The Candidate

By: Josie Brown

“Well, you know what they say. If you want a true friend in Washington, get a dog.” Ben speared the ground with a hoe.

“Frankly, I think Preston got off easy,” Abby murmured. “His fatal heart attack couldn’t have been timed more perfectly: just a few days after his indictment.”

“Abby’s got her own conspiracy theory,” Ben explained. “She thinks he made a pact with Smith to kill him before he went to trial, and now Smith is off on some tropical island with his blood money. Frankly, I can believe it.”

Roberta shuddered. “I hope she’s right. I’d much rather have that killer a million miles from here.” She patted Abby’s hand. “I’m also happy you don’t have to testify.”

Abby nodded. “Me too. I guess we were lucky that the files on the digital dossier provided enough evidence to convict the traitors.”

“That, and all the video feeds of Talbot plotting and scheming in his limo with some shadowy figure,” Ben added. “It was sent in from some anonymous source. My guess is that both are the same man: Mr. Smith.”

“I’m too smart to take that bet,” Roberta laughed. “Tell me, Abby, does anyone even suspect you aren’t really Maddy?”

Abby shook her head. “No. And that’s fine by me. Maddy may have had many things wrong, but she had one thing right: you don’t need to live in the spotlight to be happy.”

Ben laughed. “Oh yeah? Then what do you need?”

“That’s easy. All you need is a man who proves his love for you, every day.”

Ben scooped his wife into his arms and held her tight.

That may have been enough for him, but not for her. She cupped her palm behind his neck and drew his mouth to hers. Her lips grazed his, for one tantalizing minute, before the kiss deepened into the bliss he ached for whenever she was within view.

Eventually he drew back, but his eyes didn’t want to leave her. Instead, they took in everything he loved about his wife. Her open laugh. Her broad, welcoming smile. Her steady, adoring gaze from those deep blue eyes.

Even with her hair still dyed Maddy’s dark auburn, whenever he looked at her, Maddy’s ghost never stared back at him.

He now realized she has all the traits he had sought but had found missing in her emotionally bereft sister.

Appreciation. Respect. Trust.


And when in love, as she once was with Andy, as she was now with Ben, Abby was capable of doing any.

Even saving the world.

Even saving Ben.


I owe a lot to the following people, whose love and support gives me the courage to write, every day:

Karin Tabke, who first fell in love with this book, and pushed me (quite adamantly; what are friends for?) to make it a priority; Andy Brown, who is a go-to guru for anything technical and metaphysical. Andy, thanks making the virtual a reality; Austin Brown and Anna Brown, who are my emotional touchstones, in so many ways; my agent, Holly Root, for her unwavering support; Andree Belle, Darien and Don Coleman, Linda May and Ben Brown, and Mario Martinez and Patricia Steadman, who are always there to encourage, nurture and feed me.

And always last but never least, Martin Brown: you complete me.

Dear readers: If you liked The Candidate, I’d be honored to get a review from you! We authors live by them, and they are always appreciated.

Thank you,

–Josie Brown

Top Books