Monday, February 14, 2011

Alpha Male Incorporated: Under Your Protection by Marie Rochelle

Jax Irizarry leaned back in the leather chair and stared at the mortal in front of him.


“You have to protect her,” Frank demanded as he slammed his hand down on the desk. “You’re the best bodyguard in town. I’ll be willing to pay you extra if I have to, but I won’t accept no as an answer. With all of your powers, you’re the best and most capable person for the job. I don’t want anyone else looking after my goddaughter but you.”

Frank leaned in and pointed his index finger. “You owe me. For years, I’ve kept your secret about being a vampire because we’re friends. I would never betray your trust like that.

“I understand that you don’t advertise your ‘special’ nature and skills. I wonder what your other clients’ reactions would be if the truth got out. I mean, I know not to believe in the Hollywood hype about vampires because you’ve told me numerous times all of those aren’t accurate accounts of real vampires, but do you think your other cliental would so be understanding and not run from you screaming in fear?”

Jax glared at his closest human friend. “Is that a threat?”

Frank flopped into a chair and wiped the perspiration off his brow. “I’m desperate. Come on, Jax. Man, do this for me as a favor? It’s not like I think you’re going to harm Sahara or anything. You’ve told me you don’t feed off of humans for food and I believe you. So, what is it going to be?”

Jax Irizarry had been a vampire for over three hundred years and Frank Chantel had been his friend for the last fifteen plus years. Granted, he hadn’t seen much of his friend while he’d been overseas, and certainly all the time he’d been spending building his business since returning had kept him from being overly social. And Frank was as much to blame with his frequent business trips and his focus on his goddaughter’s budding career. But Jax would do anything for his buddy, just not this. He was retired for a reason and he was going to stay that way. It didn’t matter how much Frank wanted his help. He wasn’t going to do it. There was nothing Frank could tell him that would make him change his mind. The last time he was hired to be a bodyguard someone very close to him got hurt and he wasn’t going to allow his job to put another person he cared about in danger.

“Frank, you know I think of you like a brother, but I haven’t been a personal bodyguard for over five years. I like working behind the desk now. I’d be more than happy to recommend some other excellent bodyguards that could do the job as well as me. Hell, I think they might even be better since I’ve been out of the field so long.”

“I can’t believe you won’t help me after everything we have been through with each other,” Frank snapped as he jumped up from his seat. “Some psycho is threatening to kill my goddaughter, and I thought my best friend wouldn’t think twice about helping me out. But, I can see that I was wrong. Never mind. I’ll take care of it myself.” Storming away from the desk, Frank went out the door slamming it shut behind him.

“Frank. Wait one damn minute. You don’t have a clue how to be a bodyguard!”

Jax jumped up from his chair to go after his friend but ended up sitting back down. He wasn’t going to bother Frank now—not while he was so pissed off at him. Later on he’d stop by Frank’s house on his way home and talk to him about finding another bodyguard for his goddaughter. Hopefully, Frank would have cooled down by then and be more open to taking his advice. He would never recommend anyone that he didn’t think could handle protecting Frank’s family member. He only hired the best at Alpha Male Incorporated.

Honestly, sometimes a part of Jax hated that Frank knew about his secret because he liked it better when his friend had only thought of him as human. Frank found out quite by accident. He had invited Frank over to his house to watch a football game and during half time Frank asked him for something to drink. Before he could give it to him Zander had called him on the phone about a business problem and when he left the room to talk to his brother, Frank wandered into the kitchen to get the drink himself. When he opened the fridge he found human food along with the bags of blood that Jax bought from a vampire owned business that supplied it to vampires who no longer wanted to feed off humans. .

It was Frank’s terrified screams that had alerted Jax to the problem. God, it had taken almost all of his strength to hold Frank down when he tried to leave the house while he explained why he had the bags of blood inside his fridge.

Against all odds, Frank finally accepted the truth about Jax and his strange family, and that acceptance had cemented their friendship.

Jax shook his head. It was hard to say no to Frank, but he had to stay firm.

