Cover image for Deception point
Title:
Deception point
Author:
Brown, Dan, 1964-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Pocket Books, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
372 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.5 24.0 80004.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780671027377
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

When a new NASA satellite spots evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory...a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery -- a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.But before Rachel can contact the President, she and Michael are attacked by a deadly team of assassins controlled by a mysterious power broker who will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Fleeing for their lives in an environment as desolate as it is lethal, their only hope for survival is to find out who is behind this masterful ploy. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.In his most thrilling novel to date, bestselling author Dan Brown transports readers from the ultrasecret National Reconnaissance Office to the towering ice shelves of the Arctic Circle, and back again to the hallways of power inside the West Wing. Heralded for masterfully intermingling science, history, and politics in his critically acclaimed thriller Angels & Demons, Brown has crafted another novel in which nothing is as it seems -- and behind every corner is a stunning surprise. Deception Point is pulse-pounding fiction at its best.


Author Notes

Dan Brown was born in Exeter, New Hampshire on June 22, 1964. He was a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he spent time as an English teacher before turning his efforts to writing. In 1996, his interest in code-breaking and covert government agencies led him to write his first novel, Digital Fortress, which quickly became a #1 national bestselling eBook.

In its first week on sale, The Da Vinci Code debuted at #1 on The New York Times Bestseller list, simultaneously topping bestseller lists at The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and San Francisco Chronicle. Later, the book hit #1 on every major bestseller list in the country. The book was made into a motion picture by Columbia Pictures, starring Tom Hanks. Brown's other works include Deception Point; Angels and Demons, which was also adapted into a film, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno, which was recently adapted into a film. Origin is his latest New York Times bestseller. His novels have been translated and published in more than 50 languages around the world.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The phrase mixed bag was probably invented to describe novels like this one. It has characters that range from inventive to wooden, dialogue that bounces between evocative and cliched, a narrative structure that is sometimes serpentine and sometimes childishly simple, and a plot that lies somewhere between bold and ridiculous. While most readers will accept the author's premise--that a remarkable discovery in the Arctic may offer proof of extraterrestrial life--others may have trouble with his casting of NASA as a murderous villain. Still, this is pretty exciting stuff (Can an intelligence agent and a scholar blow the lid off a massive conspiracy before they are assassinated?), and Brown certainly does have a knack for spinning a suspenseful yarn. On the other hand, his writing style is merely adequate. In the end, what does Brown's mixed bag add up to? Those who require only that thrillers deliver the requisite number of chills will have a good time here, but those looking for a little artistry, a little panache, are likely to be disappointed. --David Pitt


Publisher's Weekly Review

Struggling to rebound from a series of embarrassing blunders that have jeopardized its political life at the start of this lively thriller, NASA makes an astounding discovery: there is a meteor embedded deep within the arctic ice. And it isn't just any meteor. Inside the huge rock, which crashed to earth in 1716, are fossils of giant insects proof of extraterrestrial life. Yet, given NASA's slipping reputation, the question arises: Is the meteor real or a fake? That uncertainty dogs NASA and its supporters in Brown's latest page-flipper, a finely polished amalgam of action and intrigue. Trying to determine the truth are intelligence agent Rachel Sexton and popular oceanographer Michael Tolland, both among the first to suspect something is amiss when the meteor is pulled from the ice. Their doubts quickly make them the targets of a mysterious death squad controlled by someone or something that doesn't want the public to hear the meteor may be a fraud. Together, Sexton and Tolland scramble across arctic glaciers, take refuge on ice floes, are rescued by a nuclear submarine, then find themselves trapped aboard a small research vessel off the coast of New Jersey. All the while, the nation's capital is buzzing as to whether NASA has engaged in deception. Or is NASA just a dupe for aerospace companies that have long wanted a bigger share of space contracts? Brown (Angels & Demons) moves into new territory with his latest. It's an excellent thriller a big yet believable story unfolding at breakneck pace, with convincing settings and just the right blend of likable and hateful characters. He's also done his research, folding in sophisticated scientific and military details that make his plot far more fulfilling than the norm. