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Strip Search (Too Hot Too Handle, #3) by Valentine, Aubree (1)

Prologue

Cole

Four Years Ago

Strumming my fingers on my desk, I look through her resume again.

Six months post-graduation with a master’s in criminology. No experience outside of her internship. Plus, a phone call from an old Marine buddy cashing in a favor for his baby sister.

“I think she’s qualified,” Cody, my younger brother pipes in.

“Of course, you do asshole. Hands off,” I warn him. She’s a gorgeous girl but, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Brown, four years my senior and the man I modeled my Marine career after, would have both our asses if we crossed the line with her. “Stop staring at her like a fucking creeper. Go out there and tell her to come on in.”

She arrived twenty minutes early for her interview. Cody and I have been sitting here reviewing her paperwork while stealing glances at her through the glass conference room windows. I swear I wasn’t trying to make her nervous, but I am interested in seeing how well she holds herself together. Staying cool under pressure is a must in this job.

As soon as she walks inside, I stand and offer my hand for her to shake. “Molly Brown, I’m Cole Davenport.” I point to my brother. “This nerd is my baby brother, Cody.”

“Nice to meet you both. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.” Molly’s voice comes out like a rich velvet.

Molly takes a seat as Cody, and I sit down across from her, and I notice the way she crosses her legs, her skirt riding up a little higher. The rise and fall of her chest and the slightest hint of cleavage beneath her modest top. Even in her professional best, she’s breathtakingly gorgeous.

Yep. We’re as good as fucked with this one.

She’s Paddy’s little sister. My subconscious yells. I try to distract my wayward thoughts by thumbing through her file again. “We’ve had a chance to review your resume. Aside from the lack of field experience, it’s pretty impressive.”

I’ve reviewed it more than once since I got the call from Paddy and the application from her. So much so that I have it memorized. Top of her class, rave reviews from her peers, the program director, and her internship supervisor.

“My one concern is...” Before I can finish my statement the office phone rings again. All the more reason why we could use someone to help out in here. Even if Molly is overqualified for the front desk.

“I got it, go on without me. You know my decision,” Cody excuses himself, pulling the door shut behind him. Like this is even his choice to make. Cole Security is mine alone. I sign his paychecks.

“Sorry about that. As I was saying, I’m a little concerned about the blank space on this page from after graduation until now.”

“I’ll be honest with you. It was hard to find work back home. Small town. Lack of experience. Apparently working my ass off in school meant nothing.” She pauses realizing her slip up, she offers an apology.

“If you’re going to work here, you’re going to hear a lot worse than ‘ass.’” I smile at her.

“Right, potty-mouthed Marines. Got it.” She tucks a strand of her light brown hair behind her ear, and a slight blush fills her cheeks. “Anyway, I worked my way through college and really hoped my internship would result in a permanent position. As you can see, it did not. So, I did what any responsible twenty-six-year-old would do... I took a sabbatical.” Molly laughs nervously.

I can’t fight the smile on my face. This girl is something else.

“You know your brother called me, right?” I smirk.

Molly rolls her eyes and sighs. “Yes. I figured he would fill you in. Knowing Paddy, he probably threatened you with bodily harm if you didn’t give me the job.”

I let out a hearty chuckle. “That’s not the only threat we got. But yes. He did. Wouldn’t matter though. I planned to hire you anyway. That’s why we asked you to submit to the background checks and security clearances first. I hate that it’s not for a field ops position, yet...”

“Doesn’t matter, I’ll take it,” she replies eagerly, not giving me a chance to finish my statement.

“Do you want to review the pay and benefits first?” I challenge.

“No offense, but anything is better than what I’ve got now, which is nothing.”

“Molly, we’ve got to work on your negotiation skills.” I stand. “Welcome to the team.”