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Talia and Derrick share some of the same bitter memories.
From the moment they met as kids, they seemed to understand the haunted look in each other's eyes. Today their lives are far apart in most ways, yet their bond can never truly be severed. They also share a dark secret—murder. When Talia returns home to help her ailing foster mother, she and Derrick re-kindle the fire between them and together they exorcise the ghosts of their past by ...
Talia and Derrick share some of the same bitter memories.
From the moment they met as kids, they seemed to understand the haunted look in each other's eyes. Today their lives are far apart in most ways, yet their bond can never truly be severed. They also share a dark secret—murder. When Talia returns home to help her ailing foster mother, she and Derrick re-kindle the fire between them and together they exorcise the ghosts of their past by facing life together.
"I have an appointment with Senator Collins," Talia said crisply.
"I'll let him know you're here, Ms. Marchand," the young blond secretary said with a professional smile.
Talia did not sit down. She waited another twenty minutes before she was shown into his office. With no trace of the irritation she felt in her expression, Talia extended a hand to him and smiled widely. Senator Collins, his hair silvery gray, was a tall man. The senior senator was known to be ultraconservative. He was also famous for his acerbic wit, mainly aimed at feminists and minorities. Both in private circles, of course. She had her work cut out for her, but Talia was ready. Half the battle was knowing your opponent much better than he suspected. Though leaning toward the right on a number of issues herself, Talia found him hard to stomach.
"Senator, I very much appreciate your taking time tosee me," Talia said.
"Nonsense. I'm here to serve the people of my district, Ms. Marchand. Sit down, please. Drink?" Senator Collins nodded to his chief aide. Felicity Allgood stood at attention, waiting to do his bidding.
"Bottled water is fine. Thanks." Talia accepted the bottle of Kentwood Spring Water Felicity handed her. "Congratulations on getting funds for the highway project." Pork barrel project was a more accurate description.
"Thank you. I'm very pleased that my esteemed colleagues saw the light." Senator Collins wore a crooked grin. They both knew he'd called in political favors to get what he wanted.
She smiled back at him. "Yes. Which of course means much needed jobs."
"Nonunion jobs so hardworking people can feed theirchildren," he replied in his best politician's tone.
"Exactly. Putting children first is the reason we need child welfare reform. A substantial percentage of juvenile and adult offenders are products of a flawed foster care system." Talia performed a neat segue into the reason for her visit.
"The government interferes in family life too much, Ms. Marchand. Speeding up the process of separating biological parents from their children -- "
"Parents who have consistently shown an inability or unwillingness to make a safe home for their children, Senator. We're not talking about railroading parents," Talia cut in smoothly.
"Throwing money at the problem is a liberal failing. I would have thought your outfit wouldn't advocate such an approach." Senator Collins took a sip of pineapple juice from the bottle Felicity provided.
"The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges address that issue as well." Talia nodded. She gave a concise summary of costs as calculated by a council task force.
"I see." Senator Collins waved a hand at his aide when the young woman pointed to her wristwatch. "I'm sure you brought a report for me."
Talia took out a blue folder with the council's justice scales logo on it. "Yes. Please don't hesitate to give me a call if you have questions."
In short order she made one last pitch, inquired about his wife and kids, and made her exit. She removed her cell phone from the leather briefcase. Talia glanced around. She found a spot away from a clump of people.
"Hi, I just left his office. Pompous as usual. Yes, call the good senator and remind him he needs help on the farm subsidy bill. Thanks."
She flipped the tiny phone closed and put it away. Talia smiled to herself as she proceeded on her way. Lobbying Congress for nonprofit advocacy organizations was part of her atonement. She made a substantial salary as a highly paid political consultant for three large insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Not that she was at all ashamed of her work for them. Still, taking on the cause of foster care reform had hit close to home. She'd shunned any kind of social work or social services profession. Instead she'd taken business and public policy courses in college. Talia had always meant to follow the money. Yet influence and control were just as important to her. As she walked purposefully down the halls of the Capitol Complex, she mentally ran through her list of appointments for the day. As usual she made time to schmooze with congressional staffers along the way. A tall man the color of mahogany waved to her. Jarrod Thompson worked in the Department of Justice, one of a legion of sharp young lawyers. He was ahead of the pack since he had an MBA and spoke four languages. All her friends said they were the perfect power couple.
"Hello, Ms. Get-things-done. Got time for me?"
"Sure, I've always got time for you." Talia beamed at him. Jarrod had helped her out more than once.
"I'm talking purely social. No pumping me for inside tidbits to help your clients." Jarrod wagged a long forefinger at her.
"Agreed. Besides, I don't need anything right now," Talia added with an impish grin.
"Sure, sure. You only lust after my mind," Jarrod quipped.
"Don't forget those killer contacts," Talia shot back.
Jarrod put a hand on her elbow as they exited one crowded hallway into another. "So how has your day been so far?"
"Packed, but I'm on schedule." Talia glanced at her Seiko sterling silver watch. "I've got a two o'clock with Representative Westin. The honorable House member from Montana is being difficult."
"I'm sure you'll handle him. What about B. Smith's?"
"Perfect. I --" Talia stopped short. "It can't be," she murmured.
A tall, imposing figure rose head and shoulders above the crowd around him. His smoky topaz eyes gazed straight into hers. With at least twenty feet between them, she felt the impact of his presence. She hadn't seen him in at least five years. Distance in neither space nor time had lessened his effect on her. Six feet four inches tall, Derrick Guillory radiated power. His hair was longer than she'd ever seen it before ...All I Want Is Forever. Copyright © by Lynn Emery. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted December 9, 2008
Political consultant Talia Marchand has come along way from her poverty stricken childhood as she hobnobs with US senators. Talia¿s prime ambition is to never go back to the Louisiana Parish that she despairingly once called home. The only positive thing from her school days was her friendship with Derrick Guillory, but she fled him as much as she did her hometown of Rougon the first chance she could. Derrick arrives in DC and using his investigative skills easily finds Talia. Though he still desires the woman who was his first love, he knows she will never reveal that she wants him too because he represents her dark past. Still Derrick persuades her to come home in order to take care of personal responsibilities even as he has a secret agenda to convince her that they belong together. ALL I WANT FOREVER is an engaging ethnic romance filled with a strong love story supported by subplots involving murder and drugs. The story line retains a serious undertow, but insures that the romance remains pivotal, taking the front and center position throughout the tale. Though Derrick is an intriguing hunk, perhaps a bit too perfect, and the support cast adds depth especially to the subplots, this novel is owned in every sense by the complex Talia. Her negative feelings about her heritage has propelled her into making a success out of her professional life, but distrusting anything personal including Derrick. Lynn Emery provides a strong tale that focuses on the theme that a person has no choice but to go home because the adult is the result of the child. Harriet Klausner
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