A Scandalous Affairby Donna Hill
Washington, D.C., activist Samantha Montgomery faces the controversy of a lifetime when she agrees to help handsome civil rights attorney Chad Rushmore take on a landmark police-brutality case. Not only does their sudden, fiery attraction endanger the already troubled lawsuit, but it puts Samantha at heartbreaking odds with her attorney sister, Simone. With both
Washington, D.C., activist Samantha Montgomery faces the controversy of a lifetime when she agrees to help handsome civil rights attorney Chad Rushmore take on a landmark police-brutality case. Not only does their sudden, fiery attraction endanger the already troubled lawsuit, but it puts Samantha at heartbreaking odds with her attorney sister, Simone. With both family and a cause at stake, Samantha must walk a dangerous line between passion and loyalty, duty and desire to discover the most fulfilling love of all.
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Read an Excerpt
Associated PressIn a massive march staged to protest the alleged shooting death of African American Roderick Fields by four white police officers, more than 200 angry residents filled the streets last night in front of Washington, D.C.'s police headquarters at 300 Independence Avenue N.W. The protest was led by civil rights activist Samantha Montgomery, daughter of noted legal defense attorney Justin Montgomery and Congresswoman Vaughn Hamilton-Montgomery (D-Va.), working in unison with several local organizations and unions. Montgomery, who has been extremely vocal concerning police abuses, later said in a statement: "The police in this city have declared open warfare on the African American. This is the sixth gangland-style shooting death by police against 'alleged' suspects of the African American persuasion in eight months," Montgomery vehemently stated under the white heat of camera lights and photographers' flashbulbs. "It is painfully obvious that DWB, or driving while black, is a crime punishable by death in this cityand it will stop."
Roderick Fields, an eighteen-year-oldAfrican American, was gunned down in a hail of bullets during an alleged routine stop and search on Eighteenth Street N.W. around midnight on Monday. His two male companions were also hurt. One youth is listed in grave condition with a gunshot to the head, while the other is described as seriously critical with a bullet lodged in his spine.
In a hurriedly announced late-night press conference, a police spokesman identified the four officers involved in the alleged shooting as Detectives Alan Montana, Josh Hamlick, Lawrence Sta-vinsky and Vincent Dorsey. None of the officers have made statements to the media, but according to their lawyers, they were acting in self-defense.
Montgomery's stepsister, City Councilwoman Simone Montgomery, has been equally assertive in her cry for sweeping police reform and a federal probe into recent abuses during her ongoing campaign for the Assembly seat in her district. The councilwoman was unavailable for comment on this latest incident, according to her spokesman, Adam Parsons.
Although tensions were high, there were no injuries or arrests during last night's protest. A date for a hearing for the officers has not been set but a preliminary meeting with law enforcement officials to discuss procedures used in the fatal incident is slated for this week, according to a police statement. The mayor's office has not issued any comment on the march.
Laying The Washington Post on the seat next to him, Chad Rushmore closed his eyes and clenched his teeth in seething disgust. Nothing ever changes, he thought.
He turned his gaze, unseeing, out of the 747's window, the clouds floating by in a silent stream. He'd spent the last four years touring third-world countries, analyzing international and civil rights laws. He'd seen atrocities that haunted him at night, broke him into cold sweats during his dreams. To return home to a country that prides itself in justice for all, only to see affirmative action overturned, the Voting Rights Act under review, black men hunted like animals and gunned down in streets across the country by police, was to him worse than anything he'd witnessed abroad.
He folded the newspaper in half and stuck it inside the pocket of the seat in front of him. He adjusted his seat and leaned back, finally shutting his eyes to rest. The plane was due to land at Ronald Reagan International Airport in two hours.
It would be good to be back home again. See everyone again. Inwardly, he smiledSimone and Samantha. They made a formidable team. And he would need all of their skills, all of their energy and resources for what he had in mind.
Justin Montgomery paced, panther-like, across the polished hardwood floors of his artfully designed office. His wife, Vaughn's, distinctive touch was everywhere, from the placement of the original artwork by Basquiat, Catlett, and Biggers, to the crystal glasses and decanters that glistened like diamonds in the small wet bar on the far side of the spacious but comfortable office. He had to put his foot down when it came to his desk, however. She wanted him to have something contemporary; he insisted on something customary and impressive. So they settled for a rectangular oak desk with a cherry lacquer finish. Women, they had totally taken over his life, he mused not unkindly. And now his daughter Samantha was at it again, and he didn't know if he wanted to burst with pride or turn her over his knee and give her a good spanking.
