Definitely a treat this time! No tricks…just Brady Maxwell!
With only 3 weeks left before For the Record releases and in celebration of hitting 30k likes on Facebook (OMG *squee* thank you, thank you, thank you), I got permission from my publisher to post the first chapter of For the Record! This book releases November 18th, so mark your calendars or preorder: http://amzn.to/1oexgMY
Remember to go back to my Facebook page to enter for a chance to win an ARC of For the Record!
Record Series Book 3
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written
permission of the publisher.
Just the Beginning
Time stood still as Liz Dougherty stared out at the crowd of
reporters visible through the backstage curtain. It was hard to believe that
just a year and a half ago she had stood on the other side of the stage for the
first time. Brady Maxwell had been announcing his run for Congress and she was
covering the event for her paper, and now she was standing with him as he was
about to announce their relationship to the world only months before her
college graduation date.
His fingers laced with hers and he squeezed gently, giving her
the reminder and reassurance that his presence already brought to her. Liz
looked up into his handsome face, admiring the strong jawline, the confident
dark brown eyes, the perfectly put together hair, and the full lips that drove
her crazy. She loved this man.
“We’ll get through this,” he whispered.
“I know.” She sent him a soft smile.
We’ll get through this wasn’t exactly
the comfort she had been looking for, but she knew everything will be okay was a lie. Brady
didn’t make promises that he couldn’t keep, and neither of them knew if
everything really would be okay.
The workers backstage gave them a wide berth as they went about
their business. She and Brady had been briefed and rebriefed until Liz had
gotten a headache from it all. She took it in stride, though. She knew how to
address reporters, considering she was one.
To everyone else, Brady probably looked completely in control. He
always was. But she knew that he was worried. Not necessarily about himself or
what this would do to his career at the moment. He was more confident now that
he had taken control of the situation and was handling it in the way he knew
how. But his brown eyes betrayed that he was nervous about how Liz would take
Only time would tell what would happen, just like time was what
they had needed to find their way back to each other. The only thing Liz knew
for certain was that she wanted to make this work.
“Heather will introduce me. I’ll give a speech. No questions.
Just a short statement, and then I’ll be back with you,” he told her in that
confidently casual manner only he could manage.
“Brady, I know. Heather and Elliott have drilled it into my
head,” Liz said. Brady’s press secretary and lawyer didn’t exactly see
eye-to-eye with Liz on everything, but she trusted them enough to get her
through one press conference. “I’m not even the one speaking. Worry about
“Nothing to worry about. I do this every day.”
“And I’ve been on the other side dozens of times. I can handle
standing backstage for one press conference.” She gave him another small smile.
She didn’t need people to keep telling her what was going to happen. She was
nervous enough without the reminder meant to placate her. She took a deep breath
and tugged on the necklace dangling around her neck. Brady had given it to her
when they had first been together, and it felt comforting to have it hanging
there now. She hadn’t worn it since he had been elected to office.
“I know you can. I just want you to be prepared for the reactions,”
Brady said, running his thumb up and down her hand. “People aren’t going to be
kind about our situation.”
Liz sighed softly. “Do you think we could be alone for a minute?”
she asked, giving him a pointed stare. Alone. Hint. Hint.
“I have to be onstage,” he reminded her.
“Soon. Heather hasn’t even made her announcement. I just need a
“I’d say I generally need more than a minute, Liz,” he said, his
signature smirk crossing his face.
Liz couldn’t help but chuckle. “Maybe more than a minute. That’s
a way to make the headlines. ‘Congressman Maxwell’s Affair Confirmed, Caught
Having Sex in Backstage Bathroom.’”
“Don’t tempt me,” he said. His eyes were already darting around
the room as he calculated how much time they had.
Liz ducked her head down
and looked up at him through her thick black lashes. “Please, Brady.”
“Oh, you know how much I like when you beg.” Brady immediately
started walking toward a small back room. Not a bathroom, at least. That was a
There were a few people in the room crowding around a computer
monitor and talking among themselves. Brady’s appearance made them jump out of
their seats. “How can we help you, Congressman Maxwell?” the first guy asked.
