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and her smile are making me rethink my “no city girl” rule
for the first time in five years.
She’s Going To Ruin My Day
My mom always taught me to listen to my gut. Today my gut said don’t open the front door, but I didn’t listen. I wish I had.
When I swing the large wrought iron door open, a beautiful woman stands before me, mocha skin, tailored pink pantsuit, manicured nails, expensive handbag, stilettos, and a broad Crest white smile.
A city girl first thing in the morning, this is guaranteed to be a bad day. And even though she’s beautiful, I still fight the urge to roll my eyes and slam the door in her face when I greet her.
“Can I help you?” I ask through gritted teeth.
“Yes, please, good morning, I’m Allison Green, and I’m here to see Mr. Ash Pride. I have a nine o’clock meeting,” she says looking at me with curious eyes. I scan my mental schedule for Ash today. Nope, I don’t know anything about an appointment with Allison Green.
“I’m sorry, I’m Mr. Pride’s assistant, and I don’t have you on the schedule for today.”
Her smile falters and recovers right away when she sees someone walking up behind me. “Stella, it’s so good to see you again. I think I may have gotten the dates mixed up. Weren’t we supposed to do the photo shoot today?” she asks Stella, Ash’s very pregnant wife. She’s hurrying to the door trying to wiggle her foot into her shoe while she waddles. Stella’s been frazzled lately trying to study, getting ready for a new baby, and taking care of her five-year-old stepson, Cannon.
“Oh gosh, I’m so sorry I’m late,” she says, her nervous eyes flicking back and forth between Ms. Green and me. “I got caught up with Cannon, and well you know, kids!” She throws up her hands and opens her eyes wide to drive home the point. “Come in, come in. Ash is waiting for you downstairs by the pool. Do you remember the way?”
“Yes, of course, no problem. I’ll go on down, but could you send the crew when they arrive? They should only be a few minutes unloading,” she asks eying me again like she’s trying to place me. This is why I don’t like people with the media. They never forget a face.
“Sure, I’ll show them the way.”
I listen to Ms. Green’s heels clicking on the marble floor of the foyer as she walks away. When she’s out of earshot, I look at Stella. “Are you going to explain to me what that’s all about?”
She nervously places her hands on her belly. “Yes, Ridge, I’m so sorry. I was supposed to be waiting for her at nine o’clock so you wouldn’t have to deal with any of this.”
“With any of what?” I ask arching one eyebrow. I don’t like being kept in the dark about things on Ash’s schedule, as I am the one who schedules everything, I thought.
She looks away avoiding direct eye contact, and I know I’m not going to like what I hear. “Allison is from Realm Magazine. It’s a subsidiary of People Magazine. They are doing a follow up on Ash’s Sexiest Man Alive story with a Sexiest Man Alive, One Year Later story. It must be a slow week for them,” she says with a nervous laugh.
Reporters again. Great. Ash was voted Sexiest Man Alive last year, and I hid out for a month upstairs like Quasimoto to keep from being recognized while they were in and out of the house taking pictures and interviewing him.
“That would have been good to know. Any reason I wasn’t warned?”
“Well, uh, yes, that would be my fault, too.” She picks at her fingernails the way she does when she’s in an uncomfortable situation. “I’m sorry, Ridge I’ve had so much on my plate lately, I don’t know why I agreed to handle this for Ash. I don’t think she recognized you, though, do you?”
“She was looking at me pretty hard, but I can’t be sure.”
Stella sighs. “I’ll join them and feel her out to see if she mentions you.”
“I’d appreciate that,” I say closing the door and walking away. I’m going back up to my office to wait until the vultures leave.
Eight years ago, I left the Marines to be a bodyguard for the hottest pop singer in the world. I needed a change of pace, but I had no idea the pile of shit I was about to step into.
Being a Marine taught me discipline, organization, and how to shoot a gun, but most of all it taught me about loyalty and morality. Pop princesses don’t know shit about loyalty or morality, or at least Livi Fox didn’t. Three years later, I ended up defending myself in one of the highest profile legal battles of the century with Ms. Fox.
‘Bodyguard Ridge Noble not so Noble’ was the headline splashed all over the gossip rags and newspapers including Realm Magazine when Livi accused me of sexual assault, harassment, and invasion of privacy.
After six months in court, I won the lawsuit, but the damage to my reputation was done. I never once touched that girl inappropriately. In fact, I tried hard not to touch her at all. She was high on drugs and mentally unstable, and she didn’t know what was going on most of the time, all of which was proven during the trial.
However, none of that mattered to the masses. For months, the world sided with their princess, and I was the big, bad bodyguard who abused her and got her hooked on drugs. I lived in the shadow of doubt, and with nothing left after I spent every last dime defending myself, I was forced to go home to Montana. I did the best I could to pick up the pieces of my life, but the media was relentless.
It felt like my life was over, but as it turned out, moving home was the best thing I could have done. Ash and I had been friends for years. We went to high school together, and when we bumped into each other at a sporting goods store, he mentioned he needed a personal assistant who knew a thing or two about security. He wanted someone to live and work at his ranch. It was the perfect job. I could stay in my home state, work for a man instead of an uptight city girl, use the skills I learned in the Marines, and do it all far away from the paparazzi and reporters in New York.
That plan went along smoothly for three years until People Magazine decided my boss was the sexiest man alive. He wasn’t thrilled about the title either, but how do you say no thanks to that?
The interview and photo shoot was a year ago. I stayed out of sight, and it went off without a hitch, until today.
MORE ABOUT THE COWBOY'S CITY GIRL
After being falsely accused of a serious crime by an egocentric and vain city girl, I swore never to be involved with another one again. The high profile lawsuit of the world’s favorite pop star princess vs. her monstrous body guard ruined me financially and publicly. Nobody wants to hire an accused criminal to be their bodyguard, even if he was found not guilty of all charges.
I have not wavered from that decision for five years while living in Montana working as a personal assistant and head of security for billionaire rancher Ash Pride.
The past few years have been the best of my life. Secluding myself from the public and the media on Ash’s ranch was my saving grace… until a beautiful, sassy photojournalist showed up on Ash’s doorstep.
Allison Green’s curves, her sass, and her smile are making me rethink my “no city girl” rule for the first time in five years.
Can I risk being thrust back into the public eye?
Can I trust someone whose profession once ruined me?
Can this cowboy fall for a city girl?
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