Home > Code Name : Tiara (Jameson Force Security #7)

Code Name : Tiara (Jameson Force Security #7)
Author: Sawyer Bennett

 

CHAPTER 1

 


Jackson


“You are Jackson Gale, former Navy SEAL and one badass motherfucker,” I say to my reflection after wiping the fog from the bathroom mirror.

I like my showers super hot.

Pressing my palms down on the vanity, I continue my pep talk. “You save hostages. You obliterate foreign terrorists.”

My gaze flicks to the myriad of tattoos on my right arm, a full sleeve of commemorations and important insignia during my time as a SEAL. There’s some ink on my chest, a bit on my right ribs that curve around to my lower abdomen and disappear into the towel tied around my waist. Chicks love to follow that tattoo south.

Hazel eyes moving back to the mirror so I can look myself square in the face, I say with absolute certainty, “You most certainly do not babysit princesses.”

I stare at my reflection a good long time.

Give a firm nod, because I mean it.

No fucking way am I accepting guard duty for some spoiled-rotten royal brat and Kynan’s just going to have to accept it.

Kynan McGrath, owner of Jameson Force Security—perhaps the most elite private forces firm in the world—smirks at me. “Sorry, Jackson. I want you on this assignment.”

“To babysit a fucking princess,” I snarl as I slouch down almost petulantly in the chair across from his desk.

“It’s far more than a babysitting job,” Kynan replies blandly. “And you well know it.”

I don’t reply because I can’t really argue with it. Among other things, such as performing hostage rescues and working with foreign governments on black op missions, Jameson does routine protection and security services.

Except protecting a princess isn’t what I would call routine. Our company has been hired to provide security for members of Congress and Hollywood stars, but being asked to look after a royal is a first.

“I don’t get why you’re so averse to this job,” Kynan says, my lack of response prompting him to dig. “You’ve protected people before. You know it’s part of the job here and never complained.”

“She’ll be a spoiled brat, and it will be a miserable two weeks,” I grumble.

“And you know this how?” he challenges.

I shrug. I’m totally stereotyping, but I firmly believe people who wear tiaras simply can’t be genuine.

But that’s not the primary reason I don’t want this job. I get that not all our missions can be high adrenaline, dangerous, and pivotal to someone’s life or death. This isn’t the SEALs, and I’ve accepted that. I’ve had to ensure that my dad accepts it as well.

I’m third-generation navy, following in my grandfather’s and father’s footsteps. When I made the decision not to make it my forever career the way they did, well… that was almost unforgivable in my dad’s eyes, and he assured me my grandfather was rolling over in his grave. Our relationship has been strained ever since, and what’s worse is that my brother—who is still active-duty navy, intent on making it his career—has enjoyed becoming the favored son, lording it over me any time he can.

The only saving grace has been that Jameson is highly respected and called upon for help by the most important people in the world. Hell, the president himself hired us to protect his niece, and don’t think I haven’t thrown that in my dad’s face every time he lambastes me for leaving the navy for that “private, sissy security job.”

Christ, my family is complicated, and I shouldn’t care what my dad thinks of my life choices, but I went into the navy because I respected our family’s tradition. I wasn’t forced to do it. I wanted to do it. I wanted the Gale family honor to carry on by serving and protecting our country.

And I loved every damn minute of it.

It’s just… I didn’t love it enough to commit to it for twenty or thirty years. I wanted more freedom in my choices—I wanted a life, and let’s face it, I wanted better job security. Jameson pays a premium for the work we do, and my retirement potential is far greater.

“Jackson,” Kynan says, and my eyes slide over to meet his. I hadn’t realized my gaze had drifted and become fuzzy in my deep family thoughts. “You said the princess would be spoiled and you’d be miserable in the job.”

I shake my head, holding up a hand to stop the questioning. “Just forget it, boss. I’ve got this and can handle it. Two weeks is nothing.”

“Actually, it’s going to be three weeks,” Kynan says without an ounce of apology in his tone.

My eyes bulge slightly, and I swallow my ire. “But that means I’ll miss the training in Santiago.”

“There will be other training opportunities,” Kynan says dismissively. This isn’t open for debate.

I hold back a bitter reply. I was looking forward to practicing high-speed vehicular evasion tactics, an entire course built around how to outrun someone when being chased in a car.

“Why the change in agenda?” I ask, commending myself for sounding blasé about it.

“King Thomas has requested we meet with his royal security team in Bretaria the week before Princess Camille’s trip to the United States. He wants training exercises done to ensure we work seamlessly with their people, and then he wants our duties to start a little earlier than expected. It appears a member of the royal family has a wedding in London, and King Thomas wants to use that as a test of sorts.”

“To make sure I can protect his daughter at a wedding?” I ask drolly.

“To make sure we’re as good as our own government proclaims us to be,” Kynan retorts.

I scrub a hand through my hair, a move that makes my frustration apparent to my boss. Three weeks on security detail.

To a fucking princess.

Images of me following her around from couture store to couture store, hauling her bags and walking some tiny foo-foo dog cause my teeth to grit.

“She’s a high-value target,” Kynan reminds me, and those are the words I needed to hear to move past my irritation.

While I might not relish spending so much time ensuring the safety of an uppity royal, I do understand that the threat to her is real.

Bretaria is a sovereign city-state off the coast of Australia, just northeast of Brisbane, in the Coral Sea. It is composed of one main island and several outlying islands and islets. Originally annexed by the United Kingdom in the mid-1600s, but because it’s small and off on its own in the Coral Sea, it was largely ignored. Ruled by the Winterbourne family, it operated free of any real oversight by the British crown until it was finally granted status as a sovereign city-state. Not long after, and much to the dismay of King George III of House Hanover, it was discovered the main island and most of the satellite islands were rich with rubies.

Like, super rich.

Like, nowhere else in the world holds as many fiery-red stones, and this has made the Winterbourne family the richest monarchy in the world. Though the islands are small, the value of the gemstones is mighty, and even to this day, the mines still produce the highest-quality rubies in the world.

If there was ever a person who could warrant millions in ransom, it would be Princess Camille Winterbourne. Her two-week trip through the United States will put her at risk, no matter how much security her family puts in place. In exchange for the prospect of a multimillion-dollar payout, kidnappers could afford to get extravagant with their planning and tactics. Hell, it’s suspected that if anyone is going to make a move on the princess, it will be an elite special forces–type group who won’t be afraid to drop bodies in their zeal to take her.

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