Press & Hold comes out in a week, so it’s time for an excerpt!
Stevie Callan is the personal assistant of the White House Chief of Staff and knows all the reasons why dating someone from the press corps is a bad idea. Faced with all the British charm of one of the best reporters in D.C., Stevie’s resolve crumbles, but soon after he finally crosses the line they’ve been balancing on for months now, the news about his father’s illness put everything into question.
Will Newbrough hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Stevie for months and now it finally looks like they may get their shot. But with the new story that falls into his lap, he’s risking more than he imagined when Stevie gets dragged into the middle of it.
When everything they were afraid of becomes real, will there be anything left to recover?
*The book is a part of D.C. Files series and I believe it’s best to read it as a continuation, but it can also be read as a stand-alone.
Will smiled as he stepped into Stevie’s domain and the smile only got bigger when he saw Stevie at the desk, clicking away on the computer.
“Trying to double the work flow?” Will asked and Stevie glanced up, corners of his lips twitching.
“I wish. I’m just finishing a few things.”
Will nodded and shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. “You’ll only be gone on Monday, right?”
Stevie nodded, looking back at the screen. “Yes. I’m flying back Monday night, and I’ll be here bright and early Tuesday morning.”
“Good,” Will said softly. “We’ll miss you.”
The tips of Stevie’s ears turned red and Will congratulated himself. Stevie looked very young and at the beginning of this administration people foolishly thought they could walk all over him to get to the Chief of Staff. But they were in for a surprise— Stevie Callan had been strict and protective of Sam’s time, and he had never hesitated to politely kick someone to the curb if needed. Will was delighted every time he got to see Stevie in action, see how he could go from an easy soft smile to a cold and unyielding stare. Stevie always tried to keep his cool while he worked, so every time Will managed to get a reaction—a blush or a bite on his lower lip—it felt like a victory. Like something special, just for him.
“Naomi will be here.” Stevie glanced up. “Don’t pester her while I’m gone.”
As if. “I don’t have any intentions of doing so.” Stevie had to know by now Will didn’t come over here to see the chief of staff ’s assistant. Will was not the most subtle guy on the planet.
Will nodded at the empty chair usually occupied by a Secret Service agent from Sam’s personal detail. “Michael’s gone for the day?”
“Probably.” Stevie had the ability to not give a straight answer to any of his questions that were even remotely related to Sam’s work. More often than not, he wouldn’t even tell Will things that were public knowledge. It would be frustrating if Will had actually been trying to pry something out of Stevie, but he hadn’t, for reasons he’d wasted months refusing to acknowledge.
“Great,” Will said, sitting on Michael’s chair and grinning at the look it got him. “Do you mind?”
Stevie stared at him for a long moment with raised eyebrows. “Are you going to behave?”
Do you want me to behave? Will wanted to ask, but he knew better. The last thing he needed was to scare Stevie off. “I always behave,” he said in the end.
It earned him a chuckle. “Sure you do.”
Stevie got back to work after that and Will stared. He’d wondered time and time again what it was about Stevie that made it impossible for Will to stop thinking about him. The man was handsome, no question about it, with his lithe body and light brown hair that framed his face in a way that softened the sharp lines of his jaw. He was shorter than Will, shorter than average, probably, but he never hesitated to stand toe to toe with anyone trying to steamroll him.
And then there was his smile. Will had finally decided that if he had to choose one thing, it would probably be just that— Stevie’s soft, dimpled smile. Will first saw it a few weeks after the inauguration when he was waiting for Liam Turner, the White House Press Secretary, in the lobby. He’d been checking his email to kill time, when he heard loud laughter coming from the entrance. Will’s head shot up and he watched Sam Daniels coming in with Stevie by his side and Michael shadowing them. Sam was the one laughing, the one who dragged the attention to them, but it was Stevie’s smile that made Will unable to look away. He’d seen Sam’s assistant before once or twice but it hadn’t been until that moment that he’d really noticed him. And once he had, he didn’t want to stop.
That was how it started. The next day Will found Stevie in the White House cafeteria and asked if he could join him. Stevie was obviously suspicious of his intentions and the initial conversation had been stilted, but Will’s stupid comment how the cafeteria staff had to be Republicans for sure, since they were clearly trying to get rid of them all, made Stevie snort and relax a fraction. Will had been coming up with excuses to see Stevie ever since, even if he didn’t really need one by now. At this point, everyone in the building knew Will was not wandering off to the restricted area to spy on the administration. Aside from a few weeks before the big announcement about the education reform, when they’d been trying to make sure there’d be no last minute leaks, most of the staff let him be.
“Stop staring,” Stevie told him, glancing at Will briefly before getting back to his filing.
Will sighed exaggeratedly. “‘Shut up,’ ‘stop staring,’ a guy could take it the wrong way, you know.”
“Or the right one,” Stevie threw back, but Will knew by now when he was teasing.
“I won’t see you till Tuesday.”
Stevie chuckled. “So you have to memorize me? You’re not going to forget what I look like in three days.”
Will nodded. “No. I definitely won’t.”