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The Congressman’s Wife
By Arie Pavlou & Charlene Keel
What are you currently reading?
Char: Whatever I can find about exploring and colonizing Mars, including some books by Buzz Aldrin. It’s for a new project.
Arie: I’m trying to focus on political thrillers, since that’s what we want The Congressman Trilogy to be.
Do you have a favorite author? Who is it?
Char: Stephen King, because he writes brilliantly for the common man (and woman); Peter Straub because of his unique ability to write emotional horror as well as the blood-and-guts sort of thing, and Barbara Kingsolver because she can make me laugh in one paragraph and break my heart in the next.
Arie: At the moment, it’s Charlene Keel. I’ve learned so much from her since we teamed up for The Congressman’s Wife.
When did you start writing?
Char: When I was ten years old, everything from poetry to short stories to an attempt at a novel. By the time I got to high school, I was sending my stuff to various publications, hoping to get more than a rejection slip with an encouraging note scribbled at the bottom (although those did keep me going for a while). I made my first sale to Teen Magazine when I was 21.
At the time I was a flight attendant for a major airline, and the story I submitted had been rejected. As luck (and fate) would have it, the publisher of Teen was on one of my flights. After giving him a wonderful, elegant first-class meal service, I asked him point blank, “Why didn’t you publish my story?”
He asked what it was about and promised he’d check into it. In the meantime, he told me, Teen was putting together an entire issue dedicated to flight attendants and asked if I’d write something specifically for that. I did, of course, and not only did Teen publish that story, they also accepted the first story I’d submitted. Turned out they’d said no because it was too long, so the publisher had them make it a two-parter.
Arie: Except for a couple of cookbooks, The Congressman’s Wife is my first.
Why do you write?
Char: I often wonder that myself. It’s some kind of weird compulsion, I guess.
Arie: I’ve wanted to write a novel for a long time. Meeting Char gave me the motivation I needed to get going.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Char: Mostly women who are interested in romance and politics. Arie and I decided to write in the third person so we could present the story from different characters’ points of view. Since about half of The Congressman’s Wife is from the hero’s POV (even some of the love scenes), men should enjoy it as well.
If you could go back in time and meet one famous person or legend in history, who would it be? Why? What would you say to them?
Char: Louisa May Alcott, and I would say a great big, “Thank you!” It was after I read Little Women when I was in third grade that I decided I wanted to be an author.
Arie: It would probably be Auguste Escoffier, a famous French chef who opened his own restaurant, Le Faison d’Or (The Golden Pheasant) in Cannes in the 1870s. His specialty was sauces and the French press called him “the king of chefs and the chef of kings.” I’d ask him for his favorite secret recipe.
How did you come up with the idea for your book? Why did you want to write it?
Char: Arie first came to me as a ghostwriting client. His ideas were so awesome and we worked together so well that it didn’t take long for us to become co-authors.
Arie: Working as a chef in the Hamptons, New York’s chic, upper-crust summer playground, I’ve met a lot of interesting characters and heard tons of rumors and innuendo. This gave me some ideas for characters and stories, and formed the basis of The Congressman Trilogy. The Congressman’s Wife will be followed by The Congressman’s Mistress and will wrap with The Congressman’s Executioner.
Tell us about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
Both: It’s the wonderfully talented Jesse Sanchez, who designs all the covers for Red Sky Presents. He has worked for many major publishers. We love this cover because the image clearly says, “Washington, DC,” and the red background, along with the title, suggests some kind of scandal. Also, we love the title font because it looks like it would go on some kind of secret government dossier.
Who would you cast for the main characters if your book became a movie?
Both: We see Charlize Theron as Eden (the congressman’s wife), and as Kaleb (her lover), we’d cast Joe Manganiello.
How about an excerpt from your book meant to capture our imagination and make us want to read more?
The Congressman’s Wife
Arie Pavlou & Charlene Keel
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. Not that it’s any of your business.”
He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer. “Eden—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.
The Congressman’s Wife
by Charlene Keel
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.
5***** A great surprise
**I received a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**
I didn’t expect to like this story as much as I did. Normally, I’m not one to enjoy stories that involve adultery. Call me old-fashioned, but that’s always a hard limit for me. The Congressman’s Wife proved me wrong in so many ways. It’s such a great novel regardless of the cheating part of the plot.
I could understand Eden’s choices and reasons so that helped a lot. And the reason for that is the talented co-authors. They fleshed out the characters so skillfully and came up with such a believable story that I couldn’t avoid enjoying it. Not to mention Paris is the world’s capital of romance, so… LOL I couldn’t resist falling for Kaleb. And to top it up, there’s the suspense and the intrigue.
Although the ending is so sweet, this is the first book in a trilogy, which makes me wonder what else is to come. I can’t wait for it, actually.
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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