“I require the use of this room prior to my speech.” He gave them
an easy smile, but he might as well have threatened them, the way they jumped
to leave. It was a bit strange to watch this side of Brady compared to the way
he was with her when they were alone. He still had an air of authority that
never left, but they were equals in their love. This was all power.
And she found power immensely attractive.
As soon as the door was closed and locked, Brady had her back
pressed into the wall and his lips moved from her mouth to her ear down her
neck. God, she couldn’t get enough of him and he was only kissing her. It was
intoxicating. She had no idea how she had lived in that interminable purgatory
It had been less than
twenty-four hours since they had officially come out to Calleigh Hollingsworth,
the reporter at the Charlotte Times who had broken the
story along with Liz’s ex-boyfriend, Hayden Lane, yet they couldn’t keep their
hands off of each other. Liz certainly felt as if they had a lot of time to make
up for, and the way Brady’s hands were traveling down her dress made it seem he
had the same idea.
Reckless or not, Liz wanted Brady . . . and she wanted him right
“God, baby, I missed you,” Brady groaned.
“You’ve been with me all morning,” she teased.
“Not the way I wanted.” He pulled her back from the wall and
walked her toward a chair that he kicked out from under the table. His eyes
were full of mischief as he started undoing his pants. “We don’t have much
“You’re serious?” she asked, a bit surprised that he wanted to go
through with this right here, right now. But Brady wasn’t someone to deny
himself what he wanted. And there wasn’t any real danger
of them getting caught. At least . . . not by a reporter, which was all that
Plus . . . she had never been good at turning him down, and her
body was already aching for him.
Brady smirked at her. “Baby, I never joke about wanting you.” His
loosed himself from his boxer briefs and took a seat facing her. She took a
step toward him and his hands moved to the hem of her modest knee-length skirt.
Pushing it up around her waist, he tugged her thong off and moved her so that
she straddled him.
Her heart was already racing. It hadn’t been long since they had
been together at Brady’s lake house, but already she couldn’t get enough of
him. Every time she was with him it was a new unbelievable experience. Every
time was better than the next. Every time reminded her that it was worth it to
be with him. In the end, he was what made her happy.
Brady moved her hips so that she was hovering over him and she
leaned forward so her hands rested on his shoulders. She wanted to grab onto
his hair and use it for leverage, but thought that might be a dead giveaway
when they left.
Her head tilted back when she felt him enter her. A moan got
caught in her throat as he pushed her body the rest of the way onto his dick.
“Oh, God,” she murmured.
His thumb trailed along her bottom lip and her tongue flicked out
and licked it. Fire lit up his eyes. He shifted his pelvis up and she groaned
again. His hand covered her mouth. “Not a word, baby.”
And he then proceeded to make that practically impossible. He
gripped her hips in his hands and started moving her up and down on him. The
quick, rough rhythm he started coupled with the uncertainty of how long they
had before someone came looking for them pushed her to the edge. She bit down
on her lip hard to keep back the moans and screams that she wanted to let
loose. As Brady hit the right spot over and over again, she couldn’t hold back
anymore, and so she covered her mouth with his.
Their lips moved in time. It was a frenzy of heated bodies and
scorching kisses and passion that nothing else rivaled. Liz felt her climax hit
and she gasped against his lips as she throbbed with pleasure. Brady finished
after her and they sat there for a minute, reveling in their stolen moment.
And then they heard the knock at the door.
Liz scrambled backward off of him and lunged for her underwear.
Brady stood casually, adjusted himself, and righted his suit. He didn’t look
like anything had happened at all, aside from the lazy smile that crossed his
face. As she rushed to put her underwear back on, Brady snatched them out of
her hand and stuffed them into his pocket.
“What are you doing?” she hissed.
“Go without them.”
“Brady,” she groaned.
“I want to be onstage imagining you ready and waiting for me
“You’re going to get yourself all turned on while onstage,” she
pointed out, snaking her hand down his arm and trying to get to his pocket.
He yanked her close again. “It’s worth it.”
She stared up at him intently. Blue meeting brown with an
unparalleled intensity. “You’re worth this,” she whispered.
Worth coming out about their relationship. Worth dealing with the
reporters. Worth giving up her privacy. He was worth everything. A soft smile
crossed his lips as he seemed to understand what exactly she was saying and then
he dropped a sensual kiss on her lips.
A promise. He’d make sure she was right.
