Protect Me was the first in the series and I was a big fan. If you're interested, here is my blog post review of Protect Me.
Have you read Protect Me? Well, how about a deleted scene? I love reading what didn't make it into the book. If I love a book, I want to read more! So Jennifer has given us more...
From: Protect Me
Book #1 of The Protected Love Series
By Jennifer Culbreth
Location: Chapter Twelve, Page 204
She leaned back in his chair as she flipped open the top to the pizza box. She wasn’t hungry, and food would just make her more tired at this point. She unlocked her phone screen and hit her contacts button scrolling down until she saw the newly updated picture of her and Ryan next to his contact name. She had taken it the afternoon they had gone to the chocolatier. She smiled at the thought of how much fun they had. She was too tired to fight at this point. She really just wanted to be home, with Ryan. She pressed the dial button as she put the phone to her ear.
It rang twice “Babe, are you ok?” His voice came through the receiver.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just really tired and I don’t think I am going to make it until closing. Is there any way you could come and get me?” She could hear the exhaustion in her own voice.
“Of course I can, I will be there in just a few minutes. What do you say you come back and stay at my house tonight? I can have anything you need brought over, or picked up and delivered.” He sounded hopeful that she would say yes.
“Um, sure. I would love that.” She smiled into the phone as it reflected through her voice.
“Ok, I will see you in a just a few minutes.”
“Ok, see you soon.”
She pressed end on the screen, and was startled when she saw the door open to Trent’s office. At first she thought that maybe he had left something and was returning to get it before he went to his meeting. When she looked up to the man in front of her, she realized it wasn’t Trent. To her surprise Mr. Wilcox came in through the office door dressed in a designer suit and shoes. She immediately shot up out of the chair. The invasion of privacy immediately making her feel uneasy.
“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to startle you, Ms. Hastings” He held his hand up as if to excuse himself for barging in. “I was looking for Mr. Williams but apparently he is not in this evening.” His familiar southern accent rang out through her ears.
“Uh, no. Trent isn’t here. He left for a business meeting.” Her eyes darted around the room in search of something to protect herself with. “Mr. Wilcox, what are you doing here in LA?”
“Well you see, Abbi, I happen to be a pretty well-known business man out here. I happen to do business with your boss as well; meaning I do a lot of traveling from Atlanta to Los Angeles, mostly for the weather though.” He regarded her coyly before stepping closer. She could feel her body immediately tense. Causing the aches through her body to sing out. “Mr. Williams has explained that the two of you are particularly close aside from your working relationship. You can imagine my surprise when he mentioned your name.” He smiled over at her before continuing, “Now, seeing as how I helped with your father’s estate maybe you could tell me who might he be meeting with tonight? I didn’t realize that Mr. Williams had any other associates aside from myself.”
“Oh, no Trent and I aren’t in a relationship.” She stepped back and shook her head. Where on earth would he have gotten that idea? Why is Trent telling people they were together? Why was Mr. Wilcox here in LA? All of the questions began piling into her head. He’d seemed harmless when she’d first met him but something in her gut was telling her that he wasn’t the most honorable man.
“No need to explain anything to me, I pass no judgment on how he runs the business. I can assure you I won’t report it back to HR.” He gave her a sideways grin as he stepped closer to the desk.
She felt the sudden urge to get out of there. She wasn’t sure what he was here for, but she could tell that it wasn’t anything that she wanted to be involved in.
“Listen, Mr. Wilcox, I really have no idea why you’re here. I also have no idea where Trent is or who he is meeting. So I should just be on my way.” She made a step towards the door.
“By all means, I understand you have a very important job to do. However I would like for you to pass along some information for me, I want my money. And I don’t like having to wait.” His tone suddenly turned very serious.
“Listen, I have about twenty dollars in my wallet. If that will cover it than I will go get it right now. If not, then I think you’re talking to the wrong person.” She edged her way a little closer to the exit at the side of the room.
“You’re very funny, Ms. Hastings. I would hate to have to break that funny bone of yours because of your boyfriend’s misjudgment in my patience.” He reached towards her and she flinched back. He recoiled his hand, “Please pass the message on to him, and let him know that I will be back, soon.” With that he turned and headed towards the door.
