Amid the glitz and glam of Washington, D.C.’s elite circle of movers and shakers are three ambitious ladies reaching for the top—and ready to face any obstacle in their way…
Switching from life on the White House fast track to stay-at-home mom doesn’t quite suit Sherise—especially once she suspects her husband is having an affair. And when she receives a threatening note, it’s clear someone wants revenge—but who, and for what?….When successful lawyer Billie gets romantically involved with a client who might be involved in a drug operation, she discovers she may have made a fatal mistake—and far more than her career is on the line….Juggling her work at the Pentagon with her personal life is turning out to be more complicated—and more dangerous—than Erica expected. When her little brother gets pulled into the fray, Erica will have to make a life-changing choice….Between conniving exes, power hungry bosses, meddling relatives, and secrets that just won’t stay hidden, these ladies are making their own personal headlines—in the world’s most news-making city…
Praise for Angela Winters
“…full of believable drama…” --Romantic Times on Back on Top
“A Dynasty-esque mix of money, power, sex, and crime.” --Washingtonian.com on View Park
Sherise Robinson wasn’t sure how long she’d been staring
out the window of her Georgetown townhouse’s living room
onto the street, but her baby girl, Cady, was not happy at the
lack of attention and pulled on her mommy’s shorts.
“Mah!” she yelled.
Sherise broke from her trance and looked down at her
fifteen-month-old sitting next to her on the sofa. She had
that adorable little frown on her perfect chocolate brown face.
Her tiny nose was turned up and her little lips pressed together.
She was not pleased.
“Sorry, baby.” Sherise smiled and leaned down. She kissed
her on the forehead.
“Play,” Cady added, handing her mother a tiny stuffed
Sherise took the bear and did what she thought her baby
wanted. She gently pressed the bear’s face against Cady’s and
Cady made a kissing sound.
“Is this your baby?” she asked. “Do you love your panda
Cady nodded and giggled. She pressed a tiny squeeze ball
in her hands. This wasn’t one of her toys. It was a stress ball her
mother used to use when work got to her and she needed to
calm down. But Little Grabby Hands, which she called Cady,
had gotten her hands on it and never let it go.
Didn’t matter much, Sherise thought with a sigh. She didn’t
need it anymore. Except for dealing with the adorable little
handful sitting next to her, life was not terribly stressful for her
anymore. Six months ago, a series of near-disastrous events
urged Sherise to make the hardest decision of her life. This go-
getter, who was born to compete and achieve, quit her job,
turned her back on a powerful promotion on the Domestic
Policy Council for the White House, and became a stay-at home
She was only twenty-eight. Her life was not over. She was
still married to the man she loved, Justin Robinson, a powerful
lobbyist, despite making every mistake possible that could cost
a woman her husband. In fact, saving her marriage was the reason
she decided to give up the career that she had often put
first in her life.
Known as a relentless competitor, someone who excelled in
office-place politics and games, Sherise had dreams of reaching the
top of the power circles in DC. Having come from one of the
worst neighborhoods on the southeast side, she fought hard
against the odds to make it to assistant director of communications
for the Domestic Policy Council.
Sherise had also sought out the perfect husband with great
connections. Justin was a recent Georgetown law grad when
she met him, but she knew he was already connected and
would do wonders for her career in DC. She also knew that although
she was very attracted to the tall, handsome, bookish
brother, he wasn’t so overwhelming that she would lose her
head when it came to him. He was trustworthy and controllable.
After having Cady, Sherise had reluctantly taken six months
off, instead of the usual twelve weeks, to please Justin, who had
actually wanted her to stop working altogether. Although she
loved her daughter more than anything, it was torture for Sherise
to be out of the loop and not in control. When she finally
went back, Sherise was so caught up in the game and a chance
to take over when her boss announced he was leaving, she
wasn’t careful. She made a terrible mistake and fell into the bed
of a sexy and powerful man, Jonah Dolan. A man who turned
out to be as vindictive and hateful as he was tantalizing and seductive.
Almost getting found out was what made Sherise decide
to give everything up and refocus her life on what mattered.
When her friend Erica’s boyfriend, Terrell, had discovered
them and threatened to expose their affair in order to extort
Jonah, Sherise was reminded of how much she loved Justin and
couldn’t live without him. Justin never found out, but he’d
known something was wrong. He’d wanted his wife back and
she’d given up everything else to be a better wife to him and a
mother to their baby.
Looking down at Cady as she mumbled incoherently in a
conversation with a tiny plastic pink horse, she smiled from ear
to ear. She loved this little girl more than anything and couldn’t
imagine depriving her of a life without a father. That was the
life that Sherise had and she didn’t want that for her baby.
