Crash and Burn

Logan and Renata Wakefield are the bright hope of today’s Washington political world. Logan is the handsome, charismatic candidate favored to become the next President of the United States, and Renata is the beautiful lady at his side, destined to be the most beloved first lady the country has ever known. Little does anyone know how much Renata actually hates her husband.

Her family was destroyed when her father died under tragic circumstances. Her mother is a sad, pale ghost of herself and has never recovered from the loss of her husband. Her brother disappeared after his father died, and Renata has never been able to find him again.

Why does Renata hate her husband so much? Their life together is perfect as far as the outside world and Logan believe. Their sexual encounters are fiery battles for dominance, and Logan finds them deeply satisfying. Renata led him into marriage deliberately, and she has an agenda of her own that nobody knows about. What could it be? Did Logan have something to do with what happened to her family? There are undercurrents in Washington that hint of evil plots and dirty players. Is Renata’s agenda all about retribution, or is she more deeply involved in the inner workings of the political machine? Will Renata be able to carry her plan through to its end? Will someone pay the price for what happened to her family?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy political romance contains graphic scenes and themes of power exchange and power play.

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Sample Chapter

The lovely, poised woman stood at the back of the packed room, listening attentively with a calm half-smile and not a trace of the visceral hatred she felt for the speaker. She knew that in a couple of hours, after shaking hands and kissing cheeks, making nice with the swarms of wealthy attendees in the room, she would go home with the object of her hatred. She would compliment him, flatter him, bring him a nightcap, and drive him to a thundering sexual release, which was the way he liked to end all these evenings. He would never know that in her mind, she was disemboweling him with a jagged hunting knife and laughing as his guts spilled all over the satin sheets that he preferred.

She smiled as she politely joined the applause that rolled through the room right on cue as the charmingly handsome speaker paused. Her face showed none of the contempt she felt for the fawning, enthusiastic followers who eagerly fed the ego of the man on stage. She was smooth and charming and so beautiful that appreciative male eyes followed her every move, just as carefully masked claws lurked in the female eyes that fell on her. Every woman in the room would have traded places with her in a second, and every one of them would have secretly applauded her downfall if only they could see it happen. Their obvious jealousy made her even more contemptuous of them since she knew that they had no idea what the reality was of the life she lived. They would never know. But no matter. Her plans were laid, and she had no intention of living in these circumstances forever.

“Renata, darling, you look gorgeous, as always. How did that lucky man win you?” The enormously rich oil tycoon kissed her hand and she laughed lightly at him.

“Why, Drake, you know perfectly well that he captured my heart from the very first time we met. I’m quite sure that you’ve heard him tell the story.”

The man shook his head ruefully and said, “I’ve certainly heard it, but I’ve never wanted to believe it. I prefer to think it was something far beyond his looks and charm. Perhaps all the stars in the heavens were aligned in an order that gifted him with you. Something celestial that gave him an advantage that none of the rest of us could ever achieve.”

Renata laughed lightly at him and said, “You’re so silly, darling. You have your own beautiful Ashleigh, after all.”

“Did I hear my name?” The gently lovely but unremarkable Ashleigh joined them, champagne in hand.

Renata gave her a genuine smile. Ashleigh was one of the few people in the room who was a real human being, without the hidden motives and artifice that the others wore as closely as they wore their skin. She fit into this crowd the way a kitten would fit in with a room full of snakes. Thankfully, her husband, Drake, didn’t inflict this kind of evening on her very often. He always said he could only stand a small dose of high flying society before he had to get back to grass and dirt and oil wells. Renata had a fondness for Ashleigh, though she knew the quiet woman would be horrified if she ever saw the real Renata. Of course, the real Renata would never be clearly seen by the people in the room here tonight.

Renata’s skin prickled as she sensed her husband coming near, working his way through the congratulations and flattering words of the people he had addressed from the podium. She felt the familiar cold chill as he laid his hand on the small of her back and bent to kiss her cheek, but her face never betrayed her feelings. She gave him a brilliant smile and let him hear the words he could never get enough of.

“Your speech was perfect, darling. Who could resist you? Every time you speak, the support for you grows by leaps and bounds.” She laid her hand in his as she spoke, and he raised it to his lips as he soaked in the praise.