An eerie silence transcended throughout the office. It was so quiet her ears were ringing. She needed to get out of here. She didn’t give a damn if she had to wait outside for Ryan she was not going to stay in this building any longer tonight. She found herself very jumpy as she made her way out of the office and down the hallway, checking over her shoulder every few steps. The feeling that someone was going to jump out from behind a door caused her to almost run. Relief flooded through her body as she made her way out of the door and down towards the bar counter. She nudged her way through the crowd as she found Judy standing just towards the end of the bar.
In this deleted scene you see that Mr. Wilcox, the attorney from Atlanta who helped her with her father’s estate in the beginning chapter of Protect Me, is actually used as the villain. I read over this scene many times before deciding to change. I felt as though Abbi had entrusted too many less than honorable people by this point in the book. I wanted some of the people she had relied on to actually have good intentions.
The other reason I decided to change Mr. Wilcox as being the villain to Mr. Hernandez is because I felt it would flow easier. I knew that certain characters wouldn’t be continuing on to the next book and I wanted to keep the threat of retaliation alive. So instead I re-wrote this scene and introduced Mr. Hernandez. Other scenes earlier in the book, i.e. when Abbi is eaves dropping on Trent’s conversation with the “mystery man” were added to incorporate this scene into the book.
So that's just a little something from Protect Me, but this is Cherish Me Release Day! If you've read Protect Me and loved it as much as I did, this is the day you've been waiting for. In Cherish Me, we get Jace and Judy's story. Jace and Judy played important roles in Protect Me and you really should read that before you start Cherish Me so you'll understand everything that is going on, but you should definitely read this series!
In anticipation of Release Day, Jennifer did a little interview with our favorite bodyguards and their beautiful ladies! And if I didn't already love these characters, I certainly would now. And characters they are!
Jennifer: Ok kitties, you asked and you received. I just so happen to have some pull over at VIP Bodyguard Services and was able to get the guys and their lovely ladies over for an interview. Hi everyone and thanks for coming by today!
Ryan: Hi everyone, we are happy to be here.
Abbi: Yes, thank you for having us, Jennifer. You know we love your hair so much that we couldn’t say no.
Jennifer: Yes, I do have fabulous hair don’t I? **Smiles sarcastically**
Jace: Smokin’ hot boss lady.
**Judy slaps his arm.**
Jace: Ow! What was that for?
Judy: Don’t oogle. *Judy giggles**
Jennifer: Now do y’all see what I have to deal with, with this group? Ok let’s get down to business. I have some questions for you all sent in by the readers. Everyone ready?
Judy: Yes, they are real.
**Jennifer cuts her eyes as a slight smile crosses her face. **
Jace: I can second that.
Jennifer: Jace, I will cut you if you interrupt again.
Jace: Sounds familiar…
**Jace covertly points over to Judy.**
Jennifer: Ok first question is for Jace from one of our lovely readers. Jace do you happen to be looking for a new assistant? I’m qualified.
Judy: Well, I can answer that one for you. **Cuts eyes towards Jace**
Jace: Fortunately I have found an assistant that both Judy and I agree on. His name is Romel and he makes an amazing cappuccino. **Smiles proudly over at Judy**
Jennifer: Ok, next question is for Jace again. What do you think would have happened if you’d met Abbi before Ryan had?
Abbi: I can answer that one for you! **Laughs playfully.**
Jace: Abbi would have kicked my ass to the curb a long time ago. No, but seriously I needed a woman who could roll with the punches and wouldn’t be afraid to put me in my place. No offense Abbi, you do a great job keeping Ryan in line, but I think the only woman on Earth I would ever want is sitting right here next to me. **Leans over and kisses Judy.**
Ryan: Aww. Look at you two love birds.
Jennifer: Ok next one is for Ryan. If you were stranded on a desert island what 5 things would you want with you?
Ryan: You thought you were gonna throw me off didn’t you? You see, I avidly watch Bear Grylls so I know that I need a container for water, a lighter, blanket, an entire box of Zebra Cakes, and of course my woman.
Abbi: Hell no I am not going to a deserted island with you.