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Brown's dazzling high-tech adventure opens with NASA personnel making a startling discovery. An ancient meteorite is found buried within an Arctic glacier. Samples taken from this meteorite reveal that it contains fossils from life forms not previously seen on Earth. Could this discovery prove that we are not alone in the universe? To answer that question, several civilian scientists are dispatched to the site in order to investigate the origin of the fossils and verify NASA's findings. Before any official announcement can be made, however, one of the scientists dies under mysterious circumstances. The remaining scientists quickly realize that all is not what it appears to be as they struggle to separate truth from deceit. With this latest story, Brown (Digital Fortress) proves once again that he is among the most intelligent and dynamic of authors in the thriller genre. He has skillfully blended his own wit and style with the rip-roaring adventure of Cussler and the modern technology of Clancy. Highly recommended for all public libraries. Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 Toulos Restaurant, adjacent to Capitol Hill, boasts a politically incorrect menu of baby veal and horse carpaccio, making it an ironic hotspot for the quintessential Washingtonian power breakfast. This morning Toulos was busy -- a cacophony of clanking silverware, espresso machines, and cellphone conversations. The maitre d' was sneaking a sip of his morning Bloody Mary when the woman entered. He turned with a practiced smile. "Good morning," he said. "May I help you?" The woman was attractive, in her mid-thirties, wearing gray, pleated flannel pants, conservative flats, and an ivory Laura Ashley blouse. Her posture was straight -- chin raised ever so slightly -- not arrogant, just strong. The woman's hair was light brown and fashioned in Washington's most popular style -- the "anchorwoman" -- a lush feathering, curled under at the shoulders...long enough to be sexy, but short enough to remind you she was probably smarter than you. "I'm a little late," the woman said, her voice unassuming. "I have a breakfast meeting with Senator Sexton." The maitre d' felt an unexpected tingle of nerves. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The senator was a regular here and currently one of the country's most famous men. Last week, having swept all twelve Republican primaries on Super Tuesday, the senator was virtually guaranteed his party's nomination for President of the United States. Many believed the senator had a superb chance of stealing the White House from the embattled President next fall. Lately Sexton's face seemed to be on every national magazine, his campaign slogan plastered all across America: "Stop spending. Start mending." "Senator Sexton is in his booth," the maitre d' said. "And you are?" "Rachel Sexton. His daughter." How foolish of me, he thought. The resemblance was quite apparent. The woman had the senator's penetrating eyes and refined carriage -- that polished air of resilient nobility. Clearly the senator's classic good looks had not skipped generations, although Rachel Sexton seemed to carry her blessings with a grace and humility her father could learn from. "A pleasure to have you, Ms. Sexton." As the maitre d' led the senator's daughter across the dining area, he was embarrassed by the gauntlet of male eyes following her...some discreet, others less so. Few women dined at Toulos and even fewer who looked like Rachel Sexton. "Nice body," one diner whispered. "Sexton already find himself a new wife?" "That's his daughter, you idiot," another replied. The man chuckled. "Knowing Sexton, he'd probably screw her anyway." When Rachel arrived at her father's table, the senator was on his cellphone talking loudly about one of his recent successes. He glanced up at Rachel only long enough to tap his Cartier and remind her she was late. I missed you, too, Rachel thought. Her father's first name was Thomas, although he'd adopted his middle name long ago. Rachel suspected it was because he liked the alliteration. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The man was a silver-haired, silver-tongued political animal who had been anointed with the slick look of soap opera doctor, which seemed appropriate considering his talents of impersonation. "Rachel!" Her father clicked off his phone and stood to kiss her cheek. "Hi, Dad." She did not kiss him back. "You look exhausted." And so it begins, she thought. "I got your message. What's up?" "I can't ask my daughter out for breakfast?" Rachel had learned long ago her father seldom requested her company unless he had some ulterior motive. Sexton took a sip of coffee. "So, how are things with you?" "Busy. I see your campaign's going well." "Oh, let's not talk business." Sexton leaned across the table, lowering his voice. "How's that guy at