“Thank you, my dear. I hope your assessment is right. Now, if they just show their support by adding to the funds, I’ll be satisfied.”

Renata laughed. “You know they will. They’re more than eager to open their checkbooks.”

“Your lips to God’s ears, baby. There’s George Russell; I need to speak with him. Enjoy the buffet, darling.” And he was gone, leaving his wife feeling relieved.

Renata wandered through the crowd, bestowing words here and there as she went and leaving each male she talked to aching to be with her just once. She let one hopelessly besotted English lord kiss her hand and then favored him with her brilliant smile before she moved on, setting down her barely touched glass of champagne and moving over to the terrace, open to the warm night and displaying a breathtaking view of the city at night. She accepted a fresh glass from a waiter and sipped it as she breathed deeply of the night air. Too soon, her presence on the terrace was discovered and it became too crowded for her there. She excused herself and drifted through the room to select a small plateful of delicacies from the buffet, nibbling at caviar and creme fraiche tartlets and lobster toasts along with some fresh melon wrapped in prosciutto. Her head was beginning to ache, and she hoped that eating a few bites would help.

When the hour grew late enough, Renata moved smoothly to the side of her husband. She slipped her arm through his and kissed his cheek, whispering in his ear, “Let’s get out of here, darling. I need you all to myself.”

He began to protest, but the sultry look she gave him stopped his words. He began to make his farewells and in only a few minutes, they were in the elevator, accompanied by the two bodyguards who trailed the candidate everywhere he went. The car was waiting at the door and they slid into the back and the welcome quiet with a soft sigh from Renata. The quiet didn’t last long as her husband began to recap the night. He poured them each a glass of champagne as he talked, congratulating himself on the success of his earlier speech. Renata listened with half her attention, having heard it all before. When they reached their building and made their way to the elevator, she sighed with relief again. Her job was nearly done.

The doors opened into the beautiful penthouse suite, and once the bodyguards did a sweep, they were excused for the night. Renata kicked off her shoes and carried them to the bedroom. She needed to move around a little without a crowd, so she went to the kitchen and took a bottle of sparkling water from the massive refrigerator. She looked around the gorgeous kitchen and shook her head as she thought of how little use it got. It was always stocked with fruit, salads, and pretty little trays of appetizers and finger sandwiches, courtesy of the housekeeper. They took most of their dinners out at restaurants or various events. Renata couldn’t remember the last time she had cooked anything herself. Once upon a time, she had enjoyed cooking, but those days were long gone. She carried her water and a delicate crystal glass back to the bedroom where her husband was pulling off his jacket and tie.

Renata crossed the room to him and turned. “Unzip me, darling.”

Logan Wakefield, candidate for President of the United States, slowly pulled down her zipper and traced her spine with his finger as she slipped the dress down off her shoulders. He picked it up after she stepped out of it and held it to his face, breathing in her scent. It was followed by her silky slip, and she stood in black lace and thigh high stockings. Her husband stood, mesmerized, as she walked gracefully across the room to pour herself some water. He drank in the sight of her, all tawny skin and dark haired perfection. Renata Wakefield’s parents could trace their lineage back to Portuguese nobility; their family records were maintained by the private institute that had taken over the work when the Council of Nobility in Portugal was disbanded. He had met her at an equestrian event five years before; she was a skilled rider and competed in dressage events, winning regularly. She had been born in the U.S. but had spent a lot of time between the United States and Portugal and was fluent in Portuguese.

The moment Logan had seen her, he had known he had to make her his. He set out to charm her, never knowing that she intended to take him up on it for reasons of her own. She led him into exactly the place she wanted him, and given his enormous ego, it wasn’t hard to convince him that he, over all the other men who were after her, was able to win her heart. He was endlessly, constantly obsessed with her body and the things she did to him in bed. She had also proven to be invaluable as a candidate’s wife. The women, of course, hated her, but they loved him, and he wasn’t overly concerned with the feelings of the women. The men were the important ones—rich, powerful men who could help advance him in his quest and add the funds he needed to run the race.

