Custos Securities SERIES #2
Zavier “Cade” McCade, former Army Special Forces and creator of Custos Securities, found himself in a situation he never thought he’d be in–he’s fallen in love with Braden Cross, the gorgeous pastry chef he’s guarding. Cade has lived his life as a protector: of his country, his family and friends, his clients, and now, the man he’s in love with. He thrives in dangerous and stressful situations. But, nothing could prepare him for Braden’s decision to put himself in danger.
After the vicious attack from his stalker leaves Braden fighting for his life, Cade will stop at nothing to see the man responsible punished. Time passes, but Braden’s attacker hasn’t given up and Cade’s afraid he never will. As Cade and the most trusted members of Custos Securities track Braden’s assailant, Braden struggles to rebuild his life and re-establish the fragile trust he and Cade had worked so hard to build. Braden knows if he’s going to survive the chaos surrounding him, he’s going to have to give Cade everything he has—mind, body, and soul.
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Braden’s brain came back online slowly, like an old computer that took forever to boot, running through its programs, one by one. The very first thing he noticed was that he felt as if he was weighed down by something. He couldn’t move his arms or legs. He tried lifting his head and got even more frustrated. His head, his ribs, his wrist, all of it fucking hurt. Not being able to move and yet feeling so much pain filled him with a sense of foreboding that he couldn’t fully comprehend. Everything seemed fuzzy, muddled. He forced himself to calm down and tried to use his other senses to figure out what was going on.
He breathed in through his nose, trying his best to smell something, anything, but realized there was something stuck in his nose that felt strange and uncomfortable. He wasn’t able to smell much, but there were some lingering, familiar scents, though nothing he could put his finger on, and that irritated him. He kept trying, but nothing came to him, so he moved on.
Braden listened carefully and tried to pick up on any sounds, any clue; where he was, who he was with, how long he’d been out, what had happened, but again, nothing came through enough for him to answer those questions. That was until he quieted his mind, stopped the jumbled, panicked thoughts, and tried to still his breathing. There it was, music played softly in the background.
A song ended, another began; both he was very familiar with. His heart picked up speed. That was good, right? Wasn’t that good? He couldn’t even answer that, but those two songs, by different artists, came one right after the other on his long “Baking” playlist. The first stirrings of hope bloomed.
He wasn’t about to give up now that he’d recognized something, so he tried little things like moving his fingers, moving his toes, his lips, his eyelids, his nose. Then he tried everything all over again, found that it was working and figured some movement was better than none. His whole body felt weighed down and he sincerely hoped that a blanket was what gave him that feeling.
Again he tried to move his hand and flex his fingers but found them caught by something and tightened his grip trying to use it as a catalyst to keep going. Something, someone, next to him shifted. His heart rate ratcheted up, and he couldn’t figure out why someone being in the bed with him would freak him out, but it did. He concentrated on his eyes. He squeezed them tighter, moved them around and tried to open them. He couldn’t. Frustration filled him again and he shook his head, or tried to. He let out a soft moan and startled himself when he heard it. He tried again to open his eyes and this time he was somewhat successful, but everything was cast in shadow. His eyes felt tired and they drooped shut again, but he forced them back open.
He looked at the ceiling. He lowered his eyes and looked at the wall in front of him. There was a TV there and the walls were green, so he knew he wasn’t at home. He looked to his right and saw a curtain hanging from the ceiling, pulled halfway shut, blocking a door, and knew right away he was in a hospital. He moaned, scared all over again. How did he get here? What had happened to him?
The drive to Cade’s parents’ house took nearly thirty minutes. When Braden realized what area they were driving toward, he got even more nervous, if that was possible. These people were out of his league. “Your parents live in Sea Cliff, don’t they?”
“Braden, you make it sound appalling. I promise you, my family members are not pretentious douchebags.”
“I feel out of my element. This is so beyond what I’m used to, Zavier.”
Cade smirked at him. “You’re really feeling that uncomfortable? Enough to use my full name?”
“Stop teasing me! Seriously, am I even going to use the right fork?”
Cade laughed in disbelief. “The right fork? What is this, Pretty Woman? I promise that there isn’t a dour majordomo named Jeeves waiting to open their door and a French chef named Pierre cooking a seven course meal with five forks! It’s a simple family meal.”
Braden snickered, he couldn’t help it. “You’ve seen Pretty Woman?”
Cade heaved a put upon sigh. “Who hasn’t? I have a sister, don’t I?”
“Ugh, fine! But if I embarrass you or something, don’t blame me!”
“Braden, I love you. I’m going to assume you’re teasing me right now, because if you’re seriously thinking that you could ever embarrass me, you’re going to piss me the fuck off and I don’t want you to meet my family when I’m feeling angry.”
Braden made a frustrated sound and turned in his seat to face Cade. “I’m sorry. I know I’m being ridiculous. I don’t know why I’m so nervous! I just feel like you’re my forever and if I don’t make a good impression on your family tonight, I could lose you.”
Cade had pulled into his parents’ driveway, and Braden, so caught up in his confession, didn’t know they were there. He put the car in park and turned in his seat toward Braden. “Baby, I’m your forever, just as you’re mine. That’s the only thing they’re concerned about. I promise they aren’t the type of people to pass judgement like that. Now, are you ready to do this?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.”
“Good. Brace yourself.”
Braden looked alarmed and then jumped in his seat when his door was opened behind his back.
Trusting Cade (Custos Securities #1)
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At 38, Zavier “Cade” McCade has it all: a military career he can be proud of, a successful business, and a close knit group of family and friends. A former Army Special Forces Captain, Cade leaves the military to create Custos Securities, a burgeoning protection agency that provides unparalleled security for both civilians and corporations across the U.S.
After a string of disastrous relationships—and a narrow escape from an abusive partner—Braden Cross is finally putting his past to rest. Combining both his passion for baking and his knack for business, Braden owns the Sugar n’ Spice Café with his best friend who concocts exotic coffees and teas that pair perfectly with his decadent confections.
When a stalker sets his sights on Braden, the young pastry chef’s world is turned upside down. More frightened than he cares to admit, and not knowing where to turn, Braden is relieved when Cade steps in to offer his protection. Caught up in a maelstrom of threats, break-ins, and vandalism, the two draw closer together. Braden eventually realizes that he can trust Cade with his life, but he finds himself wondering… can he trust him with his heart?
Author’s Note: For those of you that prefer warnings (trigger or otherwise) for your books, please use the “Look Inside” feature to find the warnings within the first few pages. For those of you that hate warnings–don’t “Look Inside” . . . Happy reading!
Luna David is a wife, a mother of twins, and now, an author. When she’s not begging her little ones to stop–throwing things, hitting each other, pulling the cat’s tail, having meltdowns, screaming, eating stuff off the floor, yelling at each other, playing with their food, running into the street, and destroying the house–you’ll most likely find her writing. She loves anything book, coffee or dark chocolate related and can’t think of a better way to pass the time than to combine all three. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t addicted to reading or creating her own stories, if only in her head. It wasn’t until recently that she began to believe she could actually put those stories to paper. She is blessed enough to have wonderfully supportive family and friends and she counts herself lucky every day that she gets to not only be a stay at home mom to her kids, but to also pursue her dream of becoming a published author.