Harley by Michelle Jo Quinn
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Series: West Coast Rock Star #1
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
All of her life, Cadence “Cade” Williams has been lied to…
With her ailing father on his deathbed, a whispered secret sends Cadence’s life into a tailspin. Determined to either confirm or debunk her father’s claim, she sets out on a mission to grow close to the only man with evidence to set things straight. To do that, Cadence earns a position in an elite security firm owned by her father’s old army buddy, Noah “Mac” Mackinley.
Mac is the only man who could hold the evidence to support her father’s claims…
But first, she must prove herself worthy of Mac’s trust and get close enough to find the truth. Her first mission is to watch over an eight-year old girl, Harley Clark.
Harley is not an ordinary girl. She’s the daughter of a rock star…
Despite her fragile appearance, Harley has tenacity and brilliance like nothing Cade has ever seen. To everyone’s surprise—including her own—Cade forms an unlikely friendship with the beautiful wallflower.
Her first assignment just became more interesting…
When Harley’s rock star father, Jax Clark, enters the scene, Cade can’t deny the instant attraction for the self-proclaimed bad boy. Tattoos, piercing eyes, and a raspy voice that sends thousands of fans into a screaming frenzy, he’s more than just a heartthrob. Worse, Jax starts to pay her more attention than she expects.
She’s faced with a choice—get lured in by the celebrity world and lose any chance of finding out the truth, or stick to the plan and avoid Jax at all costs to earn Mac’s trust.
The place was bigger than it seemed, a veritable mansion in the sky. Jax had seen photos of it before signing. His favourite part was the 180-degree ocean view. He stood in front of a floor to ceiling window in his office, laughing to himself at what he dubbed the room. Rock stars didn’t have offices. They had studios. His own personal studio was tucked in one of the corners of the penthouse, it had been his second priority. The first was Harley’s bedroom. He consulted a designer for it, and the woman had convinced him that every girl wanted a pink bedroom. When Harley saw her bedroom for the first time, Jax didn’t see the elation he had expected, nor did Harley throw a fit of rage. She just acted like…Harley, his darling little girl.
Before Nan passed away, she had made Jax promise to take care of her great-granddaughter, knowing full well that her own granddaughter, Fiona, was—and would always be—incapable of caring for a child, much less herself. Nan had been a constant strength for Harley, and Nan was Jax’s conscience in the flesh.
Jax had been ready to look the other way when Fiona told him of the pregnancy. They were too immature, too young, and too thirsty for success and stardom. Nan had insisted that the baby should at least be born and she herself would care for the child. When it came time for Fiona’s scheduled C-section, Jax had just signed a record deal that paved the way for his current celebrity status.
“Come to the hospital now,” was all Nan had said over the phone. Still drunk from all the champagne he’d chugged during the celebratory party, he sauntered into the room with the bright lights and beeping sounds. The sight of the small baby with tubes passing in and out of the incubator sobered him up. He couldn’t understand what he was seeing. How could his full-term infant be that small? And why was she blue? As he pressed his hand on the chamber’s surface, Nan came in with a doctor. As the doctor explained the situation, Nan had placed her hand beside Jax. She had found the best surgeon for the needed procedure. Jax had wanted to hold his child. He wanted to tell his daughter that everything would be fine.
But everything wasn’t fine. Not then and not now. “I’m fixing it,” he whispered to himself, only slightly aware of the other two people in the room.
“I’ve set appointments for Harley’s new school but Bruno has to let us know when he wants us in L.A.” Tina jarred him out of his thoughts. “That is, if you want to go with her.”
Jax sighed out loud. He knew what Tina was insinuating. He wasn’t the fatherly type, no matter what he tried to do before. Some had even accused him of buying his daughter’s love. More often than not, he had sent Tina to buy whatever it was that his daughter would enjoy. That had to stop. For Christmas last year, he personally picked his present for Harley—a pink Victorian dollhouse. What more could a girl want? But when Harley unwrapped it (and Jax took at least another hour to wrap the damn thing after having already spent four hours painstakingly putting it together), he saw the same type of enthusiasm, or lack thereof, that she displayed upon seeing her bedroom for the first time. Not happy, not sad. Not elated, not disappointed either. Just stoicism, the one thing Harley had perfected.
The curious thing was she seemed to show a bit more interest in Cadence Williams. Not that Harley could be blamed. The woman had definitely caught his attention in more ways than one. An idea hit him.
