Guarding the BillionaireJane Harvey-Berrick
Guarding the Billionaire
Guarding the Billionaire
Copyright © 2019 Jane Harvey-Berrick
Editing by Kirsten Olsen
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Jane Harvey-Berrick has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Cover design by Lee Ching / Under Cover Designs
Formatting by Cassy Roop / Pink Ink Designs
Harvey Berrick Publishing
To Justin who inspired this more than he knows.
Table of Contents
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Chapter 1 – High School Musical
Chapter 2 – Larry of Arabia
Chapter 3 – Jarhead
Chapter 4 – Meet the Parents
Chapter 5 – You’ve Got to be Kidding Me
Chapter 6 – The Farm
Chapter 7 – Friends in Low Places
Chapter 8 – Dead Calm
Chapter 9 – Cosmopolis
Chapter 10 – Bewitched
Chapter 11 – The Birthday Party
Chapter 12 – Ch-Ch-Changes
Chapter 13 – The Parent Trap
Chapter 14 – Friends With Benefits
Chapter 15 – In the Line of Fire
Chapter 16 – Talking Turkey
Chapter 17 – Trainer versus Trainer
Chapter 18 – My Girl 2
Chapter 19 – Fatal Attraction
Chapter 20 – The Glass Web
Chapter 21 – Heartbreak Ridge
Chapter 22 – Dante’s Peak
Chapter 23 – The Graduate
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BILLIONAIRES. DON’T YA just love ‘em?
Money coming out of their asses. They get their people to call your people, and that’s just to schedule time to take a piss.
I should know. I’m one of the ‘people’ that gets called. Since I left the Marines, I’ve worked for a lot of millionaires, billionaires, gazillionaires. I’ve guarded European royalty and Saudi princes. I’ve stood next to politicians who’ve had death threats, and boybands who get mobbed by women wanting their babies. I’ve seen every vice and virtue, found every flaw, watched the shadows that darken lives.
And now, I’m working for the darkest, most twisted fucker that ever wore an Armani suit. Probably.
I work close protection.
I’m the silent bodyguard at the back of the room.
I’m the eyes watching you.
I’m the ears listening to you.
And I’m the foul-mouthed grunt with the gun who’ll take a bullet for you. Although I’d prefer not to, and if I do my job right, it’ll never come to that.
Intel is everything, so if anyone got the lowdown on my new boss, the media would have a field day. Why? Because the guy who signs my paychecks is a sick fuck, into bondage, domination, sadism and masochism—and that’s before breakfast—with a drawer full of files on his fuck buddies, submissives, who get tied up in his attached dungeon. Usually one at a time, but you never know. Still, at least he’s honest about who he is.
He’s a billionaire.
And I’m the man in black, guarding the billionaire.
High School Musical
Six months earlier, October…
THERE’S A CERTAIN TECHNIQUE to handling a naked girl—and I mean that in a strictly professional way.
This one looks about sixteen and she wasn’t expecting to see me. Probably because she’s hiding in the closet of Russell Vassal, lead singer of chart-topping boyband Rock Boys. You’ve never heard of them? Yeah, well, count yourself lucky. I hadn’t heard of them either until I joined their world tour a month ago.
I grab a quilt off the bed, bundle her up and hand her off to a female security officer, hoping that when the kid sees her idols aren’t as squeaky clean as she thought, she’s not traumatized.
But at least she won’t lose her virginity tonight, because it’s my guess that’s what she’s offering. Jeez, she looks so young.
The blond kid, the drummer, is snorting coke off a pair of tits belonging to a red-haired groupie when my phone rings.
I see my wife’s name and my sphincter tightens. Against my better judgement, I answer.
“I’m working, Carla.”
“I want a divorce.”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
These days, it’s what passes for a conversation with my wife of eleven years.
She takes a deep breath and I can hear the venom in her voice.
“And I’m going for full custody of Lilly. It’s not like you ever see her anyway.”
The call drops and just like that, my evening is officially fucked.
Then the drummer, Derrick, comes in his pants while motorboarding Colombian marching powder.
Sighing, I signal one of the other bodyguards to take him to the bathroom and clean him up, or at least get the evidence out of sight. I’ve already confiscated every cell phone in the room, but I can’t afford to be too careful. There’s money in celebs making asses of themselves, and the person who has the evidence is gonna make some serious moolah.
I’m paid the big bucks to stop that from happening.
Milton, a heavyweight dude covered with tattoos and a scar down one cheek, throws me an annoyed look as he walks toward me, but he doesn’t argue. Instead, he grabs the kid by his collar and manhandles him out of the room.
