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Unexpected Hero (Skyline Trilogy Book 1), page 1

 

Unexpected Hero (Skyline Trilogy Book 1)
 


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Unexpected Hero (Skyline Trilogy Book 1)


  Unexpected Hero

  Skyline Trilogy # 1

  Willow Summers

  Hazy Dawn Press, Inc.

  Contents

  Other Titles by Willow Summers

  Synopsis

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Unexpected Danger (book 2)

  Also by Willow Summers

  About the Author

  Copyright © 2016 by Willow Summers

  All rights reserved. The people, places and situations contained in this ebook are figments of the author’s imagination and in no way reflect real or true events.

  Contact info:

  www.WillowSummers.com

  Email: Books@WillowSummers.com

  Other Titles by Willow Summers

  Skyline Series

  Unexpected Hero

  Unexpected Danger

  Unexpected Guardian

  Please Series

  Yes, Please

  Now, Please

  More, Please

  Forever, Please

  Montana Wilds

  Surviving Love

  Conquering Love

  Jessica Brodie Diaries

  Back in the Saddle, Book 1

  Hanging On, Book 2

  A Wild Ride, Book 3

  Growing Pains

  Lost and Found, Book 1

  Overcoming Fear, Book 2

  Butterflies in Honey, Book 3

  Love and Chaos

  Check them out at WillowSummers.com.

  Get a free romantic comedy when you sign up for my mailing list! Sign up here

  Synopsis

  All Jenna wants is to grace the NYC skyline with a building of her design. But to do it, she must tear down a neighborhood riddled with dangerous criminals who will stop at nothing to claim vengeance.

  Sent away from the threat for a week long tour in the wilds of Colorado, Jenna meets a stranger so intense her desire is equally mixed with fear. Tall, built, and incredibly handsome, he isn't what he seems.

  After a mission gone badly wrong, Josh left the SEALs without looking back. Haunted by his past, he hides his identity in order to pick up the pieces. But when he meets the sassy architect, the control he tries so desperately to hang on to, flees.

  As their mutual attraction and constant battle of wills sets their bodies aflame, danger once again finds Jenna. Josh must face his past if he ever hopes to bring Jenna out of the wilds alive.

  Get a FREE romantic comedy when you sign up for my mailing list! Sign up here

  Prologue

  The empty glass shattered against the dirty gray wall. Jim pushed back from the desk in a flurry of movement, his temper taking over. “What do you mean we lost Jenkins? How the hell did we lose Jenkins?”

  Jim’s brother, Vinnie, stared at him from the other side of the desk. “From what I hear, some white-collar asshole waltzed in and started handing out cash. Knew whose palm to grease. Jenkins no longer has a say. He’s useless.”

  Jim stared down at his brother, willing a different answer.

  “We gotta let it go,” Vinnie said, crossing a crocodile-skinned boot over his knee. “All our money is tied up with the coke shipment. We don’t have the funds for a bribing war.”

  “Then put the fear of God into ’em!” Jim paced the small office. “We got over a dozen guys with nothing to do but sit around with their thumbs up their asses. Get ’em in there. Lean on the fuckers. If that building gets approved, it’s going to take out our headquarters, Vinnie. We’d have to move our whole operation. We don’t have time for that kinda thing.”

  Vinnie threaded his fingers together and settled a little deeper into his chair. “We can’t threaten city officials with the heat already on our backs. Use your head. We gotta let it go.”

  Needing something else to throw, Jim swooped down and picked a paperweight off the desk. He threw it, shattering the window. What did it matter? They’d have to find a new office, and a new place to hide the merchandise. Set up new routes. Establish new corners. All because some white-collar assholes wanted to build their high-rise in a cheap, poor part of the city. Corporations got to take a shit wherever they wanted and expected the working man to sit in it.

  With effort, Jim forced himself to calm down. There had to be a way around this. He and his brother hadn’t got where they were by bending over and taking it.

  “And there’s one more thing,” Vinnie said.

  “Oh, fucking great.” Jim jammed his hands onto his hips and made rapid strides across the floor, trying to work out the anger.

  “That white-collar asshole is Don Jeffries.”

  Jim’s movement stopped. All the violence boiling through his blood focused into a white-hot crescendo. “Jeffries?”

  Jim’s arms slowly lowered to his sides. His hands curled into fists.

  “When’s the last time you saw him?” Vinnie asked in a low voice.

  “He set me up for that liquor store gig. Said he was handing it off ’cause he was going straight. Going to school or some shit.”

  “That the job that got you pinched?”

  “Yeah. Got five for that one.” Jim spat onto the office floor. His lip curled into a smile of retribution. “Always wanted to get him back for that. Never had a clear shot.”

  Vinnie leaned forward. “We gotta let this city thing go, but we don’t gotta let him go. Word is, he’s got himself a nice little gig. Got a collection of white-collar ladies and gents doin’ all his work. Word is, he’s got a couple favorites on that team—a couple chicks. Could be…he might miss one or two of ’em. We might send a message. Make up for lost time.”

