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HER SECRET PROTECTOR
SOS Agency Book 4
BY BONNIE VANAK
To find her attacker
…he must stay in the shadows.
Assigned to protect sea turtle biologist Peyton Bradley from a dangerous stalker, former SEAL Gray Wallace is determined to save his headstrong charge—even if she doesn’t want to be saved. Their attraction is powerful. But damning rumors around the handsome bodyguard’s past get him fired. Only when Peyton is kidnapped and loses her memory does Gray reveal his startling—possibly deadly—secret.
HER SECRET PROTECTOR
SOS Agency Book 4
BY BONNIE VANAK
A cool ocean breeze caressed her cheeks as she slipped outside. The familiar scent of brine and tangy salt filled her senses. Inside, she was the dutiful hostess, a smile affixed to her mouth, always aware of proper social etiquette. Here, she was free as the beautiful sea turtles swimming in the buoyant ocean.
This was her true calling. Her home.
Following close behind, Adam and the intern kept quiet as they made their way down the stone pathway leading to the beach. Peyton unlocked the gate and held it open for them, and stood at the top of the wooden stairs leading down to the sand. This stretch of sand was wider and had not suffered the erosion of beaches farther to the north and south. In addition, it was closed to all but members, who seldom frequented the beach at night.
For sea turtles, that made for prime nesting.
“You both go down and watch from a safe vantage point where she won’t see you, closer to the dune,” she whispered. “I’ll be right down.”
She removed her red satin heels, wishing she could remove the heavy satin gown as well. As her hand rested on the railing, and she was about to descend, strong fingers laced around her arm.
Peyton bit back a shriek.
“Where the hell are you going and why didn’t you tell me?” he said in a deep voice.
Her bodyguard. She relaxed.
“Sea turtle nesting,” she whispered. “I didn’t want to send out a bulletin and have half the guests stumbling down here, scaring her off.”
“I am not half the guests.” He released her, withdrew his pistol. “I’m your protection and anyone can be out here, Peyton.”
He handed her a flashlight. Annoyed, she glanced at him. “No flashlights on the beach. You’ll confuse her.”
Gray’s fingers brushed hers, the contact brief but electrifying. He flipped a switch and the flashlight turned red. Peyton blinked. The man knew about turtles and how white light confused them in their nesting. Or he had researched what was necessary.
“We’ll go together,” he told her.
Glancing at the gun in his hand, she shook her head. “Is that necessary? I doubt the sea turtle is going to hurt me, Gray.”
“It’s not the sea turtle concerning me.”
Knowing he had the upper hand, she sighed and descended the stairs with him. The sand was soft and warm beneath her bare feet as they skirted a clump of trees and walked closer to the shoreline. Spotting the loggerhead sea turtle lumbering onshore, Peyton hung back, as Adam and Roger remained a distance away, watching.
Gray holstered his gun. Together they watched the turtle digging in the soft sand. Peyton sighed with wonder.
“Look at her. She’s amazing. All that effort to dig a nest, guided by years of instinct. I wish my mother understood my passion for saving sea turtles. But she’s a renowned cardiac surgeon who saves lives with her skills.”
“Don’t underestimate the importance of your work, Peyton. You save lives as well, the lives of turtles, and in doing so, you’re helping to preserve them for future generations,” Gray pointed out.
Never had she quite thought about her career that way. It made her smile.
Peyton quietly watched the turtle dig her nest. “It’s moments like this that I find meaningful. Ever since Shelly died, I’ve come to appreciate life’s little treasures, the gifts I’ve been given. Oh, not my family’s money. I know lots of people would envy me for the financial freedom they think I have. Moments like this that can’t be bought or bartered. What you said to me at the jetty, Gray, you’re so right. Every day we are above ground is a gift and we have to learn to take moments like this and cherish them while we have them.”
“Nature gives us a rare gift in moments like this,” he murmured. “The power of nature always amazed me.”
She glanced at him. “Like a gorgeous sunset after a catastrophic hurricane at the beach.”
The turtle finished digging a deep hole. Then she began to deposit into the hole soft, leathery eggs the size of ping-pong balls.
“She’s crying,” Gray whispered, sounding amazed. “Is she in pain?”
Offering a wry grin, she shook her head. “It’s a turtle’s way of ridding her body of excess salt. That and the tears help flush sand from her eyes.”
He reached over and wiped a tear from her own cheek. “You’re crying as well.”
Stricken he’d caught her with her guard down, Peyton tried to reel in all her tumbling emotions. “This is what’s most important, Gray. Trying to save a species. Everything else is window dressing. I’ve been given a gift to understand science and sea turtles. It’s my passion, not balls and teas and parties. Why can’t my family support me?”
“Give them a chance. Talk to them. They may be more supportive if you communicate your needs more effectively with them.”
After graduating from the University of Florida with a journalism degree, I worked as a newspaper reporter. After, tired of simply reporting the news, I became a writer for a large international charity. My work took me to countries like Haiti and Honduras to write about famine, disease and other issues. Humanitarian jobs are fulfilling, but emotionally draining. The work is for a good cause, but the pressure can be enormous.
So to counter the suffering I encountered in my travels, I began writing romance novels. My first romance novel, The Falcon & the Dove, was about a handsome Egyptian sheikh protecting a treasure hidden in the sands for centuries. He meets his match in the lovely American who comes to Egypt to unearth the treasure. The Falcon & the Dove won the historical category of the 2001 RWA Melody of Love contest. A year later, it was published by Dorchester Publishing.
Today I write romantic suspense for Harlequin and self-publish a sexy shifter series called The Werewolves of Montana. It gives me great joy to write romance novels and create characters who struggle to learn who they are, and how to connect with one another. My books usually contain adventure and action as well, and I insist on one thing.
There’s always a happy ending. No matter what hardships the hero and heroine face, the conflict will be resolved in the end and their love will overcome the odds.
Because in the end, I believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe. It can make magic happen, renew faith, and give hope for a better tomorrow. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Links to Bonnie’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:
Amazon : https://amzn.to/3tKpFo3
To purchase Her Secret Protector, visit: http://www.bonnievanak.com/
To email Bonnie, email email@example.com
Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing your book with us!
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