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At the Pleasure of the President (The Perfect Gentlemen #5)
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The thrilling conclusion of the twisting, page-turning Perfect Gentlemen series!
When a dangerous conspiracy threatens to tear them apart, he’ll have to choose between his country and the woman he loves…
Decades ago, ambitious Zack Hayes set his sights on the White House. He’s worked his whole life to become the leader of the free world—attending the right schools, marrying the perfect bride—all to aid his campaign. He didn’t realize someone behind the scenes has been pulling the strings to manipulate Zack and the country he loves into a dangerous position—one he will risk his life to wrench free from. The one thing he can’t risk is Elizabeth Matthews.
From the moment she met Zack Hayes, Liz felt the connection. Serving as his campaign manager and then his press secretary, she accepted that her love for him would remain unrequited. Still, she’d thought they were friends, so when he pushed her aside, she felt the stab in her heart. And when she realizes he’s done it to protect her, nothing will stop Liz from standing by his side—not even the men who would use her as a weapon against him.
As shocking secrets are revealed, Zack and Liz find succor and passion in each other’s arms. When the ultimate villain shows his face, Zack may have to choose between his country and the woman he loves
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Zack and Liz
Three Years Before
As Zack Hayes looked across the linen-draped table of one of Memphis’s most exclusive restaurants at the woman in front of him, an odd contentment settled deep inside him. Some part of him he’d never known existed suddenly slid into place. He was a bit horrified that mysterious something might actually be his heart—a thing he hadn’t believed existed until now. Simply by looking at her, he could breathe more easily. Being near her felt good. Times were changing, and he was going with the flow.
Because Elizabeth Matthews was the magical, mystical unicorn he’d always believed was a fantasy. She was the one.
Only Elizabeth had made him realize there was more to life than work and the never-ending pursuit of ambition. Only falling for her had convinced him to want more than the path he’d been set on forty years ago.
And the only thing holding him back from hauling her into his arms and making her his was the little problem of his marriage—to another woman.
“Zack, I know the polling numbers aren’t what you wanted, but the election isn’t over. Anything can happen.” Liz’s clear blue eyes were so earnest and reassuring.
He smiled. Those same blue eyes could go icy as fuck, of course. And damn if that didn’t do something for him.
He took a cautious glance around the private dining room. Except for the two of them, the room was empty. Not surprising since the staff was well trained. They’d also been handsomely paid to deliver the drinks, then disappear. For the first time in forever, no one was listening in. No reporters or pundits hovered to catch a few stray sentences they could turn into the evening’s headlines. He was alone with Elizabeth, and that was the way he liked it.
“I didn’t ask you here to talk about polling numbers.” Though she was wrong about those. No one suddenly surged ahead after being four points down less than a week before election day. His race was over. Of course he would go through all the motions, do everything to appear as though he’d fought until the last minute, but he’d already written his concession speech.
And he was shockingly okay with that.
His whole life, he’d worked to sit behind that desk in the Oval Office. He’d spent every waking moment—and lots of the sleeping ones, too—preparing for his presidency. He’d carefully organized his life, right down to his calculated marriage, so that one day he would be the most powerful man in the free world. Now after all that plotting, the vision was slipping through his fingers because according to the American public he was too cold and detached, not a man of the people. They liked his platform and ideas, but the other guy was the kind they could see themselves sharing a beer with.
With the exception of letting down his best friend, Roman Calder, he wasn’t upset about losing. In fact, he felt lighter now that the weight of responsibility was mere days from being lifted off him for good. All because he had a fresh cause, something else to focus on, a new reason to care. He had Elizabeth.
Last night, he and Roman had shared a shockingly expensive bottle of Scotch and planned for a future that didn’t require a Secret Service detail. They were going to put their law degrees to work and make some life choices that would likely get them used as tabloid click-bait for a while. But hey, they were Perfect Gentlemen—two among the wildest group of rich boys to ever roll through prep school and the Ivy Leagues. Sure, he and Roman had always been the most circumspect of the six, but no one would be truly surprised when he and Joy announced their divorce. There might be some eyebrows raised when he started dating his media consultant. And there would likely be outright gasps if his best friend married his ex-wife, but Zack felt sure they would weather the storm.
“Of course you didn’t ask me here strictly to talk polling numbers. I’m sorry, Zack. I understand,” Elizabeth said with a sad smile. “I’ll clear out of the bus.”
“Why would you do that?” They still had a few days before the election. No matter what the polls indicated, he couldn’t shrug and walk away yet. “Are you quitting?”
She frowned. “No. I thought you were firing me.”
He reached across the table and tangled her fingers with his. Her eyes widened as she pulled her manicured hand away, discreetly scanning the room to see if anyone was watching.
Undeterred, Zack reached for her again, this time holding firm. “Why on earth would I fire you? And you can stop looking around. Our team and the press are both too busy prepping for tonight’s rally to come all the way across town for lunch. I reserved this private dining room for us and ensured we won’t be disturbed so we can talk freely.”