When she was only eight years old, Riley O'Brien survived the unimaginable: the deaths of her mother and sister. As a result she vowed never to desert her father, a brilliant young congressman whose star was on the rise. Now, twenty-one years later, after trading her dreams of a normal life for his ambitions, Riley stands by her father's side as he makes a bid for the presidency. Growing up in the political spotlight, she has become an expert at hiding her feelings behind the surface of her regal beauty. But her defenses are about to be shattered. Investigative reporter Jake Mahoney resents wasting his time covering an ice princess at a presidential campaign rally. But when a car bomb throws him-literally-on top of the candidate's daughter, Jake quickly realizes that Riley O'Brien is pure fire. No one has ever gotten under his skin like this before. Their attraction is instant, and possibly fatal, as dangerous secrets from the past explode into the present, destroying one life after another in a nightmare of blind ambition.
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February 25, 2002
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Excerpt from Dark of the Night by Dee Davis
She was one hell of a looker. A hot body encased in ice. Pure ice, if her demeanor was any indication. But that didn't stop him from assessing the sleek line of her hair, the full curve of her breasts. Oh, she was hot all right. She just needed the right man to set her free.
Not that he was the man. Jake Mahoney shifted his large frame in the folding metal chair, wondering why in hell press conferences were always held in places without proper air-conditioning, and with seats that could easily pass as torture implements. Maybe to keep the reporters from staying too long.
He suppressed a smile and turned his attention back to the ice queen. Mary Catherine "Riley" O'Brien looked every inch the part. Slim and aristocratic, she'd give Jackie Kennedy's memory a run for her money. Especially if Carter O'Brien managed to win the election. But that remained to be seen.
In the meantime, he was stuck temporarily on the political beat, trailing the senator's daughter. And pretty package or no, she was the kind of woman he'd just as soon be on the opposite end of the planet from. He'd been chewed up and spit out by better. And he had no intention of making the same mistake twice. Especially not with someone like her.
"Want to meet her?"
Jake pulled his gaze from the podium and turned toward the sound of the voice. Edna Winston's smile was crooked. "Of course I want to meet her. Why the hell do you think I'm here?" He tried to hide his embarrassment with gruffness, but he could see by the twinkle in her eye that she wasn't buying. She'd seen his reaction to Ms. O'Brien.
"Well, actually, I've been sitting here wondering just that. I mean this isn't your usual stomping ground."
"Politicos, murderers," he shrugged, "is there a difference?"
Edna didn't bother to answer, just sat with one eyebrow raised, waiting.
"All right. I'm subbing for Walter. He's indisposed or something. I didn't ask." Walter Finley's affair with the bottle was a well-known fact.
"So this is a onetime shot?" She tilted her head toward Riley, and despite himself he looked.
"Oh yeah." The words came out with more force than intended.
"Well, then I suggest you make the most of it." Again there was a hint of amusement in the older woman's eyes. "I have a meeting with her immediately after this. It'd be easy enough to introduce you."
Edna Winston was a tough old bird. Been around longer than anyone could remember. She was a hell of a reporter, gutsy and tenacious. She could ferret out information when it looked as if there wasn't any.
"And why would you want to do that, Edna?" He eyed her cautiously. She wasn't exactly noted for her charity.
"Because I like you, Jacob."
Nobody called him Jacob, except his gran, and she'd been gone for a long, long time now. Still, he was here to do a job, and there was no sense looking a gift horse in the mouth. Even if it was more likely a gift cobra.