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Authors: Melanie Shawn


BOOK: Scandalous
4.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Melanie Shawn

Cover Design by Hot Damn Designs

Published by Red Hot Reads Publishing

Copyright 2013 Melanie Shawn

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this book. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission in writing from Melanie Shawn. Exceptions are limited to reviewers who may use brief quotations in connection with reviews. No part of this book can be transmitted, scanned, reproduced, or distributed in any written or electronic form without written permission from Melanie Shawn.

This book is a work of fiction. Places, names, characters and events are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Table of Contents

pter One

er Two

Chapter T

Chapter F

er Five

r Six

apter Seven

er Eight

hapter Nine

ter Ten

Chapter E

Chapter Tw

Sneak Pee
k: Friction

Excerpt Fro
m: My First

Excerpt From: Swee
t Reunion

Other titles by Melanie Shawn

About the Author

Chapter One

Pouring out of a dress that was two sizes too small and teetering on uncomfortable heels while she headed into a crappy dive bar in Van Nuys was by no means Cristal Hart’s idea of a fun Wednesday night. But she had a job to do, and she would get it done.

As she opened the door to enter the run-down establishment, she could sense the energy shift. The hairs on the back of her neck stood and she felt all eyes turn her way when the door loudly shut behind her.

Pretending the attention made her uncomfortable, she scanned the area nervously.


There he was. She quickly made her way to the bar. She knew she had a role to play, and she was good at playing it.

Tonight she was a lonely, bored, married woman who was looking to have a little fun.

Sidling up to the bar beside her mark and crossing her mile-long legs had the intended effect. Her already-too-short hem crept even further up her leg, and she sensed more than saw that the well-dressed man sitting next to her noticed the progression. His attention was palpable.

Well, she thought, I guess you didn’t become a successful politician without having some natural charisma and presence. Those two things, Scott Kellan had in spades. They had helped him to become the youngest California State Representative in history. Congressman Kellan was well-liked by his constituency. He was very popular with the people.

In fact, his popularity with at least half of his constituency (the female half) was the reason why Cristal was on the case. His wife, Mrs. Eve Kellan, had her suspicions – and she wasn't about to sit around and do nothing about them. Eve had hired Red Hot Private Investigations to follow the potentially-cheating Congressman and get evidence of his extra-marital activity to use for the impending divorce trial that he still didn't know was coming.

Several months back, Eve had received an anonymous call from someone who claimed that she was a married woman who had had an affair with the Congressman, and that he was blackmailing her into continuing it. Eve had tried to press her for more details, but the distraught woman had hung up before giving her any meaningful information
, and she hadn’t heard from her since.

Eve Kellan had tried to write off the call as a prank, but she couldn’t. Eve was not a pessimistic person, but she was a realistic one, and there was something in the woman’s voice...a desperation, Eve had said...that rang true to her.

Red Hot had investigated, but the Congressman was a careful man, and incredibly well-insulated. Crystal smirked inwardly. You couldn't rise to the level of power that he had attained while engaging in the nasty conduct that she was sure he was guilty of WITHOUT being pretty damn careful, that was for sure.

So, after two solid months of investigation had turned up nothing but innuendo, it had been decided that a bait operation was the only way to go. They had taken some time to construct the perfect identity – complete with totally legit-seeming electronic history – and now, here they were. That was how Cristal found herself slumming it in a grimy storefront bar on Sepulveda Blvd.
while slowly reeling in a man who radiated equal parts power and sleaze, and who seemed equally comfortable in each of those realms.

Congressman Kellan tapped the bar with his index finger and immediately got the bartender's attention. Without even making eye contact he leaned closer to Cristal and asked in a low seductive tone, “What are you drinking?”

Chills ran up Cristal’s arm. Oh boy, she thought, this guy is good.

“Whiskey sour,” she said shakily, directing her response to the bartender as she nervously fidgeted with her wedding ring.

As the drink was delivered, the Congressman asked, never diverting his eyes from their forward-facing gaze, “Are you meeting someone?”

Absently, Cristal continued to fidget with the ring on her fourth finger. Of course, this was an intentional gesture meant to draw his attention to the
"fact" that she was married and feeling conflicted about it. Spinning the ring around nervously, she swallowed loudly, and in a low voice that barely rose above a whisper, she replied, “”

The air between them became charged as he turned slightly to face her. His interest was officially piqued. “What’s your name?” he asked, the light friendliness he was forcing into his tone barely masking the hunger swirling just below the surface.

“Cristal,” she replied honestly, dipping her head slightly and looking up at him from behind her long, inky eyelashes.

One of the keys to going undercover successfully was sticking as close as was safely possible to the truth. She almost always used her real first name, as did most of the people that worked for Red Hot.

Because of the business they were in, the people that they set out to bait were usually well-schooled liars in their own right. Liars were often the most adept people in the world at spotting other peoples' lies. No need to take a chance of setting off a mark's radar over something as silly as giving a fake first name.

