Saturday Excerpt: Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti

For those of you looking for a funny dose of women’s fiction, check out Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti. You’ll instantly fall for Cady as she deals with reconciling the dream life she’d always imagined with the way things are going as her husband hits the road for the upcoming presidential election.

About Campaign Widows:

Cady Davenport is living the American dream…

At least she’s supposed to be. She’s in a new city, with a new job and even a new fiancé. But when her husband-to-be hits the road for the upcoming presidential election, Cady realizes she’s on her own—and that her dream life might not be all she’d imagined.

Until she finds herself thrust straight into the heart of the most influential inner circle in Washington, DC: the campaign widows. As friends, they’re an unlikely group—a fabulous Georgetown doyenne; a speechwriter turned mommy blogger; an artsy website editor; and a First Lady Hopeful who’s not convinced she wants the job. But they share one undeniable bond: their spouses are all out on the trail during a hotly contested election season.

Cady is unsure of her place in their illustrious group, but with the pressures of the unprecedented election mounting, the widows’ worlds keep turning—faster than ever—as they hold down the fort while running companies, raising babies, racking up page views and even reinventing themselves. And their friendship might be just what Cady needs to find the strength to pursue her own happiness.

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THIS IS TOTALLY THE AMERICAN DREAM

January

“One look at that endless spiral staircase and Cady knew this just wasn’t going to work in heels. She craned her neck, following that epic skyward coil leading presumably to the Capitol Dome, as she slipped off her pumps and stowed them in her satchel. This called for pragmatism. “So, how many—”

“Twenty-six stories, give or take,” the buzz-cut Capitol police officer said, pulling shut the door onto the rotunda. Twilight descending from the windows above, tourists and lawmakers cleared out for the day, the grand, airy rotunda had been so Zen-like at this hour. With the creak of the door, though, they were now sealed inside the stark and claustrophobic hidden passageway of the staircase. “No elevators.”

“Okay then,” she said, squeezing the bouquet of glorious red roses in her hand. “Let’s do this.”

The plan had been a quiet dinner in Dupont Circle, near Jackson’s place—their place now, their place—to celebrate her first day of work, but instead a sleek black sedan had arrived outside her office and whisked her here, to this officer bestowing flowers with a note that said only,

“See you at the top. Love, Jackson.”

She wondered why the sudden change. Jackson had said nothing in his texts, going silent after instructing her to get into the car. The officer led the way, and Cady began the climb in her tights. To keep pace, she hummed that quick, steady drumbeat of Rocky Haze’s “Constitutional Rite,” the catchy song that had been playing everywhere for weeks.

About eighteen stories up, her legs burning, she caught her breath: the twisting, turning path opened to a narrow catwalk, allowing her to glimpse the bottom of the rotunda, nearly making her queasy, before another passage sent them up again, deep into the webbed architecture of the dome. Metal beams and trusses extended out at all angles across the empty space in a way that appeared almost delicate. She didn’t mind this long journey up, circuitous as it felt. Two days earlier, she had completed a similar odyssey and equally stunning feat: making the leap from New York to Washington…and to Jackson.

The months apart had felt as arduous as this climb, so much scheduling, traveling week after week unsure of where the relationship was headed but with the vague hope of reaching a summit at some point. And at long last, it had all culminated in her move to his city.

She replayed that moment in his apartment, trying now, as she had that day, not to be concerned. He just hadn’t gotten around to making room, he’d said, he’d been “slammed” with work, when she arrived to find not a single drawer vacated nor any welcoming windows created among his dozen navy and black suits, his vast array of button-down shirts. No room anywhere, really, for anything of hers. But there would be time for the proper melding of the things, she’d comforted herself. And so she had simply, joyfully shoved her.

That was another thing. The show wasn’t quite the number one local morning show. Best Day DC might be two on a good day…or possibly three. But she had felt sufficiently flattered by her new boss’s confidence in her. So Jackson didn’t need to know her salary details, or any of the reservations she had about leaving her old job and old life behind. From what she heard everyone had some kind of dirty little secret in Washington, so this could be hers.

Three hundred steps later, they finally reached their destination. She paused to catch her breath, smooth her long brunette bob, slip her shoes back on. When the officer pushed open the door to the viewing deck, the aggressive January wind roaring at them, she found Jackson across the way, leaning over the railing. At the sounds of their arrival, he spun around, cleared his throat.

“Hi! Hey!” he said, rattled, like he’d been caught shoplifting. “That was fast!” He ran his fingers through his short blond hair, then smiled that smile, the one she had fallen in love with. The one that got her every time. Even after three years together, Jackson Winfield still reminded her of that universally beautiful male model whose photo accompanied stories in glossy women’s magazines advising “How to Get THAT Guy!”

“This is—Wow!” She took a step forward and scanned the backdrop: all of Washington twinkled below.

“That’s the idea,” Jackson said. “Okay…so…Cady…” He tested the words as though rehearsing and hopped up and down like he was gearing up for something.

“You okay?” she asked gently. He seemed unusually nervous, jittery even.”

“Yes, better than okay.”

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