SAVING HER GUARD
Title: Saving Her Guard
Author: Kiru Taye
Series: The Protectors #3 / Royal House of Saene spinoff
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Trope: only one bed, road trip
Publisher: Love Africa Press
Release date: August 27th, 2021
Upstanding royal bodyguard Kojo’s primary job is to protect the prime princess of Bagumi from danger. So, when his charge vanishes from her star-studded party at a Lagos hotel, he knows his life won’t be worth living if he doesn’t find her in one piece. Unfortunately, with inept local law enforcement and dead-end leads, time is running out fast.
Until a chance encounter with a mysterious woman sets his instincts on alert and his heart into overdrive. He’s sure the seductive and lethal Latifah holds the answers to his quest. But, how low is he ready to fall to rescue the princess and redeem himself?
This is a Royal House of Saene spinoff and should be read after His Captive Princess (Royal House of Saene #3) to avoid spoilers and for maximum enjoyment.
Turning a corner, he pulled his phone out to call the security suite and let them know he was heading upstairs.
A laundry cart barrelled into his midriff, knocking him back. Oomph.
“Oh!” the female cleaner gasped behind a mountain of iron-pressed, folded linen.
“Watch where you’re going!” he snapped, his irritability rising as he wondered if he would have to change his whole attire before the event. He was already in formal trousers and shoes. Just needed the dress white shirt and tuxedo jacket to complete the outfit for the occasion.
He looked down, checking himself. He wasn’t injured, and his clothes were not damaged. There was a scuff on the hip of black trousers. He rubbed, and it came off quickly. No harm done.
“You can go.” He waved a hand for the woman to carry on past him.
“I’m sorry,” the husky voice sizzled down his spine, made him stop and pay attention when he would’ve continued walking.
At first glance, she wasn’t remarkable. She was tiny. Her head didn’t reach his shoulders. Her midi-length blue-checked pinafore with a company logo hugged abundant curves top and bottom. On her feet were white trainers. Her hair was long, blue-black, with a fringe obscuring half of her chocolate-brown face.
She swiped her cheek with the back of her hand, keeping her face averted, full lips downturned.
Had he upset her? He wasn’t usually cranky, but the headache made him snappy. His belly knotted with regret for shouting at her, and he sighed. “I’m sorry for shouting.”
Considering her height, how could she even see above the pile of clean laundry? That she had the strength to push the heavy, overloaded trolley astounded him.
“No, it’s not your fault.” She shook her head, making the hair fly in the wind for a moment, mesmerising him. “I should’ve been careful. But I was upset.”
Their gazes collided. The woman had the most intriguing clear amber eyes he’d ever seen. They caught the light from the outdoor lamps and gleamed with curiosity. Just perfection.
He wanted to get lost in them. But her words prodded him, putting him in protective mode. He glanced in the direction she’d come to see if there was someone there. “Are you okay? Did someone do something to you?”
“No.” She paused. “It’s just my boss being an asshole. It should be my weekend off work. But he insisted that I come to work and threatened to sack me if I didn’t.”
“Oh, that’s definitely an asshole move,” he tried making a joke.
He was rewarded with a smile, the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen. And he’d been hanging around stunning princesses and elite personalities for over a decade.
None of them compared to this cleaner lady.
“Thank you. You’re sweet.” She was well-spoken too. Her tone lacked any regional inflexions, making it difficult to place her accent. She sounded well-educated and over-qualified to be a cleaner.
Then again, unlike the Bagumian economy, which was thriving, Nigeria’s was heading in the opposite direction. The country had a high unemployment rate for young people. So, a university graduate could end up as a cleaner to make ends meet.
“You’re welcome,” he said. “If it makes you feel better, I’m also working this weekend.”
Okay. Now he was flirting. But he couldn’t help himself. Everything else was suspended for these few minutes. He would like to extend the time with her and get to know her better.
“Oh, I thought you were a guest. Do you work at the hotel? I haven’t seen you before.” Her gaze swept over his body and left a trail of heat.
Did she like what she saw?
“I’m not hotel staff.” He left it at that, not wanting to divulge confidential information. He couldn’t forget his job.
“Oh, okay. I better get back to work.” She pushed the trolley, a smile curling her lips. “Nice to meet you, Mr Stranger.”
He grinned. He liked her. “It’s Kojo, by the way.”
“Okay. Nice to meet you, Mr Kojo By-The-Way.” She winked and carried on down the path towards the service entrance.
He laughed and chased after her. “Hold up. You haven’t told me your name.”
“Why do you want to know?” She kept walking.
He wanted to know for personal as well as professional reasons. Since she was working around the party venue, he needed to make sure she was security cleared. And he couldn’t do that without knowing her name.
The safety of the princess ranked above his personal life.
But he didn’t want her to know he was security yet, so he told her the personal reason. “I would like to know, so I know who to ask for when I come to ask you out on a date.”
A smile lit her face as she halted. “You’d like to ask me out on a date?”
“Well, yes. I would like to take you out to a meal, the movies. But we’re both working this weekend, and I’ll be gone by Sunday night.”
“I’d like that.” Abandoning the trolley, she stepped up to him. “But how about I come up to your room later when I finish? We can order room service and Netflix and chill.”
She trailed her hand down his chest until it rested on his tenting trousers and cupped his dick.
Eyes widening, he sucked in a sharp breath. Even through the fabrics, the feel of her touch was a brand—bold, possessive, erotic. He’d felt nothing like it. Not that he had many sexual encounters with women.
Regardless, one thing was apparent. He craved this woman. Wanted to spend time with her in whatever form it entailed—watching movies or getting laid.
Did she really want him, or was she teasing? He wasn’t used to women as brazen as her. He’d been propositioned a few times. Wealthy women seemed to think bodyguards were fair game. Or escorts. But he never entertained them. He didn’t want to do anything to taint his family or employer’s name.
However, this woman didn’t know him or his employer. So, if she wanted him, she wanted Kojo, not the bodyguard for her bed notch.
“You sure?” He sucked in a deep breath. She smelled so sweet. So sexy.
“Yes. What’s your room number?” She caressed him.
His breath hitched, and his dick thickened.
“4-1-8.” The number came out in a low growl as he fought for some control.
He seemed to be turning into putty in her hands. Or rather, turning into stone. He’d never been so turned on.
“I’ll be there around midnight,” she said in a sultry voice before stepping away. She shoved the trolley through an open doorway.
He missed her touch immediately. “I still don’t know your name.”
“It’s Grace. Grace Bello.” She said but didn’t look back.
He watched her walk down the corridor as he raised the phone in his hand. Then he turned away and dialled a number. “Dapo, please check this name in the system for me. Grace Bello.”
He waited a few seconds for the other man to do his thing on the computer and get back to him.
“Grace Bello, female, 35, works in hotel support services, employed for three years. No criminal records. No alerts on the system. Is there a problem?” Dapo replied.
“No problem. Thanks.” Kojo exhaled in relief.
Grace had cleared security, which meant he could look forward to spending the night with her. He couldn’t wait.