Samantha Reid, the White House Deputy Director for Homeland Security, deals with national security threats on a daily basis. When a natural-gas pipeline explodes in America’s heartland, she senses pending disaster and tries to convince reluctant officials to take action.
After several more explosions, Samantha teams up with Tripp Adams, Vice President of GeoGlobal Oil & Gas, owner of the pipelines, to investigate.
As they race to solve the mystery of the explosions and determine the motives of the shadowy group behind the havoc, Samantha and Tripp spend days . . . and nights . . . together, growing ever closer. Then Tripp is sent on a business trip to South America---and disappears.
Now Samantha must deal with political intrigue at the highest levels, finesse international plots, and break all the White House rules as she races to find Tripp and stop the team of foreign agents before they carry out their final deadly scheme.
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The Honorable Karna Small Bodman served in the White House for six years. She was also on the air for fifteen years as a reporter, television news anchor, and political commentator in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter OneGeorgeTown—Monday Early Morning "All nonessential White House employees remain home due to ice storm. Update in four hours." Samantha Reid stared at the e-mail and pushed a strand of her long brown hair back off her forehead. She knew that most everyone would try to show up for work today because nobody wanted to be thought of as "nonessential." At least she had a four- wheel- drive jeep she'd been driving for years. Not the most chic car that regularly parked on West Exec, the driveway separating the West Wing from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building—or EEOB, as they all called the big Empire place that housed most of the staff—but it was a car she'd bought near her parents' home in Texas, where everybody drives jeeps. She glanced out the picture window of her tiny Georgetown apartment overlooking the Whitehurst Freeway. Just beyond was a narrow park lining the Potomac River, its trees weighted down with icicles. To the right, the Key Bridge was silhouetted in the dim predawn light where a lone taxi, trying to navigate the icy roadway, suddenly spun out and slammed into a guardrail. Good Lord, she thought. It may look like a scene out of Swan Lake, but it really is treacherous out there. She had known a front was moving in, but an ice storm in early December didn't happen all that often and nobody had predicted it would be this bad. She looked down at her computer again. She always checked her e-mail when she first woke up, as she often got urgent messages from her boss, the head of the White House Office of Homeland Security. They had been working practically round the clock on a whole list of issues and new safety measures, coordinating with the agencies, following up on tips and executing Presidential orders. She had stayed late last night summarizing the fallout from a threat to a big shopping center made the day after Thanksgiving. Thankfully, that one turned out to be a hoax. Today she knew they would be focusing on other problems, including a new missile defense system they were trying to get deployed on a number of commercial airplanes. She checked her schedule and remembered that a group of airline executives were due for an 11:00 a.m. meeting in the Roosevelt Room. The mastermind of a new 360- degree laser defense, Dr. Cameron Talbot, was supposed to join the airline officers. But now, with the storm raging, she doubted if any of them would make it in. She also had a meeting to follow up on an attack on the Metro. Transit cops had nailed a guy trying to leave a backpack filled with explosives on board a D.C. train headed for the Pentagon. When the Metro was built, some genius had designed a stop directly underneath the building. What were they thinking? She shoved her computer aside and padded into the tiny galley kitchen. It looked like it could have fit into a train, with shallow cabinets on two walls, sparse counter space, and a stove that was a relic from the eighties. Her whole condo was less than four hundred square feet, but she had gladly exchanged size for the convenience of a Georgetown address that put her within minutes of the White House, though this morning, inching along the icy Washington streets, she'd be lucky if she'd make it in an hour's time. She flicked on the small TV set that took up way too much space on the kitchen counter and heard a commercial advertising a new drug. There were pictures of a kindly- looking grandmother pushing a laughing child on a swing while the announcer said in the tone of an afterthought, "Side effects could include dizziness, nausea, muscle weakness, weight gain, and, in rare cases, temporary loss of vision, coma, or stroke." She shook her head at the absurdity of it all, but then heard the news anchor come back on with the weather report. His map showed a wide swath of storms, snow, and ice reaching from Oklahoma all the way up to Delaware, with D.C. on the leading edge. She measured the coffee, stuck an English muffin into the toaster, and checked her watch. She'd have to skip her morning workout in the basement fitness center. With the added commute time, maybe they'd delay their usual early- morning staff meeting, but she couldn't take that chance. As she reached for a coffee mug, she made a mental note to remind her boss about his appearance on CNN at noon to discuss the Metro train arrest and the shopping center situation. She knew she'd have to write his talking points, but wondered what other potential disaster would have to be added at the last minute. Excerpted from Final Finesse by Karna Small Bodman.Copyright © 2009 by Karna Small Bodman.Published in May 2009 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
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