Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Rich by Janet Elizabeth Henderson, Tour & Giveaway

Benson Security, #5
Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Publication date: April 23rd 2020
Genres: Adult, Thriller

Rachel Ford-Talbot has nothing to do with her family or their pharmaceutical business. And she likes it that way. As one of four partners who own an internationally renowned security business, Rachel prefers to leave her past, with all its secrets, deeply buried.
But when a series of thefts reveal that the family business is being targeted for industrial espionage, her father begs Rachel to investigate. His illness makes it hard for her to refuse, but Rachel wonders if he truly understands what he’s unleashing on his company. Because she isn’t the same bright-eyed graduate that walked through their doors years earlier. Now, she’s strong, powerful, and somewhat terrifying. A woman who doesn’t suffer fools lightly and who is afraid of nothing.
She also isn’t alone.
This time, she has the might and expertise of Benson Security at her back. And an ex-CIA agent at her side—because Michael “Harvard” Carter has appointed himself her bodyguard for the duration. Even though Rachel doesn’t need, or want, the annoyingly sexy man’s help. But while the world sees a first-class bitch when they look at her, Michael sees only someone who intrigues him. Which makes him the biggest threat of all.

***This is a standalone novel. You don’t have to have read any of my other books to enjoy it.***

“Darling!” Her mother held out her arms to Rachel as soon as she stepped from the car. The countess was always impatient when she was excited. And in her mother’s mind, Rachel bringing home a man was definitely cause for excitement. Even when that man was purely a work colleague, which her mother knew full well.
Rachel narrowed her eyes in suspicion as she strode up the steps to wrap the slender woman in a hug. Unlike her friends, Rachel’s family didn’t do air-kisses. No. They did proper hugs. It had been the source of much humiliation as a child. “There’s no need to pretend when we’re alone,” she said.
“Nonsense,” her mother whispered, as though there was someone to overhear. “Your lovely gentleman told Roger it would be best to stay in character at all times. It’s thrilling. I haven’t had this much fun since the sixties.”
And that there was exactly the reason Rachel had suggested keeping her mother in the dark.
Breaking the embrace, she stepped back and felt a hand come to rest on the small of her back. She stiffened before remembering she was supposed to be familiar with Harvard’s touch. Forcing a smile, she set about getting the introductions over.
“Mother, this is Michael Carter. People call him Harvard. I have no idea why. Michael, this is my mother, Lady Francesca Ford-Talbot.”
“Michael, or should I call you Harvard?” her mother exclaimed. “I’m utterly delighted to welcome you to the family. It’s about time Rachel settled down. I can’t wait to get to know you better.” And with that, she enfolded Harvard in a hug.
As her father groaned and looked skyward, Rachel glared at him. This whole thing was his fault. He, more than anyone, knew his wife had a wicked sense of humor that would get them all into trouble.
“Call me whatever you like,” Harvard said when her mother released him. “I’m sorry we weren’t able to meet before this.”
Great. Apparently, they were all pretending, even when there was absolutely no need.
“Please, don’t apologize.” Her mother shot Rachel a chastising look. “It isn’t as though Rachel lives in my pocket. If it weren’t for these monthly dinners, I’m not sure when I’d see my daughter.” She took Harvard’s arm. “Do you know, you’re the first man she’s ever brought home? And I do mean ever. Although, there was her friend Harry, but he doesn’t really count as it was never a romantic relationship. I very much hope you’ll be a good influence on her and make sure you both visit more often once you’re wed.”
Okay. That was it. Rachel had known from the start that taking part in an undercover op with her family was a bad idea, but if her mother was going to use the situation to make digs all evening, she was going home.
She turned back toward her car, but her father caught her arm. “We’re suffering through this together,” he muttered to her as he strode into the house, taking her with him.
“This is all your fault,” she told him. “You’re the one who came to Benson Security and demanded I take part in the investigation. And now look what’s happening. Mother is taking advantage of the situation to drive me crazy.”
Her mother smiled over her shoulder. “Come along, you two. Everybody’s waiting.”
Rachel tripped on the rug, and her father’s hold tightened on her arm. “Everybody?”
“Oh, yes.” Her mother sounded dangerously pleased with herself. “My only daughter is getting married. That calls for a celebration. I’ve invited the whole family.”
Any second now, Rachel’s head would explode. She felt the pressure build as she glared up at her father. “And you couldn’t send me a text to let me know what she was up to?”
He looked pained.
“No, he couldn’t,” her mother said. “I swore him to secrecy. If you’d got even a whiff of there being a party, you would have made an excuse not to come.”
“So, you decided to blindside me instead?”
“Yes.” Her mother was clearly delighted. “I’m thrilled it worked. Now, come along. It isn’t every day your daughter brings home a fiancĂ© that her mother hasn’t even met.”
“She does know this isn’t real, right?” Rachel whispered to her father.
“Yes, she does, but she’s decided to use our unusual circumstances to make a point.”
The point being that Rachel was too distanced from her family and not settling down fast enough for her mother’s liking. “If she doesn’t calm down, I won’t visit for a year after this is over.”
Her father clutched his chest as though in pain. “Don’t even joke about it. The woman would hunt you to the ends of the earth if you did that, and she’d drag me along with her. And then we’d all suffer. Isn’t one heart attack enough for me? Do you really want to give me another?”
“Whatever,” Rachel grumbled, “but I’m definitely making Harvard pay.”
“That I can live with,” he said.

Author Bio:
Janet is a Scot who moved to New Zealand fifteen years ago. Among other things, she’s been an artist, a teacher, a security guard at a castle, a magazine editor, and a cleaner in a drop in center for drug addicts (NOT the best job!). She now writes full-time and is working on her 19th book. Her books have won several awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense. When she isn’t living in her head, she raises two kids, one husband, and several random animals. She survives on chocolate and caffeine.
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