Shiloh Beckett has a trust fund, a stalker and a secret. He doesn’t trust easily, but his new bodyguard might just break the cycle.
Shiloh Beckett might be the sole heir to Beckett Industries, one of the leading tech companies in the world, but the last thing he wants is to become another suit-and-tie. He’s learned the hard way that money can’t buy happiness, just a better brand of misery.
Gage Tucker lives by the motto Protect and Serve. Raised by a cop who failed his family, Gage chose to serve his country the only way he knew how—with boots on the ground and a gun in his hand. After a mission gone wrong, Gage came home with a broken body but the same drive to protect. Months of rehab later, he joined Eagle Security as a Personal Protection Officer and he’s been a bodyguard ever since. Protecting a trust-fund brat from the paparazzi isn’t what he signed up for.
Soon he learns that there’s more than just the media after Shiloh, and the secrets the boy is hiding will change everything. If he can’t convince Shiloh to trust him, how can he keep him safe?
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, rape, reference to past child abuse, self-harm and suicidal ideation, and PTSD,. There are references to drug use, sex work, elements of BDSM—Daddy kink and power play—and parental neglect.
General Release Date: 16th November 2021
Shiloh hiked the hem of his baby-doll dress higher as he leaned his knee against the back of the chaise. He knew the drape of silk pooling in the hollow of his thighs barely left more than a teasing shadow to keep him modest.
Not that anyone in the frat house cared. He’d seen each of the Sigma boys naked at one point or another, while either on his knees or his back. In fact, the only man here he hadn’t seen naked yet was his bodyguard, a man who bought his muscles in a bottle of methyl-testosterone.
Brad sat in the armchair across from him. He was scanning the crowd of drunk college students stumbling from room to room, supposedly keeping an eye out for cameras. In reality, though, Shiloh caught the subtle glances toward the chaise, the way his gaze lingered on Shiloh’s exposed skin and the even-less-subtle looks into the corner, where a couple was doing lines on the glass side table.
Shiloh propped himself up on an elbow so he could see them. “Hey, Jorgie.” Shiloh feigned a slur. He’d been nursing the same glass of cheap whiskey since he’d arrived over an hour ago, though he’d skipped to the kitchen for a half-dozen refills for the sake of appearance. “Kiss you for a line.”
Jorgie, nearly as fabulous as Shiloh in a glittery pink tank and tight jeans, wiped his nose before grabbing the baggie. He stumbled over, his cheeks flushed, blue eyes nearly black as he leaned down. His lips were hot when they pressed against Shiloh’s.
Jorgie lost interest quickly, dropping the baggie on Shiloh’s lap as a girl Shiloh vaguely recognized stumbled past. Jorgie trailed after her, calling “Evie, those shoes!”
Shiloh popped the seal on the bag and turned it gently, letting the coke fall against the side. He shook out a crooked line on his thigh. By now, his bodyguard had given up all pretense of watching the room. Brad’s gaze locked on the powder.
Slowly, Shiloh ran a teasing finger over his skin to straighten the line. He admired the way it looked, even paler than his sun-starved flesh.
“I don’t mind sharing,” Shiloh said suddenly into the silence between them, and Brad dragged his gaze up to Shiloh’s. He wet his lips. He wanted it. That was obvious—wanted it even more than he wanted Shiloh. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”
And that was all it took.
Shiloh was almost disappointed at how easy it was. Brad pushed his way to standing, stalking closer. Shiloh held himself still. Brad only loomed for a second before dropping heavily to his knees. There was the briefest hesitation then his bodyguard hunched over his thigh. He pressed one large finger against his left nostril, then the sound of sniffing made Shiloh wrinkle his nose in disgust.
He expected the man to sit back but Brad lingered, skimming his thumb over Shiloh’s thigh. It would be sexual in another circumstance—foreplay, a tease—but Shiloh knew he was just grabbing the last of the powder. Brad lifted his thumb to his mouth, rubbing it over his gums.
