ABOUT THE BOOK
The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood and violent teen years and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge.
He is her guardian, but she’ll do anything within her power to protect him. His only duty is to keep her safe, but he can’t save her.
Holly Cambridge is just a typical kid, or so she thinks, until one day, she takes a good look around and realizes her friends don’t have bodyguards dogging their every step.
At the age of sixteen, Holly is assigned a new bodyguard, Randy Phillips. He is a tall, muscular, God-like force in the young, impressionable and lonely girl’s life. He is her friend, her confident, her conscience, and the older man she adores beyond reason.
Randy Phillips is fully aware of his young charge’s adolescent crush on him. Although he is flattered by the adulation, he maintains a safe distance and professional demeanour until Holly is wounded in a rival family blood feud, and the course of both their lives is changed forever.
Author's note: This book is the first book in a family saga series. The first five books end with To Be Continued. Although is this series is listed as contemporary suspense, there is a twisty angst-ridden romantic element, though the first five installments do not end with a HFN.
Something big was going down. It was just after Christmas holidays and school started back up the next day. I loved school. Not really because of the work or even because of my friends. But it was my chance to get out and be a normal kid like everyone else. Well, as normal as you could be, with an entourage of security shadowing you.
Dad had moved April and Carl back into the house and all the suits had gathered. Everyone was speaking in hushed tones as if someone had died. Maybe that was it.
“Holly.” It was Teddy. “Your father would like to see you in the study.”
I followed as a knot of dread took up residence in my stomach.
I entered my father’s office. Teddy closed the door behind me and remained outside.
My father sat behind his big desk looking somewhat flushed, but angry. Big Tom and Buddy were there. And Randy, he was seated on the opposite side of the desk from my father. Patrick stood next to an empty chair beside Randy, which he gestured me into. I sat and Paddy stayed by my side.
Expectantly, all attention shifted to my father.
He took a deep breath and looked at me. “You are no longer a child and I need you to take this seriously. A threat has been made against us.”
It was serious, all right. I looked at the faces around him.
He continued, “You will go nowhere alone. Do you understand me? Nowhere! I thought about taking you out of school…”
I started to rise up out of my chair in protest. School was all I had, the only time I got to go out of the house, really. The only time I was around other people my own age. And I had obligations of my own, people who counted on me.
This had happened once before and I had thrown an absolute fit about being imprisoned. I would not stand for it.
“Sit down!” My father snarled at me.
Randy’s hand fisted on the arm of the chair. Gingerly I lowered myself back down into the chair. Gently, Patrick squeezed my shoulder.
“I said,” he began again. “I considered removing you from school and having you home schooled, but I know how once before you let me know how important having a normal life was to you. If you promise to abide by the rules I am about to outline for you, you may remain at school. But if you f**k up, even one time, Holly, I will lock you up in this house until you’re twenty-five.”
I blinked. He cursed at me! My father said the f word right in front of me. I couldn’t believe it. This was serious.
“Do I make myself clear?” he enunciated.
I nodded, wide eyed and just a little bit frightened.
“You will have guards with you at all times.” Well, that was really nothing new.
“And Randy will be at your side, always.” Oh, but that was new!
“Is he coming to school with me?” I thought I was making a joke. Apparently, it was the wrong time.
My dad slammed his fist on the desk and came out of his chair. “I f*ckin’ told you she was too young for this. She has no f*ckin’ idea,” he yelled at the assemblage.
All of a sudden each man in the room moved at once. Randy put himself between the desk and me. Patrick flanked my other side. Buddy tried to calm my father, and Tom, well Tom just took up a great deal of space.
“It will work, Mr. Cambridge. We have to make it look as if everything is normal around here. And Holly continuing school is the best way to make it seem as if we have no idea what’s coming. We can protect her. I will keep her safe.” Randy went to bat for me. It would seem all the men in the room had.
I trembled in my seat, almost cowering behind Randy’s big body.
Buddy spoke softly to my father but I couldn’t hear his words. He took out a pill bottle from his inside coat pocket and placed two pills into my father’s hand. My father put them in his mouth and swallowed them dry. What were those pills? What was going on? I’d never seen him take any kind of medication before.
I peeked past Randy to see my dad. His face was red, his eyes bulging.
He turned to Randy with that strange unnatural gleam in his eye, the same one I had witnessed the night of April’s wedding and he said coldly, “If anything happens to her, I will kill you!”
“Understood, Sir,” Randy replied calmly, as if his life had not just been threatened, but I could feel the tension rolling off of him.
“Get the hell out of here! All of you!” My father ordered as he flopped back down into his chair.
Randy spun around and took my arm and we sped out of the office. I realized Paddy was still at my back. They took me to the kitchen, where Randy pulled out a chair and pushed me into it. He got out cookies and milk, of all things, and set them in front of me. Nothing like throwing it in my face that he thought of me as a child. He then sat beside me and Patrick sat across the table from us both. My gaze darted between the two of them and I waited for someone to tell me what the hell was happening.
“What is going on?” I asked Patrick, but my eyes started to fill with tears so I looked to the person I trusted most in the world, warranted or not. “I’m scared.” Tears ran down my cheeks. I was not so much afraid for myself, but for these brave men around me.
Randy pulled his chair closer and thumbed away one of my tears. Patrick cleared his throat and Randy lowered his hand away from my face.
“Don’t be scared. We’ll keep you safe. It’s what we do. I won’t let anything happen to you,” he promised, his stormy stare intense.
I knew that. I believed him. “I know you won’t, but what about you?”
“What about me?” He seemed highly insulted by my question.
“I don’t want anything to happen to you because of me.”
“I’ll be fine,” he said gruffly.
“But what’s going on? What exactly is the threat? Is it the Mayhues?” The Mayhues were my father’s nearest rival and biggest threat. “What were those pills that Buddy gave him?”
Randy opened his mouth but Patrick spoke. “We are not fully aware of the exact danger, Holly.”
I knew that was a load, they were doing their usual and just keeping me out of everything.
“We just need to be on alert and protect the family. We’ve done it before. Everything will return to normal, nothing to worry about or be afraid of. You just follow the rules and listen to Randy.”
This was Patrick’s way of placating me, like he used to when I was little, not answering my questions but easing my fears by telling me nothing. He even handed me a candy from his pocket, just like he used to, and I took it, unwrapped it and put it into my mouth.
“I mean, you do whatever he tells you. No questions. No arguments. You just do it. Okay! You go nowhere alone. Not school. Not to the library. You don’t go anywhere without letting someone know where you are.”
“Where’s your cell phone? The new one you got for Christmas?” Randy asked.
I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to him. The pink plastic looked funny in his big masculine hands. It was then that I noticed his knuckles. “Oh my God, Randy, what happened to your hands?” Unthinkingly, I reached out and traced gently over the swollen abrasions. But abruptly he pulled away and exchanged a quick look with Paddy.
“Nothing happened,” he answered too quickly, then rushed ahead ignoring my concern. “I’m going to programme this with some important numbers. We’ll go over them and you’ll know who to call and in what situation to use what numbers.”
I sighed. This was way too much for me. As much as I hated being kept in the dark, as I sat there listening to scenarios I had no control over, I was beginning to think ignorance was preferable. This was way too real for the girl that was kept away from everything.
MEET THE AUTHOR
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and several sub-genres. Including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.
Author Page @eXtasy Books http://www.extasybooks.com/index.php?route=product/author&author_id=978
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