Friday, July 8, 2022

Read an Excerpt from State of Play: Passion Meets Politics (The Candidate Book 2) by Taylor Lee



When her pedophile candidate crashes and burns Gia accepts that her life as a hotshot campaign manager is over. Given the profoundly corrupt candidate who is now a shoe-in to win, Logan challenges her to run for the office--something she swore she’d never do. When Logan refuses to take no for an answer, for better or worse, Gia concedes.

Shocked at Gia’s entry into what he’d assumed would be a walk in the park campaign, her hapless political opponent brazenly labels Logan her sugar daddy. He ups the ante claiming that Gia sold her body to get his financial support. Given Logan’s special operative background, it was an unwise move at best.

In his former Special Operative career, lying and lying well was often a matter of life and death. Logan admits it’s questionable if that excuses his lies of omission to Gia regarding his current operation. He has to hope what’s usually considered dishonorable isn’t when the life and well-being of the woman he’s deeply in love with is at stake.

Logan is an entrepreneurial genius, accustomed to ruling every arena he chooses to enter. No shrinking violet, Gia rules her life with an iron hand. It’s not surprising that occasionally in public and, particularly behind closed doors, their relationship is an explosion waiting to happen.

Gia admits the problem with Logan’s commanding arrogance, in addition to annoying the hell out of her, it also turns her on.


“Quick, everyone!” Pointing to the television screens banking the walls, Ben Knight’s exhilarated voice rang through the Hard Times and Misery Saloon. “Look at this! ABC nightly news is featuring your debate, Gia! On national TV!”

At the clip showing Gia striding across the debate floor and engaging the audience, a roar went up from the HT&M rough-edged regulars, salted with a surprising number of upscale-looking gentlemen. Granger, the formidable barkeep of the disreputable hangout, yelled for silence as he jerked up the volume on the sets sprinkled throughout the cavernous interior.

The commentators were effusive. Pointing to the young woman whose lovely face was filling the screen, the granddaddy of political wise men intoned, “I don’t want to predict a race that hasn’t begun yet, but after this astonishing young woman sails to victory in the primary election next Tuesday, I have some advice for Gus Underwood, Gia’s opponent in the general.” He didn’t try to hide his grin. “Buckle on a Kevlar vest, buddy. Better yet, see if you can find one that covers you from your knees to your neck.”

The raucous cheers from the HT&M crowd drowned out the other prognosticators jumping on the bandwagon to register their heartfelt agreement. Gia leaned into Logan for support. Tilting back her head, she met his gaze and, not able to hide her excitement, asked almost in wonder, “Was I really that good, Logan?”

He held her close against him. “Princess, in a word, you were brilliant.”

Several hours later, when the ebullient crowd had consumed more booze than Granger swilled during the Super Bowl, the hardcore politicos convened at a table in the back of the saloon. Not surprisingly, Gia and her two young organizers, Emma York and Kaila Dalton, were the only women at the table. In addition, the three women and Gia’s long-term partner and now campaign manager, Ben Knight, were the only participants under thirty. The rest of the chosen team was a kaleidoscope of men representing different backgrounds, ages, and financial wherewithal. What they shared was a passion for politics and a commitment to the black-haired, emerald-eyed Irish lass sitting in their midst.

After ensuring that everyone’s glass was full, Logan Fowler, the acknowledged leader of the assembled team, turned to Gia. While his voice was serious, he didn’t try to hide the laughter in his eyes. “I could spend the rest of the night, Gia, listing the things that you did right in the debate. One of the most impressive was how you let Gretchen hang herself.” Nodding to the other men who were muttering in agreement, he said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but as a kid, I promised myself that when I was old enough to fight back, I would make every chubby, flaccid-faced teacher I had rue the day that she did everything in her power to undermine my confidence. Accomplished politician that you are, Gia, you let Gretchen be Gretchen. Which was the last thing her team wanted her to be.”

Waiting until the laughter died down, Logan continued. “Among the myriad things that you did right, the seminal action was when you stepped from behind your podium and spoke to the audience directly. You were gutsy enough to walk to the front of the stage, a solo figure meeting the people you wanted to serve. You left your opponent and even the moderator hovering in the background, mere pawns in your mastery of the stage . . . and the debate. With that courageous move, you not only won the race but you established yourself as a phenomenon that will soon take over the political world.”

Logan rose to his feet and lifted his glass. “To you, Gia Tremaine. The next Second District Representative to the Congress of the United States of America.”

The cheers and shouts of agreement from the assembled team were deafening.

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