No Stranger to Scandal - By Rachel Bailey Page 0,1

it. Which gave her exactly ten more minutes, and she had an appointment with the congressional committee’s criminal investigator, Hayden Black, at one. So the call from Marnie Salloway, one of the news producers, was bad timing. Though that was exactly how this job always seemed to work—too many tasks, too many bosses.

“Marnie, can I call you back in fifteen?”

“I’ll be in a meeting then. I need to talk to you now,” Marnie snapped.

“Okay, sure.” Lucy smiled so her voice sounded pleasant despite her frantic mood. “What do you need?”

“What I need is a list of locations to send the cameraman this afternoon to get the background footage for the story on the president’s daughter tonight.”

Lucy frowned and kept typing. “I emailed that this morning.”

“You sent a list of ten options. Not enough. Have twenty in my inbox by twelve-thirty.”

Lucy glanced at the glowing red digital clock on the wall. Nine minutes to twelve. She held back a sigh. “All right, you’ll have it.”

She replaced the receiver and wasted a precious twenty seconds by dropping her aching head to her desk. When she’d graduated, Graham had offered her a job as a full-fledged reporter. She’d refused, so he’d offered her the spot as a weekend anchor. He was just trying to help her, as he’d done since she was twelve, but she didn’t want a top job.

No, that wasn’t true—she definitely wanted a top reporting job. But she wanted to earn it, to be good. To be respected for her journalistic ability. And the only way to develop that expertise was to work under the great journalists, to learn the skills.

But days like today had her questioning that decision, or at least questioning the decision to take a junior-reporter role at ANS. She wasn’t the only junior here, but she was the only one treated like an indentured servant. And the person who’d treated her the worst had been her former hero, Angelica Pierce. Drawing in a deep breath, she went back to typing the last questions for Mitch Davis’s interview and emailed them to him with three minutes to spare, then called up the list of locations she’d emailed Marnie for the background footage and opened her web browser to look for alternatives.

It had been made very clear to her on her first day that the other ANS staff resented having Graham’s stepdaughter in their newsroom. Rumors had made it back to her that they suspected she was a spy for Graham. Lucy was pretty sure their antagonism was misplaced resentment for authority—people always loved to dig the boot into the boss, and she represented the boss to them. In some ways she couldn’t blame them, but she wouldn’t let them get to her. Her policy had been to keep her head down and do every menial task the more senior staff asked of her, ridiculous or not.

She sent the extended list to Marnie, grabbed her bag and ran out the door for her meeting with Hayden Black. If she caught a cab and there wasn’t too much traffic, she’d make it with a few minutes to spare. On the street, she grabbed a coffee and raspberry muffin, stuffed the muffin in her scarlet hold-all handbag and took a long sip of the coffee before hailing a cab. This was one meeting she didn’t want to arrive at late—Congress was wasting time and money on a wild-goose chase, investigating her stepfather for illegal phone-hacking practices at ANS despite already having the culprits in custody. Today was her turn to be interviewed, to defend Graham. He’d been there for whatever she needed for almost half her life; now she would be there for him.

The cab dropped her at the Sterling Hotel, where Hayden Black was staying and conducting his interviews. Apparently he’d been offered an office for his investigation but he preferred neutral territory—an interesting move. Most investigators liked the extra authority afforded by an official office. She sipped the last of her coffee in the elevator and checked her reflection in the mirrored wall—the wind had blown her hair all over the place. The doors slid open as she combed her fingers through the disheveled mess to make it more presentable. First impressions counted, and Graham was depending on her.

She checked the number on the hotel suite door, then knocked with the hand holding the empty paper cup, straightening her skirt with her other. She looked around for a trash can, but turned back when she heard the door