Power Switch (Power Play #3) - Kennedy L. Mitchell



It's a strange concept, this notion of a morally sound conscience. Never once in my thirty years have I considered myself to have one at all—moral or not—until tonight. Yet here I stand in the middle of this political win/engagement announcement party with my stomach in knots because of said conscience telling me I’m doing something wrong. I should be happy, overjoyed that a life goal I’ve had since grade school is now being realized.

Trey Benson is mine.

Well, most of him.

I’m careful to hide the cringe of pain from the cramping of my lower gut behind my nearly empty crystal champagne flute. Trey's deep rumbling laugh pulls my attention from the inner turmoil I have going on. With a lovesick sigh, I watch as he charms Senator Torres and take another sip of the remaining crisp liquid. The delicious tiny bubbles explode along my tongue, helping calm the earlier unease. Maybe if I keep drinking I won't care too much about the lack of joy behind his light eyes.

Pressing the cool glass against my overheated cheek, I smile.

He really is perfect. The handsome prince charming starring in all my childhood daydreams, and most of my adult steamy night ones too. Now here he is, with me. Half of my heart doesn't mind that he's not wholly mine—yet.

Tonight he wears a custom-tailored black suit that draws attention to his fit physique, emphasizing his backside that every woman in this room can’t keep their eyes off of. His dark hair, a bit longer than normal, is styled back away from his eyes. The dusting of dark facial hair along his sculpted jaw draws attention to a full lower lip, or maybe it’s because I'm standing here fantasizing about it pressed against my own. With the perfectly proportioned straight nose and naturally tan skin, he could give any model a run for their money.

Those honey brown eyes cut to me, brows furrowing. Something I can’t make out flashes behind his usual political mask before he turns back to the still-rambling senator.

A smidge of my building hope drains, leaving sadness in the new fissures in my heart. Filling my lungs with a full, determined breath, I remind myself that just because he sees this as an alliance and not true love doesn't mean I have to. Do I hate that he thinks he’s in love with someone else? Sure, but I've never let a little hurdle like that stop me from getting what I want before, so why start now? Of course, it's even worse than that—he's in love with a woman I respect, one I hate doing this to, but what's done is done. This wasn’t all my doing. Trey made a deal of his own; I just capitalized on the opportunity. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Trey Benson has always been mine. I sat back and watched him waste years with Rachel, waiting for my chance to be with him. Then Randi moved to DC, stealing my moment. I’ve waited, pined, sulked for long enough. This is my time, my chance to win him. Who does Randi think she is anyway? But then again, she is amazing in many ways—in all the ways needed to make a change in this city. To transform mindsets, correct their moral compass.

Maybe even mine.

Again, Randi's face flashes in the forefront of my mind, instigating the earlier internal conflict once again.

No. I shake my head, blonde tresses sliding along my bare back. Trey is mine. Randi needs to come to terms with that. I will support her, support her cause, but Trey will be at my side instead of hers. Maybe once she realizes this is true love on my part, she'll step aside, allowing him to fall out of love with her and in love with me. He loved Rachel those few years and now loves Randi; surely his heart can change its course once more.

“There's the happy couple.”

Smile widening, I turn toward Celia Benson’s voice. Trey's shoulder stiffens beneath my hand.

“Wonderful party,” I say, tipping the empty flute in her direction, acknowledging that all this was her doing. “As always.”

With a smile that doesn’t reach her eyes, she loops an arm through my own and rests five red-tipped fingers along my forearm. “Come,” she encourages with a small tug. “We have numerous things to discuss.” Tilting forward to see past me to Trey, her smile grows. “Don't worry, honey. I won't borrow your beautiful fiancée for too long. Don't go anywhere.”

The senator continues chatting, completely oblivious to