Four years ago I lost my virginity on live, streaming television. Too bad I wasn’t awake for it. The video went viral. Of course it would. A Senator’s daughter on camera? Wouldn’t you click “share”? Besides, that’s what three of the four guys in the video did. Share. They shared me. But that fourth guy? The nondescript one in the background in the upper left corner of the screen, just sitting on the couch? The only one who did nothing? Not one single thing. That was my boyfriend, Drew. And that was the last time I saw him. Until today, when my father—now on a path to the White House—hired him as head of security for my new team as I return home after four years of “recovering” in an undisclosed location that involved white lab coats, needles, pills and damage control. You see, the other three guys never went to jail. Never had charges pressed. Never faced consequences. Until today. Game on.
* * * A Harmless Little Game is the first in this political thriller/romantic suspense trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine.
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“You think of her as a puppet, Harry.”
“I think of her as my daughter.” A tone of anguish I’ve never heard comes out of my father. It warms me. A little.
“And I think of her as a human being who is independent and has her own feelings, thoughts, and reactions. You want her to fit into your plans for the campaign. And she might.”
“Don’t count on it. She’s sharper than you think. always has been. You’ve underestimated her for years. When I saw those medical records—” Drew’s voice breaks off, choked with emotion. “That mental institution just doped her up to shut her up.”
“Dammit, Drew!” Something bangs, hard, like Daddy’s slammed his fist on a table.
“And you can argue all you want, but the bottom line is this: she’s home. I’m glad she’s home. I’m glad she’s out of a place she probably only needed for the first few months, and mostly just to heal outside of the limelight. But you’ve done her no favors keeping her hidden for so long. Between what she’s about to learn about her reputation, and the juicy, vicious gossipmongers who are going to love to get their hands on any tidbit about her, you’ve set Lindsay up for a mess.”
“You done lecturing me?” Daddy’s voice has gone cold and dismissive. It’s the voice of my childhood.
“No,” Drew says casually. His words make me bite back a smile. “It’s bad enough she’s been cloistered for so long. That’s one issue. The other is that she won’t react the way you want her to. And the cat’s out of the bag. You can’t just stuff her back into that institution again.”
“What do you plan to do about that?”
“Me?” Drew’s voice goes up just enough to make me warm up.
“Yes, you. Your job is to control her.”
“My job is to protect her.”
“Same thing.” I hear footsteps. A door slams.
And then, quietly but clearly, I hear Drew hiss: “What the hell have I gotten into?”
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