Authors: Sean Michael
“Over the years, I have read several of Sean Michael’s books and this is the best one yet.”
—Hearts on Fire
is a tender and sweet Love story that I thoroughly enjoyed.”
—Top 2 Bottom Reviews
“This book took me on an emotional ride, it made me sad, and angry and happy. Not to mention flushed because when these two men come together they melt the frosting right off the cupcakes!”
—Guilty Indulgence Romance Reviews
“Sean Michael is such a versatile author you never quite know what you are going to get… This book was more of a heartwarming love story with plenty of hot sex thrown in to keep you on your toes.”
—The Novel Approach
“I found myself in love with this novel from the start. It was amazing, sexy, and dynamite. The more I read it, the more I loved it.”
—MM Good Book Reviews
The Swag Man Delivers
Two Tickets to Paradise (Dreamspinner Anthology)
5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886 USA
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of author imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
© 2015 Sean Michael.
© 2015 Brooke Albrecht.
Cover content is for illustrative purposes only and any person depicted on the cover is a model.
All rights reserved. This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of international copyright law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction, fines, and/or imprisonment. Any eBook format cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Suite 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886, USA, or http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/.
Digital ISBN: 978-1-63216-817-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2014920697
First Edition March 2015
Printed in the United States of America
This paper meets the requirements of
ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper).
on the little chair in the waiting room, feeling like some sort of oversized gorilla.
There’d been three other bodyguards waiting when he’d arrived, but two had gone in and come back out in short order. The last guy ahead of him had lasted a minute or two longer. A tired-looking blonde had poked her head out as well, telling him she needed a couple minutes.
He glanced at his watch. He was between jobs and didn’t have anywhere to be, so it wasn’t like he minded waiting. This chair, though, was a little on the uncomfortable side. He shifted, the whole thing creaking ominously. It was small, and he was worried it wasn’t going to hold his weight.
You could say a lot of things about him—he was a solid guy, trustworthy, surefooted, and reliable. One thing you couldn’t say? He was small.
He debated getting up and standing over by the window or something, but he didn’t want Donna Heard to think he was antsy or getting cold feet. Reg Storm, who’d given him the heads-up on the job after he’d finished a stint keeping the rock star safe from a stalker, had told him Donna was a real stickler.
A ballbuster, even.
And obsessed with keeping her pseudovampire, crazy-assed-fans-sending-blood-in-the-mail singer alive.
It was a good thing he liked a challenge and didn’t judge.
He shifted, and the chair creaked alarmingly again. Okay, he was standing. Looking like he was restless had to be better than breaking the damn chair.
The door opened about the same time his ass left the chair. “Sorry for the delay. I had a phone call. Please, come in.”
“No worries. I’m sure you’re very busy.” He held out his hand. “I’m Rye Sommers.”
“Donna Heard. Pleased.” The office was classy, furnished with heavy, overstuffed furniture, way more solid than the stuff in the waiting area. “Have a seat.”
“Thank you.” He sat, nothing creaking or shifting in warning. Oh thank God. That was just… ridiculous.
“Sorry about the tiny chairs out there. You’re… a big guy.”
That had him chuckling. “You did nearly have firewood there. Big is what you need, though, right?” Little guys weren’t bodyguards.
“Absolutely. And LJ is… challenging.” She leaned back, steepled her fingers, and was completely in control.
“Challenging? I’m good with challenges. Can you be more specific?” He knew LJ stood for Lord January. Lord. January. He’d seen pictures of the guy too. Skinny, tattoos, piercings, and makeup. Lots of makeup.
“First, tell me about you. About your specialties.”
“I’ve been bodyguarding for six years. I’ve never lost a client. I specialize in twenty-four/seven care.”
“And you’re comfortable with travel? This is a long-term position.”
Long term was good. It would be nice to have something a little more permanent. He was tired of bouncing from job to job.
“I don’t even have a goldfish for someone to feed while I’m away.”
“I’ve checked your references. You come highly recommended. LJ needs round-the-clock attention. And I want you working solo. The last thing he needs is two or three strangers coming into his life full-time. As you can imagine, his persona is… not conducive to normal life.”
“I googled him. I imagine not everything I read was true, but it seems very, uh, colorful.”
The man was apparently in rehab. Of course he also apparently ate live rats every Friday night before having a massive orgy.
“Colorful is one word for it.” Donna rolled her eyes. “He’s been in rehab—willingly, I might add—and from all reports, he’s done well. The doctors say he’s stronger than he was when he went in. He’s gained thirty-five pounds. He’s clean. It’ll take seven seconds on the road with all those assholes for it to be ripped apart.”
“So you want me to run interference with the groupies, the band, anyone who tries to get him hooked again?”
“I need someone to keep him safe, fed, clean. Keep the pushers away from him, as best you can. Temptations are everywhere, and LJ is… easily tempted. He gets bored, stressed, worried. You have eight weeks before he goes on the road, then a thirty-week world tour.”
“How far do I go to keep him clean?”
“His heart stopped twice the night before we admitted him. Twice.” Suddenly Donna seemed like an avenging fucking angel. “I’ll pull him off the road forever if it saves his life.”
“So I won’t be fired for sitting on him to keep him from going out and getting a hit?”
“He can’t fire you. I do ask that we keep this as private as possible. His image is one thing, his real life another. You work for me, personally.”
“I’m not sure what you’re saying. Do you mean he won’t know you hired me or what for?” Rye wasn’t sure about that. The best way to protect a client was to be up front with them.
“No, sir. I mean he can’t fire you. He can fuss and bluster, but only I can fire you.”
“Okay.” He nodded. “I take it his public image is to remain….” He waved his hand.
“January the Vampire Lord.” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm.
How did something like that start?
“As long as I don’t have to call him ‘my lord,’ I think this will work.”
“LJ is fine.”
“I’m licensed to carry a firearm. Do you want me to?” Some clients felt more comfortable if he was armed; others felt just the opposite.
She stopped and gave the matter some thought. “Perhaps keep one locked away. He might… I don’t know.”
Lord January was rich, famous, with millions of screaming fans, yet it sounded like he wasn’t very happy. Hell, her fear of suicide added to the addictions told that story. “You don’t want him to have access. I have a lockbox for it. That way it’ll be fairly easy for me, but only me, to get to.”
“Yes. Oh yes. Please.” She looked so relieved.
“How closely do I need to watch him for… self-destructive behavior?”
“I think the only not-destructive thing he’s ever done is agree to rehab.”
“So at some point this stopped being an interview and started being a game plan. I take it I have the job?” Thinking back to how quickly the other interviews had ended, he had to wonder if he was the only one who hadn’t run off screaming. January sounded like a handful, and it was a huge responsibility, taking it on without backup.
“I take it you do.”
“I gather from what I’ve read that… LJ is still in rehab. I’d like to go through the house before he gets out, make sure any threats have been removed, and become familiar with it. I’ll also need a list of who else has access to LJ, who I can expect to be in his life on a regular basis. I assume you’ve kept a file of threats made on his life.” He went into work mode, running through a checklist in his head.