Home > State of the Union (First Family #3)

State of the Union (First Family #3)
Author: Marie Force


Chapter One



Author’s Note: I wanted to remind you of my note in Someone Like You, Roni’s Wild Widows book, that the timeline and events in that book would not match up exactly with the First Family Series. That was intentional. Please experience them as separate from each other. Also, a reminder that my version of the Metro PD is entirely fictional. None of the events portrayed in this or other books are real or happened in the real-life department, or if they did, my presentation here is purely coincidental. Happy reading! —Marie



The White House bomb shelter reminded Sam of the one they’d been in the previous summer—and not in a good way. It had all the comforts of “home,” except you could never forget for a second that you were enclosed inside a box that could withstand a nuclear blast, buried deep under the most fortified house in the world.

Merry freaking Christmas.

In consultation with the Secret Service, Nick had decided not to disrupt the guests sleeping in every bedroom in the residence with the news that a bomb had been discovered outside the main gates. It was quickly disarmed, but the Secret Service wanted the first family in lockdown until they thoroughly searched the rest of the grounds. They’d brought only their kids and Skippy the dog. After being awakened from a sound sleep, Aubrey and Alden were in tears wondering how Santa would find them in this strange place.

“He’ll find you,” Nick assured them. “In fact, I heard he stops at the president’s house first.”

“Is that true, Lijah?” Alden asked their older brother.

“If Nick says it’s true, it must be. He’s the president after all.”

Sam smiled, thinking of what the media would say about that. Some reporters were predisposed to doubt every word that came out of Nick’s mouth—and hers, for that matter. “The best thing you guys can do is go back to sleep,” she said. “Little boys and girls have to be asleep before Santa can come.”

“I’ll lie down with you guys.” Elijah led his younger siblings into one of three rooms off the main area that included a mini Situation Room and a bank of official-looking phones. From the doorway, Elijah said, “Wake us up if we’re allowed to go back upstairs.”

“Will do,” Nick said.

“So did Santa already come?” Scotty, their fourteen-year-old son, asked.

“I’ll never tell,” Sam said.

“Oh, come on. I’m not a baby anymore. I know it’s you guys.”

Sam gasped. “Shut your filthy mouth. That’s not true!”

“Mom… Be serious.”

“I’m not talking to you about Santa. He’s real, and he’s magic, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

“Dad, will you talk to her?”

“You know as well as I do that talking to her when she’s like this is pointless.”


“I can hear you guys,” Sam said.

“Who do you think is trying to bomb us?” Scotty asked, his dark brows furrowing in a serious expression.

“Could be anyone,” Nick said with a nonchalant shrug designed to assuage Scotty’s concerns. “Could be someone who didn’t like my speech about reasonable gun control after the shooting in Des Moines, or it could be someone who doesn’t like that I was never elected as VP and thus shouldn’t be president.”

“Or it could be the family member of someone I’ve locked up,” Sam said to let Nick off the hook. “It could be Detective Ramsey, who finally succeeded in getting himself fired after he broke into my office and trashed it. Or it could be former Lieutenant Stahl’s brother or uncle who’s pissed that he’s doing a life sentence for trying to kill me twice, as if that was my fault.” Sam mirrored Nick’s shrug. “Like Dad said, it could be anyone.”

“You guys have a lot of enemies,” Scotty said bluntly.

“I suppose we do, even though we’d rather we didn’t have any,” Nick said.

“It’s the nature of both your jobs,” Scotty said. “Haters are gonna hate, but I think most of them would like to be you.”

“Everyone thinks it’s so cool to be president until they’re president and find out it’s actually super stressful,” Nick said.

“It’s also pretty cool,” Scotty said. “I mean, you’re the only person in the world that the Navy Band plays ‘Hail to the Chief’ for, and you get your own armored car, helicopter and airplane, as well as this sick house that comes with a bakery, twenty-four-hour pizza, Coke on demand and a pool, bowling alley and theater. It’s not all sucky.”

Nick chuckled at Scotty’s recitation of the benefits. “No, it certainly isn’t, and I’m not complaining. I don’t want you to think I am.”

“Nah, I get it. When some country halfway around the world does something crazy, that’s your problem. I can see how that gets old.”

“Not to mention when someone does something right here in the US, that’s my problem, or when a hurricane or tornado wipes out whole towns or a blizzard takes down the power grid of a major city. All that is my problem.”

“That’s a lot of problems for one person to manage.”

“But, hey, there’s twenty-four-hour pizza and Coke on demand.”

Scotty laughed. “Touché.” To Sam, he said, “Does he win every argument now that he’s president, or does it just seem that way?”

“He’s been on a winning streak lately. We’ll have to work on that while we’re on vacation.”

“You guys must be so happy to be on vacation,” Scotty said. “Even happier than I am to have no algebra for twelve whole days.”

“Never been happier,” Sam said. “The last month has been a bit chaotic.”

“You mean the part about Nelson dying, Dad suddenly becoming president, us having to move to the White House, getting a dog, several murders, a school shooting and a standoff in Iran?”

“Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” Nick asked in a teasing tone.

“What the heck does that mean?” Scotty asked, seeming confused.

“That’s an awful reference to the assassination of President Lincoln while they were at Ford’s Theatre,” Nick said.

“Oh jeez. That’s in very poor taste, and I declare assassination to be a swear word while Dad is the president.”

“All in favor say ‘aye,’” Sam said.

“Aye,” they all said.

“And it passes unanimously,” Sam declared.

“We don’t like that word,” Scotty said in all seriousness. “In fact, it’s become my least favorite word in the English language.”

“We hate that word,” Sam said.

“I don’t want you guys worrying about stuff like that,” Nick said.

“What?” Sam said. “Us worry?”

“I’m surrounded by the finest security in the entire world. Nothing is going to happen to me.”

“Dad, you’re the president and everything, so I hate to say don’t be naïve, but really… Don’t be naïve. Of course it can happen to you. People hate you simply because of the office you hold and that you belong to a party they don’t align with, or you do things like say we need reasonable gun control when everyone knows we need reasonable gun control.”

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