Getting married isn’t easy when your father’s the President of the United States! After reluctantly agreeing to a White House wedding, Sarah Lee Pearson, the president’s daughter, finds herself swept into a political maelstrom of unimagined proportions.
The White House staff and the first lady see the wedding as a political event, a way to sweep the president into his next term. Congress is complaining about the collateral costs. The media is delightfully rehashing every aspect of Sarah’s life, even those events that have nothing to do with the impending marriage. And the American public? Visions of an American royal wedding have swept them into a frenzy and vendors take advantage, making a quick buck off of everything from limited edition t-shirts to commemorative teacups.
Sarah and her fiancé, Sam, fight hard to ignore the craziness, but after learning a bounty has been put on their heads by an anti-government militia group, they have to decide whether a White House wedding is indeed worth it. And given all the hurtful controversy, perhaps a better solution is to not get married at all.
“You want me to do what?”
Sarah Lee Pearson glared at her father’s Chief of Staff. “Why on earth would I want to be married at the White House? All I want is a quiet little ceremony in Wisconsin. Just me, Sam, family, and close friends.
“A White House wedding would be too much. You’d invite every power broker and foreign dignitary you could think of just to score points. People who haven’t even met Sam and me. People who could care less about us. So, no, that’s not happening.”
Jeremiah Wilson smiled, his expression patronizing. “You wouldn’t do it for your father? Really? The next presidential election is fast approaching, and your father’s re-election is far from a sure thing. But a White House wedding? Your father walking his long-lost daughter down the aisle? That would bind him to every American with a heart. Your story mesmerized the American public during the first election. Your wedding could have the same impact in the second.”
Sarah frowned. She had found her father, President Jamisen Powell, only two years prior. Up until then, she had believed the people who raised her were, in fact, her parents. After they died in a fire when she was sixteen, Sarah had searched for other family members with no success. She had believed she was alone, until a chance meeting with then-candidate Powell revealed a startling resemblance and raised new questions.
Suddenly Sarah’s quiet life as an international law attorney at a medium-sized Milwaukee law firm was thrown into turmoil.
Her best friend, private investigator Lisa Barzak, discovered that Sara’s birth certificate had been altered, but was similar to that of Sally Powell, who had been kidnapped from her bed at age five. Slowly, the pieces began to fall into place. Ultimately, a DNA test revealed that she and Powell were indeed father and daughter. Many believed the story of their emotional reunion had secured his election. Since then, she and her fiancé, Sam Charles, a corporate law attorney at the same firm, had worked hard to stay under the radar, out of the public eye.
“How does my father feel about this?” Sarah asked.
“Your father wants you to do what makes you happy.”
Jamisen Powell entered his Chief of Staff’s office and nodded coldly at Jeremiah. He added, “He would never ask you to do otherwise.”
Sarah smiled and rose to kiss her father on the cheek. “Thanks, Dad. I knew you wouldn’t ask me to be a political stool pigeon.”
Jamie Powell chuckled. “No. That job apparently falls to staff.” He smiled at Sarah. “Look, hopefully, you only get married once. Make a memory that will mean the most to you and Sam. Nothing else matters.” He shook his head, “Maybe Jeremiah will get lucky and your sister, Melissa, will hook some poor sucker before the next election. She and her mother would be overjoyed planning a White House wedding.”
Jeremiah scowled. “I am only thinking about your re-election, Mr. President. Your first term has been a bit rocky. You need a solidifying factor, something that will grab the hearts and minds of the American public and provide a clear path into the next term. Your story, a daughter lost and found after twenty-five years, especially a daughter who just happens to be a stellar human being and a successful international law attorney, won their hearts in the first election.
“Walking that same daughter down the aisle, something you had never dreamed was possible? The ratings alone will rival a royal wedding. No offense, but Melissa’s marriage—if it ever happens—could never have the same impact. People don’t view her in the same light as Sarah. Melissa is a flighty socialite. Her deep-seated sense of entitlement offends. The ratings for her wedding would be nonexistent. But Sarah? She’s the golden child. The American public loves her.”
The president’s sapphire blue eyes, which mirrored Sarah’s, flashed with annoyance. “Be that as it may, I am not about to force either of my daughters into something they don’t want. Sarah has declined your request, and as far as I am concerned, that’s the end of it. You will have to find another solidifying factor, Jer. Surely I have done something that’s re-election worthy!”
Sarah snuggled against her fiancé, Sam Charles, and pulled a blanket more tightly around them. She shivered. “Who would have thought the Lincoln Bedroom would be so cold?” she muttered. “That fireplace is too far away from the television set to make a difference.”
Sam pulled the blanket more tightly around them. “They probably turned the heat off when they realized we were going to be watching the Packers, not the Redskins.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Besides, this settee, as they call it, is hard as a rock. I know it’s old, but damn, I didn’t think they stuffed furniture with bricks back then.”
Sarah giggled. “We’d probably be better off lying on the floor, but then we’d have no way to see the television.” She sighed dramatically. “And people think staying at the White House is such a luxury.”
“Hey, the food is good. Even some of the beds are comfortable. It’s the chairs and sofas and other furniture that are lacking.” Sam laughed. “I miss our apartment in Milwaukee. Everything we have there is comfortable—designed for lazing around in our underwear and watching football. And if I spill my beer or drop some popcorn, no one looks at me like I am defacing a national treasure.”
Sarah swatted at him. “These old settees are national treasures, dummy. Some of them date back to George Washington or Dolly Madison. Be happy everything here isn’t covered in plastic.”
Sam grinned. “No, that would be my grandmother’s house.”
“Well, after what she told me about your wild childhood, you and those other two hellions you call brothers, she’s entitled. I imagine you three left your droppings everywhere.”
“Hey! You make us sound like we weren’t house-trained.”