The Housewife Assassin's White House Keeping Seal of Approval (Book 19)
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Signal Press eBook: 9781970093100 ($4.99 US)
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In order to save Jack from being branded a traitor, Donna Craig uses her position as a senior security advisor to the President of the United States to expose the White House-embedded foreign saboteur from decimating the country's intelligence agencies.
CHAPTER 1: Declaration of Independence
We hold these Truths to be self-evident: that All Men are created equal…”
But what about women?
Reality check: these are the times that try women’s souls.
Especially those women in two-breadwinner households, where the salaries are barely enough to make the monthly payments, utilities, food bills, medical and countless other expenses;
Including those women who have been mommy-tracked.
Or if they are their family’s sole breadwinner.
Trust me, I’m not just whining. (But only because it guarantees frown lines!) This isn’t some ladies-night-out pity party. Don’t women also deserve to be endowed (men: my head is UP HERE) by their (choose your own) Creator, with the same inalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?
It would help tremendously if women got raises that would make them equal—not 81.4 percent—to men in similar positions.
Let’s take a vote on it! By the way, all those in favor will be rewarded with a generous serving of All-American apple pie by your appreciative housewife assassin—
Sans arsenic, unlike those who vote “no.”
* * *
“Care for some dessert, Mr. Cathcart?”
My question, delivered in a husky whisper, has the desired effect: my target, Milo Cathcart—tech billionaire and founder and CEO of Thunder Cloud Cover—raises his eyes from his iPad to proffer his answer: a nod, accompanied by an appraising gaze at my cleavage, which, between my sheer, low-cut white blouse and my deep purple push-up bra, shows no pretense at playing peek-a-boo.
From Milo’s smirk, I guess he reads me loud and clear.
Those who serve The One Percent are usually invisible to them. I guess I’ve succeeded in mitigating this dilemma.
My cover—as the concierge member of a three-person flight crew on a tricked-out Airbus ACJ319neo—demands it. For the past four hours and some forty-one thousand feet in the air, I’ve been fluffing pillows in between serving Champagne, shrimp, caviar, and Chateaubriand to Milo and his three security goons.
We are winging our way to Zurich, Switzerland: the closest airport to the posh mountain resort town in Davos, Switzerland. There, Milo will attend the World Economic Forum, where he plans on doing a lot of glad-handing and hobnobbing with three thousand other high-falutin’ attendees. These include a gaggle of Heads of State (over fifty of them, on taxpayer dollars, no less) and a plethora of billionaires (around one hundred and twenty of them), all of whom have flown in on their own jets (in total, over three hundred aircraft, so almost two for every one of those rich sons of bitches), all with full security details in tow.
Attending this shindig isn’t cheap: around $52,000 per person or $300,000 for you and your entourage of up to five.
And yet, membership has its privileges. Ostensibly, one is there to discuss how to save Mother Earth from human destruction, particularly that which is wreaking havoc on the planet and our environment. In reality, this event is the perfect opportunity for these corporate titans to out-humblebrag each other as to who gave the most money to the most causes, and which acts of their supposedly conscious capitalism has had the most significant impact.
It is philanthrocapitalism at its most woke.
If it were true that those who acquire great wealth are also the best equipped to mitigate Mother Earth’s most vexing problems, this massive shindig should put all worries behind us. Unfortunately, that is not the case. A Davos junket has one purpose only: to pick up a lucrative contract or two.
Milo’s aim is to offer a few of the attending heads-of-state-slash-dictators the ultimate stealth weapon: a way to spy on, say, a more charismatic political opponent, activists inciting civil unrest, or perhaps leaders of their enemy countries.
His bag of tricks includes the ultimate electronic eavesdropping technology: a cellphone hack he’s named Cyclops that quashes anyone’s attempt to “go dark”—that is, communicate through texts and other direct messaging software, like those found on social media. These encrypted channels make it easy for criminals and terrorists to hide from law enforcement, but they are also used by law-abiding citizens who just like to shoot the shit, talk dirty to each other, or grouse about a boss, parent, or spouse, to a buddy.
No doubt about it, despots will be lining up at his door, assured that all bugs have already been worked out by the client who originally contracted and funded Milo’s software: the good old U. S. of A.
In other words, Milo is a cybermercenary who’s selling state secrets: most definitely, a treasonous no-no.
