Cecilia London SONGBIRD

Songbird by Cecilia London

SONGBIRD by Cecilia London.

Christine Sullivan isn’t an easy person to love. She knows how the world sees her – aloof, standoffish, cold…perhaps even bitchy. After a lifetime in politics, including a stint with an expat government in exile, President Sullivan has taken her share of body blows, but now she’s back in Philadelphia…a widow, a recovering Republican, a former public servant seeking a quiet, private existence.

On her to-do list – rebuild her relationship with her estranged daughter and invent the rest of her life. She has her best friend Caroline, her brand spanking new condo, and her ever frustrating Secret Service detail to keep her company. That should be enough for anyone, right?

Until Alexander Guardiola comes along… liberal, emotionally unguarded, younger. A lot younger. Everything Christine isn’t. And isn’t ready for.

But opposites attract, don’t they? And hearts and minds can always be changed…


Songbird by Cecilia London

Christine Sullivan isn’t an easy person to love. She knows how the world sees her – aloof, standoffish, cold…perhaps even bitchy. After a lifetime in politics, including a stint with an expat government in exile, President Sullivan has taken her share of body blows, but now she’s back in Philadelphia…a widow, a recovering Republican, a former public servant seeking a quiet, private existence.

On her to-do list – rebuild her relationship with her estranged daughter and invent the rest of her life. She has her best friend Caroline, her brand spanking new condo, and her ever frustrating Secret Service detail to keep her company. That should be enough for anyone, right?

Until Alexander Guardiola comes along… liberal, emotionally unguarded, younger. A lot younger. Everything Christine isn’t. And isn’t ready for.

But opposites attract, don’t they? And hearts and minds can always be changed…

Buy links:

 Excerpt:

I didn’t like January 20. It had nothing to do with inaugurals or winter or seasonal affective disorder or anything else. Roger Bailey may have freed me from my whitewashed cage earlier in the day, but he couldn’t erase the memory of a wintry night spent traveling from Bryn Mawr to Harrisburg to points further north. Things had started to fall apart long before then, but that was the date that stuck most vividly in my mind.

I hadn’t been to the cemetery since Christmas morning, when I’d met Caroline at the dual gravesite. Then, as now, my agents had the wherewithal to keep their distance. Snows had fallen and melted and fallen again, and the ground was still hard. Spring wouldn’t come for months. The bouquets I’d laid across the markers had dried and frozen in place in the month I’d been away, and I replaced them with freshly cut flowers. Ridiculously expensive since they were well out of season, but worth the cost. 

I always talked to Jessica first. It was easier that way.

“I brought you some lilies,” I said softly. “They were hard to find, but they’re your favorite, so…” I crossed my arms over my chest, hugging myself. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”

Two headstones, next to each other. Father and daughter. Both stamped with the Sullivan crest and the family motto, Lamh foistenach abứ. Loosely translated as the gentle hand to victory. Very fitting.

Two headstones, marking where no bodies lay. I tried my best while in office to discover where they were taken, how their bodies were treated, whether they were allowed dignity in death. I had yet to receive the answers I wanted. All I knew was that I was alive and they weren’t.

“You have to settle for forget-me-nots, Thomas,” I said, laying the flowers on his headstone. “Because you never once tired of lecturing me on my lack of sentimentality.”

I knelt in the snow, knowing the action would likely destroy my wool dress pants. “I’m not president anymore. But you know that.”

A small amount of slushy mud had accumulated on the Siobhan on Jessica’s headstone, and I wiped it away. “Can’t go covering up your glorious middle name. I may not like it very much but your father does.”

It seemed so silly to be so irreverent while kneeling on this consecrated ground, but it was the only way I could get through my visits without crying. Alas, my efforts to stay remote were for naught, because a sob slipped out.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “You’d be twenty-five now and it’s hard for me not to think about what you might be like if you were still here. If all of us were together. You’d love your nephews. They’re little and cute and hyper and all they want to do is give me kisses when they’re covered in sticky stuff. Susannah’s a good mother. Better than I was. I’ve been trying really hard with her.”

Well, that was a blatant lie. The spirit world was certain to recognize prevarication when they heard it. “Okay. I’m going to try harder with your sister. I want you to know that. But we’ve got a lot of things to fix before we get to where we need to be.”

I wiped my eyes and averted my gaze. “Tom. I hated this past month in the White House but you would have loved it. I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I’m going home after this. To our house. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it, so I hope you’ll help me out.”

A tear rolled down my cheek and plopped into the snow. “It’s been almost three years,” I whispered. Or, two years, eleven months, and twenty-four days, if you were counting. And I was. “Three years of knowing everything would be so much easier if you were here.” I fished around in my coat pocket for a tissue, blowing my nose. “I know why you both did what you did. I’m grateful for it. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your valor. But I’m still having a hard time reckoning the necessity of it all.”

I blew out a breath. “Caroline and the girls are doing well. So is Jack. Susannah’s trying to get me to date again but…” I patted the flowers on Tom’s headstone. “It doesn’t feel right. I know she means well. I know she misses you as much as I do. I just feel like she’s pushing it more for herself than for me. Maybe she’s worried about me, I don’t know. She hasn’t said anything but you know how it is between us.” I started weeping again. “How am I supposed to find a man who treated me with the gentleness you always showed? Who loved me the way you did? She keeps pushing this lawyer from her firm on me and the last thing I want to do is have some man making bad legal jokes in a cheap attempt to get into my panties.” I stole a glance at Jessica’s headstone. “Jessie, you should probably stop listening when I’m talking to your father.” 

 Washington had given me a host of convenient excuses over the past few months. I hadn’t had to think about the house in Bryn Mawr. I’d been able to defer my grief, too focused on the tasks involved in rebuilding a country to worry about rebuilding myself. I’d brushed off Susannah’s repeated attempts to play matchmaker, but had failed to put my foot down and eliminate the possibility entirely. I was fairly certain my diffidence would come back to bite me at some point, but I wasn’t going to worry about that now.

I wiped my eyes again before standing up. The knees of my pants were soaked. I blew a kiss before brushing my fingertips across the tops of both headstones.

“I love you,” I whispered. “I’ll be back soon.”

I turned around, heading toward the waiting limo. It was time to go home.

 


About the Author:

Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She’s filled several roles over the course of her adult life – licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball and footy fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series, and its spinoff, Songbird. You can most often find her causing trouble on Twitter or, less frequently, on Facebook.

Connect with Cecilia:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | BookBub Author Profile

Website | Jack McIntyre fan page | Spotify

One Response to Cecilia London SONGBIRD

  1. Jacqueline Seewald

    This sounds like a fine read! Congrats and best wishes.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    author of SINFUL SEDUCTION

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top