Today's Reading

"Wendy?" I answered.

"What are you doing?" Mac cried, looking and sounding like an extra in

The Walking Dead. "They're going to get us!"

"Lee?" Wendy sounded concerned. "Are you okay?"

I plugged my other ear and shot Mac a look. "Sorry, it's just a horror movie playing in the background." I took a deep breath and used my work voice—calm, collected and cool as ice. I was Lee Stone, director of communications for Lise Motors, the first female- led electric vehicle company in the world, and all-around boss. "What's up?"

Beside me, Mac watched the encroaching families with terror.

"Game-changing news," Wendy said. "You know how we've been waiting for the governor to fill his policy director spot?"

The governor in question was Grover Mane, the first moderate Republican governor Texas had elected in decades, and quite possibly—if all went according to my very ambitious plan—the first governor in the country to pass a bill embracing electric vehicles for government transportation statewide. We'd been in talks about the possibility for more than a year. It would be revolutionary if it happened—a climate game changer, an undeniable political victory, and a huge leap forward for Lise and our CEO, Dakota Young. Not to mention a giant boost for my career.

The governor had promised he'd get serious about marshaling the votes needed to pass the legislation once he'd filled his policy director position. We'd been waiting with bated breath for a long time as Governor Mane apparently searched for a human unicorn.

"Oh my God," I breathed, ignoring Mac tugging on my arm. "He got someone?"

"Not just someone—someone from 'Silicon Valley'," Wendy said, voice dripping with satisfaction. "You know what that means."

"They'll want to go green." The odds were sky-high someone from Silicon Valley would agree electric vehicles were the future. Even the reddest Republicans in California registered lilac in Texas.

My heart raced even harder. It was happening. My dream.

"His name is Ben Laderman," Wendy continued. "He was senior legal counsel and policy adviser at Google. Apparently, he helped the governor land a new Google center in Houston and that's how they got to know each other—"

But the rest of what Wendy said was drowned in the buzzing white noise that filled my ears. "Did you say...Ben...'Laderman'?"

It couldn't be. The world wasn't that small, or that cruel. There was no way.

"Yes, Laderman." Wendy's tone made it clear I'd interrupted her and she wasn't pleased about it. "Hometown Austin guy, actually, went to law school at UT."

Impossible. There was no way the Ben Laderman from my past, who'd kindly gotten the fuck out of Texas years ago, was not only back in Austin, but wedged between me and the thing I'd worked for my entire professional life.

Wendy stopped talking, trying to interpret my silence. "What, you know him or something? And are those children I hear in the background? I thought you said you were watching a horror movie."

Sure enough, even through the white noise, I could hear high-pitched voices squealing about princesses and singing teapots. Mac had dropped my arm and was backing away slowly.

"No, I don't know him," I lied, the words coming out before I had a chance to think them through. In fact, I couldn't think straight at all, with the kids and the costume and the dizzying amount of champagne still in my system.

And, worst of all, with the conjured spirit of Ben Laderman circling overhead.

"I have to go," I said, feeling ill.

"Okay." Wendy was clearly confused. "He starts in the governor's office Thursday, so prepare yourself to fill him in and win him over. We meet with him nine a.m. sharp his first day."

"Yep," I said dazedly, ending the call.

When I looked up, Mac was staring at me. "Did I just hear you say the name Ben Laderman? As in 'the' Ben Laderman?"

"I'm fucked." Why hadn't I noticed how unbearably hot the Florida sun was? Beads of sweat rolled down my back, dampening my ball gown.

"Use your explaining words," Mac said.

"You know that big plan Dakota and I have been working on for years to switch all the cop cars and buses and ambulances in Texas to electric vehicles?"

...

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Today's Reading

"Wendy?" I answered.

"What are you doing?" Mac cried, looking and sounding like an extra in

The Walking Dead. "They're going to get us!"

"Lee?" Wendy sounded concerned. "Are you okay?"

