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Nerds in Force

Determined Harlow Maxwell Horgate is on a mission. She’s not about to allow anyone, even massive, sweet Keith Monnette to hinder her progress. He might curl her toes and make her long for things she’s never had, but she has a serious job to do and she can’t afford any distractions.

No matter how gorgeous he is.

Army veteran Keith Monnette left the military to protect his family from the evil company whose vile body count is climbing. It takes three attempts on Harlow’s life and her emerging history to make him question whether she’s on his side of this battle. He knows she’s keeping secrets but maybe they’re justified?
Now someone wants her and members of his family dead. Keith has a few pithy suggestions but so far the bad guys aren’t listening. Whoever they are…

***If you like your romance sweet with a side of suspense and wonderful characters, start reading Nerds in Force today! Keith and Harlow soon learn they’re both seeking justice for those lost and working to keep everyone alive. Falling in love isn’t a part of the plan.


Chapter 1

 Well, this has been a disappointing run. Keith Monnette wiped sweat from his brow Saturday morning as he jogged the last stretch of beach toward the sprawling house they currently called home. The structure had been built by friends of his and his younger brother, Eric. The friends were twins and probably the wealthiest people on the island of Toliliel. Not that they lived here much.

Their many businesses kept them in New York City.

Keith was thankful for the fortress of a house that kept him, his brother, his brother’s biological sister, her fiancé, her myriad bodyguards, plus Verity and Molly Wellington and their significant others safe. In addition, his mom was here, also getting to know their newest family member. He had welcomed Savannah Swanson into his life with the same love and happiness as the rest of the family.


His mom and dad hadn’t been able to have children after him, so they adopted blue-eyed, blond Eric. Now they had discovered gray-eyed, blonde Savannah to be Eric’s full sibling. Keith himself was biracial, as were both of his parents. Yet Eric, and now Savannah, fit perfectly into his family.

He hadn’t counted on all the extra people who accompanied well known music star Savannah. He had retired from the military with the intention of keeping his family safe. His plans hadn’t encompassed anything more. Perhaps they should have.

How has my life come to this?

The last steps of his run proved the hardest. All of his limbs had turned gelatinous and he savored the thought of a shower, breakfast, and coffee. He no sooner thought that when he nearly ran over an entwined couple on the lower deck. Ugh. Did they have to block the door?

He backpedaled and made to enter the house through a door part way down. Only to encounter another couple, so caught up in each other they didn’t notice his attempt to enter the door behind them.

All these unwelcome encounters only served to remind him all too well of his single state.

Normally he didn’t mind. This morning, he about faced and headed to the far door on the other side of the house. This couple both noticed him and eyed him like the operatives they were. Verity Wellington and her man, Cian Hunter, were of an identical caliber.

Keith took this many couples blocking the doors as a sign. He huffed out a long breath, turned, and pounded back down the beach.

With all the new energy surging through him, maybe a second run would prove more satisfying. Maybe he could outrun his single status.

Harlow Maxwell Horgate hated her grandfather’s new condition. His shoulders slumped, a gray tinge had swept out his usual healthy color, and his usual twinkling eyes were dulled with confusion. He knew her but struggled to remember her place in his life.

Her heart ached and she gripped his hand harder in a vain attempt to prevent him from succumbing. To what, she didn’t know as she hadn’t gotten answers to his sudden, mysterious illness.

“Grandy, stay with me.” She urged him to listen. His unfocused gaze slid to the window.

Harlow swallowed the urge to cry. If she allowed that, her bawling would alarm her grandfather and the kind staff who rallied around him. Maybe it would alarm her grandfather.

He’d slipped away from her in the past day. To the point that she barely recognized him.

“Grandy, do you know who I am?” A knot leapt into her throat in an attempt to choke that agonizing question.

The dulled gaze slid to her. “You’re Harlow.” His limited focus returned to the window. “A smart child. Unafraid of anything, that granddaughter of mine.”

While he did know her, he talked about her as though she wasn’t in the room. He’d never done that before.

“I’m here, Grandy. Harlow.”

“Yes, child. Run along now and play with your friends. I’m fine.” He shooed her away as though she was five.

Harlow had left that age behind twenty-five years ago.

Her eyebrows snapped together. “Grandy…”

But he waved her away with more vehemence and his housekeeper indicated for her to accompany her to the door.

“Grace, he’s…”

“Yes, Miss Harlow, he’s sunken into this state and we’re not sure what to do about it.” Grace’s careworn forehead crinkled as she gazed at her long time employer.

Harlow’s mouth firmed. “I’ll be back. Call me if you need me.”

“I’ll do that. He was running a slight fever this morning.”

She stored that away for later as she headed out the door. Once outside the house she called her grandfather’s personal assistant.

The man answered immediately. Harlow had worked with him for years so she didn’t hesitate to start asking questions. Her mood grew grimmer with each additional answer.

As she shot off inquiries, she stalked to her car but didn’t turn it on until all of her queries had answers.

Harlow thanked him and ended the call. She pointed her car toward the office. Spending the day at work on Saturday wasn’t how she had intended to enjoy this day. But she needed additional answers and those, she suspected, were to be found in the president’s suite of Horgate Industries.

None of the security guards did more than wave as she swept through the doors after using her badge to enter the premises. Of course they wouldn’t.

This wasn’t the first Saturday she had spent at her desk.

Only today wouldn’t be spent at her desk. Her grandfather had progressively been checking out of life and she suspected at least part of it had to do with some vicious rumors that had been circulating about Horgate Industries being involved in the suspicious deaths of several employees.

Harlow had heard those same rumors. She had actively been looking into them but ran up against several traps and triggers.

That had confirmed her suspicions and fears that those rumors might hold substance. If even she, with her level of clearance, couldn’t dig deep into the issues, then they had several problems.

Her genius brother hadn’t minded being handed the assignment to dig deeper. Chad had been as concerned as her about the allegations, although no one mentioned them in their presence.

Harlow wasn’t about to allow any deaths on her record.

She had a family to protect, employees who depended on them, and a beloved grandfather whose decline alarmed her more than she’d ever been in her life.

When fear encroached, it indicated to her that action was needed. Harlow understood action.