The groupie stares at me with huge brown eyes, the pupils shrunk to pinpoints. She strokes her tits and offers them up to me, her head cocked on one side.
What, no hello?
I’m not tempted in the slightest. Sloppy seconds from a groupie who’s serviced every guy on the tour bus including Jerome the geriatric driver? No thanks.
Besides, I wasn’t lying to Carla—this is my work. Currently, I’m on tour with the hottest
boy band on the planet. At least, that’s what their marketing whizz kid tells me. All I know is that each day I have to listen to their crappy pop music that makes my ears bleed, and each night I have to watch them partying it up with groupies, hookers, and assorted suppliers—meaning dealers.
Their big hit is Strolling with Rocks. No, I’m not making that up.
I’m strolling with rocks
My life full of knocks
Gonna stick that shit
In a damn big box.
Teenagers love it because it’s deep.
The world is doomed.
But if I was in charge, I’d clean out the pushers and the whores, and hope the kids make it to 21 with most of their brain cells functioning and without a stint in rehab. Instead, they’re surrounded by yes-men, and living every teenage guy’s fantasy. Except it’s killing them and they don’t even know it.
I’m so tired of this gig, but it pays the bills and I need the money.
There are pros and cons to both short assignments like this three month tour or longer ones: time away from home versus money earned. Generally speaking, the longer the operation, the better opportunity to tailor the protective effort to the needs of the principal and according to resources—and these resources are more likely to increase over time. And generally speaking, the more time spent with a principal, the better the rapport and greater the trust. Although not on the current job.
Last month, my job was guarding some minor European royalty. Great-great-grand-nephew of Queen Victoria and the Kaiser. Yeah, gotta love that gene pool. But at least Archduke Klaus-Ferdinand was discreet about his addiction to male prostitutes and weed.
As long as the dudes he hired weren’t underage, it wasn’t my business. I ended up kinda liking the old guy. But then he died, which was a slight setback to my career, even though it wasn’t my fault. Okay, maybe I should have known that a party with five guys wearing leather from a Berlin club might be too much for a ninety-three year old with a weak heart, but I like to think that he died with a smile on his face.
Unfortunately, the Polizei were involved, which meant I lost my ‘anonymity guarantee’ bonus.
Which is why I’m currently on tour with this bunch of musical misfits.
Carla’s angry words allow a moment of emotion to filter through. When I think of my baby, six year-old Lilly, I suspect that she’s about to become the bargaining chip in what’s ramping up to be a bitter divorce.
I knew this was coming—I’m not a totally dumb grunt. I put two and two together a year ago when she told me I couldn’t come back to the house I’d bought for us. The only reason she didn’t serve me the papers immediately was because she couldn’t afford a divorce lawyer. Which is why I can’t leave this gig or any other job—we both need the money. Oh, the fucking irony.
I don’t give a shit. I’m paid to keep the fuckers safe; I’m not paid to wipe their asses.
In this life, there are two kinds of bodyguards. There are the big brawny ones, the obvious ones, the ones with muscles up to their eyeballs and steroids shrinking their dicks. They keep things from getting too rowdy and are there to cut a swathe through crowds of fans, but also act as gofers and procurers for their clients. And sometimes they have to wipe their asses, too. Milton, poor bastard, comes into this category.
Then there are guys like me, paid to do the risk assessment and threat triage. I scope out venues and hotels, plan driving routes and escape routes. I’m the one who nixes the rooms that are vulnerable to snipers because there’s another skyscraper across the street. I’m the one who knows the emergency protocol in the event of a fire, flood or plague of locusts. I’m the one who has to think the unthinkable to keep my client safe. I stay in the background, blending and anonymous. Guys like me, we’re almost all ex-military and we’re paid to make sure shit doesn’t happen, and to keep the client alive if it does.
My co-worker for the night is all muscle and weighs 300 pounds, but I know that I scare him. I can see it in his eyes. He sees the killer in me: trained by Uncle Sam, honed by all my adult years in the Marines, and finished with a decade of those years spent fighting a guerrilla war against the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and a number of other nameless assholes who have personally threatened my right to exist.
Along with the Brits, the US provide the most coveted CP operatives in the world. I’d say that’s because we champion the balance of soft skills like organization, planning and liaising with third parties, as well as the hard skills such as immediate action planning which are the emergency measures in reaction to emergent circumstances. Like royalty protection in the UK or the US Secret Service—layers of security from a well-dressed CPO standing next to the President, through to the more heavily armed counter assault teams operating in vehicles or marksmen on roofs hundreds of yards out of sight. The finesse on the surface, with the nastiness to back it up when it matters.
