The First Lady - James Patterson
TWENTY-ONE MINUTES BEFORE the ambush, Harrison Tucker—former state senator, former Ohio governor, President of the United States, leader of the free world, and a month away from being reelected in a landslide to a second term—is lying on his stomach on a king-size bed in an Atlanta hotel room, feet toward the headboard, chin resting on a pillow, watching a retrospective documentary on the TV series House of Cards with the love of his life.
A breakfast cart with the remains of two meals has been pushed to one side of the small but adequate room, and he sighs with pleasure as his companion, Tammy Doyle, straddling his back, gives him a thorough and deep post-coital back rub.
“Look,” he says, watching the fictional president slither his way across the screen, “writers have to fictionalize politics and deal-making, like on The West Wing or Madam Secretary, but there’s no way Frank Underwood could be elected president in real life. You know why?”
Tammy lowers her head, purrs in his ear. Prior to this they were both clothed, while he was giving a fund-raising speech and she was watching from a distant table that had cost her lobbying firm ten thousand dollars, but now they were both nude, the room filled with the scent of perspiration, coffee, and sex.
“Is it because he wears a toupee?” she whispers. “Or because what’s-his-name was fired in disgrace?”
“Hell, no,” Harrison replies. “It’s because he strangled that dog in the first episode. Remember? Most voters own cats or dogs. They have a sixth sense when it comes to someone who doesn’t like animals. They would have felt that from Frank. No one would vote for him. Trust me.”
She kisses his right ear. “Have I ever not trusted you?”
“If you didn’t you’ve kept it quiet … which is a nice change of pace.”
Tammy laughs—a sound that still thrills him—and she really digs her warm fingers into his back and says, “Your state campaign director here in Georgia, Congressman Vickers.”
He closes his eyes. Only his Tammy talks politics after love-making. “I’d rather not think about him right now,” Harrison says.
“You should,” Tammy says in her soft, low voice. “The setup for the rally was a disaster. A jumble of people couldn’t get in the door because they didn’t have the right tickets. That means the wheels are coming off the field operation here.”
“I thought the speech went well.”
Tammy leans forward again, rubs her nose against his thick hair, like a loving cat, rubbing up for attention. “Harry, the speech went well because the people love you. After years of conflict and shouting, you’ve calmed things down, you’ve gotten the country moving again, and because your opponent, the honorable governor from California, is a fruitcake. But there should have been more people there, and the ticket fiasco pissed off some of your supporters for no good reason. It all goes back to Congressman Vickers. Sack him.”
Harrison shifts a bit from her weight. “Tammy … the election’s four weeks away. Wouldn’t that be seen as a sign of weakness? Besides, the latest polls in Georgia have us up by six percent.”
“Five point six,” she replies. “And no, it won’t be seen as a sign of weakness. It’ll show that once again, you have the balls to make the tough decisions when you need to do the right thing. Vickers is a drag on the campaign. Kick his butt to the curb— it’ll energize your supporters and volunteers.”
“Good point,” he admits. “I’ll think about it.”
Tammy laughs again and reaches down to his shoulders, rolls him over onto his back, and her full curvy body is now on top of him. He wraps his strong arms around her and gives her a hug he wishes would last forever. Smiling and with her thick brown hair cascading down the side of her beautiful face, Tammy says, “You know what?”
“I do love you, even if you’re a power-mad, patriarchy-supporting President of these evil United States.”
He gives her a firm squeeze around her waist. “And I do love you, even if you’re a corrupt, money-hungry lobbyist that degrades the political process.”
Another kiss, fully sweet and pleasurable, only disturbed by Harrison’s thought of what his wife, Grace Fuller Tucker, First Lady of the United States, might be doing at this very moment in the District of Columbia, hundreds of miles away.
Showered and dressed once more in the gray Brooks Brothers suit that Tammy Doyle had stripped off of him a few hours earlier, Harrison Tucker leaves his hotel room