the State Department I set you up with?" Rachel exhaled, already fighting the urge to check her watch. "Dad, I really haven't had time to call him. And I wish you'd stop trying to -- " "You've got to make time for the important things, Rachel. Without love, everything else is meaningless." A number of comebacks came to mind, but Rachel chose silence. Being the bigger person was not difficult when it came to her father. "Dad, you wanted to see me? You said this was important." "It is." Her father's eyes studied her closely. Rachel felt part of her defenses melt away under his gaze, and she cursed the man's power. The senator's eyes were his gift -- a gift Rachel suspected would probably carry him to the White House. On cue, his eyes would well with tears, and then, an instant later, they would clear, opening a window to an impassioned soul, extending a bond of trust to all. It's all about trust, her father always said. The senator had lost Rachel's years ago, but he was quickly gaining the country's. "I have a proposition for you," Senator Sexton said. "Let me guess," Rachel replied, attempting to refortify her position. "Some prominent divorcé looking for a young wife?" "Don't kid yourself, honey. You're not that young anymore." Rachel felt the familiar shrinking sensation that so often accompanied meetings with her father. "I want to throw you a life raft," he said. "I wasn't aware I was drowning." "You're not. The President is. You should jump ship before it's too late." "Haven't we had this conversation?" "Think about your future, Rachel. You can come work for me." "I hope that's not why you asked me to breakfast." The senator's veneer of calm broke ever so slightly. "Rachel, can't you see that your working for him reflects badly on me. And on my campaign." Rachel sighed. She and her father had been through this. "Dad, I don't work for the President. I haven't even met the President. I work in Fairfax, for God's sake!" "Politics is perception, Rachel. It appears you work for the President." Rachel exhaled, trying to keep her cool. "I worked too hard to get this job, Dad. I'm not quitting." The senator's eyes narrowed. "You know, sometimes your selfish attitude really -- " "Senator Sexton?" A reporter materialized beside the table. Sexton's demeanor thawed instantly. Rachel groaned and took a croissant from the basket on the table. d "Ralph Sneeden," the reporter said. "Washington Post. May I ask you a few questions?" The senator smiled, dabbing his mouth with a napkin. "My pleasure, Ralph. Just make it quick. I don't want my coffee getting cold." The reporter laughed on cue. "Of course, sir." He pulled out a minirecorder and turned it on. "Senator, your television ads call for legislation ensuring equal salaries for women in the workplace...as well as for tax cuts for new families. Can you comment on your rationale?" "Sure. I'm simply a huge fan of strong women and strong families." Rachel practically choked on her croissant. "And on the subject of families," the reporter followed up, "you talk a lot about education. You've proposed some highly controversial budget cuts in an effort to allocate more funds to our nation's schools." "I believe the children are our future." Rachel could not believe her father had sunk to quoting pop songs. "Finally, sir," the reporter said, "you've taken an enormous jump in the polls these past few weeks. The President has got to be worried. Any thoughts on your recent success?" "I think it has to do with trust. Americans are starting to see that the President cannot be trusted to make the tough decisions facing this nation. Runaway government spending is putting this country deeper in debt every day, and Americans are starting to realize that it's time to stop spending and start mending." Like a stay of execution from her father's rhetoric, the pager in Rachel's handbag went off. Normally the harsh electronic beeping was an unwelcome interruption, but at the moment, it sounded almost melodious. The senator glared indignantly at having been interrupted. Rachel fished the pager from her handbag and pressed a preset sequence of five buttons, confirming that she was indeed the person holding the pager. The beeping stopped, and the LCD began blinking. In fifteen seconds she would receive a secure text message. Sneeden grinned at the senator. "Your daughter is obviously a busy woman. It's refreshing to see you two still find time in your schedules to dine together." "As I said, family comes first." Sneeden nodded, and then his gaze hardened. "Might I ask, sir, how you and your daughter manage your conflicts of interest?" "Conflicts?" Senator Sexton cocked his head with an innocent look of confusion. "What conflicts do you mean?" Rachel glanced up, grimacing at her father's act. She knew exactly where this was headed. Damn reporters, she thought. Half of them were on political payrolls. The reporter's question was what journalists called a grapefruit -- a question that was supposed to look like a tough inquiry but was in fact a scripted favor to the senator -- a slow lob pitch that her father could line up and smash out of the park, clearing the air about a few things. "Well, sir..." The reporter coughed, feigning uneasiness