  Jim was dead still. A vicious glint sparked in his eye.

  Could be…it was time for revenge.

  Chapter One

  Jenna threaded her way through the mass of people, a roll of blueprints nestled in the protective circling of her arms. The expansive sidewalk leading up to the large, glittering skyscraper was obscured by a forest of signs on flimsy wooden stakes. Judging by the slow waggle of paper, the protestors needed some coffee. Or a different cause to be angry about.

  “Excuse me,” Jenna said softly, turning sideways to get past a braless woman with a thick plait of hair down her back.

  The group of protestors was increasing by the day, bedraggled hippies reliving their youth by fighting for a cause they thought noteworthy. So far they hadn’t turned violent. Unlike their youth in the Vietnam era, they were no longer willing to go to jail to prove their point. Not yet. Not until they got some real press to escalate their misguided cause. Still, it took a solid ten minutes for Jenna to negotiate her way through the throng of flapping gums and wagging signs.

  “Good morning, Miss Anderson.” Jimmy, the surliest security guard she knew, gave her a slight nod as she ducked behind the line of safety.

  “Hey, Jimmy. Crowd’s getting bigger, huh?” She waited for him to swing the thick glass door open.

  “Yes, ma’am. Still peaceful, though. Nothing to worry about.
He smiled at her, a pressure crack in a bowling ball.

  After getting through the extra security in the building, she took the elevator to her city-view office, ready to get to work at last. Her stomach knotted up when she realized who was waiting for her.

  Hiding her discomfort with a hard voice and diva-crusted look, she dropped her bag into its drawer and looked down on the intruder. “What are you doing in my seat, Dale?”

  A weasel of a man with greasy hair and lust-filled eyes smiled up at her. “Mr. Jeffries wants to see us.”

  “Could you not have called or emailed? Did you have to wait in my chair?” His roaming eye set off warning bells, followed by a slow tenting in the groin of his pants that she could not help but notice. “Get out,” Jenna said tersely.

  “He said to tell you to head to his office as soon as you got in.”

  “I will. Now get out.”

  “He said for me to come, too.”

  “Dale, get out of my office or I’ll file a complaint.”

  Dale’s gaze slid down her body in an assault on her privacy, landed on the vee at the top of her legs, and stuck, his tent becoming more pronounced, albeit still small. “If that’s what you want…”

  Itching to grab something heavy and swing it at his head, she waited until he skulked out before exhaling in relief. Simply being in his company made her skin crawl. Any regular employee, he would’ve been fired for sexual assault a long time ago, but he was brilliant and their team needed him. They would have to deal with him until the building was done.

  A moment later she reached Don’s office with her laptop hugged under her arm.

  “Mornin’,” Erika, Jenna’s best bud, said in a sleepy voice as she filed into Don Jeffries’ office with a tight grip on her “Life’s too short: Build Something!” mug.

  “Tell me you’re not eating chips for breakfast,” Jenna said in a pained voice.

  “What?” Erika crinkled the bag as she held it up for inspection.

  “How you keep your figure I do not know. All you eat are chips and soda.”

  “And coffee.” She held out her mug in a silent “cheers.” “Stress burns lots of calories.”

  She had a point there.

  The whole crew was gathered in the plush, spacious office. Besides Dale, Erika, and her, there were three others on the team. Ada, a middle-aged blonde with impeccable style and manners, sat in the far corner. She came from money and had married into even more, making her part of society’s elite. She didn’t have to work, but had the architecture bug like the rest of them. Mike, who was currently drumming his nail-bitten fingers on the arm of his chair, was a reformed partier with a smoker’s voice. He’d recently removed animal products from his diet thanks to a case of food poisoning. Most people would’ve steered clear of the restaurant in question. Some would’ve stopped eating that particular type of food. He had gone the whole hog and cut it all completely. It explained a lot about his personality.

  Finally there was Lewis. Just looking at Lewis made Jenna sigh. He was one handsome devil. Dark brown hair with natural highlights, liquid black eyes brimming with fire, and the poise of a king, Lewis was hot as well as intelligent. He’d been a good find.

  Don scanned the room impatiently from behind his large oak desk. “Great, you’re all here.” His round stomach jiggled as he shifted positions. “Okay, listen, I know everyone is on edge around here, so I thought I’d call this meeting and dispel some rumors. While things are getting more intense with our project, they are not at a boiling point. We have legal clearance to go ahead with the build. We are mere steps away from finishing the plans—thanks to Jenna’s handiwork—but there is an anti-big-business push that looks like it’ll slow things down a little. Not stop it—the rumors on that aren’t true—but it might tack on a couple weeks. Nature conservationists, historical society, waterways protectionists—you name it, they’re all crying for blood. The powers that be will get this through; don’t worry. Until then we continue as scheduled. Don’t let the picket line fool you—they have no power in this fight. We have the best lawyers around. We pay them well, and have complete faith in them.”