Ryan: Aww come on! What if I exchange my box of Zebra Cakes for S’mores Pop Tarts.
Abbi: Ok, I’m game.
Jennifer: Ok, next up is Judy. What did it feel like the first time you and Jace kissed?
Judy: Well, the first night we kissed was a week or so after we had first met. Contrary to popular belief I don’t kiss on the first date.
Jace: Technically it was our first official date.
Judy: Ok contrary to popular belief I only kiss on the first date when I am shit faced. We were both smashed so the first kiss was sloppy and wet. But I could feel the sparks flying.
Jennifer: Aww, aren’t you precious. ** Smiles playfully** Ok next one is for Abbi. It’s date night, but at home, what’s on the menu and what’s prepped on the DVR?
Abbi: Easy. Chinese take-out and anything with Adam Sandler in it. I love funny movies and he is by far my favorite actor.
Jennifer: Short and to the point; I like it. Up next to bat is Ryan. If you hadn’t had to fill in the night you had met Abbi, do you think you would have found each other?
Ryan: Hell, if I hadn’t filled in that night I can tell you I would probably be at the office right now plowing through paperwork and files on upcoming jobs. However I think we would have eventually found each other. **Reaches over and grabs Abbi’s hand.** Probably at the bakery because we both eat there at least once a week.
Jennifer: Ok this one is for the group. What are your Halloween costumes this year?
Abbi: This has become the debate lately. I think we should all dress up like the Super Mario characters. However, someone. **Ahem, points over at Judy** doesn’t want to be the mushroom.
Judy: I think we should dress up as Crayola Crayons.
Jace: No way I am going to be a crayon for Halloween. I think we should go as a BLT.
**Everyone looks over at Jace.**
Jennifer: A BLT?
Jace: Yeah. You know I can be a piece of bread, Ryan can be a piece of bread, Abbi can be a piece of bacon, the baby can be a piece of lettuce, and Judy can be a tomato slice.
Jennifer: That’s eerily planned out.
Jace: I have been waiting on this since last year.
Jennifer: Ryan, you weighing in on this?
Ryan: I think we should be the cast from Walker Texas Ranger.
**The room goes quiet.**
Ryan: Oh come on! I can be Walker, Jace you can be C.D. Parker, Abbi can be Alex Cahill, and Judy can play Sydney Cooke.
Abbi: No way. You lose.
Jennifer: I agree, Ryan you lose. At least Jace’s is cool, who doesn’t like a BLT?
Jace: My thoughts exactly.
Jennifer: Ok, last question and this is again to the group. If you were to get tattoo’s signifying your significant other what would it be?
Ryan: A .357 revolver. The first time we had breakfast I thought Abbi was going to pull it out when I mentioned Trish without explaining who exactly Trish was.
Abbi: Ha! That’s what you get.
Jennifer: Abbi, what are you inking on you?
Abbi: I think if I were to add to my collection it would be a lion head down my arm. He’s kind of the leader of our pack and so it’s kinda fitting.
Judy: I would get DO NOT ENTER right on my ass cheek. Just a friendly reminder for Mr. Rico Suave over here.
Jace: I would get an angel, because Judy is just a perfect sweet beautiful angel.
Jennifer: **Props hand against chin while looking at Jace and thinking.** Yeah, Judy you got anything to follow up to that.
Judy: No. He’s couldn’t be more right. **Smiles widely over at Jace.**
Jennifer: Ok! Well that’s it folks. I want to thank you for stopping by and I hope that your followers have had as much fun as I have. Never a dull moment.
Judy: Not when I’m around!
Abbi: Don’t forget Cherish Me is released October 26th! Make sure you get your copy to see what happens in Jace and Judy’s story! You won’t be sorry!
I can not wait to keep reading more from Jennifer Culbreth and the Protection Series! Ryan and Jace have some other hot guys working for them at VIP Protection so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll keep the series going and let those other hotties tell their stories.
Here's a little more about Jennifer Culbreth.
- What author(s) influenced your writing?