over the question. "The conflict is that your daughter works for your opponent." Senator Sexton exploded in laughter, defusing the question instantly. "Ralph, first of all, the President and I are not opponents. We are simply two patriots who have different ideas about how to run the country we love." The reporter beamed. He had his sound bite. "And second?" "Second, my daughter is not employed by the President; she is employed by the intelligence community. She compiles intel reports and sends them to the White House. It's a fairly low-level position." He paused and looked at Rachel. "In fact, dear, I'm not sure you've even met the President, have you?" Rachel stared, her eyes smoldering. The beeper chirped, drawing Rachel's gaze to the incoming message on the LCD screen. -- RPRT DIRNRO STAT -- She deciphered the shorthand instantly and frowned. The message was unexpected, and most certainly bad news. At least she had her exit cue. "Gentlemen," she said. "It breaks my heart, but I have to go. I'm late for work." "Ms. Sexton," the reporter said quickly, "before you go, I was wondering if you could comment on the rumors that you called this breakfast meeting to discuss the possibility of leaving your current post to work for your father's campaign?" Rachel felt like someone had thrown hot coffee in her face. The question took her totally off guard. She looked at her father and sensed in his smirk that the question had been prepped. She wanted to climb across the table and stab him with a fork. The reporter shoved the recorder into her face. "Miss Sexton?" Rachel locked eyes with the reporter. "Ralph, or whoever the hell you are, get this straight: I have no intention of abandoning my job to work for Senator Sexton, and if you print anything to the contrary, you'll need a shoehorn to get that recorder out of your ass." The reporter's eyes widened. He clicked off his recorder, hiding a grin. "Thank you both." He disappeared. Rachel immediately regretted the outburst. She had inherited her father's temper, and she hated him for it. Smooth, Rachel. Very smooth. Her father glared disapprovingly. "You'd do well to learn some poise." Rachel began collecting her things. "This meeting is over." The senator was apparently done with her anyway. He pulled out his cellphone to make a call. " 'Bye, sweetie. Stop by the office one of these days and say hello. And get married, for God's sake. You're thirty-three years old." "Thirty- four," she snapped. "Your secretary sent a card." He clucked ruefully. "Thirty-four. Almost an old maid. You know by the time I was thirty-four, I'd already -- " "Married mom and screwed the neighbor?" The words came out louder than Rachel had intended, her voice hanging naked in an ill-timed lull. Diners nearby glanced over. Senator Sexton's eyes flash-froze, two ice-crystals boring into her. "You watch yourself, young lady." Rachel headed for the door. No, you watch yourself, senator. Copyright © 2001 by Dan Brown Excerpted from Deception Point by Dan Brown All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Toulos Restaurant, adjacent to Capitol Hill, boasts a politically incorrect menu of baby veal and horse carpaccio, making it an ironic hotspot for the quintessential Washingtonian power breakfast. This morning Toulos was busy -- a cacophony of clanking silverware, espresso machines, and cellphone conversations.
The maitre d' was sneaking a sip of his morning Bloody Mary when the woman entered. He turned with a practiced smile.
"Good morning," he said. "May I help you?"
The woman was attractive, in her mid-thirties, wearing gray, pleated flannel pants, conservative flats, and an ivory Laura Ashley blouse. Her posture was straight -- chin raised ever so slightly -- not arrogant, just strong. The woman's hair was light brown and fashioned in Washington's most popular style -- the "anchorwoman" -- a lush feathering, curled under at the shoulders...long enough to be sexy, but short enough to remind you she was probably smarter than you.
"I'm a little late," the woman said, her voice unassuming. "I have a breakfast meeting with Senator Sexton."
The maitre d' felt an unexpected tingle of nerves. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The senator was a regular here and currently one of the country's most famous men. Last week, having swept all twelve Republican primaries on Super Tuesday, the senator was virtually guaranteed his party's nomination for President of the United States. Many believed the senator had a superb chance of stealing the White House from the embattled President next fall. Lately Sexton's face seemed to be on every national magazine, his campaign slogan plastered all across America: "Stop spending. Start mending."
"Senator Sexton is in his booth," the maitre d' said. "And you are?"
"Rachel Sexton. His daughter."
How foolish of me, he thought. The resemblance was quite apparent. The woman had the senator's penetrating eyes and refined carriage -- that polished air of resilient nobility. Clearly the senator's classic good looks had not skipped generations, although Rachel Sexton seemed to carry her blessings with a grace and humility her father could learn from.
"A pleasure to have you, Ms. Sexton."
