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Now on with the show! This is an exclusive scene linked to the upcoming finale of the Scott Wolfe Series. This raw 1st draft, so you will be reading freshly cut stone. Enjoy the story.
He walked into the club like he owned the place. She couldn’t keep her eyes off of him. The stuffy, cigar smoke filled lounge seemed to open up and brighten as he walked toward her. She abruptly forgot how pissed off she was that she wasn’t permitted beyond the reception bar area of the old boy’s club.
She watched him in the mirror behind the bar as he got closer, her heart beating faster as he approached. His square jaw, ice blue eyes and immaculately trimmed, short black hair, would make any woman do a double take–but she wanted him more than other women did.
He walked past her without even a sideways glance and she relaxed a tick, almost disappointed he hadn’t stopped or even looked.
She checked her appearance in the mirror and flipped her golden hair over her shoulder before waving at the bartender. “Check,” she said loudly enough to turn a few heads her direction. A woman’s voice seemed out of place here.
But the subtle attention draw hadn’t gotten Mr. Blue Eyes’ attention either.
She began to worry he wouldn’t notice her–he had so many women on Capitol Hill throwing themselves at him on any given day, perhaps she didn’t have what it would take. She’d have to up her game if she wanted to get the attention of the congressman.
Another clean cut Yale or Harvard man approached the bar and gave her a sideways glance. She recognized him immediately as Senator Robert Trembly. Graying at the temples and expensively dressed, he had more the look of billionaire playboy than public servant. The practiced smile and crinkling at the corner of his eyes when he turned toward her was a dead giveaway–he was going to hit on her. Shit!
She glanced down at his tie. Yale. She smiled at him, but only because he was so ridiculous. What kind of a man has to wear his school tie when he’s picking up girls?
“Would you mind if I stand here next to you for a while?”
She chuckled uneasily. She wasn’t interested in Trembly. She wanted Mr. Blue Eyes. “You can have my seat if you like. I’m about to leave.”
“Ah,” he muttered. “Too bad.”
Yes. Tragic, she thought.
Her blue eyed congressman broke free from the small crowd of favor seekers and came toward the bar. She smiled, realizing he had noticed her after all. She drained the last swallow of her drink just as he leaned against the bar.
“Glenfiddich, neat,” he said, garnering a nod and a smile from the bartender.
“Hello Colton,” Trembly said, leaning past her to extend his hand.
Colton, her blue eyed congressman shot him a reflexive sneer, but quickly replaced it with a thin smile. He went around her, and shook hands with Mr. Yale, making clear he was a gentleman who would never reach across a lady to converse with someone else, peer or not. “Hey, Bob,” Blue eyed Colton said, grinning. “How are you?”
Bob–Mr. Yale–lowered his head and shook it in mock disgust. “Worried about how the House is going to come down on the surveillance bill.”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Mr. Blue Eyes said. “But there are far too many holes in the reporting to give it a green light…we’re going to need more disclosure from the agencies.”
She caught him glancing her direction in the mirror behind the bar.
“But we shouldn’t be talking shop here,” Blue Eyes added and turned to the bartender when he arrived with his scotch. “One more for the lady…on my tab, please, Philip.”
She raised her hand to the bartender. “Thank you, no. I’m about to leave.”
Blue Eyes turned, looked at the bartender then to her. “It’s just a peace offering,” he said. “To apologize for our rudeness a second ago.”
Games, players, calculations. She nodded and pushed her empty glass toward the bartender.
“Look, Colton, I know there’re concerns about–”
Mr. Blue Eyes extended his hand again. “Bob. It’s good to see you, but we can talk about this tomorrow.”
Trembly smiled thinly and nodded. “Nice to see you Colton. I’ll have Alice call Fran tomorrow and pencil me in for a sit down.”
“I look forward to it,” Colton replied, flashing a sincere enough looking smile. But even she saw in his face there wouldn’t be a meeting.
Trembly picked up his drink and walked away. Colton watched until he was gone, then turned to her and smiled. “Colton Sperling,” he said, flashing a crooked grin. With the gleam in his eye and his roguish charm, it was easy to see why so many women wanted to bed him. Like most power players in DC, it didn’t seem to matter that he was already married.
Score! she thought, dipping her head shyly as the bartender slid her fresh drink in front her.
“Samantha,” she replied, smiling to match his. She shook his hand and he pulled a bar stool over next to her, putting his hand on the back of her chair.
Colton looked around. “Where is your sponsor?” he asked.
She smiled. “Inside the club.”
“Your husband?” he asked.
She smiled and shook her head, flexing her ring finger to signal she wasn’t otherwise attached. “Uncle.”
“Ah…maybe I know him?”
“Maybe,” she said, looking down at her drink. “He’s a staffer for Secretary Hurley.”
He stared at her for a moment, waiting for her to elaborate. When she didn’t he leaned closer. “You said you were about to leave. You weren’t going to wait for your uncle?”