But right now, I’m nanny to a bunch of horny, tone-deaf, teenage rock stars. Still, it pays better than the Marines and there’s less chance of getting my ass shot off.
Anyone in the public eye wants to be able to project their image and presence to fans. To quote the textbook, ‘this may cause them to prioritize actions or activities incompatible with meaningful protection’—in other words, act like dickheads. Also, in the controlled chaos of a club or festival environment, there aren’t necessarily well established rings of security on which the personal protection operation can rely. And many celebrities will have managers or other sycophantic individuals surrounding them, who definitely don’t appreciate the close working relationship that a CPO requires with their principal, and may resent the protection team. Fucktards.
As Milton comes out of the bathroom looking pissed and giving me the evil eye, an unpleasant aroma follows him into the party room.
“Stupid kid shit himself. I’m not paid enough to clean that up.”
“Did he throw up?”
“Yeah, he managed to get that in the shitter.” Milton screws up his face. “I’ve put him in the recovery position with a towel under his head.”
“Okay. Check on him every 15 minutes. Any change in his breathing or pulse, let me know. Fucker can clean himself up in the morning.”
Milton gives a quick grin, flashing his gold incisor.
“You got it, T.”
I give instructions to wind the party down. Yeah, I could have stopped the dealers and hookers from getting in the hotel suite in the first place, but the band’s management likes the bad-boy publicity it generates. Before their taste of stardom, they were just five kids from Idaho—their management wants them to show a few rough edges, not too white-bread. But I can already see that they’re getting addicted to this lifestyle, and it’s a slippery slope from here all the way to rehab. But no one wants to hear that. Not from me.
The other guys in the band give me some attitude, getting in my face because I’m spoiling their fun, but I’ve learned how to read people over the years, and I know that they’re pretty damn happy that they don’t have to live up to this shit anymore tonight. They would never admit it, but they’re missing those boundaries that they left behind when they went on tour.
They’re not bad kids, just young and dumb. Then again, when I was their age, I’d already faced my first insurgent and seen friends die. You’re not young after you’ve experienced shit like that. Sometimes being 32 feels ancient.
The hotel suite is a mess: drinks spilled and dubious substances drip from several surfaces. The hotel will tack on a grand to the bill for the deep clean, plus we’ll have to pay out another to the cleaning crew to keep them mostly silent. Like I said, the band’s management likes to keep them in the headlines; I think their philosophy is that there’s no such thing as bad press. Stupid fuckers. These kids are just fodder to them. As long as they keep selling records.
Among my other responsibilities is to keep it secret that one of the kids is gay. Poor Gareth is so far in the closet that he’s probably seen Narnia. The group�
�s management plans to keep that piece of juicy gossip out of the news. Personally, I think they should worry more that he’s tone deaf. One of the sound engineers told me that they switch off his mike and he lipsyncs. But he’s a pretty boy and can dance his ass off, so they keep him.
Only one of them has any talent as far as I can see, but he’s horseshit ugly with bad skin, so they hide him behind the keyboards and take all the credit for his work.
Cynical? Me? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
I supervise the clean-up, keeping an eye on who’s entering and leaving the room, hand out wads of cash, then finally head to my room for a cozy three hours sleep before doing it all over again. Milton, the poor bastard, is on vomit-watch. Until Derrick wakes up enough to get to bed, the bodyguard will have to stay with him.
I wake at five with the thought I’d better get lawyered up if I ever want to see my baby girl again.
Another month touring Europe, then I can go home.
“TRAINER, I’VE GOT another job for you when you’ve finished with the Rock Babies.”
“Not interested,” I reply, wishing I hadn’t answered my boss’s call.
“Why the hell not?”
Mason is the guy who sends work my way. Technically, I’m freelance, but habit has me biting my tongue to stop myself calling him ‘boss’. He was my C.O. in the Marines. When he retired two years ago, he set up a security company, saying there’d be work for me when I’d had enough of being a Leatherneck. I hadn’t figured it would be this soon, but knowing my marriage was in trouble, I’d tapped out. Too late.
“I need to be stateside to see my baby girl. Carla served me papers.”
There’s a long silence on the other end of the phone.
I don’t answer and Mason sighs. He’s been married and divorced twice with two families on either side of the country, so I know he gets it.
“You’ll want to take this job, Trainer. Pay is off the charts. Look, another month won’t make a difference now, but what the client is prepared to pay you will.”