Midnight (McKenna Chronicles Book 1)

BOOK: Midnight (McKenna Chronicles Book 1)
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Midnight

A McKenna Chronicle

Elizabeth Miller

 

This book is a work
of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locals or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

 

Text copyright 2014
by Elizabeth Miller

 

All rights reserved

No part of this book
may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of
copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only
authorized additions.

 

Summary: Colin
McKenna is a young, elegantly handsome, self-made millionaire running for the
Republican nomination for president. Charlie Carter is hired as the social
media coordinator for the campaign. The two become lovers, she has secrets and
he has emotional scars. Is their future linked together or will the pressures
from the campaign and a hidden past keep them apart? 

 

 

Table
of Contents 
                                           

Preface

ONE

TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

SEVEN

EIGHT

NINE

TEN

ELEVEN

TWELVE

THIRTEEN

FOURTEEN

FIFTEEN

SIXTEEN

SEVENTEEN

EIGHTEEN

NINETEEN

TWENTY

TWENTY-ONE

TWENTY-TWO

TWENTY-THREE

TWENTY-FOUR

 

 

 
Preface

 

 

My eyes flutter
open to focus
on
the outline of a man sitting in a chair next to my bed, his ankle crossed over
his knee. Strangely I’m not afraid. Reaching to the lamp on the bedside table I
flick the switch, throwing a gentle glow over the unfamiliar room.

The
man is striking; my heart skips a beat at his beauty and the intensity of his
stare. I’ve never seen eyes quite like these, blue pooling to depths deeper
than the ocean with a small sliver of brandy spiking out of the center of the
left one. His forefinger and thumb rub and pull his full bottom lip
absently and I wait for him to break the silence, watching him watch me.

Finally,
in a husky voice, he says, “I have waited for a long time to meet a woman who
can stir any emotion in my dead heart. It’s been so long; I didn’t think it was
possible to feel,” he pauses, searching for the right word, “anything.”

Planting
both legs on the floor, he leans down to rest his arms on his knees. His look
is contemplative, eyes deepening to the color of stormy seas, gray clouds
intermingling with lightning. I can’t take my eyes off of him, my heart
thumping dangerously as he moves toward the bed, leaning in to press his lips
gently against mine. An instant, staggering jolt reverberates throughout my
body from his touch. He hesitates at my reaction, as if testing his own.

I
sink back into the pillow and he follows. The heat of his mouth on mine is an
elixir, the remedy I have unconsciously been seeking. A low moan rumbles in his
chest as the weight of his knee sinks down into the mattress. Dropping to his
elbows, he rests them on either side of my shoulders, his body becoming a frame
hovering in a protective yet possessive arch over mine.

An
overwhelming peace, a sense of completion, hangs heavy in the air, fueling the
need to consume, to drink in his offering. My mouth parts instinctively when
his tongue briefly glances over my bottom lip, our breath mixing together into
an intoxicating combination. I can’t think clearly; his mouth, tongue and heady
scent shatter my thoughts with his enticing proximity. His mouth grows
hungrier, restless in its assault, his tongue dueling, playing with mine. The
force of energy pulsing between us is unexpected, an entity in and of itself.
My breath is coming in short bursts when he briefly pauses lifting his lips
from mine, blue eyes imploring me to stop him. I’m drawn to him on a level I
don’t understand. I want him,
I need him
. Unhindered, I wrap my arms
slowly around his neck in response to the silent question and his mouth molds
sensually to the full line of my lips.

Waking
with a start, my eyelids snap open. I pant into the darkened room, my pulse
pounding. “Just a dream,” my soft voice stirs the still air. Feeling the flush
rise slow and hot on my cheeks, I stare into the darkness, concentrating on
slowing my ragged breathing. After untold moments I pull the covers to my chin,
trying to find sleep once more and a dream that will never be reality.

 

 

 

ONE

 

 

 

MY
HEART BEATS
double time as I press heavily on the brakes of my 1998 Chevy
Blazer, swerving into the lane next to me on the I-114, barely missing the
Volvo that cut me off without warning. One hundred and fifteen people die in
traffic accidents every day in the United States, and I have no intention of
becoming a member of that statistic. Glaring at the woman in the car who
apparently isn’t concerned about her or anyone else’s safety, I slow my speed.

I’m
going to be late. I hadn’t planned on the
Detroit-through-Toledo-morning-rush-hour traffic as I traveled en route to
Indiana and the University of Notre Dame. To be fair, I didn’t have much time
to plan the trip in the first place.

A
late call last evening from Sonja Bates, an editor I work with occasionally,
convinced me to travel the three hundred plus miles to the university. Today
I'll witness Senator Colin McKenna formally announce his bid on the Republican
nomination for the upcoming presidential election. Senator McKenna is
interested in hiring a journalist to begin a social media campaign to engage
the younger voting population in the election and him. Sonja is connected in
some way to Evan Daugherty, McKenna’s campaign manager, and she referred him to
me. Although why he’s interested in discussing this assignment with me is a
mystery given my limited qualifications. However, she was very adamant, in fact
downright insistent, so here I am.

