Release date: May 4, 2015
Model Lily Ashton’s picture-perfect life isn’t as flawless as it seems. After losing her soldier husband six years ago, Lily’s carved a new life for herself by starting a nonprofit for war widows. There’s no room in her busy schedule, or her heart, for a new love—which makes her the perfect date at fundraisers and parties for her pal, Congressman Ford Richardson.
Ford is focused on winning his bid for re-election, and when his opponent pummels him in the polls because he’s not married, Ford’s advisors give him a choice: find a fiancée or prepare to lose the election. Lily agrees to play the part, and they both vow to separate the election from their emotions. As they work together to keep their secret safe, their not-quite engagement starts to feel much more real than either is ready to admit.
With Lily’s help, Ford may win the election, but can he win her heart?
by Monica Tillery
Monica Tillery lives in Texas with her own real-life romance hero and two wonderful sons. When she’s not reading and writing romance, Monica can be found enjoying her family, hanging out and playing games with friends, and wasting time online.
An excerpt from The Election Connection:
“Remember the good old days when we only had to worry about Democrats? These Tea Party candidates are relentless; it’s always about who’s more conservative.” Ford rubbed his forehead in irritation. “It’s as though the issues don’t matter, as long as you’re more conservative than the other guy.”
“He must have some amazing speech writers, because as absurd as the whole thing is, he’s convincing voters. People are starting to buy into the idea that you’re not a good conservative because you’re not married. This is a problem.”
Ford sat back in his chair and held his palms up. “Well, what can I do? I can’t just turn into some family man overnight. If I could materialize the perfect nuclear family, I’d consider it. Too bad I can’t.” Not having a wife or kids at thirty-two didn’t mean Ford didn’t understand the issues facing families in his constituency, but that didn’t stop voters from believing it.
Charlie straightened a stack of file folders and pushed them toward Ford. “Maybe you can’t, but this is a start.”
He flipped open the top folder, finding a woman’s photograph and information sheets clamped to either side. “What is this?”
“After careful analysis of Coldwell’s campaign and voter response, we’ve determined the best course of action is for you to find a wife.” Charlie wasn’t laughing, but surely this was a joke.
Ford put his coffee down instead of taking a sip. The woman in the folder was lovely and didn’t deserve to have a hot beverage spewed on her face. “Come again?”
“I know it seems extreme, but believe me, you wouldn’t be the first candidate to use an engagement to his advantage. Since time is of the essence, we’ve done the legwork and found some possible matches for you. These are some solid choices.” He tapped the stack of folders. “You can read through their bios to familiarize yourself with their basic information, and then we will set up a series of meetings so you can get to know some or all of them. These women have been thoroughly vetted, and they have spotless backgrounds and airtight confidentiality agreements.”
“Forgive me, but are you serious?” Why was he the only one at the table who understood how absurd the discussion was?
“I know it’s not ideal, but face it, you’re not exactly a hopeless romantic.” His oldest friend and trusted team member, Robert, chimed in. “The chances of you meeting some incredible woman right now, falling in love, and getting engaged within our optimal timeframe are microscopic. This makes it easy, and you could do a lot worse than choosing one of these women.”
Ford had been a romantic once, but that was a long time ago. “I hear what you’re saying; I really do. But still, I don’t think I should be choosing women out of a stack of folders. I might as well be going to the pound to adopt a puppy.”
The team laughed, but Ford didn’t see the humor. Charlie spoke up first. “Try not to think of it as a love match. It’s more like choosing someone to be a piece in the campaign puzzle. You have partners for every other aspect of your campaign, and this isn’t much different. The best way to get the focus off of your personal life and onto the issues and your voting record is to give the appearance of having a personal life. A wife accomplishes that handily.”