As the maitre d' led the senator's daughter across the dining area, he was embarrassed by the gauntlet of male eyes following her...some discreet, others less so. Few women dined at Toulos and even fewer who looked like Rachel Sexton.
"Nice body," one diner whispered. "Sexton already find himself a new wife?"
"That's his daughter, you idiot," another replied.
The man chuckled. "Knowing Sexton, he'd probably screw her anyway."
When Rachel arrived at her father's table, the senator was on his cellphone talking loudly about one of his recent successes. He glanced up at Rachel only long enough to tap his Cartier and remind her she was late.
I missed you, too, Rachel thought.
Her father's first name was Thomas, although he'd adopted his middle name long ago. Rachel suspected it was because he liked the alliteration. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The man was a silver-haired, silver-tongued political animal who had been anointed with the slick look of soap opera doctor, which seemed appropriate considering his talents of impersonation.
"Rachel!" Her father clicked off his phone and stood to kiss her cheek.
"Hi, Dad." She did not kiss him back.
"You look exhausted."
And so it begins, she thought. "I got your message. What's up?"
"I can't ask my daughter out for breakfast?"
Rachel had learned long ago her father seldom requested her company unless he had some ulterior motive.
Sexton took a sip of coffee. "So, how are things with you?"
"Busy. I see your campaign's going well."
"Oh, let's not talk business." Sexton leaned across the table, lowering his voice. "How's that guy at the State Department I set you up with?"
Rachel exhaled, already fighting the urge to check her watch. "Dad, I really haven't had time to call him. And I wish you'd stop trying to -- "
"You've got to make time for the important things, Rachel. Without love, everything else is meaningless."
A number of comebacks came to mind, but Rachel chose silence. Being the bigger person was not difficult when it came to her father. "Dad, you wanted to see me? You said this was important."
"It is." Her father's eyes studied her closely.
Rachel felt part of her defenses melt away under his gaze, and she cursed the man's power. The senator's eyes were his gift -- a gift Rachel suspected would probably carry him to the White House. On cue, his eyes would well with tears, and then, an instant later, they would clear, opening a window to an impassioned soul, extending a bond of trust to all. It's all about trust, her father always said. The senator had lost Rachel's years ago, but he was quickly gaining the country's.
"I have a proposition for you," Senator Sexton said.
"Let me guess," Rachel replied, attempting to refortify her position. "Some prominent divorcé looking for a young wife?"
"Don't kid yourself, honey. You're not that young anymore."
Rachel felt the familiar shrinking sensation that so often accompanied meetings with her father.
"I want to throw you a life raft," he said.
"I wasn't aware I was drowning."
"You're not. The President is. You should jump ship before it's too late."
"Haven't we had this conversation?"
"Think about your future, Rachel. You can come work for me."
"I hope that's not why you asked me to breakfast."
The senator's veneer of calm broke ever so slightly. "Rachel, can't you see that your working for him reflects badly on me. And on my campaign."
Rachel sighed. She and her father had been through this. "Dad, I don't work for the President. I haven't even met the President. I work in Fairfax, for God's sake!"
"Politics is perception, Rachel. It appears you work for the President."
Rachel exhaled, trying to keep her cool. "I worked too hard to get this job, Dad. I'm not quitting."
The senator's eyes narrowed. "You know, sometimes your selfish attitude really -- "
"Senator Sexton?" A reporter materialized beside the table.
Sexton's demeanor thawed instantly. Rachel groaned and took a croissant from the basket on the table.
d
"Ralph Sneeden," the reporter said. "Washington Post. May I ask you a few questions?"
The senator smiled, dabbing his mouth with a napkin. "My pleasure, Ralph. Just make it quick. I don't want my coffee getting cold."
The reporter laughed on cue. "Of course, sir." He pulled out a minirecorder and turned it on. "Senator, your television ads call for legislation ensuring equal salaries for women in the workplace...as well as for tax cuts for new families. Can you comment on your rationale?"
"Sure. I'm simply a huge fan of strong women and strong families."
Rachel practically choked on her croissant.
"And on the subject of families," the reporter followed up, "you talk a lot about education. You've proposed some highly controversial budget cuts in an effort to allocate more funds to our nation's schools."
"I believe the children are our future."
Rachel could not believe her father had sunk to quoting pop songs.