He turned toward her, his expression a mixture of anger and frustration. His brows drew together. "Did you read this?" he barked, barely containing his ire, not so much at the comments that his headstrong daughter madeonce againbut at what could have happened to her as a result of them.
Samantha crossed her long legs and stared at her father head-on. "Are you going to tell me that I'm wrong?" she challenged, loving to duel with the razor-sharp mind of her father. In court, she watched him run circles around the prosecution, hypnotize juries, and simply charm the media. He embodied everything she looked for and respected in a man: integrity, brilliance, a generosity of spirit, loving, funny and handsome. Any man coming into her life would have large shoes to fill.
Justin halted his pacing. "Sam, we've been through this a million times. Spouting incendiary comments in the middle of a high-tension situation is not only dangerous, it's foolish! What if a riot had broken out? You could have been hurt," he added, "or arrestedagain."
Samantha bit back a smile, not wanting to incite him any further. She released a sigh, then stood. "Dad," she said as she walked across the room to stand in front of him. She slid her arms around his waist. "You worry too much. I'm a big girl. And you should know me well enough by now to know that I'm going to speak my mind and if it upsets a few people, well " She shrugged her shoulders. "I get my name in print," she added, teasing him with a smile.
"This isn't a joke, Samantha," he returned, trying to keep a straight face. But the truth was his daughter had the uncanny ability to wrap him around her finger with a simple smile. He knew he overindulged Samantha, but it was only because he'd missed so many years of her life when his ex-wife, Janice, her mother, disappeared with her. He'd been so devastated by the loss of his daughter that he'd single-handedly launched Child-Find, an organization dedicated to finding abducted children and reuniting families who'd been separated. But it was Samantha's determined spirit that brought them together. The same defiant spirit that kept her name and provocative actions on the front page of the newspapers.
Coincidentally, it was Child-Find that reunited his stepdaughter, Simone, with her mother, Vaughn. His and Vaughn's marriage had not only united them as man and wife, but made sisters of Samantha and Simonethe two most willful, stubborn, single-minded young women he'd ever run across, barring his beautiful wife, of course. He was surrounded by them, and if he didn't stand his ground, they'd likely railroad him into anything, with their sweet smiles and sparkling eyes. And he loved them all, madly. He hoped that, with Chad returning to the States and back at the law firm, the two of them could manage to level the playing field just a bit. Chad did have a way of keeping Simone on simmer. Samantha, however, was a different story.
Justin kept his poker face, eased away from Sam's embrace, strolled toward his desk, and sat down in the leather chair he'd spent years getting to conform perfectly to his body. Vaughn begged him to get rid of "that ratty old chair," but it was the one concession he would not budge on. A man had to have something. Besides, it felt too good, especially after a grueling day in court.
He swiveled his chair so that he faced his daughter. He stroked his smooth brown chin. "What are you planning to do, Sam? You have everyone all charged up about this case. Now what?"
Samantha Montgomery pressed her lips together, thoughtful for a momenther even, dark golden features the perfect landscape for incredible gray-green eyes, just like her mother Janice'sand settled into that expression that boldly faced the cameras. She crossed her arms.
"I intend to take this as far as it will go, Dad. All the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. I'll rally the people together, we'll march on Capitol Hill, outside the precincts, we'll have all-night vigilsI'll do it by myself if I have to, but I will be heard. These people will be heard. I won't sit back twiddling my thumbs when there's open warfare on the minorities of this country. I can't. And I don't think you expect me to."
Justin stared at his daughter, and he knew by the fire in her eyes and voice that she meant every word of it. And nothing in heaven or on earth would stop her.
He breathed deeply, afraid for her and incredibly proud at the same time. He and Vaughn had their hands full with their two fiery daughters. Samantha and Simone's relationship was phenomenal. They were closer than many blood sisters, sharing everything from clothes to opinions. Nothing came between them. They fed off each other, fueled the energy that kept them both in the limelight. Now, with this latest incident, Samantha was campaigning in the street and Simone was active on the legal front, pressuring the Attorney General to launch an investigation. This was just the beginning, and he knew it. Thank heavens they were both grown and living in their own apartments. Three of them in the same house would be more than any man should be compelled to endure.
"What can I do to help?" he finally asked.
A half smile inched up the side of Samantha's mouth. She tipped her auburn head of shoulder-length dreadlocks to the side. "Keep some money in reservejust in case I get arrested again."
Simone maneuvered her midnight blue Mazda 626 expertly around the snakelike traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue. It was nearly six-thirty, and rush hourtruly a misnomercontinued in earnest.