She shook her head. “I badgered him into bringing me. He warned me it’d be boring…he was right.”
Colton nodded knowingly then leaned even closer, lowering his voice. “Would you like for me to hail a cab for you?”
She smiled. “That would be lovely.”
He sat up straight. “I have to say goodbye to a couple of people,” he said, standing. “I’ll meet you out front in five minutes.”
She nodded and waited for him to leave before shouldering her purse. She walked down the stairs and out to the darkened sidewalk, waving off the attendant. A few moments later, Colton appeared and handed a ticket to the parking valet.
As they waited for the Congressman’s car, he stepped closer, his shoulder touching hers. “Won’t your uncle be jealous?”
“I don’t see why he would…he has my aunt waiting at home for him.”
Colton squinted, unsure if he should press her further–uncle was usually code for “ineligible gentleman in the company of someone he shouldn’t be”. Samantha had cast doubt on that.
He nodded. “Okay.”
The car arrived and he opened the door for her. Her short, red cocktail dress rode high as she got in, giving him a glimpse of the top of her stockings. He smiled slyly and went around, tipping the valet with a hundred dollar bill–clearly a bribe for his silence.
As they drove away, Samantha reached into her purse and took out her lipstick, applying a fresh layer in the reflection of the vanity mirror on the visor. When they passed Pennsylvania Avenue, she turned to him and leaned over, wrapping her arm around his shoulders. Her finger traced the contour of his neck before pressing gently on a spot behind his ear.
She abruptly sat up and buckled her seat belt.
“What’s wrong?” Colton asked, then shook his head as if to clear cobwebs from his brain.
She didn’t answer.
He blinked his eyes and squinted forward like he was suddenly having difficulty focusing. A second later he flinched sideways, grimacing. His hand shot to his left arm and he groaned. “Oh shit!” he grunted in agony.
Samantha moved her seat back as far as it would go, then lowered it, pulling her seatbelt tight across her lap. The car swerved sideways and jumped up on the sidewalk, scraping bottom over the curb before slamming into a tree in front of the Willard Hotel.
She bounced forward upon impact, bruising her shoulder on the overly tight seatbelt. The airbags popped from the dashboard, catching their forward momentum.
Someone ran over and opened her door. “Are you okay?” the man asked.
She nodded as she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and sat up. Camera flashes assaulted her from her side.
“Hold on,” she said, then leaned over to unbuckle Mr. Blue Eyes’ belt and unfastened his pants. “Okay. Go ahead.”
After several more shots she clicked the release on her seatbelt and got out. By that time, several people had come out of the hotel and were closing in on the crashed vehicle. She followed the man with the camera around the corner. When she stumbled, he slipped his arm through hers and half carried, half dragged her to a waiting sedan.
“Go,” he said to the driver as he closed the door.
With gloved hands, he covered her left index finger with a tissue and pulled off the transparent film that covered the tip. He stuffed the tissue and the drug delivery film in a plastic baggie and sealed it. After tucking it into another bag on the floor, he picked up his camera.
As they drove, he scrolled through the photos he had snapped. He stopped on one and smiled. “There we go. That’s the one.”
He leaned over and showed her the shot. It looked as if her head had been in his lap, his pants open. She nodded absently, touching her forehead with her fingers. A spot of blood on the tip elicited a short sigh of punctuation. “Shit,” she muttered. The man with the camera looked up and pulled out a handkerchief, handing it to her.
“Thanks,” she muttered, pressing it to her forehead.
He sat back and toyed with his camera. “We have a Gulfstream waiting for you on the tarmac. You should be in Berlin before sunrise.”
She nodded and closed her eyes. “Senator Trembly saw me at the bar,” she said as she pulled off her blonde wig.
“I know,” Camera Man said, thumbing through his pictures again. “You don’t have to worry about that.”
Her cheek twitched and she turned to him, curious as to why she didn’t have to worry about it. She opened her mouth to ask, but as she began to speak, her words caught in her throat then seemed to squeeze her chest. Muscle contractions spasmed across her shoulders and up her neck. Her eyes flashed to the handkerchief she had used to dab the blood from her forehead.
Realization struck her and she looked up at the man with the camera as the pressure in her chest became real pain. He continued to quietly browse the images on his camera. After a moment, he looked at her then to the driver. “The cleanup van is on the next street…turn left then right into the alley.”
The driver nodded and executed his turn, smoothly and without urgency. They pulled to a stop next to a van and the back door opened as Samantha began to convulse and choke. “Give her a minute,” Camera Man said to the man outside.
“No time. I have to get the security footage from the club.”
Camera man shrugged and nodded. Someone reached into the car and pulled Samantha out. The pain built in her chest, making her feel as if her rib-cage was going to crack under the intense compression. She looked at Camera Man with pleading eyes. He met her gaze with an emotionless stare, briefly, before leaning over and tossing her purse and the bag from the floorboard into the street. “Get rid of those too,” he said then pulled the door closed. The car drove off leaving Samantha writhing in agony on the pavement outside the van.
