Exclusive Excerpt: Jaded Hearts by Harper Sloan - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Exclusive Excerpt: Jaded Hearts by Harper Sloan

jaded-hearts

Bestselling author Harper Sloan’s latest—Jaded Hearts—is hitting ereaders today! This sexy contemporary romance kicks off the Loaded Replay series of interconnnected standalones, and is ready for you to devour. I’m thrilled to share with you an excerpt from the novel!

Get the book now: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble ✦

Synopsis

Signing with Brighthouse Records was supposed to be everything we ever wanted—our better life. Our chance at everything we never had but always wanted. All our dreams would finally come true and we were on top of the world.

It was our chance at the happiness we never had in life.

Our every desire was at our fingertips and the power of that feeling was all consuming. But then it took every dream we thought would come true and it slapped us in the face with the cold hard reality.

Dreams were just that…something that floated on the cusp of untouchable, taunting you with every graze of your fingertips before slipping even further away.

Happiness…that feeling is a joke.

In the end it became painfully obvious that each of us would always have each other, but we would forever be alone.

Excerpt

“My name is Chance Nash.  Thirty-one, single, no kids.  I’ve worked for Corps Security as head of personal security after spending a handful of years in the Marines.  My training as a former Marine was in special ops, specifically dealing with hostages in enemy territory.  I cannot give you more details than that, but my employer can verify the training that I gained from that.”  I take a deep breath before continuing, feeling like an idiot.  “I have a background in interrogation, as well as specialized training with various forms of combat and weapons.  I did a brief stint as a negotiator for the local PD SWAT team two years ago in my hometown of Hope Town, Georgia, but after some personal issues, I decided that it was best to focus on my work with Corps Security.  In all honesty, I needed a change of pace, and when your request came across our desks, I personally asked to foresee this job.  Granted that one is offered, that is.”

“Dude, you probably could have just said your name and position at your company, but uh … thanks?” the blond one, Jamison, says, but I’m not one hundred percent that that is his name.  You would have to live under a rock not to know who the members of Loaded Replay are, but I’ve never really paid much attention to them—past their lead, Wrenlee, that is.

Directing my attention to the last one who spoke, I continue.  “Jamison, is it?”  I wait, giving a brief nod when he confirms his name.  “Right, well, you should always know all that there is to know about the person or persons in charge of your safety.  I’m saving you the trouble of asking, as I’m sure that was coming next … after my name and position at Corps Security, that is.”

“Right,” he continues, deflating slightly.  I can tell he’s the type of guy who’s used to people laughing at his jokes.  I should save him the disappointment and let him know he won’t get that from me.

“What makes you think you’re the right man for the job?” Weston asks, and I almost cringe.  I know I’m right for the job, but after everything that happened back home a year ago, I can’t help the little seed of doubt that tries to plant itself inside me.

“Because when it comes down to it, my clients’ lives are the only thing that matter, even over my own, and I’ll do anything I need to in order to ensure their safety.  If the issues that are of concern remain, I will continue to care for the security, but I will also get to the bottom of the responsible parties.”

They’re silent for a beat before the one who had been silent up until this point speaks.  “Have you ever failed?”

“Luke, is it?” I inquire when he finishes speaking.

He nods.

“I’m not perfect, but when it comes to what I’m hired to do, my training, and the lives of others—I do the best to be as close to perfection as I can.  No one likes to fail, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t.  Even the best of the best have a black hash mark against him.  To answer your question, though, I failed once.  I can’t tell you how much shame I feel about it, and a lot of the reason why I need a change of pace is because being home reminds me of what was almost lost.  I’ve been told there was no way I would have been able to prevent what happened, no one could have, but that doesn’t make it any better.  So, with that said, while I might not be perfect, I will do everything in my power to be.”

“Honesty.  Not something we’ve experienced with the last bastards who came up here for the job,” Weston says.

“It’s the only way to go into something as serious as personal safety.  I’m not looking for new friends.  I’m here to do what is needed of me until you no longer need or want me here.  Just because I’m not here to be your next drinking buddy doesn’t mean I don’t care.  I guarantee you won’t find anyone better than myself or my team.”