Was that Frank I saw leaving like he was furious at everyone in the world? What in the hell is wrong with him? He’s usually in such a good mood. The words touched Jax’s mind about two minutes after Frank left his office.

Swinging his eyes over to the open doorway, Jax found his younger brother Zander standing there with his shoulder braced against the door jam. He hated how his brother could ease up on him without making a sound; it was one of Zander’s vampire powers that his sibling was very proud of and constantly did to bother the hell out of him.

“Yeah, we had a disagreement and he’s mad at me. I’ll go to his house later on and apologize,” Jax answered. “Also, can you stop talking to me telepathically when no one else is around? You know that I like having a real conversation whenever possible because it makes me feel a little more human.

“Fine, I hear you about the telepathic thing. I might stop. I might not. You never know with me. Care to tell me what he wanted you to do?” Zander came into the room and took a seat in front of his desk. “Frank isn’t the type of guy to ask for help unless it was something very important.”

Running his fingers through his blond hair; Jax fell back in his chair thinking about what Zander was telling him. He hated to admit it, but his baby brother was right. In all of the years that he’d known Frank, he’d really never asked him for any kind of help. And the one time that Frank had, he blew him off like it wasn’t important enough.

“His goddaughter is getting threatening emails and letters from a crazed fan,” Jax said as he thought back to the conversation with Frank.

“Yeah, she’s a singer or something, right?” Zander said.

“Right. He wanted to hire me as her personal bodyguard, but I told him no, that I was no longer in that line of business. I suggested I would be more than happy to recommend someone else who was as good as me.”

“You have to realize because Frank knows you’re a vampire that he believes you have the ability to protect her better than anyone else. He’s right. You’re the best man for the job and you know it too. You shouldn’t have been so quick to blow him off. I think you should take it him up on his offer. All you do is spend most of the day behind that desk telling other people what to do. Was that really your vision when you started Alpha Male Incorporated ten years ago?

“Didn’t Thorsten and I both sell our own places of businesses and relocate here with you, so we could have a family business under one roof?” Zander questioned. “We wanted you to achieve your dream just like we did ours. At first, it was a huge change for us but we worked it out and everything runs smoothly now.”

Jax frowned at his brother’s jibe. Alpha Male Incorporated was born because he wanted to still stay in the field of personal security even if he wasn’t out there in the field anymore. With his unique abilities, he would be able to train other bodyguards to protect their clients almost as well as him.

Ever since he could remember his true calling was to protect people and he didn’t want to let it go because of one bad experience from his past. In addition, he wanted to have a business that involved his brother’s security firm and cousin’s growing business.

Alpha Male Incorporated was that for him.

“My vision for my business has changed over the years and you know it has. What’s so wrong with that?” he demanded. “I still make a good living behind the scenes instead of being front and center all of the time.”

“Nothing,” Zander sighed getting up from his seat. “I just never thought of my one and only brother as a coward, that’s all. Well, I better go. Thorsten is expecting me for an early dinner and you know how our cousin can get when he doesn’t get enough food to eat.”

His brother gave him a long searching look. “I really do think you should take the job because who knows, you might actually end up liking being back out there in the thick of things.” Zander waved at him and then left the room closing the door behind him.

Damn Zander! He knew how much he hated being called a coward. Now, Jax was actually thinking about taking Frank up on his offer.





****





“I can’t believe you tried to hire me a bodyguard.” Sahara “Coco” Chantel complained as she closed the journal in which she wrote all of her song lyrics. Tossing the thick black book on the mattress, she got off the bed and stood in front of her godfather. She was upset as hell that Frank had gone behind her back and talked to another person about her stalker, especially a bodyguard. Why did he go and do that to her?

“The letters and emails are probably just from an overzealous fan, at the most just a lonely person who wants to get some attention and decided to pick me. I’m not taking any of the threats seriously and neither should you.”

. This wasn’t a crazy person who was going to be hiding in the bushes watching her every move. She was getting more fame with her new song, but she wasn’t anywhere near Alicia Keys fame yet.

“Don’t read more into it than there is, Uncle Frank.”