A copy of The Washington Post lay folded on the passenger seat. The high school graduation picture of shooting victim Roderick Fields smiled back at her, full of hope and possibility. She could feel the anger tug at her insides and burn her throat. She'd spent the better part of her morning talking with his distraught parents and the families of the two surviving victims. It was a painful process, made more so by the senselessness of it all. Yet even more frightening was that the Roderick Fields case was not an isolated incident. The number of unwarranted police shootings of unarmed black men was making a steady and terrifying rise across the country.
Sighing, Simone tried to push the events of the day behind. She would meet with her staff in the days and weeks to come to discuss a plan of action as well as how best to incorporate her ideas of police reform into her campaign for the Assembly seat.
Right now, what she wanted was to concentrate on the visit to her parents' home.
Simone checked the time on the dashboard. If traffic held steady at its snail's pace, she'd probably arrive at the Arlington town house in about forty-five minutes.
A slow smile of unforgotten memories slid across her polished lips. In forty-five minutes, she'd see him again. Chad.
Four years. It felt like a lifetime since the last night she'd spent with him. They'd been together that entire evening, speaking in low, intimate tones, laughing softly, touching often, the way lovers do, even though they'd never crossed that invisible line.
It was perfect. Too perfect almost, Simone recalled; from the gourmet food and exquisite wine, the balmy spring air, perfect starlit sky and most of all, the way they connected that night. It was as if they could read each other's thoughts, anticipate every need before a word was spoken. A kind of telepathy of the hearts.
She'd had "a thing" for Chad since her early days as a young intern at her stepfather's law firm. Even then, Chad Rushmore exuded an aura of assurance and total male sensuality that could not be ignored. Combined with his brilliance, good looks and warm personality, Chad was a dream come true for many women.
But their relationship didn't leap off the pages with the intensity of a romance novel. Rather, they began as friends, he being her support and confidant when she'd discovered the real identity of her mother and the circumstances of her birth. And their relationship remained that way until the eve of his departure that took him out of the States for four years.
The high-arching passion in which they'd found themselves that night stunned them both. Perhaps it was the wine, Simone often thought, the incredible atmosphere, conversation and the knowledge that the moment may never come again.
They'd just finished an incredible dinner in a swank eatery in fashionable Georgetown and were driving aimlessly around town, listening to WHUR. "I know a great place just outside of D.C.," Chad had said in that rich baritone that caused shudders to run along her spine.
Simone turned to glance at him. He kept his eyes on the road. "Where?" she asked, almost too eager to prolong their time together, she realized.
"It's called Harvest House a small bed and breakfast."
Her heart thumped, then settled into a more reasonable rhythm.
Chad turned to her, his dark eyes roamed over her face. "Only if you want to," he said gently. "We can have separate rooms. Whatever. No pressure. No strings. I just want to spend some more time with you."
She thought about it for a moment, contemplated the possibilitiesand the consequences. "Sure. Why not?" she answered, simple and direct, the way she was about everything.
When they arrived, Simone was instantly captivated by the Old World charm of the rambling building, which looked to be a converted mansion snatched from the pages of a Civil War history book.
Meet the Author
Essence bestselling author Donna Hill began her career in 1987 with short stories and her first novel was published in 1990. She now has more than seventy published titles to her credit, and three of her novels have been adapted for television. Donna has been featured in Essence, the New York Daily News, USA TODAY, Black Enterprise and other publications.
Donna lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The first book was the best. I was disappointed with who each sister ended up with. The ending was nothing there.. Lots of twists and turns with the various characters, but book needs a great ending.
After reading Scandalous I was sorely disappointed in this book, I hated it!
This wasn't my favorite book by Donna Hill. I will try her books again though.
I've read a number of Donna Hill's books. Since this book was a sequel I hurried up and read Scandalous making sure I knew what the deal was. I'm very glad I read Scandalous 1st because I might have been disappointed in this one had I not read the other one first. To say the least, 'A Scandalous Affair was' definitely worth the wait. I thought that Donna Hill put a lot of hard work and research into this one to make it come out as good as it did. I also thought it would work good as a made for TV Special. However, I must say that I loved Scandalous the best. There were so many twists and turns in the first one. This one, however, gave you a lot of prespectives of what's happening in the world today. I'm also glad Donna decided to continue the episode 'cause I loved the characters.
I've read a lot of Donna Hill's books, and I've loved them all except for Soul to Soul. I didn't like that book at all cause it seemed like it was rushed and not a lot of thought was put into it like her other ones. But I'm sure with this book now 'A Scandalous Affair' it seems like it's going to be great. I put 5 stars only because I like Donna Hill, and I'm going on my gut instinct on this, I'll write another review about it and let you know the real deal on it when I get it.