“How many men are on your team?” Weston asks curiously, as he leans back in his seat, relaxing slightly.  Good, it seems like I’ve impressed the one I feel is the most important to have on my side when it comes to being hired.

“Three others.  One for each of you.  It’s my understanding that the main concern is your sister, but I believe that it would be best to have someone for you all.”

“And yourself?” Weston continues, his eyes growing from curious to condemning.

“I’m here for her and only her.  The other men who will be here as well are all highly trained, but no one is as good as I am.  You want her to be the main, so the main gets the best.  She’s the one you have stressed is in the most need of protection.  While I trust my men, I don’t trust anyone more than I trust myself.”

In their silence, I can hear her tinkering around further in the suite, far enough away not to hear us, but close enough that we’re all aware of her presence—being close.  I move my gaze around the room, making sure to lock eyes with each of the three men.

Leaning forward, elbows on knees, I resume.  “I’m not here to get my dick wet if that’s what your silence is really asking me.  I’m not sure of all the details with your past security experience, but I’m here to keep you all breathing and not for any other reason.”

“Are you fans of our music?” Jamison oddly asks.

“I am.”  There’s no sense in denying it because not many people out there aren’t fans.

“So you’re aware of us?” he adds.

“There isn’t anyone around who isn’t.”  Honesty drips from my words.  I can tell he isn’t asking to inflate his ego; instead, he’s trying to ascertain if I genuinely mean what I’m saying.

“Then you’re aware of Wren?”  He doesn’t have to say anything else for me to catch his meaning.  I let the silence linger as I think of the woman in question and how the media has labeled her.

She’s a goddess.

The unattainable one, according to the world that loves them.

The woman other females wish to be and the one males crave to be with.

She’s rarely spotted with a man outside of these three, so she’s become somewhat of the most eligible bachelorette to their fans.

She’s short, petite, and delicate, like a pixie.  Then she opens her mouth, and the raw power and dirty grit that has made her famous knocks you on your ass.  She might look delicate, but at that moment, when she’s performing, she becomes a delicate little badass.  She’s a contradiction wrapped up in one hell of a package.  One hell of a stunning package.

“I would lack a heartbeat if I wasn’t,” I reply, continuing with my honesty. There would be no point in handling their questions any other way.

“And?” her brother asks, now with a sharpness to his voice.

“Just because I’m not a blind or deaf man doesn’t mean I’m a stupid one.  You would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t feel the same way about her.  All I can do is assure you that it won’t be a problem.”  Even though I mean what I’m telling these men, a small part of me can’t help but wonder what I would do given the chance to have her.

“Right,” Jamison, the one I can tell is the carefree jokester, butts into the now tense room.  Disbelief hangs in the air.  “You’re aware that we’re about to pick up another six weeks’ worth of tour dates?  We’ll keep you on the road with us, and you’ll never go home in that time?”

“I’m aware, and it won’t be an issue,” I tell him, my eyes moving to Wren when she enters the room.

She has one hand holding up the ridiculously baggy sweatpants she’s wearing and the other carrying a beer.  She doesn’t give her attention to any of us before sitting down back in the seat next to her brother.  Tucking her legs under her ass again, she takes a sip of her drink.

“No family at home who would need your attention?”

I had been so busy looking at her that I missed who asked the question, but I give them all a quick glance before answering.  “No one besides some close friends, and since they’re all connected to Corps Security by blood or marriage, they understand and won’t need my attention, as you say.  In the last two years, I’ve been gone from home for all but a few months.  They’re used to not seeing me around.”

I don’t miss the look they give each other.

I don’t miss the look they all give Wren.

I don’t miss the nod of acceptance from her to the men in her life.

And I don’t miss the look of relief when I accept the job they offer me two minutes later.

The only thing that slipped my attention was the one thing that I couldn’t have predicted.

My life was about to change.

For the first time in almost ten years, I was about to set myself up to give someone else power over me.

And I would be powerless to stop it.

 

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