I plugged my other ear and shot Mac a look. "Sorry, it's just a horror movie playing in the background." I took a deep breath and used my work voice—calm, collected and cool as ice. I was Lee Stone, director of communications for Lise Motors, the first female- led electric vehicle company in the world, and all-around boss. "What's up?"

Beside me, Mac watched the encroaching families with terror.

"Game-changing news," Wendy said. "You know how we've been waiting for the governor to fill his policy director spot?"

The governor in question was Grover Mane, the first moderate Republican governor Texas had elected in decades, and quite possibly—if all went according to my very ambitious plan—the first governor in the country to pass a bill embracing electric vehicles for government transportation statewide. We'd been in talks about the possibility for more than a year. It would be revolutionary if it happened—a climate game changer, an undeniable political victory, and a huge leap forward for Lise and our CEO, Dakota Young. Not to mention a giant boost for my career.

The governor had promised he'd get serious about marshaling the votes needed to pass the legislation once he'd filled his policy director position. We'd been waiting with bated breath for a long time as Governor Mane apparently searched for a human unicorn.

"Oh my God," I breathed, ignoring Mac tugging on my arm. "He got someone?"

"Not just someone—someone from 'Silicon Valley'," Wendy said, voice dripping with satisfaction. "You know what that means."

"They'll want to go green." The odds were sky-high someone from Silicon Valley would agree electric vehicles were the future. Even the reddest Republicans in California registered lilac in Texas.

My heart raced even harder. It was happening. My dream.

"His name is Ben Laderman," Wendy continued. "He was senior legal counsel and policy adviser at Google. Apparently, he helped the governor land a new Google center in Houston and that's how they got to know each other—"

But the rest of what Wendy said was drowned in the buzzing white noise that filled my ears. "Did you say...Ben...'Laderman'?"

It couldn't be. The world wasn't that small, or that cruel. There was no way.

"Yes, Laderman." Wendy's tone made it clear I'd interrupted her and she wasn't pleased about it. "Hometown Austin guy, actually, went to law school at UT."

Impossible. There was no way the Ben Laderman from my past, who'd kindly gotten the fuck out of Texas years ago, was not only back in Austin, but wedged between me and the thing I'd worked for my entire professional life.

Wendy stopped talking, trying to interpret my silence. "What, you know him or something? And are those children I hear in the background? I thought you said you were watching a horror movie."

Sure enough, even through the white noise, I could hear high-pitched voices squealing about princesses and singing teapots. Mac had dropped my arm and was backing away slowly.

"No, I don't know him," I lied, the words coming out before I had a chance to think them through. In fact, I couldn't think straight at all, with the kids and the costume and the dizzying amount of champagne still in my system.

And, worst of all, with the conjured spirit of Ben Laderman circling overhead.

"I have to go," I said, feeling ill.

"Okay." Wendy was clearly confused. "He starts in the governor's office Thursday, so prepare yourself to fill him in and win him over. We meet with him nine a.m. sharp his first day."

"Yep," I said dazedly, ending the call.

When I looked up, Mac was staring at me. "Did I just hear you say the name Ben Laderman? As in 'the' Ben Laderman?"

"I'm fucked." Why hadn't I noticed how unbearably hot the Florida sun was? Beads of sweat rolled down my back, dampening my ball gown.

"Use your explaining words," Mac said.

"You know that big plan Dakota and I have been working on for years to switch all the cop cars and buses and ambulances in Texas to electric vehicles?"

...

Join the Library's Online Book Clubs and start receiving chapters from popular books in your daily email. Every day, Monday through Friday, we'll send you a portion of a book that takes only five minutes to read. Each Monday we begin a new book and by Friday you will have the chance to read 2 or 3 chapters, enough to know if it's a book you want to finish. You can read a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, romance, business, teen and mystery books. Just give us your email address and five minutes a day, and we'll give you an exciting world of reading.

What our readers think...