Brad’s brown eyes grew darker as the drug tightened its grip on him. Shiloh was on the clock now. He would be lucky if the drug stuck in the man’s system for a half-hour, with everything else in his veins.
Shiloh pushed Brad back then slid off the chaise and into the larger man’s lap in a single move. The thin lace of his panties was barely a barrier between them. He could feel the coarseness of his bodyguard’s jeans and, beneath them, the rigid hardness of his cock. Shiloh felt nothing as he rutted against it.
“I see how you watch me,” Shiloh mused, teasing one of the black buttons on the other man’s shirt between his fingers. “Are you finally going to do something about it?”
Brad groaned, clamping his hands down on Shiloh’s hips hard enough to bruise as he yanked Shiloh closer. He was grateful that years of ballet had left him with a flexibility most gymnasts would envy, because otherwise his hips would be screaming against the stretch.
Brad tangled his fingers painfully in Shiloh’s pink hair and yanked his head back. Shiloh turned his wince to a grin, then had to struggle to hold back a laugh as Brad growled—actually growled, like a wild animal instead of a man.
“C’mon, big guy,” Shiloh teased, grabbing Brad’s hand and yanking it free from his scalp, ignoring the painful way several strands of hair separated with it. “I’ll go find us a room. You go clean up, yeah?”
Brad blinked then shoved Shiloh off his lap in his haste to find a bathroom.
Shiloh smirked at his back. He hadn’t expected it to be difficult—seducing his bodyguards never was—but he’d thought it would be harder than that. Victor had lasted two months, and before him, Harry had made it almost four. Brad had only worked with him for one.
The cocaine helped, he supposed.
Shiloh slipped out of the party before Brad could come searching, not bothering to say his goodbyes to anyone else. Nobody there would notice he’d left until it was too late to stop him.
Shiloh dropped into the driver’s seat of his Bugatti and double-checked the backseat for his bag. Then he pulled off the manicured lawn and onto the street, leaving the townhouse behind him. He’d lived in Austin his whole life, except for brief vacations with his father as a child, so it wasn’t hard to find his way to one of the most exclusive clubs in the city.
He didn’t bother finding a parking spot. He grabbed his handbag and left his car on the street, throwing his keys to a man in a red velvet jacket standing on the sidewalk who, he realized as he strolled up the carpet toward the bouncer, had better have been a valet and not a man with poor fashion sense. At least Dad has good insurance.
The bouncer was moving the velvet rope for him before he reached it. “Mr. Beckett,” he rumbled, “always a pleasure.”
Shiloh fluttered his fingers in acknowledgment, paused for a handful of photos for the paparazzi loitering nearby, then sauntered into the club.
He headed straight to the dance floor. There was a VIP lounge on the second floor, but he didn’t come here to drink and schmooze. The strobing lights painted rainbows on his skin as he danced, his arms thrown carelessly into the air, rolling his hips, regardless of rhythm. He was a good dancer—more than good, great—but this wasn’t ballet, and he wasn’t performing. This was his attempt to briefly forget the real world and all the shit that came with it.
Three songs were all he allowed himself—three songs to be careless, three songs to lose himself in the bass and dance for nobody but him. Men groped his hips, ran teasing hands down his chest, even cupped his groin with grabby hands, but he didn’t care. He danced with a single-minded lack of focus.
And when his three songs were up, he dropped back into his body like an automobile crash, peeled himself away from the grabby hands and crossed the dance floor with the ease of practice. He’d been coming here for years before he was legal, and he knew the tricks like the back of his hand—the dip and sway to avoid getting tangled with dancers.
He took the stairs down to the lower bathrooms. The hallway was dimly lit, bodies little more than silhouettes shifting from shadow to shadow. More than one couple was pressed against the wall, their pants lowered to their knees as they copulated.
In these halls, he could be anyone, just another faceless stranger in a crowd. He ducked into one of the bathrooms—no one here cared about gender—and closed himself in a stall.