"Finally, sir," the reporter said, "you've taken an enormous jump in the polls these past few weeks. The President has got to be worried. Any thoughts on your recent success?"
"I think it has to do with trust. Americans are starting to see that the President cannot be trusted to make the tough decisions facing this nation. Runaway government spending is putting this country deeper in debt every day, and Americans are starting to realize that it's time to stop spending and start mending."
Like a stay of execution from her father's rhetoric, the pager in Rachel's handbag went off. Normally the harsh electronic beeping was an unwelcome interruption, but at the moment, it sounded almost melodious.
The senator glared indignantly at having been interrupted.
Rachel fished the pager from her handbag and pressed a preset sequence of five buttons, confirming that she was indeed the person holding the pager. The beeping stopped, and the LCD began blinking. In fifteen seconds she would receive a secure text message.
Sneeden grinned at the senator. "Your daughter is obviously a busy woman. It's refreshing to see you two still find time in your schedules to dine together."
"As I said, family comes first."
Sneeden nodded, and then his gaze hardened. "Might I ask, sir, how you and your daughter manage your conflicts of interest?"
"Conflicts?" Senator Sexton cocked his head with an innocent look of confusion. "What conflicts do you mean?"
Rachel glanced up, grimacing at her father's act. She knew exactly where this was headed. Damn reporters, she thought. Half of them were on political payrolls. The reporter's question was what journalists called a grapefruit -- a question that was supposed to look like a tough inquiry but was in fact a scripted favor to the senator -- a slow lob pitch that her father could line up and smash out of the park, clearing the air about a few things.
"Well, sir..." The reporter coughed, feigning uneasiness over the question. "The conflict is that your daughter works for your opponent."
Senator Sexton exploded in laughter, defusing the question instantly. "Ralph, first of all, the President and I are not opponents. We are simply two patriots who have different ideas about how to run the country we love."
The reporter beamed. He had his sound bite. "And second?"
"Second, my daughter is not employed by the President; she is employed by the intelligence community. She compiles intel reports and sends them to the White House. It's a fairly low-level position." He paused and looked at Rachel. "In fact, dear, I'm not sure you've even met the President, have you?"
Rachel stared, her eyes smoldering.
The beeper chirped, drawing Rachel's gaze to the incoming message on the LCD screen.
Rprt Dirnro Stat
She deciphered the shorthand instantly and frowned. The message was unexpected, and most certainly bad news. At least she had her exit cue.
"Gentlemen," she said. "It breaks my heart, but I have to go. I'm late for work."
"Ms. Sexton," the reporter said quickly, "before you go, I was wondering if you could comment on the rumors that you called this breakfast meeting to discuss the possibility of leaving your current post to work for your father's campaign?"
Rachel felt like someone had thrown hot coffee in her face. The question took her totally off guard. She looked at her father and sensed in his smirk that the question had been prepped. She wanted to climb across the table and stab him with a fork.
The reporter shoved the recorder into her face. "Miss Sexton?"
Rachel locked eyes with the reporter. "Ralph, or whoever the hell you are, get this straight: I have no intention of abandoning my job to work for Senator Sexton, and if you print anything to the contrary, you'll need a shoehorn to get that recorder out of your ass."
The reporter's eyes widened. He clicked off his recorder, hiding a grin. "Thank you both." He disappeared.
Rachel immediately regretted the outburst. She had inherited her father's temper, and she hated him for it. Smooth, Rachel. Very smooth.
Her father glared disapprovingly. "You'd do well to learn some poise."
Rachel began collecting her things. "This meeting is over."
The senator was apparently done with her anyway. He pulled out his cellphone to make a call. " 'Bye, sweetie. Stop by the office one of these days and say hello. And get married, for God's sake. You're thirty-three years old."
"Thirty- four," she snapped. "Your secretary sent a card."
He clucked ruefully. "Thirty-four. Almost an old maid. You know by the time I was thirty-four, I'd already -- "
"Married mom and screwed the neighbor?" The words came out louder than Rachel had intended, her voice hanging naked in an ill-timed lull. Diners nearby glanced over.
Senator Sexton's eyes flash-froze, two ice-crystals boring into her. "You watch yourself, young lady."
Rachel headed for the door. No, you watch yourself, senator.