Shadow is the Secret Service code name for First Daughter Nora Hartson. And when White House lawyer Michael Garrick begins dating the irresistible Nora, he's instantly spellbound, just like everyone else in her world. Then, late one night, the two witness something they were never meant to see. Now, in a world where everyone watches your every move, Michael is suddenly ensnared in someone's secret agenda. Trusting no one, not even Nora, he finds himself fighting for his innocence--and, ultimately, his life.
Brad Meltzer's runaway bestseller takes us down the rabbit hole of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and paints a riveting picture of a danger only one man will ever know...what it's like to fall in love with the world's most powerful daughter.
A man faces a lot of pressure when dating the first daughter of the U.S., especially if she is sexy, rebellious and maybe a little bit crazy like Nora Hartson. But young White House lawyer Michael Garrick thinks he is up to the task. Their first date begins with a wild car chase to shake off Nora's ever-present Secret Service tail and ends when Nora and Michael see something they were never meant to see something that will put Michael's career, and his life, in danger. As witnesses to an ever-widening conspiracy, Michael and Nora find themselves tangled in a web of intrigue and under suspicion for murder. As the pressure increases, Nora makes herself scarce; when she does surface, she seems even more vulnerable and crazed, leaving Michael to decide if she is, in fact, part of the conspiracy or, like him, a victim of it. As he tries to make sense of the trap surrounding him, he finds himself not knowing whom, if anyone, to trust. Sweeney's reading is the perfect match for Meltzer's fast-paced and witty writing. With a raspy voice reminiscent of a young Martin Sheen, Sweeney brings to life Michael's anxious cockiness in a palpable manner. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 6, 2000). (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Grand Central Publishing
December 31, 2000
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Excerpt from The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer
I'm afraid of heights, snakes, normalcy, mediocrity, Hollywood, the initial silence of an empty house, the enduring darkness of a poorly lit street, evil clowns, professional failure, the intellectual impact of Barbie dolls, letting my father down, being paralyzed, hospitals, doctors, the cancer that killed my mother, dying unexpectedly, dying for a stupid reason, dying painfully, and, worst of all, dying alone. But I'm not afraid of power--which is why I work in the White House.
As I sit in the passenger seat of my beat-up, rusty blue Jeep, I can't help but stare at my date, the beautiful young woman who's driving my car. Her long, thin fingers hold the steering wheel in a commanding grip that lets both of us know who's in charge. I could care less, though--as the car flies up Connecticut Avenue, I'm far more content studying the way her short black hair licks the back of her neck. For security reasons, we keep the windows closed, but that doesn't stop her from opening the sunroof. Letting the warm, early--September air sweep through her hair, she leans back and enjoys the freedom. She then adds her final personal touch to the car: She turns on the radio, flips through my preset stations, and shakes her head.
"This is what you like?" Nora asks. "Talk radio?"
"It's for work." Pointing to the dashboard and hoping to be cool, I add, "The last one has music."
She calls my bluff and hits the last button. More talk radio. "You always this predictable?" she asks.
"Only when I--" Before I can finish, the shriek of an electric guitar pierces my eardrum. She's found her station.
Tapping her thumbs against the steering wheel and bobbing her head to the beat, Nora looks completely alive.
"This is what you like?" I shout back over the noise. "Thrash radio?"
"Only way to stay young," she says with a grin. She's kicking my shins and she loves it. At twenty-two years of age, Nora Hartson is smart. And way too confident. She knows I'm self--conscious about the difference in our ages--she knew it the first moment I told her I was twenty-nine. She didn't care, though.
"Think that's going to scare me off?" she had asked.
"If it does, that's your mistake."
That's when I had her. She needed the challenge. Especially a sexual one. For too long, things had been easy for her. And as Nora is so keenly aware, there's no fun in always getting what you want. The thing is, that's likely to be her lot in life. For better or worse, that's her power. Nora is attractive, engaging, and extremely captivating. She's also the daughter of the President of the United States.
As I said, I'm not afraid of power.
The car heads toward Dupont Circle, and I glance at my watch, wondering when our first date is going to end. It's quarter past eleven, but Nora seems to just be getting started. As we pull up to a place called Tequila Mockingbird, I roll my eyes. "Another bar?" "You gotta have at least a little foreplay," she teases. I look over like I hear it all the time. It doesn't fool her for a second. God, I love America. "Besides," she adds, "this is a good one--no one knows this place."
"So we'll actually have some privacy?" Instinctively, I check the rearview mirror. The black Chevy Suburban that followed us out of the White House gate and to every subsequent stop we made is still right behind us. The Secret Service never lets go.