He stripped out of his couture dress, swapping it for a pair of knock-off jeans so tight that he might as well have not been wearing them and a white lace camisole with a stain near the hem. He replaced his Miu booties with pink All-Stars. Finally, he pulled out a pink wig and held it between his knees to keep it off the floor while he filled the bag with his discarded clothes. He spent a few seconds pulling his real hair up under a skull cap before he tugged on the wig. He couldn’t do much about his handbag. Hopefully people would assume it was a fake.
He stepped out of the stall and spent a few moments at the mirror readjusting the wig and touching up his makeup. He swapped his diamond eyebrow stud for sterling silver then stepped back, eyeing his reflection critically. He looked like himself, but…not. He looked like a knock-off of himself, which was exactly what he wanted.
He plastered on a grin and left the bathroom. The dance floor was even more crowded now. He merged into the sea of bodies, noticing several other wigs just like his. He grinned, enjoying the feel of anonymity as he started dancing again. Unlike earlier, though, this was a performance, every move just slightly off but geared to attract attention. He danced until sweat soaked his skin and thirst burned his throat.
He slid free of his current partner’s grip, ignoring the man’s groan as he headed for the bar. He pressed in tight between two men who were already waiting there, each brush of his body made to look accidental.
“Oops,” he yelled over the music as he bumped the man to his left with his hand. With the gold watch on his wrist, he looked like he could easily afford to buy Shiloh a drink—then an hour of his time as well.
“I’m Shiloh,” he introduced himself as the suited man looked down on him.
“Sure you are, and I’m Hugh Jackman.” The man laughed. It wasn’t cruel, but Shiloh feigned a pout. “What are you drinking, ‘Shiloh’?”
“Do they got an appletini?” Shiloh asked, playing up the wide-eyed, innocent look and poor grammar that a man like this would go for.
“Sure, sweetheart.” The man gestured to the bartender. Seconds later, a martini glass filled with the green cocktail appeared in front of Shiloh, complete with an umbrella.
“What’s your name?” Shiloh asked, stepping closer to be heard over the music, using it as an excuse to brush his hand over the other man’s hips. It was partly a tease, but also a subtle check. No gun or badge, at least not that he felt. He supposed a badge could be in the man’s wallet, but, short of pocketing that, he had no way to check.
Even a whore had to draw the lines somewhere—and he wasn’t a thief.
“Beckham.” The man leaned against the bar but didn’t try to escape Shiloh’s fingers. Shiloh removed them long enough to take a sip of his appletini. It was an indulgence he couldn’t allow himself often if he wanted to keep his figure. Then, he reached out and fiddled with a button on Beckham’s jacket.
“Just get off work?” he asked, peering up through his lashes.
“What gave it away?” Beckham drained the last of what looked like Scotch before abandoning the empty glass on the bar to give Shiloh his full attention.
“The suit. Are you a lawyer? You are, aren’t you?” Shiloh could tell a bespoke suit in one glance, and if Beckham’s didn’t cost at least a grand, he’d wear a pair of sweatpants out in public. Beckham lifted an eyebrow and Shiloh grinned. “I knew it. I knew you were a lawyer. Are you the kind that puts bad guys away? Or the kind that frees poor innocent people from behind bars?”
Beckham laughed. “Neither. I’m the kind who spends seventy hours a week cutting loopholes out of contracts—though I’ve been known to pick up a case or two to free up jail cells for the right price.”
Shiloh scrunched up his nose. “Gross. Well, you must be stressed after spending that many hours reading.” Shiloh shuddered like the thought made him physically ill. “How about we go back to your place and do something more fun? Tell you what… For a sexy man like you, I won’t even charge you full price.”
If the lawyer was surprised Shiloh was a professional, he didn’t show it. He just slid a handful of bills across to the bartender before putting his hand on Shiloh’s lower back, guiding him out of the club. A few paparazzi lifted their cameras as he exited, likely spotting the pink hair, before lowering them with a frown and a shake of their heads. He smothered his smile with a duck of his head, adding an extra sway to his hips for the hell of it.