MI6 stumbled across Milo’s plan and passed it on to Acme Industries, my soon-to-be-former employer that also happens to be a special ops contractor to several US intelligence agencies. This is my last Acme mission before I’m to be sworn in by the President of the United States, Bradley Edmonton, as his new Senior Security Advisor: a.k.a., hard woman for any dirty job he sees fit for me to do.
I wouldn’t be here except for the fact that Edmonton is blackmailing me with the threat of jailing my husband, Jack, as a traitor to his country for an unsanctioned hit on Congresswoman Elle Grisham. Elle was a Russian asset. Edmonton sanctioned the hit for a very good reason: when she died, she took with her proof that Edmonton was also a Russian spy, and has been for a quarter-decade, since his college days.
Of course, Edmonton would deny it, then have Jack tried as her murderer and a traitor, all but assuring he would die in prison.
I’m sure MI6 would have preferred the intel on Milo to go directly to the CIA. But our cousins across the pond are no fools. Since Bradley Edmonton took over as President of the United States, they’ve noticed a disconcertingly friendly shift in our country’s diplomatic policy toward Russia. The recent ousting of the Director of Intelligence, Marcus Branham, also raised eyebrows.
His replacement is the former Acme Industries’ CEO, Ryan Clancy. This has quelled some of the Free World’s squeamishness. But you can’t blame the Cousins for thinking, better safe than sorry, right?
Along with Marcus, Ryan, Jack, and former US President Lee Chiffray, I have vowed to rid the White House of its foreign saboteur.
Milo contemplates my offer to indulge any cravings he may have. “Dessert, eh? What’s on the menu?”
We’ve been airborne for the past few hours, but this is the first time he’s elected to speak to me—or anyone, for that matter. I’m surprised at his voice: a very deep bass with a Kentucky drawl.
I smile pretty and coo, “Can I tempt you with cherries jubilee?”
Laughing heartily, he eases back onto the jet’s serpentine leather sofa. “That’s a new twist on ‘coffee, tea, or me.’ But hey, I’m game.”
No surprise there. In Silicon Valley’s swinging sex party circuit, Milo’s hardcore appetites are as renowned as his staying power, the latter being rare among members of the Three Commas Club. (Techie slang for billionaires.)
Despite this flirtatious tête-à-tête, I have no plans to personally validate this rumor firsthand. But I do need to infiltrate his private bedroom to gain access to his laptop.
I’ll stand and deliver, but I’ll be damned if I let him do the same.
Milo nods toward his security detail, who, between swigs of Scotch, have been shouting curses at the sixty-inch television monitor as the Israeli soccer team scrimmages with Portugal. Grabbing his champagne flute, he proclaims, “Feed these animals while I relax in the sauna. I’ll buzz when I’m ready to take you up on your offer for…something sweet.”
If I have any doubt as to what Milo is expecting, he makes himself clear when he grazes my breast with his champagne flute before handing it back to me.
As he saunters to his private bedroom in the rear of the plane, he looks back to give me a lascivious smirk.
We land in four hours. I have my work cut out for me. Milo’s goon squad is made up of former Israeli military intelligence operatives: Mossad, which means I can’t screw up in my disarmament plan, or I’m a dead woman. Just one of these guys would prove a challenge. Facing off against all three might literally mean breaking a heel. But only because both of mine are tricked out with a few handy accouterments: a stiletto in one, a small aerosol vial of the knock-out drug, Fentanyl, in the other.
I don’t wear these Louboutins simply because they’re pretty.
Not to worry! My Loubies are safe. Plan A for how I’ll get around Milo and his goon squad is already in the works. Their drinks have been laced with Rohypnol. Hey, why not? It’s an equal-opportunity knock-out drug. They can holler “Me too!…” all they want at their next bro-out.
I watch from the galley as it takes effect. The men are sluggish. They rub their eyes and slur their words. In a few minutes, they are as peaceful as sleeping newborns.
Alright, alright, alright…
I presume Milo has passed out too, which will give me all the time I need to add an undetectable trojan virus to his laptop, allowing Acme and MI6 to monitor all of Milo’s communications. Before we land in Zurich, Acme’s tech-op extraordinaire, Arnie Locklear, will have hacked the computer’s file containing Milo’s software program. This will allow him to add a line of code that informs the targets on his clients’ watchlists that they’ve been infected so that they can ditch their devices pronto.