The man who had pulled her out of the car opened the van’s sliding side door and tossed the bags in before lifting and shoving her inside like a sack of trash. She convulsed on the bare metal floor of the van while her driver went around and got in, starting the engine and driving away.
He turned onto the street and she rolled sideways, feeling the disposal bag beneath her. With a cloud of darkness falling on her, she willed her arm to move, opening the bag with shaking fingers. She reached in and found the baggie containing the thin film she had drugged Congressman Sperling with.
She looked up, forcing her eyes to focus on her driver. He seemed oblivious to her actions as she pulled the top open and retrieved the tissue. She coughed and felt blood rise to her mouth.
Her driver looked back. “Hey. What are you doing?” he asked, sounding more annoyed than concerned. He stopped the van abruptly, sending her sliding forward toward him. He reached down and grabbed her by the hair but registered confusion in his expression when she smiled and grasped his bare wrist.
He laughed and punched her in the side of the head before shoving her back to the rear of the van. When he returned to his seat and began driving again, he lifted his hand from the wheel and looked at his wrist where she had grabbed him. “What the–?”
Panic struck him as he grabbed at then flicked away the thin film from his wrist. He slammed on the breaks sending her skidding forward again. When she hit the center console, she reached up and grabbed the steering wheel, jerking it roughly to the side. As the van tipped and began to roll, she closed her eyes and smiled. She heard him grunting and choking as she drifted into blackness, only vaguely aware when the van burst into flames.
The ringing in her ears gave way to silence and a sense of peace.
Senator Robert Trembly sat in his office and flipped through the news channels. They all had the same thing to say about the scandal. Most of the news outlets weren’t even varying their language.
“The Capitol is in shock this morning over the sudden death of Congressman Colton Sperling, chairman of the House Intelligence Oversight Committee. Congressman Sperling died last night, apparently suffering a heart attack as he was driving from a private club near the Capitol. The car he was driving crashed into a tree in front of the Historic Willard Hotel. A medical examiner’s report is due this morning to determine if the crash precipitated his heart attack or if the heart attack caused the crash.
“Surrounded by a flurry of rumors, a photo was published this morning on a well known Washington tabloid blog, showing what appears to be the immediate aftermath of the inccident. In the image, a young blonde woman appears with the Congressman in a compromising position. The wife of Congressman Sperling has been unavailable for comment this morning as she makes arrangements for her husband’s funeral.
“Congressman Sperling had been the biggest critic of a new communications surveillance bill. The small coalition of committee members he had assembled against what he called “an unprecedented infringement on citizen privacy”, seemed to be loosening their positions this morning after the news of the congressman’s death.”
Trembly shook his head slowly as his chief of staff reached for the remote.
“In a related story–“
“No! Leave it on,” Trembly said.
His chief of staff put the TV remote down and stood behind the Senator.
“An employee of a company with close ties to the intelligence community, flipped his vehicle only several blocks away from where Congressman Sperling’s car collided with the Willard. The private security firm had this to say about the death of Franklin Grover and his fiancee who also died in the fiery crash.”
“We are all saddened by the death of Franklin and his fiancee, Jennifer. We may be a large company, but each employee is a family member. Franklin was a decorated veteran of two wars, and a valuable member of our team. He will be greatly missed.”
“When asked about the company’s ties to the authors of the communications surveillance bill, CEO Richard Garfield replied, ‘Now is a time for us to mourn our lost friend. Any talk about matters of business are inappropriate now. And given the nature of our work, it’s unlikely we could discuss it anyway’.
“Asked about the timing of the twin accidents, Garfield said ‘DC is a small town, with many people who are connected professionally, and socially, confined to a few blocks of city…it’s just a tragic coincidence’.”
“Alright,” Trembly muttered, nodding toward the TV.
His chief of staff clicked the TV off and stood silently as Trembly rubbed his chin. After a moment he looked up. “Get with the majority leader and postpone the vote on the communications surveillance bill to the end of the week,” he said firmly. “We don’t want to appear too eager or insensitive considering today’s news.”
“As you wish, Senator,” his chief replied, turning toward the outer office.
“Oh, and send both his wife, and Franklin Grover’s family flowers from me,” He said, pausing his chief’s exit. “Write something suitably moving and sappy.”
“And the family of Grover’s fiancee?”
Trembly turned and looked out his window toward the Washington Monument. “No…to hell with her.”
He listened to the door close as his chief left the room. “She got what she deserved.”
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S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Thriller/Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series), and the new Bestseller, Hedged. Follow him here on WordPress, on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook. His wife is currently batteling an aggressive, rare cancer. If you feel the desire to help, you can make a contribution at the GoFundMe that their daughter set up, or buy his books.