He’s definitely built. His clothes are custom tailored. He’s wearing a navy blue suit, which is broad in the shoulders and loose enough in the sleeves that when he moves, it just hints at muscled arms, with a white shirt and tie— alternating stripes of navy, light blue, and white. A Rolex on his left wrist peaks from under his sleeve which are held closed by monogrammed cuff-links. This guy screams money, and a lot of it.
“Mr. Mason, this is Jax Unnami, Unit Chief for the Human Trafficking Taskforce. They’ve been assigned to protect you for a while.” Hyde steps to the side as Jax steps forward and shakes hands with Mason.
“Three of you? I was under the impression your team was larger than this. Monroe made it sound like I was getting a small army,” Blake says in a deep, solid tone.
Jesus Christ. Listening to him talk is like plunging into a hot tub after hours in the snow.
His eyes lock on mine and he stills, his mouth hanging slightly open. Something in my stomach pulls and involuntarily my body shifts forward. I square my shoulders, holding my breath for a moment.
Jax laughs, letting go of his hand. “You are actually. Two of our members have already been sent to your apartment to get settled in, and the other 3, including your new driver, will be meeting us later today.”
"Yes, Hyde mentioned I’d need to let my current driver go," Blake says, raising his eyebrow. "Though, I don't understand why it matters who's driving me."
"I doubt your driver is as skilled as Jameson Scott. That’s your new driver’s name," I say, stepping up next to Jax. Dresden does the same on the other side.
"My driver's worked for me for five years and is a dear employee. Your skills don't make me any happier about letting a valued employee go," he says sternly.
I meet his gaze. "Well, your happiness isn't our problem. Your life is. Jameson's an ex-marine, and can drive anything from a tank to a motorcycle, so when the choice is run or die, you may appreciate his driving skills more than your valued employee."
"Are all your team members this smart mouthed?" Blake keeps his eyes locked on mine.
Dresden coughs to cover his laughter.
"No, sir. She's one of a kind." Jax shoots me an annoyed, but affectionate glance.
"And does she have a name?"
I tilt my head up as he takes a step toward me. He's a tall son-of-a-bitch. That annoying pull hits my stomach again and I lock my knees to keep from moving forward.
"Mr. Mason, this is Lily Williams. She'll be your personal security."
"Well.” He licks his lips and smirks, the right side of his mouth pulling upward slightly. “It’ll be interesting if nothing else." His voice is low as he extends his hand to me.
I stand straighter and square my shoulders, trying to use the tension to hide the low roll of shakes that threatens to take over my limbs and swallow the fear that comes with the mere thought of touching his hand to shake it.
"I expect the people around me to have manners," he says, running his tongue along his bottom lip.
"Lily doesn't physically touch anyone, sir. It's nothing personal," Jax whispers.
"Oh, really? And why not?"
"That's none of your fucking business," I snap.
His eyes widen for a moment and then narrow. He steps toward me again, lowering his hand, and my whole body tenses, hands shaking at my sides.
"I wonder if I'll actually be safe with you, Agent Williams." His voice is low and husky.
"Perfectly safe. Providing you can follow orders and not make things difficult." He stares at me, anger and mistrust deep in his eyes. I sigh loudly and roll my eyes. “Look, man. I’m not gonna shake your hand but I will promise to kill anyone who as much as breathes in your direction in a manner we find threatening. Just behave and don’t give me a headache.”
He laughs and it's a deep, musical sound. "I'll try to behave myself." He winks and turns back toward Jax. They introduce Dresden, and then head over to the table to discuss some details and our pending trip to Baltimore.
I stay back, keeping as much distance between me and this guy as I can.
"You'll have your hands full with this one," Dresden whispers in my ear, startling me.
"Yeah, no shit."
After another 15 or 20 minutes, Blake Mason leaves the room to head to his family outing with the reassurance that we’ll join him in a few hours. It’s only ten in the morning and I already need this day to be over.