First Lady

First Lady

by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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How does the most famous woman in the world hide in plain sight? The beautiful young widow of the President of the United States thought she was free of the White House, but circumstances have forced her back into the role of First Lady. Not for long, however, because she's made up her mind to escape — if only for a few days — so she can live the life of an ordinary person. All she needs is the perfect disguise . . . and she's just found it.

An entire nation is searching for her, but the First Lady is in the last place anybody would think to look: in the company of a man, an infuriatingly secretive and quietly seductive stranger whose charm, good looks, and sensuous appeal are awakening the forgotten woman within the dignitary. And with two adorable little orphaned girls in need of a family along for the ride, they're heading out across the heartland chasing their own American Dream — on a wild journey of love, adventure, and glorious rebirth.

First Lady: A star-spangled, richly emotional story of self-discovery, celebrity, love, and family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380808076
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/08/2000
Series: Wynette, Texas Series , #4
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 358,205
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soared onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a hiker, gardener, reader, wife, and mother of two grown sons.


Chicago, Illinois

Place of Birth:

Cincinnati, Ohio


B.F.A., Ohio University

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Cornelia Litchfield Case had an itchy nose. Otherwise, it was a very elegant nose. Perfectly shaped, discreet, polite. Her forehead was patrician, her cheekbones gracefully carved, but not so sharp as to be vulgar. The Mayflower-blue blood that rushed through her veins gave her a pedigree even finer than that of Jacqueline Kennedy, one of her most famous predecessors.

A French twist contained her long, fair hair, which she would have cut off years ago if her father hadn't forbidden it. Later her husband had suggested—oh-so gently, because he was always gentle with her-that she leave it long. So there she was, an American aristocrat with a hairstyle she hated and an itchy nose that she couldn't scratch because hundreds of millions of people all over the world were watching her on their televisions.

Burying a husband sure could take the fan out of your day.

She shuddered and tried to swallow her hysteria as she crept another inch closer to falling apart. She forced herself to concentrate on the beauty of the October day and the way the sun gleamed on the rows of grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery, but the sky was too close, the sun too near. Even the ground felt as if it were pushing up to crush her.

The men on either side of her moved closer. The new President of the United States gripped her arm. Her father clasped her elbow. Directly behind her, the grief of Terry Ackerman, her husband's closest friend and advisor, rolled over her in a great, dark wave. They were suffocating her, stealing the air she needed to breathe.

She beat back a scream by curling her toes in her neat black leather pumps, bitingthe inside of her bottom lip, and mentally launched into the chorus of 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." The Elton John song reminded her that he'd written another song, one for a dead princess. Would he now write one for an assassinated President?

No! Don't think about that! She'd think about her hair, her itchy nose. She'd think about the way she hadn't been able to swallow food since her secretary had broken the news that Dennis had been assassinated three blocks from the White House by a gun fanatic who believed his right to bear arms included the right to use the President of the United States for target practice. The assassin had been killed on the spot by a Washington, D.C., police officer, but that didn't change the fact that her husband of three years, the man she'd once loved so desperately, lay before her in a gleaming black casket.

She broke her father's grip to reach up and touch the small enameled American flag she'd pinned to the lapel of her black suit. It was the pin Dennis had worn so frequently. She'd give it to Terry. She wished she couldturn around right now and hand it to him, perhaps ease his grief.

She needed hope—something positive to cling tobut that was tough even for a determined optimist. And then she hit on it ...

She was no longer the First Lady of the United States of America.

A few hours later, that small bit of comfort was snatched from her by Lester Vandervort, the newest President of the United States, as he regarded her across Dennis Case's old desk in the Oval Office. The box of Milky Way miniatures her husband had kept in Teddy Roosevelt's humidor had disappeared, along with his collection of photographs. Vandervort had added no personal touches of his own, not even a photograph of his deceased wife, an oversight she knew his staff would soon correct.

Vandervort was a thin man, ascetic in his appearance. He was fiercely intelligent, almost entirely humorless, and a confirmed workaholic. A sixty-four-year-old widower, he was now the world's most eligible bachelor. For the first time since the death of Edith Wilson eighteen months after Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, the United States had no First Lady.

