Mikala's Missives

A modest manifest of missives to keep readers up to date on works in progress, coming soon releases and where to get my books as well as some free stories when I get time to post them.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Exceprt: A Political Animal coming soon from Changeling Press

A Political Animal is coming soon from Changeling Press.


Serena Plim, Press Secretary to Aussie Deputy Prime Minister Kelvin Waters, flees the media spotlight when her boss's wife goes to the press accusing Serena and her husband of having an affair.
It’s not true, but the fact that for the last ten years Serena has been in love with the charismatic politician doesn’t help.Serena takes to the hills and after a very spooky drive through the great Aussie outdoors, she runs into Jack Wolfe, a devilishly handsome cattle rancher.He offers the distraught Serena sanctuary and she seizes the opportunity to end her celibate past and explore her sensuality.
But there’s something disturbing about Jack and when he sends his staff away and deprives her of her car, Serena suspects she’s in for an adventure she hadn’t counted on.
She’s right.

A Political Animal
Mikala Ash
(C) 2006

Chapter One

“Sex scandal rocks the Farmers’ Party and Deputy Prime Minister Kelvin Waters resigns amid further rumors of sexual dalliances with Press Secretary Serena Plim. Insiders say --”
“Whatever the hell they want to say! I don’t give a flying fuck!” Serena killed the radio with an emphatic flick of her wrist.
Sexual dalliances! It wasn’t true, dammit!
She wanted to scream out loud that Kelvin was a friend and nothing more.
That wasn’t strictly true, but it wasn’t as bad as the blood-sucking press were making out. While she loved Kelvin, like no one she’d ever loved before, there was absolutely no sex involved. Her love was platonic.
Completely, totally, honestly platonic!
A sob slipped from her throat at the pitiful way that sounded. What the hell was wrong with her?...

... A week is a long time in politics they say. Well, they were right. It felt like an eternity. The five days between Priscilla’s shocking announcement and Kelvin’s resignation had been the worst in her whole life. Even her friends had dropped her in it, getting themselves interviewed on prime time, their thirty seconds of fame. “Oh, yes. Serena is always staying late at Kelvin’s office…” “I never saw them, you know, kiss, but they were always standing close, whispering to each other, joking. They were just good friends. You know what I mean?”
Just good friends? Tabloid fodder if ever there was and that meant the kiss of death in politics.
Her mobile rang.
She knew it was Kelvin. Fighting the tears, she started the car but, instead of setting off again, she lowered her head to the steering wheel and listened to the phone’s persistent tune.
She couldn’t speak to him. She simply couldn’t face him. It would be a mistake to be seen with him again. Not that it mattered now so much. But to be the cause of his political death, albeit unwittingly, was just too much to bear. That she was innocent was…
Here we go again, she chastised herself. That path was well and truly trod. Unwitting or not she was the cause of it. Best to just slink away to lick her wounds, never to be seen again.
She raised her head from the steering wheel. The road ahead was clear, but something black scuttled through the trees to her right. She turned her head, but the shape always seemed to stay at the edge of her vision. She shivered. This place was spooky.
She resumed driving, slowly at first but as she realized the shadowy figure seemed to keep pace, she accelerated. She was driving too fast now. The spitting of gravel beneath her wheels and the thump of larger rocks on the underside of the car confirmed it.
Serena knew it was stupid to be spooked like this by a mere animal. She was in an amour-plated government car, for goodness sake! She smiled when she realized she technically no longer had permission to drive it. The car pool would want it back.
I’ll return it to the first government office I come to, she promised. Though when or where that might happen, she couldn’t tell.
The issue of Kelvin and her use of the car had been their first foray into the media spotlight. Serena and Kelvin had broken convention. Instead of using the usual drivers that every politician demanded as a sign of status, she had insisted she drive him everywhere. Serena had to receive anti-terrorist training to do so, but she’d impressed the Federal Police instructors with her innate ability.
Her graduation from the Federal Police Training Academy earned her a full two-page spread in a women’s magazine. It raised her and Kelvin’s profile a hundredfold. She was a woman in a man’s world. A woman who could handle a high performance vehicle as well as a Glock nine-mm pistol and a submachine gun was not someone to be trifled with.
Kelvin had been delighted as it allowed them to talk candidly and plan their press strategies in private. They hadn’t realized at the time that it gave Priscilla the perfect ammunition. Alone in the car, what did they really get up to? one tabloid had so “innocently” and disastrously asked.
It had been foolish, Serena knew, but she loved those long drives between cities, plotting their next move, orchestrating their next media blitz. It felt so intimate, so special.
The road took a sudden turn. She was going way too fast, but she steered through it just as her instructors had taught her. They’d be proud of her.
“Slow down,” she yelled at herself but she couldn’t lift her foot off the accelerator. Trees flashed past her and still the shape in the corner of her eye kept pace.
Something dropped from the overhanging trees onto the narrow road in front of her. She braked savagely and the car went into a sideways slide before coming to a halt. She looked up expecting to see the great hulk of the beast she’d glimpsed towering over her bonnet.
But there was nothing in front of her except the swirling cloud of red and brown dust.
Her heart thudding against her ribs, icy spears of fear stabbing at her gut, she started the car again. She wanted to get back to the main road , but the deep gullies on either side of the track made it too narrow to turn. She had to go on and find somewhere the track widened so she could turn around.
She gained pace now, glancing furtively from one side to the next to see if the shadow was following her. She was well and truly spooked now. Not more than five kilometers down the road she rounded another bend.
“Oh, shit!” She braked and skidded to a halt and once again a cloud of dust overtook her.
Standing in the middle of the road was a blond Adonis. He was naked to the waist, the dappled sunlight speckling his bronzed torso and gleaming off the broad expanse of his chest.
“Oh my…”

A Political Animal by Mikala Ash coming soon from Changeling Press


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