Soldier-turned-composer Beau DuBois flies to America to protect musician Molly Wellington after her royal family home is attacked by a nebulous faction. Beau questions this assignment as he’s attracted to Molly and is concerned his newly discovered past could thrust her into additional danger.
Molly shares Beau’s attraction and understands he’s torn between duty and love, but has her own ideas on their relationship. While together, they learn that Molly’s best friend and pop star boss also grapples with dark family secrets that are eerily similar to Beau’s.
Combined with the ever present feeling of being watched, a thwarted kidnap attempt, and a bombed tour bus, they escape to the safety of Molly’s native Rurikstan. But how soon before those dark secrets and that murky faction pursue them?
***A standalone book with a happy ending. This story is closely connected with Bad Nerd Falling (Book 8) and Baking with Nerds (Book 13) but you don't need to read them together.
Present day Rurikstan - around 1 am
Beau shut his apartment door behind Molly’s sister and the man sent to protect her.
Molly Wellington, a talented musician, sister, daughter, friend, and cousin couldn’t be more different from the lethal younger sister she shared an apartment with. However, Molly was as fierce about Verity as Verity was about Molly.
Not having siblings himself, he enjoyed that trait in the Wellingtons.
In the back of his mind, Beau suspected Verity was on the verge of adopting him.
As he heaved his suitcase out of the closet, his heart twisted. Did he really want to be a brother, even an honorary one, to Verity Wellington? He still looked forward to his current assignment given to him by Vlad, Molly’s brother and the head of the Rurikstani military. Head to America to protect Molly until she finishes this tour and return her safely to Rurikstan.READ MORE
In the middle of tossing additional items into his mostly packed suitcase another thought infiltrated. One he wished had stayed in the ether of his brain.
What would Verity do if this business with Beau’s father put Molly at risk?
The thought constricted his heart, not from what Verity would do to him, but at the horrifying thought of Molly in danger because of him. He dropped the roll of socks he’d intended to add to the suitcase.
Vlad loomed in front of him. “We need to leave. Now.” He scooped the socks off the floor and tucked them into the suitcase, then grabbed Beau’s extra weapons and discreetly stowed them.
With the skill of a man who had lived out of a suitcase for most of his adult life, Vlad zipped the bag.
He glanced at Beau and his eyes narrowed. The suitcase landed back on the bed. “What’s wrong?”
A moral dilemma reared its ugly head.
Beau had no idea whether he should tell Vlad about his family problems or not.
He appreciated that Vlad didn’t press him. The man knew how to keep secrets.
“I’ve learned some facts about my dad at your wedding. My uncle has been looking into the matter for over thirty years. I’m not sure who or what I should tell, if at all.” He shoved a hand through his hair, something a man with their training should never do.
Vlad noticed the telling gesture but didn’t comment on it. “I’m here.”
Beau glanced at his suitcase. “I shouldn’t tell you these things over the phone.”
“We need to leave.” Vlad indicated the door with his chin.
After hefting his suitcase, Beau made certain he had his phone, plus an American SIM card, before he took one last glance around the room. “I’m ready.”
“Right. Let’s go. You can give me the basics on the way to the airport.”
They left the apartment and Beau continued to debate whether he should tell Vlad anything. His instincts pressed him hard to do so but his cautious nature urged him to stay quiet.
“I understand you’re going through an internal struggle. However, you’re also leaving to protect my sister. Any baggage you take along is going to impact her. If I don’t know what that baggage is, I can’t help you from my end.” Vlad unlocked the car. Vlad, after extensive training all over the world with many foreign allied nations, had become the Commander in Chief of all Rurikstani military branches and earned himself the title and pay scale of General. [Bad Nerd Falling - Book 8 - The Morrison Family Series]
Beau climbed into the passenger seat and strapped his seatbelt in conjunction with Vlad. He took his time answering. And left out some information. “The problem is, my uncle, who I recently thought was my dad, has expressed there are a lot of traps and triggers for the unwary.”
“Verity isn’t the unwary.”
Vlad’s succinct statement made Beau pause. “Of course, your sister can get around practically anything.”
“She’s the best hacker I know. I barely knew she was a hacker until recently, but I imagine Elliott’s difficulties discovering his twin’s murderer is because he doesn’t share her skill set.” Vlad signaled to turn at the next light.
Vlad already knew all this? “You know all about my dad’s murder and my family history?”
“Only recently, because Verity found some evidence while working on a different mission. She located enough information that forced me to conduct my own search. This lead me to your uncle and the story. He wouldn’t tell me much.” The night closed around them as they left the city lights for the dimmer outskirts.
“That might be because he doesn’t have much info.”
Vlad’s nod was slow. “Could be.”
Beau’s hackles rose at Vlad’s careful answer. “You suspect my uncle knows more than he’s letting on?”
“I suspect your uncle knows more than he knows he knows.”
Beau thought on this. “I’ve been concerned he knows more than he thinks he does. So he’s probably in danger?”
“He’s laid low, so the men who killed your dad don’t know how much he knows.”
“You’re saying that since he hasn’t stirred this can of worms he’s been safe enough.”
“That’s what I suspect. Your uncle hasn’t pressed the issue, in part because he has a family to protect, you included. He and said family don’t possess the proper skills to delve deeper into this situation without being caught.”
Goosebumps pebbled his skin. “But your sister does possess those skills.”
“I suspect she could perform the investigation in her sleep.” They took the next turn. Vlad participated in their conversation but his diligence never faltered. Even here in the middle of the night.
“My uncle is standing in the way of the go ahead to actually dig into this.”
“Like the protesting protector Elliott is.” Vlad knew his father-in-law well.
“He wants answers, yet he doesn’t.” It all made sense.
“He’s scared of what we’ll discover. However, he’s the brother of the deceased. You’re the son.”
Vlad didn’t raise his voice, but Beau’s goosebumps upped in intensity.
“You’re saying I can give this investigation the green light, despite my uncle’s reticence.”
“Again, you’re Emmett’s son, so your voice carries more weight.”
“You planned to talk to me about this.” Beau didn’t doubt he’d have been talking to Vlad about this sooner rather than later.
“Probably. Haven’t had much time to dig into it.”
“Uncle Elliott seems to believe digging too deep is going to erupt into problems we don’t want to deal with.”
“Or he doesn’t. I’m familiar with dangerous situations.” Vlad stated this blandly.
Beau snorted as he watched the airport lights loom. “Right. So am I. I just don’t want to be torn right now on figuring out what happened to my dad versus protecting Molly.”
“I won’t be pleased if my sister comes to harm because of you being torn.”
“Your sister will always be my first priority.” That came out sharper and harder than he intended. But Vlad got the message.
“Right, it’s always nice to work with professionals.”
“My dad has been dead for over thirty years. There isn’t much I can do for him, other than seek justice. Meanwhile, Molly is alive and well and I’ll make certain that continues.” More hardness threaded his words. Not for Vlad, but for whoever chose to stand between Beau and his goal of protecting Molly.
“Yeah, I made the right choice in the men I selected to protect my sisters.” Satisfaction interwove Vlad’s tone.COLLAPSE