  Everyone murmured and nodded. If Don wasn’t worried, Jenna knew she didn’t need to be. If you shined a light to the back of his speech, you would see the watermark of his hands around someone’s neck. Gray hair, wrinkles, a large paunch, and a larger desk to sit it behind, Don was an architectural legend, but not because he had any talent in the field. He didn’t. But put him in charge of a project, whether it was a shack or a multimillion-dollar high-rise, and Don Jeffries would see it through, on schedule, with minimal damages and zero delays. He ran a tight ship. In her company, which was a big dog among national architectural firms, he was in charge of the structure that would top the Empire State Building in height and luxury. Their team worked long hours on plans that would open people’s eyes and turn a decrepit New York neighborhood into a lavish area where many would want to live and work. This building would rejuvenate an otherwise dead micro-economy.

  “So, are there any questions?” Don asked as he surveyed the design team.

  “I heard that yesterday there was a bomb threat,” Erika said around a potato chip. “It sounds like things are getting hostile. Are we in danger?”

  Don’s neutral expression didn’t twitch. “You are not in danger. The groups targeting us neither know how to make a bomb, nor where to buy one. They do have our telephone number, however, so we will probably get a few more threats before all this malarkey is settled in court, or more likely out of it.”

  “Will they target our own homes?” Mike asked.

  Don shifted as annoyance crept through his demeanor. “Gang, they aren’t targeting anything. There is absolutely nothing they can do outside of the courts, and they know it.”

  “But if they were to wipe us off the map, the project will be severely set back,” Erika said with sarcastic bite.

  “She’s right,” Lewis said. “If they wanted to severely hold things up, they would target us.”

  “Target you, huh?” Don said, leaning back and resting his hands on his girth. “Are you under the impression that a librarian is going to hold a historical map in one hand, and a gun in the other? Or that the environmentalists are going to graduate from lying in front of a wrecking ball to manslaughter? No, no one is targeting anyone. Though I appreciate hearing from your ego, Lewis.”

  “But the mob might,” Mike said quietly.

  Don didn’t freeze, per se, but he turned awfully still. The room dropped a couple of degrees under his stare. “The mob has nothing to do with this building. That is another ridiculous, unfounded rumor.”

  Jenna snuck a glance at Mike, whose face had turned red, and his hand had stopped moving. Where had that rumor come from? And why did it make Don so rigid?

  Chapter Two

  Josh sighed as he stepped into his oasis. Plain though it was, it felt good to be home.

  He dropped his pack next to the door and his keys in the bowl. Walking into the kitchen, he grabbed a beer from the fridge and a menu out of the drawer. A pile of mail sat on his counter, begging for his attention.

  It could keep begging. He wasn’t in the mood to get back to real life.

  His phone rang just as he sat down in his comfortable, threadbare chair. “Damn.”

  He set his beer on the end table and hauled himself back up, leaving flakes of dirt in his favorite chair. It fit in with the stains and duct tape that covered the rips and tears and held it together.

  “Yeah,” he said into the phone.

  “Hey, buddy. You back?”

  His best buddy Jax—only buddy these days—sounded light and chipper. Which meant he was bored.

  “Just walked in. About to call for delivery. You want in?” Josh fell back into his chair, and then groaned. The remote was left on the coffee table.

  “Do takeout. It’s fresher.”

  Josh hauled himself up for the second time. His joints were stiff and his back hurt
. He was getting too old to sleep on the ground for days at a time. “You going to pick it up?”

  “I didn’t expect you to.” Jax laughed. “Finnegan’s?”

  Josh dropped the Chinese food menu on the table. “Yeah, sure. What do—”

  “Get me a shepherd’s pie.”

  “Yup.” He hung up and called in the order before popping the footrest on the chair. The beer fizzed deliciously as it filled his mouth. He sighed again, one of probably five hundred that would come throughout the evening, and leaned back.

  His trek through the woods had been uneventful, just like all the treks since he had started. Apart from the one trip where he had seen a bear, it was nothing more than walking and pointing out what nature had to offer. It was exactly what he wanted while at the same time not being what he wanted at all.

  He flicked on the TV. Machine gun fire, explosions, and yells filled his living room. Pain from memories ripped through his gut. He flicked the channel as his adrenaline spiked, settling on a dog show.

  The remote clanged against the glass as he dropped it to the side.

  His mind drifted back to a time when he had friends, places to be, and beautiful girls smiling in his company. He’d been on top of the world, happy as a pig in shit. And now look at him, sitting here with a wasted life in an empty room.

  “Hey.”

  Josh jumped up and reached for his gun, only realizing it wasn’t there when his hand closed around empty space.

  Jax stood in his doorway with a knowing expression and a bag of food.

  “Come in,” Josh said, lowering back down. No need to explain.

  “You want to eat there?” Jax asked as he headed into the kitchen.

  He didn’t bother answering. Jax would figure it out.

 
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