Songbird by Cecilia London
Series: Standalone though technically is #7 in The Bellator Saga
Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 14, 2020
Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words
Subgenre: Women’s Fiction/Mainstream Fiction with Strong Romantic Elements
Warnings: content warnings for death, violence, psychological trauma
Christine Sullivan isn’t an easy person to love. She knows how the world sees her – aloof, standoffish, cold…perhaps even bitchy. After a lifetime in politics, including a stint with an expat government in exile, President Sullivan has taken her share of body blows, but now she’s back in Philadelphia…a widow, a recovering Republican, a former public servant seeking a quiet, private existence.
On her to-do list – rebuild her relationship with her estranged daughter and invent the rest of her life. She has her best friend Caroline, her brand spanking new condo, and her ever frustrating Secret Service detail to keep her company. That should be enough for anyone, right?
Until Alexander Guardiola comes along… liberal, emotionally unguarded, younger. A lot younger. Everything Christine isn’t. And isn’t ready for.
But opposites attract, don’t they? And hearts and minds can always be changed…
How did humans ask other humans out? I had no idea of the proper etiquette. Even if I could hazard a guess, the protocol might have changed from what it was back when I’d never, ever considered doing it. I spent a good few days plotting out imaginary, perfectly conducted conversations before I decided to pick up the phone and wing it. Of course, he answered on the first ring.
I cleared my throat. Good, give off that female stalker vibe. Brilliant. “Alexander?”
“This is Christine Sullivan. We met at your father’s retirement party last week.”
“I remember. I’ve been waiting for your call.”
Oh sweet tapdancing baby Jesus, his father told him he gave me his number. I wanted to slide off the couch and melt into the floor. Or throw myself histrionically onto the glass coffee table in front of me. Was I supposed to make small talk? Lead into it? Just get to the point so I could decide whether I was destined to scare him off or not? Small talk. I hated small talk. I should have written down some questions to ask if discussion slowed.
Yes, I’d been asked out on a lot of dates when I was younger. But I’d turned most of them down. Perhaps I was too driven, too singularly focused, too scared by my relationship with my father to even think of voluntarily spending time with men I was certain would only try to clip my wings. I’d dealt with plenty of them in a professional setting, used my feminine wiles once or twice to get what I wanted, but other than that, I was unfamiliar with the practical application of flirting.
“Are you still there?” he asked.
I’d been silent for so long he thought I’d hung up. Hopefully I hadn’t been breathing heavily. This was already a disaster. “I am.” Was I supposed to say something else? “Um, I was wondering if you’d like to get a drink sometime.” Smooth, very smooth. “Or dinner. Maybe dinner. We could—” We could… do what? Discuss foreign policy? I sounded like a dolt. I felt like a dolt.
“Are you trying to ask me out?”
The smile in his voice soothed me somewhat. “Yes.”
“I’ve never been asked out by a head of state before,” he said.
“Former,” I corrected automatically.
“Of course,” he said. “Although I must say you’re a much more attractive head of state than our current president.” He paused, and for a minute I thought he might have hung up. “Not politically,” he said quickly. “Physically. Not that I have any problems with Bailey’s policies. I mean, I voted for him, and I’m pretty liberal in terms of my belief system. And I don’t mean to imply that I find you attractive solely because of your physical appearance because I’m sure there’s much more to you than your looks or even your politics and I’m royally messing this up, aren’t I?”
Maybe I wasn’t the only nervous one. It couldn’t have been fun for him to have to sit through a talk with his father in which said father basically told him that the woman he’d been pining after for months had the hots for his son. “You’re fine,” I said. More than fine.
About the Author:
Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She’s filled several roles over the course of her adult life – licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball and footy fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series, and its spinoff, Songbird. You can most often find her causing trouble on Twitter or, less frequently, on Facebook.
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