The Congressman’s Wife
by Charlene Keel & Arie Pavlou
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
All Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone. The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from a disgruntled lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.
A Moment Alone
Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop. He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her. When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him. He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.
Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening. The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in. She looked up, surprised.
“We need to talk about it,” he said.
“About what?” She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.
“About this thing between us.”
“That’s not very original.”
“I feel it and I know you feel it.”
“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.
“We don’t have much time.” He moved closer, aching to touch her. “Your husband will come looking for you any minute. Just tell me when and where I can see you again. Alone.”
“You can’t,” she said. “My husband is running for congress. It’s . . . it would be impossible.”
“No,” he insisted. “I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.” He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.
“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own. They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.
“I won’t give up. I want to make love to you.”
“At least once?” she countered.
He moved closer still. “Once will never be enough for us. You know that, too.”
She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.
“My husband is waiting for me,” she said. “You’re a little crazy, you know? You need to forget about this. I’m married. I have kids. I don’t have time for an affair.”
“Have lunch with me.”
“Just let me talk to you. Give me two hours—maybe over the weekend. Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it. I swear.”
She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it. “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible. I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter this weekend, with my best friend.”
“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.
“No. He has a previous engagement. Not that it’s any of your business.”
He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Edie—let’s go. Where are you?”
She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.” Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.
Talking with authors Charlene Keel and Arie Pavlou!
What is your writing environment?
Char: It’s pretty simple. I have a desk in my bedroom and a typing table in my living room, with a laptop on each. It helps my creativity to change locations now and then.
Arie: Mine is even simpler. In a writing partnership, it really doesn’t matter who’s putting fingers on the keyboard, as long as each partner’s ideas are incorporated. But I do like it if we’re in the same room, so during the planning stages, I flew from New York to Miami a few times (Char lives in Fort Lauderdale). We met at my hotel, where we could sip expensive champagne while we worked.
Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?
Char: It depends on what I’m writing. In The Congressman’s Wife, the hero is Kaleb, a young chef who falls in love with a slightly older married woman. What I love about Kaleb is that he doesn’t try to deny his feelings for Eden. At the same time he is infinitely understanding and patient about her situation (she’s trapped in a loveless marriage to an abusive husband). And no matter what, he’s always there for her whether she just needs someone to talk to, or if she needs rescuing after her husband abandons her—naked—in a foreign country.
Arie: What Char said.
What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
Char: Recently I’ve started reading Barbara Kingsolver. She writes compelling fiction that incorporates important issues. In Prodigal Summer, it was the environment. In The Bean Trees, it’s the plight of Native Americans and abandoned children. I love her style, which is elegant and poetic.
Arie: I tend to like classics—epics like Moby Dick, which we reference in The Congressman’s Wife.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
Char: Fiction is my first love, especially historical romance. I didn’t know I wanted to write young adult fiction until I got a deal to do The Tracks trilogy, (Dark Territory, Ghost Crown and Shadow Train). Now I’m really intrigued by political fiction, and I’m developing a YA outer space series for Red Sky Presents.
Arie: For me, cookbooks. The Congressman’s Wife is my first go at fiction.
Top three things on your bucket list?
Char: First, I’d like to get back to work in community theater, whether it be directing, stage managing, sewing costumes, passing out programs or even sweeping up. Working with various theater groups, when I had time, always got me back in touch with people after weeks of isolation as a writer who’s always on deadline. Second, I want to move to a house in the country, where I can have a vegetable garden. Third, I want to visit Australia. I don’t know why.
Arie: (LOL) I’m too young to have a bucket list.
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
Char: The idea started with Arie. He first came to me as a ghostwriting client. When we started working together it was obvious we were a good match creatively, and soon we became co-authors.
Arie: As a chef, I’ve worked in some of the top restaurants in the world, from New York to Paris, and I’ve met a lot of interesting characters and heard lots of amazing stories. I took bits and pieces from here and there and created my own characters and a basic plot. Since I’d written only cookbooks up to now, I knew I needed a pro to help me put it all together.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
Char: It’s the confrontation between Eden and Kaleb in the coatroom after a fundraiser, with Eden’s husband nearby. There’s nothing sexier than the prelude to an affair, especially in such a situation. In this intimate setting, they’re forced to stand close to each other, their lips just inches apart, yet they can’t touch each other in spite of their mutual desire.
Arie: I like their getaway to Paris and the French countryside. I lived and studied in Paris, at Le Cordon Bleu, so every place Eden and Kaleb visited there I’ve been at one time or another.
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
Char: Just getting ready to release Lost Treasures of the Heart, which I wrote with Charles Alexander. Arie and I have begun work on The Congressman’s Mistress. We don’t have a release date yet.
Arie: Besides the second book in The Congressman Trilogy, I’m doing a cookbook featuring authentic dishes from some of the exotic places I’ve been.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Char: Veg out and catch up on favorite TV shows, like Downton Abbey or Hell on Wheels, by binge-watching them back to back. Television is my guilty pleasure.
Arie: Both my wife Liz and I love to travel, so when I’m not working we’re on the go.
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
Char: I’m kind of a private person but okay, here’s one thing. Although I’ve never been to college or university, I became a multi-published author as well as editor or managing editor of a few international magazines including For the Bride, Black Elegance and Playgirl. I did manage to take a tuition-free class in English 101, when I worked as a secretary at FSU, and a class in stagecraft a few years later when I was a flight attendant. I was determined not to let anything stop me from becoming a writer. I used to be embarrassed by my lack of a degree but now I’m kind of proud of the fact that I was able to accomplish all my goals anyway.
Arie: My life is an open book—just ask anyone who knows me. I’ve got no secrets and don’t want any. Makes life way too complicated.
AUTHORS Bios and Links:
Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives. Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera. Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy. Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award. Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines. In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.
For more information:
Website: CharleneKeel.net - http://www.charlenekeel.net/
Follow Charlene on Twitter - https://twitter.com/CharleneKeel
Charlene Keel on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/charlene.keel.1
Blog: Red Sky Book Blog - https://redskybookblog.wordpress.com/category/charlene-keel/
Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then perfected his craft at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in France and New York. He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages. He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he perfected at Le Cordon Bleu. Currently Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Wild Game and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream. The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook.
For more information:
Arie Pavlou on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/arie.pavlou
Charlene and Arie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.