Book Spotlight: Her Perfect Candidate
A HUGE congratulations to my author friend, Candace Shaw, on her latest release! HER PERFECT CANDIDATE, which is Candace’s Harlequin Kimani Romance debut novel, is now available!! Candace is sharing an excerpt. Check it out! Isn’t the cover gorgeous?
Co-owner of an up-and-coming interior-decorating firm, Megan Chase loves being a single woman on the fast track to success. But everything changes when a flat tire brings Georgia senator Steven Monroe into her life. The sinfully sexy politician needs the right woman to clean up his image. And with Megan’s fine eye for detail, she just may be the woman for the job.
Steven’s reputation as a player could cost him his chance at a U.S. senate seat. But when the cameras catch him and Megan in a kiss that’s all too real, it’s not only his future candidacy in jeopardy. As the lines between politics and desire begin to blur, how much will he risk to transform their passionate pretense into a landslide for love.
At exactly seven that evening, Megan’s phone rang. She was sitting on the floor brushing Percy, a weekly ritual that he hated. She glanced at the caller ID and saw Steven’s name. He was in a meeting earlier when she called him with her decision. They agreed to talk that evening, and he was punctually calling at the time she’d suggested.
She stood up to grab her notepad that she had earlier jotted some general questions in to ask Steven. Free from Megan’s hands, Percy darted out of the bedroom to escape the brushing ritual.
“Hello?” Megan plopped down on the bed.
“Hey, it’s Steven. How are you doing this evening?”
“Fine, Stevo. And how are you?”
“Stevo?” he asked taken aback.
“Well, I figured you need a pet name for me to call you. You don’t like Stevo?”
“No, it reminds me of my days in high school when the nerds would call me Stevo or worse Stevster.”
“I see. Well, I guess we’ll think of something else. In the meantime, I have some questions that every girlfriend should know,” Megan said getting her pen ready.
“Yes, I have big feet and great hands to give body massages with,” he joked.
Megan felt her face getting hot at the thought of his great hands giving her a body massage with hot oil. A man with big feet could only mean one thing, at least most of the time. She smiled at the thought.
“I already have my list of questions.”
“That’s fine. How was your day?”
“It was good, and yours?”
“I spent most of the day reviewing a possible campaign budget with Shawn just in case I receive the nomination. I need to do some fund-raising if I’m to have a successful campaign.”
“I thought all you needed was a great platform and a speech,” Megan said, sounding a little naive on that subject. She was never one for keeping up with politics.
He chuckled softly before answering her.
“That’s part of it, but I also have to rent the headquarters, pay people to work there or find volunteers, buy materials, pay for advertisements, but that’s not my biggest dilemma at the moment. The community center that I started and help fund is losing one of its grants, therefore losing about ten college students that would normally assist with events with the children during the summer camp.”
“Can you do a fund-raiser?”
“Yes, I’m considering hosting a fund-raiser party and then writing a check to match whatever is raised. The grant funded quite a bit.”
“Well, maybe I can help.” Megan was always one for volunteering her services or expertise if the need arose. “I’m the assistant graduate advisor for one of the undergrad chapters for my sorority. I’ll check to see if some of the girls would like to volunteer their services this summer. A lot of them are education majors so they need the experience of working with children,” she said, taking notes. The undergrads were having their last meeting of the semester the following evening, and she could approach the ones that were staying in Atlanta for the summer.
“That is very thoughtful and supportive of you.”
“No problem. Also, I have a few clients and friends that could possibly give a donation. And I’m sure Braxton won’t mind you using the mezzanine level at his restaurant. Let me make some phone calls tomorrow and work my magic, that’s if you want me to.” She hoped she wasn’t overstepping her bounds. Though she was only supposed to play the make-believe girlfriend, planning and organizing were her specialties.
“No, that’s wonderful. Thank you,” he said in amazement.
“No problem. Isn’t that what girlfriends are for?” she asked jokingly.
“Yes, they are. There’re some other things girlfriends are good for, as well,” Steven said in a sexy tone.
“If you’re going to continue talking like that, the deal is off. Now on to my list of questions,” she said getting back to the real business at hand. As much as she liked Steven, Megan knew that sex was one road she couldn’t travel with him. For if she did, she’d never want to let him go.
Over the next hour, Megan learned that Steven liked to fish, and listen to jazz, classical, R&B and hip-hop. He played the guitar and gave lessons to the children during the summer camp. He was a running back during his freshman year of college but got hurt and decided not to play anymore. He never wanted to go professional, but he enjoyed football. His parents were relieved he could no longer play, especially his father who wanted him to follow in his footsteps and go into politics. He loved seafood especially shrimp, and he liked Bruce Lee movies. His pet peeve was people who complained about issues but did nothing to make a change. It was also the reason he decided to go into politics and not become a practicing attorney like Bryce. He had a brownstone in Washington, D.C., that he shared with his brother and a townhome in historic Savannah.
“Do you feel that you really know me now?” he asked in a low, deep voice that sent goose bumps down her arms. This man was driving her insane, and she didn’t know how much longer she could stand having his voice in her ear.
“Overall.” She put down her pen and notepad as Percy jumped into her lap. “I’m sure I’ll learn more in the months to come. But I just thought of something else. When I was online looking at pictures of you, I only saw you with a bunch of females. There were only a few family pictures and some of you giving speeches during your last campaign. However, there was nothing with you and the good you do for the communities in your district such as the center and the gardens. Why is that?”
“Well one reason is that all the media and gossip blogs tend to care about is who I’m dating. Plus, I do what I do for my community because it’s my passion. I’m not doing it for the publicity. I do it because I care, and I’m in the position to make a change. Everyone wasn’t born wealthy like me, but it doesn’t mean they can’t have the same advantages. There’re some articles out there though, about some of the things I’ve done, but unfortunately my past lifestyle outweighs the good.”
“We’re going to change that, Steven. It’ll help with cleaning up your image. They need to see you playing the guitar with the children and getting dirty in the community garden. They need to see your philanthropy side not the philandering one. I have a reporter friend at one of the local news stations. I’ll see if she can come to the fund-raiser.”
He laughed. “Wow. Are you an interior decorator or an image consultant?”
“I’m the woman who believes in you and what you stand for.”
“Thank you. That truly means a lot to me. Out of all of the women I’ve dated, including my ex-wife, you’ve been the only one to say that, and you’re not even my real girlfriend. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you when this ends. Promise me we’ll always be friends.”
“Of course.” A lump formed in her throat. She didn’t want to think about the end.
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Candace Shaw’s Bio
Candace Shaw was born and raised under the sunny skies of northwest Florida and knew she wanted to become a writer after reading Little Women in fourth grade. Once graduating from the University of West Florida with a degree in elementary education, Candace began teaching and put her dream of becoming a writer on hold until one summer vacation she started writing again and hasn’t stopped.
When Candace is not writing or researching for a book, she’s reading, shopping, learning how to cook a new dish or spending time with her loving husband and their loyal, overprotective Weimaraner, Ali. Candace is currently working on her next fun, flirty and sexy romance novel.
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