Word of Honor
First Daughter Blair Powell and her lover Cameron Roberts, newly appointed deputy director of the Homeland Security Office, escape to a ski chalet in the Rockies after a harrowing attack by members of a domestic terrorism organization. Under orders from the White House, Blair reluctantly allows a member of the "enemy camp," investigative reporter Dana Barnett, to join her inner circle in the hopes of limiting her media exposure. Dana isn't any happier about being pulled from her coverage of the escalating conflict in the Middle East to write a society "fluff piece," although the presence of beautiful Dr. Emory Constantine does make the assignment a little more enticing.
With the nation under attack, the world on the verge of war, and their personal lives the focus of intense public scrutiny, Cam and Blair come under fire both publicly and privately when an old nemesis resurfaces intent on finishing his holy mission—to kill Blair Powell.
“I’m going to kill whoever is pounding on the ceiling downstairs,” Blair Powell muttered, stretching across the naked body of her lover to squint at the alarm clock. “It’s five fifteen. I’m not just going to kill them, I’m going to dismember them.”
“Baby, hang on for a minute.” Cameron Roberts pulled Blair down against her chest and stroked her back. Threading her fingers through Blair’s tousled, curly blond hair, she kissed her. She bypassed the playful first-of-the-day good morning, I love you kisses and moved right along to the deep, possessive you belong to me kisses that would distract Blair from the activities going on in the command center below them.
“Mmm.” Blair relaxed on top of Cam and fit her hips to the hollow of Cam’s pelvis. “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing.”
Cam chuckled and skimmed her hands up and down Blair’s back, ending at her firm backside. She massaged Blair’s ass and kissed her again. When Blair gasped and tipped her head back, Cam trailed the tip of her tongue down Blair’s neck to the base of her throat. “If you don’t know by now, I’ve been doing something wrong for almost a year.”
“I know you think this will buy whoever’s down there a few more minutes of safety.”
“Is it working?”
“What do you think?” Blair braced her arms on either side of Cam’s shoulders and watched Cam’s face as she slowly rocked between her legs. In mid-November, dawn was still an hour away, and she had only the glow of the streetlights bordering Gramercy Park to see by, but it didn’t matter. She would have known Cam’s scent, her touch, the carved angles and planes of her face in total darkness. Her heart beat to the rhythm of Cam’s heart, and she knew with quiet and unrepentant certainty that were Cam’s heart to stop beating, hers would too. Cam’s heart beat quickly now, strong and full, as Cam lifted her hips to meet Blair’s. Cam’s jaw tightened and her dark eyes focused with fierce intensity on Blair’s face.
“I think you’ve started something you’re going to have to finish,” Cam said.
Blair smiled, her breath coming faster as she felt the teasing anticipation swirl in the pit of her stomach. “Oh really?”
Cam reached between them and cradled Blair’s breast. She rubbed the pad of her thumb over Blair’s nipple until Blair caught her lower lip between her teeth and moaned softly. “Yes, really.”
“If you keep doing that,” Blair murmured, leaning down to lick Cam’s lower lip, “I’m going to finish first.” She closed her eyes and bore down harder with each rolling thrust, letting the pleasure Cam was igniting in her nipple flame the excitement between her legs. So easy, so easy to let everything go, to lose herself for just a few minutes in Cam. “God, that feels good.”
A loud thumping filled the room and the bed vibrated, the legs rattling against the polished wood planks.
Blair’s eyes snapped open. “What the—”
“Ignore them,” Cam ordered, covering Blair’s other breast. Rapidly, she squeezed and released her nipples. “Weren’t you just about to—?”
“I’m going to come,” Blair whispered, her lips parted in pleasure.
“That’s what I thought.” Cam drank in the sight of Blair trembling above her, the muscles in her neck standing out in sharp relief as she climbed toward climax.
“Oh that’s…Cam, I’m…” Blair whimpered softly and shuddered into orgasm.
Cam caught her as she slumped down and cradled her face against the curve of her neck. She kissed Blair’s forehead as Blair snuggled into her and sighed contentedly. “The alarm doesn’t go off until six. Go back to sleep.”