“Why not send her with Miss Williams?” He glanced at Tina, then at Zee, waiting for either one to agree or convince him it was the worst idea ever.
“That’s a good plan. It would be a way to test out Cade…with Harley,” Zee agreed.
“Perfect. I think I hear them now.” They waited until Harley and Cade’s footsteps neared the room. “Harley, could you come in here please?” Jax called out.
The two were getting along quite well, enough to share a joke between them. Harley had a big smile on her face, something Jax had only seen a few times, and Cade’s face lightened with a soft smile playing on her lips. Why was it the first thing Jax noticed? Even during their introductions, as soon as Jax saw those sensuous lips, his world had tilted. There was a slight lilt in his voice when he spoke to her that he hoped no one had noticed.
He addressed Cade and Harley. “I was just telling Tina that it would be a good idea for you to go with Miss Williams to check out Collingwood. You have a meeting tomorrow.” Jax smiled at his daughter.
Upon hearing the suggestion, Harley’s bright smile dimmed, but she didn’t protest. She only nodded.
Cade, on the other hand, was disappointed. Her eyebrows drew together. “Collingwood?” Her question echoed in the room. She turned to Harley. “You didn’t tell me you’re going to a new school.”
Harley tilted her head, not saying anything, but an understanding seemed to pass between the two. Jax was amazed and alerted by this. How could she garner trust from Harley in such a short time, while he had been unsuccessful for eight years?
“And you’re not going with her? To her new school?”
It took a second for Jax to realize that the question was directed towards him. It had been too long since anyone had questioned his actions.
Before he could reply, Zee spoke, “Cade, Jax has business in LA. It would be an excellent idea for you to attend the meeting with Harley and get to know Collingwood as well, if Harley decides to choose it.” Zee sounded powerful, authoritative.
Cade crossed her arms over her chest. Defiance. Boy, did she know how beautiful she looked even with that attitude? When was the last time a woman had challenged him? Jax’s thoughts had him feeling primal. He leaned on the back of a club chair, copying her stance. “Would you all give Miss Williams and me a moment?”
Tina smirked as she left the room. Harley paused for a brief moment, her head bowed as she turned around and walked out after Tina. Zee showed no other emotion. Clearly, he knew Jax was the boss. He glared at Cade as he passed her by but said nothing else before leaving and closing the door behind him.
Now that the two of them were alone, other thoughts filled Jax’s mind. A surreal crackling in the air made his body shiver, and the hair on his arms stand. Would he falter first in this standoff with the sexy bodyguard?
“I have to fly to LA,” he started, not changing his stance, and neither did she. “My manager and agent made new arrangements for a possible international tour. Harley knew things like this would happen. I would take her with me normally, however, I believe she would be safe with you as she checks out a possible new school.”
Would that do it? His voice was cool and calm but radiated sex. It had worked on so many women before, but would it work on Cade?
She sighed heavily, unlocking her arms. Her hands remained fisted on her sides. “A new school is a big step. It wasn’t mentioned to me that she would no longer be homeschooled. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for her father to be present for this new introduction?”
He defended himself. “Of course you’re right. I have already met with the head of Collingwood before moving to Vancouver. Well, Collingwood and a few other schools. Harley asked to attend a co-ed. Why she wants to change schools at this moment is something only Harley can answer.”
Jax shifted his weight forward, uncrossing his arms. He was drawn to Cade, something not entirely new or foreign to him but it was stronger than he had ever felt before. Taking his time, he sauntered to where she stood, defiance set on her countenance, hands fisted at her sides, chin lifted with challenge but her eyes…her eyes were kind and soft, unsure, and if he wasn’t wrong, slightly afraid.
“You have a certain connection with my daughter which I have only seen once before and you’ve known her less than an hour. And you…intrigue me.” He was but a few inches away from her. He couldn’t tell which one of them emanated more heat than the other. The air thickened between them until it was hard for Jax to breathe.
When he saw the slight change in her eyes, the want, the need, he closed off the gap and covered her mouth with his.
About the Author
Michelle‘s love for writing blossomed when her father gave her a diary. However, instead of recounting her daily life, she wrote stories of fictional people. Like most of her characters, she believes in Happily Ever After. Naturally, she finds harmony in writing romance.
An unabashed, self-proclaimed foodie, Michelle loves to try new food whenever she travels. She once had triple crème Brie and duck rillette for lunch on top of Grouse Mountain. She enjoys watching foreign films and reading a good book by the fireside.
Michelle is an active member of RWA and several of its chapters. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids.
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