“Brady!” they heard Heather call from the other side of the wall.
He smirked at Liz before unlocking and opening the door.
“Heather, we were just coming to see you,” he said casually.
“Brady,” she groaned, shaking her head. She assessed him top to
bottom. “You can’t do this already. You’re going to drive me bat shit crazy.”
“This is different than normal?” he joked.
Her voice lowered and she glared at both of them. “I don’t even
want to know what was going on in here. I can only imagine. Can’t you at least
wait until we get back . . . or something?”
“Don’t know what you mean, Heather,” Brady said, crossing his
arms. “Don’t I have a speech to give?” He grabbed Liz’s hand and started
walking out of the back room.
Heather dropped in easily at his side and started going over the
speech as if nothing had happened. Liz suspected that meant they would be
getting shit later for going off like that. Checking out her cell phone, she
realized they had been cutting it close. She dropped her phone back into her
purse, and her eyes darted around the room for a bathroom.
But Heather grabbed Liz’s attention again. “Please stand right
here and do
not move again.”
“I’m not a child, Heather,” Liz snapped.
“Then perhaps you should take this more seriously,” she snapped
right back. “You’re a liability, and sneaking off and doing . . . whatever you
were doing is not helping anything.”
“Heather,” Brady said his voice dangerously low.
Heather straightened considerably and seemed to realize that
Brady was right there. Oh, this was going to be fun.
“Just getting everything in order,” she said coolly. Yeah, Heather
was not happy. She was probably worried that her perfect candidate was now
involved in a scandal with a college political reporter who had written
negative articles about him. Not to mention that she and Brady had been caught
and their names smeared across the front headline of newspapers all weekend.
Heather’s job was partly damage control. And Liz was the damage.
Liz understood why Heather would act like this, but it didn’t mean she had to
stand for it. Heather took one last look at Liz before walking over to Elliott.
“She’s such a bitch,” Liz grumbled.
“She means well, but yeah . . . it’s kind of her job,” Brady
said. “She just has to get used to us being together. I think she thinks this
is a ploy.”
“If she thinks that, then others will too.”
“I intend to quell those responses before they get off the
ground. You’re here to stay.”
His voice was so commanding that Liz had no room to doubt him. He
didn’t have to keep her around. After she had left him at his primary victory
to ensure that he won election, she had spent the next year with Hayden. She
had never gotten over Brady, and their time apart had been sprinkled with
sexually charged meetings and soul-crushing departures. The fact that they were
here at all was a testament to their dedication to each other.
A minute later, Heather walked primly out onstage. She was tall,
blond, and beautiful, with self-assurance that skyrocketed when she was
onstage. Liz remembered being jealous of her trim figure. Not that Liz was big,
but she was a bit more athletically built, with a large chest.
“Thank you so much for attending this last-minute press
conference,” Heather trilled. “I’m Heather Ferrington, Representative Maxwell’s
press secretary. No questions will follow the congressman’s announcement.”
The crowd erupted into outrage. Liz didn’t really blame them. She
was sure Brady was going to get bombarded whether he wanted questions or not.
That’s what she would have done. Liz had suggested that Brady take a few
questions to keep the reporters from revolting, but Heather would hear none of
it. She wanted to control the message that got out. Apparently it was bad
enough that Liz had already spoken to Calleigh, when confronted about being the
elusive Sandy Carmichael.
Heather sent them a scathing look. “No questions,” she repeated.
“The Congressman will be out in a minute. Thank you for your patience.”
She walked back toward Liz and Brady stiffly. Liz was glad that
she wasn’t the one dealing with the brunt of that backlash right now. Though .
. . she knew she would have to eventually.
Heather blew out a slow breath when she got back to Brady. “Just
stick to the script.” He nodded. His face grim for a second before returning to
the neutral campaign mask Liz was used to seeing on his face. “And, Brady . . .
, good luck.”
He gripped her arm softly. They had been working together since
his career began and had a bond that came with spending an exorbitant amount of
time with each other. After he dropped his hand, he turned back to face Liz. No
one could see them backstage, but it still sent a nervous thrill through her
system when his eyes were set solely on her.
“Still worth it?” he asked.
Liz nodded. “Always will be.”
