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The spotlight hitsand the roar of the crowd fills my ears. My eyes lock on Willow as she takes the stage, her blonde curls bouncing with each step. Even from my perch backstage, her magnetism draws me in. I swallow. This girl is enchanting—she commands every room she enters.

My phone buzzes in my pocket, snapping me back. It's a text from Willow's manager:

Remember, not a word to her about you. We need to keep her safe.

I slip the phone away, refocusing on the mission.

Willow grabs the mic, flashing a smile that sparks a pang deep in my core. Her voice is honey, sweet and smooth, yet with a raspiness that keeps me leaning in. This job just got a lot more complicated. Every word from her lips stirs something primal in me that I can't shake. I'm supposed to protect this siren, but I'm the one in danger of being lured onto the rocks by her spell.

I melt into the shadows as she works the stage. Her talent is raw, almost feral, unlike anything I've ever seen. She becomes the music, each note possessing her. I understand now why she needs protection—a creature this exquisite will have enemies lurking in the darkness.

I will keep her safe, I vow to myself.No harm will come to her as long as I'm here.

But there's a new threat, one I couldn't have predicted. My own desire clouds my judgement and makes me weak. I cannot fall prey to it. I must remain vigilant for any dangers to her—even if that danger is myself.

* * *

Her voice cascades through the smoky club, husky and sensual. She's a siren calling to me, her spell sinking into my bones.Focus, I tell myself, dragging my gaze from her hypnotic sway. I'm here to protect—not leer like a smitten schoolboy.

She moves with such grace, bare feet caressing the stage as if it were a lover beneath her. I imagine those feet on me, my body her stage, and clench my fists.

Get it together, McKenzie.

When she dances, it's liquid fire. Each gyration of her hips stokes the flames building inside me. A sheen of sweat on her skin makes her glow under the stage lights. I want to run my tongue along that sweet, salty glaze.

Down boy, I silently warn my traitorous body. She's a job, not a conquest. But God, just look at her. Those plush lips I want to crush with my own. Satin hair I ache to twist around my fist. And those eyes. Emeralds flashing as the music takes her higher, to a place beyond my reach.

I'm losing myself in her. The very thing I swore wouldn't happen. But she's in my blood now, this siren song I cannot resist. I'll protect her from the dangers that lurk in the shadows and keep her light burning bright.

But who will protect her from me?

The final chord rings out and Willow collapses onto the empty stage, chest heaving. I want to run to her, scoop her limp body into my arms. Instead, I melt into the shadows as the crowd roars.

She rises slowly, a triumphant smile lighting up her face. Her eyes scan the darkness beyond the stage, searching. Does she sense me here? My heart thrums an eager beat.

I slip outside and wait by the stage door, needing to see her up close. Needing her to see me. She emerges flanked by her entourage.

I try to ignore the pang in my chest when she doesn't even glance my way because that's as it should be. She shouldn't notice me.

I'm just paid to protect her in silence.

* * *

Her schedule becomes my schedule. I shadow her every move—from sleepy morning coffee to late night showers. I catalog every detail. The way she tosses her hair over one shoulder when she laughs. The scent of her shampoo as she brushes by.

At first, it was for her safety. To scan for threats, identify risks. But now, I admit, it's become more. An obsession. A need to know her. Consume her.

I crave her nearness like a drug, finding excuses to hover in doorways as she changes clothes. To accompany her on mundane errands just to inhale her sweet perfume.

At night I lie awake, imagining the soft curves hidden beneath her clothes. The warmth of her bare skin against mine. I jack off until I come harder than I've ever come in my life.

But it's not enough. I wanther.

I've never wanted anyone this intensely. It scares me. And thrills me.

But I resist. Barely. My desire is a wild thing straining against a fragile leash. If I unleashed it, the fallout could be catastrophic. For both of us.

So, I watch. Andwant. Playing a twisted game of temptation I'm destined to lose. She doesn't know the power she wields over me. That with one whispered word, she could shatter my control.

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