Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Deceiving Bella – book eleven in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series.
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New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary. Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters. Don’t hesitate to jump right in!
Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.
Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.
Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.
The Inspiration Behind Deceiving Bella:
I must admit that one of my most favorite parts of the writing process is figuring out who my characters are going to be. Typically, I have vague ideas but as I start the storytelling process, my heroes and heroines evolve and grow until I can visualize them as living, breathing people. I always begin with character sketches, giving each central figure in the story a life that starts with their birth and takes them to the present day. It’s vital to know who they are and how they tick (the experiences that make them exactly who they are when my readers meet them). For Deceiving Bella, I thought it would be fun to share an adventure where the hero and heroine have absolutely nothing in common (or so it seems). Despite Reed and Bella’s differences, they make a great team. I hope you enjoy their story.
Read an excerpt from Deceiving Bella:
They kept a slow pace, strolling in silence as the breeze plastered their clothes to their bodies and the constant sound of waves hypnotized, lulling Reed into relaxing by degrees.
“Thanks for coming with me tonight. It’s nice having company.”
He looked at Bella, staring at the fading light playing off her eyes. “The water smells better than a bunch of sweaty guys.”
“Your gym.” Her brow creased ever so slightly as she held his gaze. “What do you do for fun?”
“Work and box.”
“Sounds…like a good time.”
“I like it.”
“Do you smile?”
He frowned. “Huh?”
“I was wondering if you ever smile—or laugh. I haven’t seen you do either since we met.”
He sent her an exaggerated grin.
He smiled for real this time, finding her laughter infectious.
“You do smile. I wasn’t sure if you had some sort of facial paralysis we hadn’t discussed yet.”
“You should do that more often.” She hooked her arm through his.
He almost missed a step as the warmth of her skin met his, surprised by her casual gesture. He wasn’t used to people being so touchy-feely. “I do it plenty.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it.”
How was it possible she smelled even better now that they stood so close? It had to be her hair. “I don’t know what to say to that.”
She stopped abruptly. “Are you seeing anyone?”
He studied her, not sure that he liked where this was going. “No. You interested?”
She shook her head. “You’re not really my type.”
He tried to ignore the direct hit to his ego. “You’re not mine either.”
Another smile warmed her face. “I think we could be great friends, and I like projects—love them, actually.”
His frown returned. “And that means…”
“It means I like you. And I love that you don’t seem to have any interest in getting into my pants.”
Years of concealing any and all facial expressions kept his eyes from popping wide. “Wow.” He ran his hand through his hair, speechless once again. “Okay.”
She laughed. “I’m a big fan of honesty—putting it right out there.”
He chuckled as he settled his sunglasses on top of his head. “Clearly.”
They started walking again.
“There’s something about you that feels…safe.”
He raised his brow, taken aback. He’d been called many things, but this was a first. “Safe?”
She nodded. “Safe. It’s a good thing, but you’re pretty serious. We need to lighten you up. You need to play more.”
“I play plenty. I box.”
She scoffed, “Beating someone’s face in can’t lead you down the road to happiness.”
Her side brushed his with every step. He imagined he should ease away, break their connection, but he liked the way she felt, that she trusted him. “There’s more to boxing than beating someone’s face in.”
She looked at him as if she wasn’t so sure.
“I’ll have to show you—” He glanced over his shoulder when he realized they hadn’t seen Lucy for a while and laughed as the dog lay on her back in the sand with her front paws in the air. “What is she doing?”
He laughed again, shaking his head. “I’ve never seen anything like that.” His eyes met Bella’s as she stared at him. “What?”
“You have a great laugh.”
To his surprise, he was having a great time. It shocked him further that he liked Bella as much as she seemed to like him. Being here with her was exactly what he’d needed. “How long do you want to stay?”
“The sun sets soon. It’s the best part.”
The sand wasn’t bothering him much, and he couldn’t remember the last time his shoulders felt so loose. “I don’t have a blanket.”
“We can sit on our shoes.” She tossed hers down. “We can plunk ourselves right here.”
Lucy rolled to her side, stood, and ran their way.
He shrugged, dropping his flip-flops to the ground. “I guess this is as good a place as any.”
“It’ll be spectacular.” She took his hand, pulling him down next to her. “You won’t regret it.”
“We’ll have to remember a blanket next time.”
She smiled. “You want to come back?”
He stared ahead, petting Lucy when she curled up next to him, breathing in Bella with each inhalation. “I could see myself doing this again.”
She gave his shoulder a bump. “Good. You can be my beach buddy.”
He nodded, liking the idea. “Yeah, sure.”
“Great.” He crossed his ankles in the sand, his foot brushing Bella’s as they settled in to enjoy the show. It had been too damn long since he watched a sunset.
Did you enjoy the excerpt? You can read the first chapter on my website, www.catebeauman.com, or you can finish the whole book with the links below!
About the author:
International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers' Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards.
Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.