Guarding His Heart

By: J.S. Cooper

Chapter One


“So you excited for tomorrow?” Zane grinned at me as he handed me a beer.

“Do I look like I’m excited?” I groaned. “There aren’t many people that go from bouncer/body guard to CEO in a matter of days.”

“Yeah well, there aren’t many people that leave their family business to go work outside a club.” He grinned at me. “I’m surprised your dad let you stay away for as long as he did.”

“Well now he wants me back.” I groaned and took a long chug of beer. “I wasn’t sure I could listen to another ‘I’m disappointed’ speech again.”

“We should go out and celebrate your last night of freedom.” Zane laughed. “Maybe Noah can come as well.”

“Oh no you don’t.” Lucky, Zane’s wife, walked into the room. “You’re not going out and leaving me with the kids. If you guys want to celebrate we can order in a pizza.” She grinned and sat next to me on the couch. “Please, I want to celebrate with Leo as well.”

“You want to laugh at me.” I grinned at her and she shook her head.

“No, but I’m glad you’re making a life for yourself. A life that doesn’t include acting as a bodyguard. Maybe now you can mature in other ways as well.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I raised an eyebrow at her, though I knew exactly what she was saying.

“I mean, maybe you’ll meet a girl.” She grinned.

“I did, but then she went and married my best friend.” I grinned back at her.

“Hey guys, I’m still here.” Zane’s voice was serious, but his eyes were laughing. “Do I have to ban you both from seeing each other?”

“Zane, you’re not banning me from anything.” Lucky rolled her eyes.

“You wanna bet?”

“Sure.” She licked her lips and folded her arms. “What do you want to bet?”

“Nothing.” He looked sheepish. “You’d just win.”

“You got that right.” She leaned back and laughed. “So actually, I’m starting to feel hungry. Shall I order two pizzas?”

“Shall we see if Noah, Robin and Skylar are coming over?” Zane asked. “We might need more food.”

“I think they went to Malibu for the weekend.” Lucky shook her head. “Noah wanted to show Skylar the beach.”

“I cannot believe that Noah is a dad.” I shook my head and sighed. “And you too, of course.” I looked at Zane. My best friend. My brother from another mother. The guy I’d thought would remain a bachelor for the rest of his days, just like me. But here he was, married with two kids. I still couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t sure what had happened. How had time passed me by like this? I could still remember us in college hooking up with sorority girls and getting drunk. Now, he hooked up with one woman and one woman alone. Though, I hadn’t been joking, his wife Lucky was a gem. If I had ever thought of settling down, which I didn’t, it would be with someone like Lucky. Zane had gotten really lucky meeting her when he was down in Miami. I’d been even more shocked when Zane’s brother, Noah, had gone and adopted a kid as well, that he was raising with his fiancée, Robin. I’d thought that out of everyone I knew, the Beaumont Brothers were the two guys that were guaranteed to remain single, just like me. But now, it was just me. I was the only single guy in the group and I had no problem with that. I never wanted to get married and I didn’t believe in love.

“It’s not so bad.” Zane shrugged and then looked at Lucky. “I mean, it’s pretty awesome. It’s always awesome. Never bad.”

“Not a good save, Zane.” Lucky shook her head. “You’re changing Ruby-Lane tonight.”

“Oh man.” He groaned and made a face at me. “Never have babies. They poop. They throw-up. They smell.”

“Don’t worry,” I laughed. “I have no plans on ever having a baby.” I pulled out my wallet and two condom packets. “I’m always prepared.”

“Leo.” Lucky laughed and blushed as she stared at the Magnums in my hand.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to offend.” I grinned and Zane laughed.

“So do you know what you’re going to be doing?” He changed the subject. “Your dad’s company is huge.”

“I have no idea. All I know is that an account manager left and they were interviewing to replace him when I decided to go back. They turned everyone else away and I got the job. Dad wants me to start at the middle before I make it to the top.”

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