As a former communications director for the White House under President George W. Bush, Nicolle Wallace knows how things work in the corridors of power.
In her new novel, "Eighteen Acres," Wallace takes a look at the fictional trials of the United States' first female president.
Read an excerpt of the book below and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
Melanie pushed the tissue paper aside and gazed adoringly at the Dior bag she had splurged on for her thirty-seventh birthday. It was a ridiculous extravagance. The second most expensive bag in her closet was a Marc Jacobs she'd purchased on sale years before. The elegance of the two-thousand-dollar Dior purse would be lost on most of Melanie's colleagues, but its perfection brought her a surprising amount of happiness.
As Melanie pulled the purse out of its protective cloth and removed the paper stuffed inside, she suddenly felt worried that all of her electronics wouldn't fit into it properly. She looked at the three BlackBerrys?one for the classified e-mail system, one for the normal White House e-mail system, and one for her personal Yahoo account. She considered leaving one of them behind but thought better of it. Gently, she stacked the BlackBerrys, two phones, her ID for the West Wing, an ID and key for the underground command center she'd be evacuated to in case of a terrorist attack, her passes to the Pentagon and the State Department, an ID for the Camp David guard station, a West Wing parking pass, and her wallet and keys inside and closed it.
She stopped in front of the hallway mirror to attach her hard pin to the lapel of her black Armani pantsuit. The small, round pin bearing the presidential seal signaled to the United States Secret Service that she was to be granted full access to the president. Only a dozen White House staffers were given hard pins. She glanced at her reflection and nodded approvingly. Five years on a strict no-carbohydrate diet had banished her full cheeks, and the miracle of chemical straightening had finally tamed her red curls. Melanie's hair hung in a stylish strawberry-blond bob. She scrunched her nose and leaned in to examine the creases and dark circles that rimmed her eyes. "Those look like the eyes of an old woman," she said to herself before turning out the lights in her Georgetown condo and walking out.
"Morning guys," she said to her agents as she hopped into the SUV that would take her less than two miles to the White House. She'd resisted full-time Secret Service protection at first, but on mornings like this, she was glad she'd relented. Snow had been falling since late the night before, and at five-thirty a.m., they would make fresh tracks.
"Happy birthday, Ms. Kingston," Sherry said. Sherry was one of her regular agents. She turned around, smiled at Melanie, and handed her an envelope. "Open it?it's from both of us," she said, gesturing at Walter, Melanie's other agent.
"Thanks, Sherry, but my birthday is a classified national security event. I didn't even remind Char?er, President Kramer that it was today."
"Mmm-hmm," Walter said, glancing at Melanie in the rearview mirror as he navigated M Street in the snow. "And it's not like she has the CIA or the FBI to turn to if she wants to find out for herself when her chief of staff's birthday is, so you should be fine, Melanie." He smirked. "Your secret is safe with us."
"Shut up, Walter. Just keep your eyes on the road," Melanie said.