Milo will then have a lot of explaining to do. No doubt, a tap with a poisoned umbrella tip is in his future.
I rap softly on his door. Hearing nothing, I open it slowly.
The sauna is positioned in the far corner of the bedroom. Steam rises from the large smooth river rocks piled high in the large ceramic pedestal dead center of the small glass enclosure. Milo is fully shrouded from view. But then, for just a moment, the thick mist shifts, allowing me to see him.
He is lying down on one of the sauna’s long narrow benches. His eyes are closed.
Milo’s laptop is on the bed. While waiting in the plane’s galley, I’d scanned his thumbprint from the water glass served with his dinner, which I now use to unlock his computer.
I’ve just inserted a thumb drive holding the trojan when I hear the sauna door open.
What the heck?
At that moment, I see Milo’s champagne flute on the nightstand.
He didn’t drink it.
I don’t turn around. Instead, with one hand, I slip the laptop under a pillow. With the other, I unbutton my blouse.
By the time I turn around, he only has eyes for me.
Well, my purple balconette bra.
At the same time, I’m trying to avert my eyes from Milo’s only appendage standing at full attention.
Oh, bother. No problem with shrinkage there.
Milo snickers. “Like what you see?” His taunt is accompanied by a gangsta motion: the double-handed chop to his crotch.
I wince. His third leg is as long as his voice is deep. No doubt, he’s the life of every Three Commas Club orgy.
Instead, I chuckle, as if he’s naughty, and I’m shy. “I thought saunas are supposed to relax you. From what I can see, you are anything but that!”
He nods toward the steamy glass box. “Have you ever made love in a sauna?”
I shake my head.
“It’s invigorating! Opens all your pores. Releases”—he circles one of my breasts with his index finger—“pheromones.” The word comes out in a high-pitched squeak that has me wincing. “They smell…”
I murmur: “Heavenly?”
He mistakes that as an invitation to pull me into it with him.
“But—I’m dressed!” I jerk my arm away.
“Not for long.” To make his point, Milo strips my blouse off my back as he yanks me into to the sauna, backing me up against the steaming pedestal. With all my might, I flip him around so that he’s got his back to the pedestal instead. (Easy enough to do. He may be tall, but he’s also scrawny. (What is it with tech types? Don’t they understand the importance of upper body definition?)
Milo grins while I lean into him. My lips working their way over his torso and chest. By the time my lips reach his mouth, his eyes are closed. My kiss is deep, mesmerizing him long enough for me to reach back with my right hand and twist off my right heel—the one holding the Fentanyl vial.
I pour it into the steam.
Yes, I’m taking the chance that I’ll pass out too. But then I hold my breath, counting down from my all-time record for doing this—
Seventy-six seconds…seventy-five, seventy-four…
—But at the time, my bra wasn’t being unhooked and yanked from me. Nor was I being shoved over to a bench and slammed down onto it.
Triumphantly, Milo holds my bra over his head, swinging its straps like a lasso, hooting, “To the victor goes the spoils!”
But to Milo’s mind, the real prize lies between my thighs. He jerks my skirt high on my hips and then straddles me.
When I lock my legs around him, he assumes it’s because I enjoy his rough sex play. Wrong. What he doesn’t know is that it’s the only way for me to grab hold of my left heel and release the tiny stiletto encased there. I then drop my arm after palming it, blade open—
He’s using a hand to position himself to enter me.
Ain’t gonna happen, pal.
Instinctively, I try to rise up—
But Milo shoves me down again. His adrenaline rush is offsetting the Fentanyl misting around us.
Suddenly, he places my bra around my throat and tightens it, like a garrote. Leering over me, he exclaims, “Hey, I’m going to take you for a walk on the wild side! Have you ever tried autoerotic asphyxiation? …No? Whoa, great! I get to be your first!”
Like hell you will!
The last thing I need is to let go of the breath I’m holding.
Milo doesn’t get to make the decision for me. In one quick motion, I stab the knife into his neck.
When Milo’s dead weight falls forward on top of me, I gasp from the shock.
I can’t move out from under him. My lungs fill with hot steam as I struggle to get up.
Worse yet, the Fentanyl must be kicking in because I’m fading…
* * *
© 2020 Josie Brown. All rights reserved.
This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the publisher, Signal Press (email@example.com)
(c) 2020 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the publisher, Signal Press (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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