The air inside the Oval Office was climate-controlled, the three-story windows that rose behind the desk bulletproof, and she felt as if she were suffocating. As she stood by the fireplace, staring blindly at Rembrandt Peale's portrait of Washington, the new President's voice seemed far away. ". . . don't want to appear insensitive to your grief by broaching this now, but I have no choice. I won't be remarrying, and none of my female relatives is remotely capable of handling the job of First Lady. I want you to continue in that role."

As she turned to him, her fingernails bit into her palms. "It's impossible. I can't do it." She wanted to scream at him that she was still wearing her funeral clothes, but excessive displays of emotion had been leached out of her long before she'd come to the White House.

Her distinguished father rose from one of a pair of couches covered in cream damask and assumed his Prince Philip posture-hands clasped behind his back, weight toward his heels. "This has been a difficult day for you, Cornelia. You'll be seeing things more clearly tomorrow."

Cornelia. Everyone who mattered in her life called her Nealy except her father. "I'm not going to change MY mind."

"Of course you will," he countered. "This administration has to have a competent First Lady. The President and I have considered it from every angle, and both of us agree this is the ideal solution."

She was an assertive woman, except when it came to her father, and she had to steel herself to challenge him. "Ideal for whom? Not for me."

What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth Lowell

Phillips is fantastic! What the world needs is more books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Jayne Ann Krentz

No one tops Susan Elizabeth Phillips when it comes to writing outrageous, heartwarming, wonderfully sensual romance.