Justin loved Cady and Cady needed him.
Yes, it was true that Cady might not even be his. Jonah
wasn’t Sherise’s first infidelity. She had allowed herself to get
too close to Ryan Hodgkins, a successful architect. She had
been trying to make her way into the black elite social circles,
but had found herself unable to fight her attraction to this
married man. They’d spent one night together before Sherise
came to her senses and ended it. She found out she was pregnant
a month later, but had always been too afraid to find out
if Ryan was Cady’s father.
But things were worse now. After six months of trying for
a second baby, something she and Justin wanted very much,
she wasn’t pregnant and Sherise was beginning to wonder if
Justin could even get her pregnant. It broke her heart, but with
every month that passed with no pregnancy, Sherise was becoming
more convinced that Cady might not be Justin’s, and
she was afraid of what would come out if Justin started to suspect
This was all made worse by the fact that Justin was starting
to get so disillusioned with the whole situation that he wasn’t
initiating sex the way he used to. It was as if he was losing interest
in her, and that was a foreign concept to Sherise. She was
an exceptionally beautiful woman by anyone’s standards.
A little taller than the average woman, but not too tall, she
was a stunner. She had flawless, golden caramel skin, silky dark
brown hair that went a couple of inches below her shoulders,
high cheekbones, full, sultry lips, and piercing green eyes. She
was fit and trim, but had killer curves that made her look incredible
in the expensive designer clothes she always wore.
Everywhere Sherise went, women and men looked . . . more
than once. Most men wanted her and most women hated her
She had always been able to control Justin and he could not
resist her. The problem was that after being out of the career
game for so long, Sherise was losing interest in most things,
except her daughter, so she wasn’t sure if she was the reason
their sex life was cooling down, or him.
“Dooce!” Cady yelled. She squeezed her fingers together
and smiled up at her mother with those large eyes that always
got her what she wanted.
“No juice,” Sherise said. “Too much sugar. Water?”
Cady pouted, seeming to understand that she wasn’t getting
any juice. She folded her tiny arms across her chest, looking
almost edible in her little pink and white polka-dot dress.
But Sherise wasn’t going to give in. She wanted only the best
for her daughter and that didn’t just mean healthy food and
drinks. She wanted a life for her daughter that included a happily
married mother and father.
She had to figure out how to get pregnant. Sherise had spent
a lot of time in the last six months convincing herself that if she
got pregnant she wouldn’t miss the world of power brokers
and fast-paced deal making. She would have a baby to take
care of and another to plan for. Eventually, she would go back
to work, but in the meantime, two babies would keep her
more than busy and satisfied. At least that was what she tried to
convince herself of. It wasn’t really working.
“So sorry. So sorry.” Jackson Snow apologized to the other
two people at his lunch table at Birch & Barley restaurant on
Fourteenth Street just as he got off the phone. He placed it on
the table next to him and looked across the pan-roasted fish
and Yukon potatoes in parmesan broth. “So where were we?”
Thirty-year-old petite and adorable Billie Carter, formerly
Billie Hass, wasn’t really sure how to answer that. They had
barely been able to get through a conversation, with Jackson
answering the phone every five minutes. It wasn’t a surprise.
This was a lawyer’s life, and being a newly minted partner at
their firm, Jackson was smart to never pass on a phone call. It
was a double standard, because if either she or her fellow associate,
Richard Nelson, interrupted him to take a phone call, it
would not be looked upon kindly.
“You were congratulating Billie on her work on the Bosley
case,” Richard interjected. Richard, who went by Ricardo in his
private life, was a young, handsome Hispanic man who was always
impeccably dressed. His rigid professional demeanor hid
the ultraliberal interior that Billie had come to appreciate so
He looked at Billie and winked. He knew it would have
been awkward for her to remind Jackson to continue praising
her, so he did it for her. She would do that for him. He was the
only person at their large law firm that she could trust, although
she hadn’t really tried hard to give others a chance.
Reeling from a divorce that left her in a bad financial state,
Billie had to leave her position at the public defender’s office
and her dream of fighting for the voiceless against a powerful
system and transition to a big law firm where most of her
clients were the people she had built a career fighting against.