Renata sipped her water, her eyes on him the whole time. She licked a drop of water from her upper lip and Logan was instantly hard. When she reached up and pulled the clip from her hair, letting it cascade down over her shoulders, he actually gave a little groan. Renata walked over to him and jerked his pants open, shoving them down over his hips. He stepped out of them and reached for his underwear, but Renata pushed him backward, forcing him to sit down hard on the bench that stood against the wall. She stepped back and raised one leg to set her foot on his knee. He was breathing hard and his eyes were dark with desire. Renata leaned forward and slowly rolled her stocking down her leg, letting Logan pull it off her foot. When she put the other foot up, Logan reached for her stocking, but she slapped his hand and leveled a warning look at him. He sat back, frustrated, and watched her roll down the other stocking.

Renata took a couple of steps backward and said, “Get up.”

Logan rose on unsteady knees and Renata stepped forward and yanked his shorts down to release his rock hard erection. She took it in her hand and squeezed, making him gasp as she stroked and pulled at him. He reached for her, moving quickly, and jerked her against him, one hand holding her against him and the other pulling at her wispy lace bra. He ripped it off her and dropped it onto the floor, squeezing her breast and pinching her nipple hard. Renata wanted to feel nothing, but her treacherous body betrayed her. Her nipples were hard, and her panties were wet. He ripped them off and thrust his hand between her thighs with a grunt of satisfaction as he felt how wet she was.

Renata desperately needed to take control. She shoved him toward the bed and, with a hard push, knocked him down and followed him onto the bed. She straddled him and shoved herself down, burying him deep inside her swollen, tight depths. She rode him hard and he mauled her breasts as she rose and fell against him. He pulled her down and bit one nipple, making her cry out. She rode him harder, but he wouldn’t let her win. In a sudden move, he flipped her over on her back and drove into her as hard as he could. Renata fought against the feelings that were sweeping over her, but it was no use. He was driving her to an orgasm yet again, one she didn’t want. He grunted with each thrust, their bodies slapping together, slick with sweat. Tears ran down Renata’s face when she was rocked with hard spasms of the climax she fought so fiercely. A few thrusts later, Logan emptied himself into her with long shudders. He lay heavily on her, breathing hard, and the tears slowly dried on her face.

Finally, Logan rolled off her. “God, baby, that was so good. I think I need to raid the refrigerator.”

After he left the room, Renata slowly rolled over and climbed off the bed. She went directly to the shower, letting the hot water blast over her. It warmed her flesh, but inside, she was still cold. She scrubbed herself until her skin was red and then wearily shut the water off. Wrapping herself in her soft, fleecy robe, she stopped to pick up her tattered lingerie and toss it in the trash. She padded out to the kitchen and made a cup of hot tea. The remains of the sandwich Logan had made for himself were scattered on the island and she ignored them. She walked silently down the hall with her tea to find her husband in his office, typing away at his computer.

She watched him from the doorway until he realized she was there.

He gave her a brief look and waved his hand. “You can go on to bed. I’m going to be working here for a while.”

“Good night,” Renata said, turning and walking away. He didn’t bother to answer. Renata selected a book from the shelves in the library and took it to bed with her. She pulled off the coverlet they had fucked on and left it in a pile in a corner of the room. She lit a candle to dispel his scent and piled all the pillows up on her side of the bed, knowing he wouldn’t make another appearance there that night. At long last, she was able to relax with her book and her tea.

Renata tried to get to sleep without thinking any further about the life she was living but, as usual, she couldn’t pull it off. Sometimes every nerve in her body screamed for her to put an end to it, but she had worked too damn hard to desert her plan now. She had to remind herself that these years of craziness would be well rewarded once the plan was carried out to its end. She thought of her father and the way he had shrunken into himself before the end came for him. He had always been her strong, funny, and heroic papa until the bad days had come. He had never deserved what had happened and his loss had destroyed her mother. She was still living, but she was a pale ghost of the woman she had been. It broke Renata’s heart anew every time she saw her beloved mama. She had a brother somewhere, but he had disappeared before she had married Logan and she had never seen him again.

Renata got up from the bed and went to pour herself a glass of brandy, recognizing that she had barely touched the champagne all evening and she was going to need something to ease her to sleep. She stood at the terrace windows sipping it, gazing out at the lights of the city. Finally, her thoughts quieted, and she knew she would sleep for the rest of the night.

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