Customer Reviews

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First Lady 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Romance_rookie More than 1 year ago
Cornelia Case wants nothing more than to escape her life in the public eye. After her husband, the president of the United States was assassinated Cornelia longs to experience the ordinary. She manages to disguise herself and elude the secret service men tasked with her safety. On her adventure she meets up with Matt Jorvich who finds himself the guardian to two children Lucy and Button. Lucy at 14 whose Mother recently died has been raising Button by herself. Cornelia finds herself on a journey with the Jorvich to find the girls' grandmother. Along the way Cornelia finds herself part of a family. First Lady was an enjoyable read. I thought the characters were endearing. The adventures they found themselves in were fun to listen to. First Lady isn't my favorite book by SEP. I can't really put my finger on why. I enjoyed the characters. Although I thought maybe towards the end that Cornelia and Matt were extremely stubborn in their resistance to their feelings for one another, Matt especially about having a family. If they would have just talked about things, misunderstandings could have been avoided. I know this review is short, but I just don't have much more to say about it. I enjoyed the story, but it wasn't my favorite by SEP. That about sums it up for me. *Interesting factoid:* Lucy makes an appearance in SEP's latest release Call Me Irresistible as Teddy Beaudine's fiancé.
EllenCT More than 1 year ago
I recently re-bought this when I couldn't find my copy. It was as fun on re-read as I remembered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My husband's cousin has been telling me about this book for a few months but i never really got around to it. One day, at a bookstore i decided to give it a try although the sypnosis did not appeal to me. But once i opened this book i could not stop! It was filled with romance and was so funny it made me laugh out loud, i mean..REALLY LAUGH out loud ( there have been other books that have made me laugh inwardly but never out loud, just something that bubbled in deep inside but never really made it quite to the surface). The characters had a magical identity of their own. Good job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I truly loved this story! The characters seemed so real to me. This was a book that I couldn't put down. The chemistry between Nealy and Mat and the connection Nealy develops with the children in this story is so real. Susan Elizabeth Phillips knows people's real emotions and knows how to write about them.
Conkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's hard not to love the stories Ms. Phillips writes. This one is no exception. The story is humorous, clever, and largely, believable.
Ms. Fields is an exceptional narrator. The listener can hear irony, tribulation, and deadpan humor in her delivery, without feeling she's being "over-the-top".
Another great combo.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cornelia Case (am I the only one who kept reading this as "Cordelia Chase"?) has been in the public eye for nearly her entire life--first as the daughter of the Vice President, then as the First Lady. And now that her husband has been assassinated, she thinks she'll get some privacy.Think again. Her husband's Vice President, the new President, is single, and everyone (except Cornelia) thinks she'd be the best person to continue to fill that role. So she tries, but finally she can't take it anymore, and she escapes, disguised as an old woman.Mat Jorik is a burned-out tabloid journalist who needs one good real news story to recover his integrity and his career. What he gets are his recently deceased ex-wife's daughters: a teenager named Lucy and a baby known only as Butt. When he discovers they're living alone, he loads them into their mother's ancient Winnebago--they won't fit in his sports car--to take them to their grandmother in Iowa, where they'll stay once he gets the paternity issue straightened out.Mat and Nealy meet when her car is stolen, with all her money and belongings inside, and he offers her a ride in exchange for a loan and helping him out with the girls.Everyone, except perhaps the baby, is concealing something. Nealy is hiding her identity and a Very Big Secret. Mat is hiding his profession. Lucy is hiding the baby's name and her vulnerability and another Very Big Secret. Despite that, they all become very close and form a family during the trip... a family that could fall apart at any moment.A lot of the reviews called this an unusual story for SEP, but it seemed pretty usual to me--maybe we see different things in SEP's books. It has the humor and the rich emotional depth I've come to expect from her, as well as an impossible pairing. The characters were all very real--Nealy was absolutely convincing as a widowed First Lady, someone raised to public service, but for whom it's become just too much. Mat and Lucy were likewise very real. These were characters I could believe in.
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feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
★★★★½ I love, love, love Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck's 1953 movie Roman Holiday. So imagine my very pleasant surprise when I began to realize that First Lady is nothing short of a modern day, grown up, retelling of one of my favorite films. Sigh... The widowed first lady of the United States White House desperately needs a respite from her role. She just needs a bit of ordinary for a while - her duty to America is draining the life out of her. But if she wants a break, she has to make it happen herself. She has to escape...literally! Susan Elizabeth Phillips offers enough original details to make First Lady its very own story but the subtle similarities between the two storylines were such fun! It's funny, sexy, and incredibly sweet, with an appropriate touch of patriotism. If you're a fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips or if you happen to enjoy the Oscar-winning film as much as I do, then check out First Lady. It's a winner! My favorite quote: "'You bought white underwear.' 'Only because I wanted to irritate you. If you hadn't been there, I would have chosen something more exotic.' 'Like what?' 'Like none of your business.' 'No, I'm serious. This is an important question. The kind of underwear a woman buys reflects her character.' 'I can't wait to hear this.' 'That's why the idea of you wearing white panties bothers me.' 'I seem to be having trouble keeping up.' 'Isn't it obvious? That's the favorite underwear of female serial killers.'" First Lady is the fourth installment in Susan Elizabeth Phillips's adult contemporary romance series titled Wynette, Texas. The series contains the following installments as of January 2016. In my opinion, they can each be read in any order as standalone novels. #1-Fancy Pants #2-Lady Be Good #3-Glitter Baby #4-First Lady #4.5-My Secret Service Valentine #5-What I Did for Love #6-Call Me Irresistible #7-The Great Escape
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing!!!! that's just the word for this novel. i re read it like 17 times before i could put it down. it's captivating, endearing, hilarious in most parts. the characters were well defined, well played out. it leads us through a twist of action, comedy and exhilarating romance that touches one right down to the core of one's heart. it's truly amazing. this is the first novel of SEP am reading and i have a lovely feeling that i'll enjoy more of her book just as much as i did this one. as an aspiring writer, this helped me a lot in planning out a story line. Kudos ma'am. your are a genius in the literary field. i love and admire your works.
DorieM More than 1 year ago
I loved this audiobook. Anna Fields did a fabulous job reading it. The book is touching, playful, and humorous. There's just the right amount of sex, not going into every single detail. I look forward to more books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and read by Anna Fields.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just a fun book to read. Never know what will come up next. I didn't think it could end the way it did. Must read it all the way through! Maybe you know someone just like the them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much. It was funny, romantic, loving and so much fun to read. Never read this author before this book but already bought the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I jut read The Great Escape andcrwalised I had missed this title- the story of Lucy's parents. Loved it- our course it had the classic SEP style and a great heartfilled storyline. A not to miss story.
AnonymousMom More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this one as much as her others.
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octoberdana More than 1 year ago
Great characters. Story started very intriguing with some unexpected plot twists. Got very predictable as the story developed.
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