I grew up reading the classics. I fell in love with Mr. Darcy and Gatsby before the playboys like Christian Grey and Gavin Blake had even been thought of. Now, don’t get me wrong… I love a schmexy CEO just as much as the next girl. But I not only fell in love with the characters in the classic literature that littered the small book case in my room, most importantly I fell in love with the words. The beautiful words that brought the story to life. Authors such as Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, and Robert Louis Stevenson were my main influencers. The most influential authors for me, for their support and guidance, have been Gail McHugh and Teresa Gableman. When I started this journey I was scared to death, alone as I knew no authors, and clueless. I reached out asking for help to a number of authors whose books I had read and enjoyed and both Gail and Teresa graciously answered back. I truly have to say if it hadn’t been for them motivating me to take the leap I wouldn’t be where I am in this journey today.
- What tips do you have for someone who is thinking about writing a book?
To go for it! Never in a hundred years would I have imagined I would be able to call myself a published author. It doesn’t matter what background you come from, or what your walk of life is. I grew up a tomboy who hunted and fished, and yes I still do to this day. I went to college first to join the Police Force and then graduated with a degree in Business thanks to the coaxing of my family. However I have had no formal training to become a writer. I had a passion. One that I embraced and stayed focused on and this journey for me will never end.
If you are considering self-publishing and you have the creativity, thick skin, and motivation to find the answers you need you have already met half the battle. The publishing world is full of amazing creative minds, being able to think outside of the box and explore new story lines and characters is important. Along with having thick skin. The Indie Author world can be tough and you have to really be able to take criticism. You will at some point get less than pleasant reviews, you will have those who want your cover to look a certain way, or want your story to go differently. But you have to always keep the spark alive and remind yourself that not every reader will fall in love with your book; and that’s ok. You will have readers who will love your work support you and those are the ones that truly matter.
I am always available to help in any way that I can to give advice and guidance to anyone interested in becoming an Indie Author. I have been blessed to have the amount of support from others through this journey and the most humbling part is being able to pass the torch sort of speak. I can always be reached via fb or email.
- What do you do for fun?
Growing up in a rural area there wasn’t a lot to do for fun. We made the best of it though driving along dirt roads, hunting, fishing, and having cook outs with friends and family. We are all avid SEC Football fans and enjoy the family rivalries during the fall. Go Gators! I am lucky to come from a huge family and I love spending time with them. Two years ago I married First Class Petty Officer Culbreth and have been blessed to have an amazing partner in life. He inspires me, teaches me, and motivates me every day. I am very lucky to have him in my life.
We just moved to Colorado Springs and look forward to being able to enjoy the mountains and the outdoors here. Being a Florida native for more than 26 years you can imagine my thrill in looking forward to the snow! Hopefully before that happens we will be able to travel up and enjoy the sights of Cripple Creek and Pike’s Peak.
I would have to say my favorite hobby would be trying new foods. I don’t know if you would consider that a hobby but as often as I eat I think we can categorize it as such! I have a slight obsession with s’mores… I love Indian cuisine, and Gordon Ramsey is my favorite person to watch on TV. I look forward to heading up to the bakery I have heard so much about in Woodland Park and trying a bacon maple twist!
- What is your favorite movie?
I absolutely LOVE movies with action. That is one of the primary reasons why my books contain elements of suspense. I have to have something that keeps me on the edge of my seat. My favorite movie is Act of Valor. I balled in the movie theatre (only movie to ever make me do that), I cry like a baby every time I watch it at home, and even when I read the book. I can stand in the same places as those wives being married to an active duty US Navy Sailor myself. I can feel their pain, their angst, and their sadness. I love movies that draw me in like that.
However I don’t only like movies where explosions happen in every other scene. I also enjoy a movie that will make me laugh. This is The End is probably one of the only stupidly funny movies I have ever liked. If you are in need of a funny movie that will make your abs hurt from laughing I recommend it!
- If you were going out on a hot date what would it be?
Well, as most of you know I am just a down home country girl. Born and raised in the backwoods. So if I could choose any date it would probably be taking my huge, lifted, SUV out in the mud! Bonfire, good friends, apple pie moonshine, old country on the radio, and my hubby to cuddle next to. Of course at some point someone will have to make me s’mores…
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/jenniferculbrethauthor
Author Website: http://jenniferculbreth.wix.com/jenniferculbreth