Brady leaned down and kissed her once more tenderly on the lips.
Then he was striding across the small stage and to the podium as if he owned
it. And he did. He always did. Brady was more comfortable on a stage in front
of a crowd of rabid reporters foaming at the mouth than most people were in
their daily lives. He kept that confident smile plastered on his face, swagger
in his step, and gave off the air of a born-and-bred politician.
He adjusted the blue tie at his neck. It was his unspoken cue
that he was ready to begin. Liz held her breath, and silence lingered heavily
in the room as reporters leaned forward, anxious for what was to come.
“Thank you all for being here on such short notice. I’m sure
you’re curious about the recent allegations against my character. And I’m here
today to set the record straight.” Brady paused, and Liz watched all the hungry
expressions on the reporters’ faces. “Politicians in the public eye are
frequently held to a higher standard. We’re expected to be impenetrable. We’re
expected to be superhuman. Every fault, every stumble, every hurdle we have to
cross is open and accessible to the public. It is the life we chose, I chose,
when I was sworn into office. It is a life I would trade for nothing, because
it gives me the opportunity to work for the people I care about, to work for
the citizens of this great nation.”
Brady, easing into his speech, now smiled charismatically. Liz
hadn’t realized the knot
of nerves that had gnarled
up between them was so intense until it started to unravel.
“As you can imagine that life, this life, comes with limitations.
And limitations are the last things politicians tend to talk about. But after
the news that hit headlines this weekend, I feel as if it is my place to
address one of these limitations. One of these, well, to be frank, ladies and gentlemen,
have you ever considered how difficult it must be to date while
helping to run the country?”
Brady leveled an amused look at them. The crowd chuckled at his
statement, feeding into his speech. Good.
“An article ran in the Charlotte Times newspaper on Friday
claiming that I had an affair with a university reporter, Sandy Carmichael, who
I have since confirmed is Liz Dougherty. As a bachelor, I find it hard to
reconcile myself with the word affair. While what happened between Ms.
Dougherty and myself was kept from the public, it hardly
constitutes an affair. It was my attempt to keep one aspect of my life private.
I still strongly
believe that what happened between us should remain between us, but I also
understand the delicate position I find myself in. I did not come out about my
relationship with Ms. Dougherty for any other reason than privacy concerns.”
Liz sucked in the air she hadn’t realized she had been without.
That was the hardest part . . . hearing him discuss privacy as if they would
ever be afforded it again.
“Privacy issues seem no longer to be a concern, though, and the
very last thing I would want to see happen is for Ms. Dougherty’s name to be smeared
for being associated with me. After speaking with Ms. Dougherty,” Brady said,
his eyes darting to Liz briefly, “we have agreed that it no longer makes sense
to hide our relationship. The article was only false in that it did not address
the fact that Liz Dougherty and I are currently together.”
Oh God . . . it was really happening. Liz felt tears well in her
eyes. She had been the one to confess to Calleigh about their relationship, but
hearing Brady say it to a room of reporters somehow made it all seem so much
“It might have begun in secret, but from this day forward, we
would like to make it clear that is no longer the case. Thank you so much for
your time. I look forward to seeing many of you again.”
to go. And then the room exploded. Reporters pushed forward against the small
stage, demanding to ask questions.
“But what of the age discrepancy?”
“What will your opponents think of the negative articles she
wrote about you, Congressman Maxwell?”
“Representative Maxwell, just one question!”
“Congressman, can you comment on the use of a fake name to hide
Ms. Dougherty’s identity?”
“What else are you hiding?”
“Is this all a stunt from the campaign to cover up your sexual
And on and on.
Liz had been expecting it. Even if Heather hadn’t prepared her
for the onslaught of questions, she would have guessed this would happen. She
had been preparing long enough to be a reporter that she knew firsthand what
that was like. She even knew which questions she would have asked. But none of
that made it any easier. Her stomach flipped and she felt queasy as the
reporters added insult to injury.
She turned away and tried to tune out the madness. She breathed
in and out slowly and imagined herself back at Brady’s lake house in the peace
and quiet. The only thing they’d had was each other’s company.
Brady wrapped an arm around her waist when he reached backstage
and started walking her away from the stage without a word. He was trying to
protect her. This was just the beginning, and he knew it as much as she did.