She needed the money, so she decided to swallow her pride
and take the high-paying associate position, hoping that one
day she could be in a position to go back to doing what she
It hadn’t been the easiest of transitions, especially considering
all of the distractions she had, including her ex-husband
having one of the paralegals spy on her, but Billie hunkered
down and did her best. Richard, whom she shared an office
with, had helped her navigate the office politics and deal with
the moral ambiguity of what she had to do at times. There was
a short moment when he had tried to flash those Latin charms
on her, but they had both thought better of it. It was a good
idea. As friends, they had both been able to help each other
focus on their jobs without any distractions. It was paying off.
“Yes,” Jackson said as he reached for a fork. After stuffing a
bit of fish in his mouth, he pointed at Billie with a smile across
his generous face. “I don’t give credit just for the sake of looking
like a good guy. You made me look good on this case. The
client is very pleased with the settlement. We avoided all kinds
of embarrassment for them.”
Billie smiled even though she wasn’t so sure that was a compliment.
Their client’s product hurt a little boy. In a previous life,
their embarrassment was the least of what she would have expected.
But this was the law and her job was to protect her client
to the best of her ability. A settlement that included a nondisclosure
agreement saved them millions of dollars and preserved
their reputation with time to remove the chance that anyone
else would ever get hurt was a win.
“I’m sure we’ve secured their business for the future,” Billie
said with a smile. “I’m glad I could contribute.”
“Oh, you did more than that.” Jackson looked around and
waved to someone in the distance. “That guy over there, he’s
an asshole, but his wife is cheating on him, so it’s all good.”
Richard laughed along with Jackson, but Billie only forced
a half smile. As someone who had her marriage destroyed by
infidelity, she didn’t really get the joke.
“You,” Jackson said, returning his attention to Billie. “You
got a good mention at this morning’s partner meeting.”
“That is good to hear, sir,” Billie said.
She had been planning for this. She felt now was the best
time to ask for what she wanted, to ask for one of the reasons
she chose this firm over the others she could have gone to.
“Actually, I was wondering if . . .”
“You know who else was mentioned?” Jackson asked.
“Your husband, Porter.”
Billie sighed. “Porter Hass is my ex-husband, Jackson. Ex.”
“Oh, yeah.” He nodded. “That’s what I meant. He should
have made partner by now, so some people were wondering if
he was gonna move on.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Billie said.
She hated talking about Porter, but he was one of the most
talked about financial lawyers in DC, and more than a few
people at her firm were fans of his. She always managed to cut
any questions about him short, but that didn’t stop them from
popping back up every now and then. They were divorced for
a year now and she wished that people would let it go.
The truth was, she was the reason Porter hadn’t made partner
this year, but it was too long and embarrassing a story to
ever tell anyone. Despite their divorce, his decision to move his
mistress in with him, and using his daughter as a tool to control
Billie, she couldn’t get him out of her life. He even threatened
to ruin her career if she cut him off from her bed. But
with the help of her friends, Sherise and Erica, Billie finally
turned the tables on Porter and put him in his place.
With Sherise using her influence on Jonah, some powerful
strings were pulled that put Porter in a bad light at his firm.
While the last soft spot Billie held for him urged her to save his
career, it did push his progress back a year and gave Billie the
courage to get over Porter once and for all.
But she would never tell anyone that. No one knew what
had happened except her, the girls, and Jonah Dolan, and
hopefully no one else ever would. Billie was still dealing with
the guilt, never one to take the underhanded route, but she
knew that she had to get Porter out of her life if she was ever
going to have a life of her own.
Her progress since had been slow, but she was hopeful.
“I was hoping I could ask for a pro—”
“I know what you want,” Jackson interrupted her. “And I
think you’ve earned it.”
“Billie is getting a pro bono case?” Richard asked, smiling
proudly at her.
Jackson nodded. “It’s about time, don’t ya think?”
“Yes,” she said. “I do. I’m—”
“No problem,” he said. “I’ll have Allison give you the file
when we get back. Look it’s . . .”
He jumped up from his seat to greet an older man walking
by in a suit that had to cost at least five thousand dollars. The
older man barely acknowledged him, but Jackson, the ever-
eager networker, returned to his seat with a smile of pure joy
Billie smiled, thinking that Sherise would like this guy. He
was a lot like her; at least how she used to be. “You were saying?”
Jackson took a moment to focus before adding, “Yes, the
case is some guy who...I don’t know...He runs a homeless
shelter or something and got hit with some violations that
he needs to fight.”
Billie’s eyes widened with anticipation. She was excited.
Finally, she could get a taste of the life she used to have, fighting the power. At one point, she was going to ride that life to
political office. Now, she wasn’t so sure where she could go
with it, but this news warmed her heart. She was going to do
more than get paid to do her job. She was about to do some