“My name is Scott. Nice to meet you.” He spoke with confidence and authority. His gaze traveled down her body in a way that would probably make most women want to cover themselves up. She wasn’t most women.

Look all you like, Scumbag, she thought. You have no idea the damage that this body is going to cause you.

Inwardly, she felt confident and happy that 'stage one' of the sting operation was going exactly how they had hoped and planned. But outwardly, she made sure to seem a little bit hesitant to enjoy his attention.
Purposefully choreographing her body language to read slightly insecure and nervous.

She took a few healthy sips of her drink to indicate that she needed liquid courage, then she set her tumbler down a little too hard on the surface of the bar and said, “Nice to meet you, too.”

“What’s a beautiful lady like you doing in here?”

Oh, if you only knew, Cristal thought as she turned towards him. She took a deep breath and continued her performance, making sure that she sounded sufficiently unsure of herself as she said, “I don’t know, I guess I wanted…I just wanted a drink.”

“A drink, huh?” His voice now had a predatory tone to it. “That’s all you wanted?”

Cristal didn’t answer, knowing the role she was playing. A housewife, unsure if she was doing the right thing, motivated purely by loneliness. That woman would not know how to respond to his question. So she just picked up her glass and took another drink. When she set her glass down she touched her ring again, seemingly absentmindedly.

She knew that the Congressman was following her lead and taking her bait when he dialed back the intensity ever so slightly, not wanting to scare her off, as he said, “So Cristal, what do you like to do for fun?”

Before she had a chance to answer him, his phone buzzed. He took it out of his jacket pocket and, after looking at the screen, his jaw tensed. He said shortly, “Excuse me, I have to take this.”

He slid off of the stool in one smooth motion, put his phone to his ear and answered with a terse, “What?”

He moved across the small area where several tables and chairs were set up, continuing through to the hall where the bathrooms were located. Cristal couldn’t hear anything else he was saying.

Too bad, she mused. Sure, it may have been mission creep, but she wouldn't have minded picking up a little political intel while she was on the job. You never knew what might come in handy at some point.

Well, whatever. She would stay focused on her original task. It was a waiting game at this point. If he took the bait, he would come back and talk her up, try to seal the deal. If she hadn’t been able to grab his attention, then they would have to build another identity and send one of the other girls as bait. Whatever had to be done. You couldn't take things personally in this business, it was the mission above all else. Whatever served the mission.

Still, having to start again with a new girl wasn't what Cristal wanted, and she hoped they wouldn't have to. They had already created an airtight back story, which had taken considerable man hours. Plus, with someone as high profile as Kellan, she really wanted to handle this herself.

She fidgeted and pulled the hem of her dress down, keeping up the appearance of being uncomfortable. She pulled her phone out of her purse to check it nervously. Assuming the role of a nervous housewife was not her ‘specialty’ by any means. Luckily, however, Cristal knew how to put on a mask better than most – which was why she had never blown an undercover case, not once in her career.

Hearing footsteps behind her, she made a show of quickly replacing the phone in her purse, adopting a slightly furtive air.

She tensed when the Congressman brushed the hair off of her neck and waited rigidly, holding her breath.

“I have some business that needs my immediate attention, but I was really enjoying our conversation. Almost as much as I was enjoying that dress,” he said, low and seductive, as he slid his hand down her shoulder and onto her hip.

Cristal had an overwhelming urge to turn around and knee this guy in the balls, but she was a professional. His family jewels were safe for now. Instead of following her gut instinct, she turned towards him and smiled shyly as she looked into his eyes. “I was enjoying our conversation as well,” she said coquettishly, trying to aim for an air of 'used to be quite a flirt, gotten a little out of practice since I've been married, but willing to try it on again for you.'

She could see by the predatory light that glinted in his eyes that she had struck the perfect note.

“Good.” He squeezed her hip, then with the other hand slipped a card into her purse. “Call me so we can set up a time to continue it then.”

He leaned in close and whispered in her ear, “Do you know what I am going to enjoy even more?”

Cristal shook her head breathlessly, pretending to hang on his every word.

“Seeing you out of that dress,” He picked up her left hand, pulling it slowly to his mouth and kissing her on her knuckle right below her ring finger.

Inwardly, Cristal rolled her eyes. This was his idea of game? Weak. No wonder he had to prey on lonely and nervous married women who didn't get out much. His
shtick wouldn't fly with ladies that had a lot of options.

Outwardly, however, she was nothing if not flushed with pleasure at his attention.

Then taking a step back his eyes roamed from the top of her head all the way to the tip of her high heels, dialing up the sleaze yet another notch, a feat she would have thought impossible mere moments ago. Then, with a satisfied smirk on his face, he turned and left the bar, two men in dark suits following him out.

BOOK: Scandalous
4.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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