Logan and Renata Wakefield are the bright hope of today’s Washington political world. Logan is the handsome, charismatic candidate favored to become the next President of the United States, and Renata is the beautiful lady at his side, destined to be the most beloved first lady the country has ever known. Little does anyone know how much Renata actually hates her husband.

Her family was destroyed when her father died under tragic circumstances. Her mother is a sad, pale ghost of herself and has never recovered from the loss of her husband. Her brother disappeared after his father died, and Renata has never been able to find him again.

Why does Renata hate her husband so much? Their life together is perfect as far as the outside world and Logan believe. Their sexual encounters are fiery battles for dominance, and Logan finds them deeply satisfying. Renata led him into marriage deliberately, and she has an agenda of her own that nobody knows about. What could it be? Did Logan have something to do with what happened to her family? There are undercurrents in Washington that hint of evil plots and dirty players. Is Renata’s agenda all about retribution, or is she more deeply involved in the inner workings of the political machine? Will Renata be able to carry her plan through to its end? Will someone pay the price for what happened to her family?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy political romance contains graphic scenes and themes of power exchange and power play.

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The lovely, poised woman stood at the back of the packed room, listening attentively with a calm half-smile and not a trace of the visceral hatred she felt for the speaker. She knew that in a couple of hours, after shaking hands and kissing cheeks, making nice with the swarms of wealthy attendees in the room, she would go home with the object of her hatred. She would compliment him, flatter him, bring him a nightcap, and drive him to a thundering sexual release, which was the way he liked to end all these evenings. He would never know that in her mind, she was disemboweling him with a jagged hunting knife and laughing as his guts spilled all over the satin sheets that he preferred.

She smiled as she politely joined the applause that rolled through the room right on cue as the charmingly handsome speaker paused. Her face showed none of the contempt she felt for the fawning, enthusiastic followers who eagerly fed the ego of the man on stage. She was smooth and charming and so beautiful that appreciative male eyes followed her every move, just as carefully masked claws lurked in the female eyes that fell on her. Every woman in the room would have traded places with her in a second, and every one of them would have secretly applauded her downfall if only they could see it happen. Their obvious jealousy made her even more contemptuous of them since she knew that they had no idea what the reality was of the life she lived. They would never know. But no matter. Her plans were laid, and she had no intention of living in these circumstances forever.

“Renata, darling, you look gorgeous, as always. How did that lucky man win you?” The enormously rich oil tycoon kissed her hand and she laughed lightly at him.

“Why, Drake, you know perfectly well that he captured my heart from the very first time we met. I’m quite sure that you’ve heard him tell the story.”

The man shook his head ruefully and said, “I’ve certainly heard it, but I’ve never wanted to believe it. I prefer to think it was something far beyond his looks and charm. Perhaps all the stars in the heavens were aligned in an order that gifted him with you. Something celestial that gave him an advantage that none of the rest of us could ever achieve.”

Renata laughed lightly at him and said, “You’re so silly, darling. You have your own beautiful Ashleigh, after all.”

“Did I hear my name?” The gently lovely but unremarkable Ashleigh joined them, champagne in hand.

Renata gave her a genuine smile. Ashleigh was one of the few people in the room who was a real human being, without the hidden motives and artifice that the others wore as closely as they wore their skin. She fit into this crowd the way a kitten would fit in with a room full of snakes. Thankfully, her husband, Drake, didn’t inflict this kind of evening on her very often. He always said he could only stand a small dose of high flying society before he had to get back to grass and dirt and oil wells. Renata had a fondness for Ashleigh, though she knew the quiet woman would be horrified if she ever saw the real Renata. Of course, the real Renata would never be clearly seen by the people in the room here tonight.

Renata’s skin prickled as she sensed her husband coming near, working his way through the congratulations and flattering words of the people he had addressed from the podium. She felt the familiar cold chill as he laid his hand on the small of her back and bent to kiss her cheek, but her face never betrayed her feelings. She gave him a brilliant smile and let him hear the words he could never get enough of.