About Red Blooded
Instead of eating ramen and meeting frat guys like most college freshmen, Peyton Arthur is on the campaign trail. Traveling with her mother, the Democratic pick for vice president, she’s ordering room service, sneaking glances at cute campaign intern Dylan and deflecting interview questions about the tragic loss of her father. But when a reporter questions her paternity, her world goes into a tailspin.
Dylan left Yale and joined the campaign to make a difference, not keep tabs on some girl. But with the paternity scandal blowing up and Peyton asking questions, he’s been tasked to watch her every move. As he gets to know the real Peyton, he finds it harder and harder to keep a professional distance.
When the media demands a story, Peyton and Dylan give them one—a fake relationship. As they work together to investigate the rumors about her real father and Peyton gets closer to learning the truth, she’s also getting closer to Dylan. And suddenly, it’s not just her past on the line anymore. It’s her heart.
“Dylan.” I expect his expression to brighten when he sees me. But, if anything, when his eyes absorb me, they grow darker.
He hands me a ticket and turns to go inside. As we walk, he talks, hurried and hushed. “Don’t say anything to anyone. If you want a soda, I’ll get it for you. If someone asks for directions, I’ll tell them. You don’t speak to anyone until we get you to Lisa and Bain, understand?”
“Yes,” I say as my flip-flops try to keep pace with his sleek, black shoes. I don’t want to meet his gaze. I don’t want to see the frustration in his eyes. I don’t want to see the darkness and the creases that mean he’s disappointed in me.
“Peyton!” a voice rings out, and I instinctively swirl to meet it.
A woman rushes up to me holding out her phone. “Hi, Peyton, Jane Patel from the Washington Post. Can I ask you a few questions before your flight?”
Dylan’s hand comes down on my shoulder and he squeezes gently. “Peyton’s not answering any questions now,” he says, stiff and cold. His hand glides down my spine until his fingers push against the small of my back, telling me to keep moving forward.
We pick up the pace and walk faster, his hand never leaving me.
“Peyton, do you really think Richard Arthur may not be your father?” The reporter yells as she scrambles after us.
My heart races and I don’t know why. It’s not the reporter. It’s Dylan’s hand, which burns into me as we rush along.
We win this race as we veer into the first-class lounge.
Dylan runs his hands through his hair. “I told you not to say anything.”
“I was about to tell her I couldn’t answer questions,” I say.
“When you say it, you look like you’re avoiding questions. When I say it, you look like you’re doing what your handler is telling you to do. The latter looks better. Get it?”
“So, I’m just a mute puppet being pushed around?”
Buy the Book
About Caitlin Sinead
Caitlin Sinead is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger, Inc. and her debut novel, Heartsick, is available now from Carina Press. Her writing has earned accolades from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Glimmer Train, and Writers & Artists, and her stories have appeared in multiple publications, including The Alarmist, The Binnacle, Crunchable, Jersey Devil Press, and Northern Virginia Magazine. She earned a master's degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University.