There’s lots going on with “The Congressman’s Wife” this month — from ads to reviews to giveaway contests (stay tuned). That said, we thought we’d share an excerpt for you to enjoy.
THE CONGRESSMAN’S WIFE: EXCERPT
Mitchell took her elbow and steered her towards the entrance to the ballroom. In her Louis Jourdan stilettos she was almost as tall as his six-two. The photographers followed them inside. They had missed cocktails, partly because Mitchell wanted them to make an entrance, but mostly because he didn’t want her to have access to freely flowing liquor so soon after they’d had a fight. The row they’d had earlier had been a big one.
He didn’t like it when she told him he was getting ahead of himself. As soon as he’d decided to run for congress, he’d started spending, running up the balance on their credit cards. There was no guarantee he’d win, she’d argued, even though he was well known on the political scene. His family had owned a few dozen acres in this part of Long Island for over a hundred years, and his father had been a state Supreme Court judge. Mitchell was convinced that, along with his mayoral record, it was enough to guarantee him a seat in congress.
The fight tonight had started when she’d reminded him that if the dinner wasn’t a sell-out, his campaign would be over before it got started. This was their first formal fundraiser. At five hundred dollars a plate, she was worried they wouldn’t meet their goal.
All she had been able to think of as she got dressed that evening was that their credit cards were almost maxed out—again. Whether he won or not, she would have to get a second job if she didn’t want him to ask his mother to pay them down—again. His law practice, which could have been successful if he would stay focused on it for more than five minutes, was suffering because of all the time he was putting into the campaign.
Mitchell didn’t cope well with any kind of disappointment and if tonight was a wash, he would be impossible. She was so tired of taking care of him, picking up where his mother had left off the day they were married—doing everything for him, from cooking and cleaning and childbearing to clothes shopping and laundering, and the constant, incessant ego stroking. The only difference Mitchell saw between his wife and his mother, Eden sometimes thought, was that he could have sex with his wife. Only, he hardly ever did. And when he did, it was less than enthralling. But, careful not to bruise his ego and start another fight, she had learned to pretend.
Tonight, as they walked into the Ocean Club, there was no sign of strife between them. Appreciative murmurs swept through the crowd—most of them she’d heard before. Mitchell and Eden Bancroft were the glamorous, golden couple—beautiful, bright, young, sophisticated and well-connected pillars of the community. Suddenly, a new insight dawned on her.
Except for his height Mitchell was completely unremarkable. Having her at his side transformed him into a mysterious, even sexy man. To look as ordinary as he did and still get a woman like Eden made him sexy. This unexpected epiphany delighted her. Laughter bubbled up in her throat as she flashed her million-dollar smile.
That’s when Kaleb saw her. He had gone out to the dining room to consult with the maître d’ and as he started back to the kitchen, he heard the full, rich sound of her laughter. He’d turned to see where it was coming from and at that moment, for him, time stopped. It was as if every moving part of the universe froze in a weird kind of suspended animation. For a moment he could hardly breathe. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.
She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her dress was emerald green, slightly darker than her eyes, and her just-right tan accented her soft, blonde hair. It looked soft anyway, and her skin looked dewy and inviting. Kaleb stared at her in awe, soon realizing the insistent feeling in his groin would give him away if he didn’t do something. He grabbed an empty tray from a passing waitress and held it waist-high, covering himself like a kid in high school. The waitress glared at him.
“So get another one,” he told her.
“Like these old feet won’t cover enough miles tonight!” she snapped, sounding as tired and ornery as she looked. She had probably worked all day at a regular job and was doing the gig tonight to pick up a few extra bucks. The nametag on her uniform identified her as Doris. When she saw how Kaleb was using the tray, she broke into a grin. “Oh . . . it’s like that.” She followed his gaze to the amazing woman. “Good choice, kid,” she added, heading back to the kitchen. “She’s hot.”
And she was. Kaleb’s reaction to her had been instant and powerful. Slowly he’d gotten it under control. He had to get back to work, but he promised himself that before the evening was over he would find a way to speak to her. He had to get close enough to inhale what he knew would be the exotic, heady scent of her. He had to get close enough to her to . . . what? What the hell was he thinking? She was there with her husband.