“What about you?” Blair said drowsily.
“You can join me in the shower.”
Blair murmured something that sounded like goody and dropped off.
Cam sifted Blair’s hair through her fingers and watched the patterns of light flicker on the ceiling as sunlight penetrated the fall sky. The sound of hammering and the occasional screech of nails pulling free from wood filtered up from the floor below. The renovations on the command center used by the Secret Service agents who guarded Blair should be finished in a day or so. The same morning as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, four heavily armed men had invaded Blair’s penthouse apartment in a building bordering Manhattan’s Gramercy Park and nearly succeeded in killing her. Blair’s loft—code-named the Aerie—had largely escaped damage during the assault, but her Secret Service operations center one floor down had taken heavy fire. Blair hadn’t been able to return to Manhattan until just a few days ago when her protection detail could resume on-site monitoring as well as coordinate the security for her day-to-day activities. In addition to personal protection, her eight-person security team coordinated advance reconnaissance for her many public appearances and assessed the myriad reports complied daily by the National Intelligence Program from sixteen or so intelligence organizations.
Unfortunately, although the command center was functional, some construction remained to be finished, and Blair’s tolerance for noise and disruption was wearing thin. Everyone’s patience, not just Blair’s, was honed to the bone. The lives of the men and women who provided vital security for the first daughter, as well as those who had been assigned to Cam’s special OHS counterterrorism team, had been irrevocably altered on the morning of September 11. For those who dedicated their lives to preserving the security of the nation and its most important representatives, the desperate search for answers and the heightened pressure to prevent further tragedy were a constant strain.
Cam considered her new team—the best of the best—culled from other security agencies when the Office of Homeland Security was hastily put together and she was named a deputy director. Renee Savard, former FBI; Felicia Davis, former Secret Service; Ricky Sanchez, her newest recruit from the ATF; and one other, a deep CIA operative who might still be the target of a domestic terrorism cell and those in power who aided them. All highly trained, all seasoned agents. None of them were sleeping well. All of them struggled with guilt over their inability to foresee or prevent the terrible events of that fateful Tuesday in September. And now they lived with the unspoken fear that it could happen again unless they did something.
Two months after the attacks, the nation remained at red alert and Blair’s security status at Priority One. Blair was never without a security detail, not even when she was home. The only reason there wasn’t an agent in her apartment at that moment was because Cam had been Blair ’s security chief for most of the previous year and could stand in for an agent when necessary. Still, Blair chafed at the restrictions, and as much as Cam understood and sympathized with her lover’s reluctance to have her freedom so severely restricted, she wholeheartedly embraced the necessity of safeguarding the president’s daughter. Blair was not just the president’s only child, she was an important public figure in her own right. She often represented the White House at public functions and acted as an international diplomat in her father’s stead. She was a symbol of the United States, and as such, her security was nearly as critical as the president’s.
Cam shifted carefully and tightened her hold on the woman who slumbered in her arms. Blair had already been a target of a sniper’s bullet and the skillfully orchestrated full-on tactical assault that had nearly succeeded in assassinating her in her own home. Cam had been in charge of Blair’s security detail then, and she would never forgive herself for allowing the infiltration of her team by a traitor who nearly managed to gun down her lover. She’d been cleared of any dereliction of duty, but no report exonerating her from responsibility for the assault could assuage the knowledge that she had failed. She could not afford to fail again. None of them could.
“You’re not sleeping,” Blair said, smoothing her palm over Cam’s chest. “And you’re not relaxed. Your heart is pounding like you’re running a marathon.”
“That’s what instant replays of the good parts do to me,” Cam replied lightly.
Cam sighed. “Sorry. I don’t know why I haven’t figured out that you can read my mind.”
“I can’t read your mind. But I know what your body’s telling me. What are you worrying about?”
“Nothing.” Cam kissed Blair before she could protest. “I mean it. I was just thinking.”
“And…” Blair leaned up on an elbow and traced a finger along the edge of Cam’s jaw. “Don’t make me pull it out of you, Cam. That will only piss me off.”