Politics
is not my strong suit; in fact, I hold a high level of disdain for it, and
maybe more so for politicians. My simple philosophy categorizes the whole
system just above the criminal clientele inhabiting the State penitentiary.
Politicians are pompous asses in three-piece very-expensive suits. They may
hold the appearance of kindness and concern, yet behind the façade they plunder
the pockets of Americans, spending taxpayer money as if it grows on the trees
surrounding their manicured, million-dollar mansions.

The
irony that I’ve been asked to meet Senator McKenna and Evan Daugherty about
this assignment is not lost on me. I know very little about him or any of the
other presidential hopefuls. The lateness of the assignment didn’t allow for
any investigation, and given my belief in the American political system, I have
very little knowledge of the platforms on which he professes support. My
parents have spoken about him, but not in great detail, only mentioning that
he’s a popular Indiana Senator whom many have high hopes for in the upcoming
presidential race. That’s the limited amount of information I know about
Senator McKenna. Oh, and he graduated from Notre Dame, hence his use of their
conference center to deliver his speech.

The
late call has left me feeling unprepared for the interview, although, I’m not
sure of my interest in the opportunity anyway. The thought of following the
progress of the campaign and a boring candidate for months is rather
depressing, but desperation outweighs all of these concerns. I'm here because
my freelance work dried up and I'm living off of my savings.

The
University of Notre Dame campus is awe-inspiring; unfortunately I don’t have
time to appreciate the history or the architecture, given the late hour. The
sun peaks through the otherwise dull, overcast sky laden heavily with darkening
clouds on this mid-winter day.

Sliding
from the Blazer at just past two in the afternoon, I’m left with only a few
minutes to freshen up after the long ride. The wind is bitter and inescapable,
an instant chill creeping thoroughly to the bone. Quickening my pace, I
practically run into the building to flee from the blast of cold air, gripping
my unpractical black velvet pea coat around my neck.

Once
inside, I deposit my things at the coat check, searching the lobby for a
restroom. An assessment in the mirror confirms my wild auburn waves survived
the long ride in the loose bun piled atop my head, with only a few escaped
tendrils floating untamed around my face. Running the tip of a mascara wand
over my lashes to frame my almond-shaped green eyes, I finish with a sweep of
lip-gloss to brighten my pale winter-washed face. I’m relieved the fitted white
button-up shirt and black pencil skirt I chose this morning are relatively
unwrinkled.

It’s
not hard to figure out which direction the conference center is located within
the confines of the Morris Inn. A swarm of people buzz with excitement, and I’m
herded with the throng to the entrance. Obvious excitement peppers the air. Men
and women of all ages and races flock together, heads bobbing above the crowd to
peek in the conference room. A steady thrum of intermingled voices set the
tone, some louder than others. I wait in line at the auditorium doors with an
overly gregarious, plump man who eyes me up from head to toe. I'm definitely
not interested, so I turn away from his shining eyes and grab my media
credentials from my purse.

It’s
my turn at the front. An attendant with beautiful light brown skin and caramel
eyes grins broadly at me, his voice a deep baritone. “Name?”

“Charlise
Carter,” I say, at the same time handing him my I.D.

A
quick look at my card and cross-checking the list, he nods, his grin remaining
in place while he responds, “Ms. Carter, members of the media are assembled
straight ahead at the front of the room. There's an usher to assist with
seating.”

“Thank
you,” I say, moving forward into the large room. At the far end, where the
attendant directed me, is an elevated stage. Just in front of it is an unusual
U-shaped configuration of what I guess are fifty seats which pull up to tables
for members of the media. Behind this area are rows of standard seats that I
believe the general public is using today. With two levels, the conference
center must hold almost four hundred people.

Reaching
the media seating section, I stand aside for others to take a seat, choosing a
chair in the third row on the very edge of the assembly, relatively hidden by
the excited reporters vying for the best position. A pretty brunette woman sits
next to me, preparing a portable mini recorder on the table in front of her,
along with a binder for written notes. I watch, fascinated, as she meticulously
reapplies her make-up and ensures every strand of hair is perfectly in place.

I’ve
set up my iPad to record the press conference, angling it toward the stage. It
can’t hurt to tape the event, just in case I’m offered the position and agree
to chronicle the campaign.

The
crowd calms instantaneously when a short, balding man appears, walking with
purpose to stand behind a podium. Holding up his right hand to bring the last
bit of conversation to a close, he begins to speak when the room falls to
silence.

“Ladies
and gentleman, thank you for coming today. It's with great pleasure I introduce
you to a gentleman I had the good fortune to teach not long ago at this very
university. His goals and ambitions were clear even then; his drive to succeed
unwavering. It's with that same passion he pursues his next endeavor. He is a
man of great moral and ethical principles. Embodying honesty and sincere
candor, he will lead this country into the next decade with a direct connection
to the needs and desires of the people. Senator Colin McKenna.” He holds his
hands out to the side of the stage in welcome of the candidate himself.

The
applause is thunderous, anticipation rolling off of the crowd in waves.
Who
is so awe-inspiring he creates this type of electricity in the room?

Clapping
politely I watch a man walk onto the platform, shrouded at first by the shadows
at the edge of the stage. The rest of the crowd erupts into louder, riotous applause
at his appearance. Hoots and whistles follow him as he makes his way to the
forefront. This is the reception of a popular musician, not a politician.

BOOK: Midnight (McKenna Chronicles Book 1)
12.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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