Frank was her godfather, but she felt more like his daughter than his goddaughter. She’d moved in with Frank when she was thirteen years old because her parents died in a car crash.

Sahara never thought that she would get over the searing pain of losing both of her parents at the same time, but she did with the help of her Uncle Frank. He was the one who introduced her to music and her love for it had grown.

Now, she was on her way to being on the Top 100 Billboard charts. She had already performed on a couple of local televisions. If everything worked out okay she was scheduled to be on Saturday Night Live at the end of the year. So, why couldn’t her Uncle Frank understand that she wasn’t concerned about the threats?

Yeah, she might have an overly attached fan at the moment, but that didn’t mean the person was really going to come after her. Most of the time letters like she had been receiving came from a person with too much time on their hands. Sahara believed that everything would die down in a couple of days and then she could get back to doing what she loved the most...writing and performing music.

“Can you please call and tell this Jax not to come?” Sahara complained. She wasn’t ready to deal with a strange man watching her every single move all of the time. “I really don’t need a babysitter. I’m almost twenty-six years old. I can handle anything that comes my way. Don’t you remember how you raised me to be independent?”

Frank eyed her as he rubbed his hand across his bald head. “Yes. I remember that conversation quite well. But, I didn’t think you would decide to take my advice and use it now. However, you don’t have to worry. Jax turned down my job offer.”

“Thank God!” Sahara mumbled under her breath as she sat back down on her bed and picked up the journal. “I’m glad he did because I might have turned up my bitch meter another notch and scared him off.”

Laughing, Frank shook his head at her as he turned to leave the room. “I don’t think you would have caused Jax to do anything that he didn’t want to do.”

“How can you be sure?” Sahara asked looking up from the newest song she was writing.

“I’ve known Jax a long time and nothing rattles his cage. Sometimes, I think he has ice water running through his veins. I swear I’ve never seen him blink an eye at any sign of danger. And he has special...abilities. That’s why I thought he would be the perfect man to watch over you while you were out on the road performing.”

“If you say so,” Sahara said as she looked away from her uncle and back down at the current lyrics she was having a huge issue with.

“I still think you need to get someone to watch over you, sweetheart. You’re getting more and more famous since doing those two late night talk shows and you know I’m right. This person could be very dangerous. Please let me help you,” Frank pleaded. He paused at the bedroom door. “It would kill me if something happened to you. You’re the only family I have and I want to keep you safe to the best of my ability.”

Sahara heard the fear in her Uncle Frank’s voice and she felt bad. He was only trying to help her and she was fighting him so hard. She should give this more thought because he wouldn’t be this worried about her safety if a real threat wasn’t involved.

“Okay, how about I think about it tonight and give you my answer in the morning?” Sahara suggested, hoping Frank would agree and let it go for the rest of the night.

Frank turned away from the door and looked at her like he didn’t quite believe her. “Are you telling me the truth? Will you really think about getting a bodyguard? If you are, I’ll call Jax and see about talking him into taking the job. I know I can get him to take the position despite the problems he gave me earlier.”

Sahara wasn’t ready to give Frank her answer, but if she didn’t tell him something right now he wasn’t going to leave and she needed time alone to work on her music. He was becoming too much of a distraction to her thought process.

“Okay, call Jax and see if he can come by here tomorrow. After I talk to him, I’ll make a decision but I need to finish working on this new song.” Sahara tapped her pen against the journal hoping her uncle would finally get the hint and leave.

“Alright, good. Have fun working on your song and don’t worry so much over it. I know it will be wonderful just like the rest of them.” Uncle Frank walked out the door shutting it with a click behind him.

Sahara laid her pen down on the bed next to her leg. She wasn’t going to be able to think about a song now, not with her mind on this Jax person her Uncle Frank wanted to hire. She could only imagine what he would look like. He probably looked like he would belong with the secret service—dark suit, military haircut, and shades. Maybe the addition of a bodyguard would piss off her ‘fan’ even more than the person already was. Truly, before now; she wasn’t taking all of the letters, cards and emails seriously, but after hearing the alarm in Frank’s voice she might have to rethink her decision.