Friday, June 18, 2010

The Gentleman from Washington State by Betty Smith

The Gentleman From Washington State

Betty Smith




Senator Edward Cullen is the handsome scion of the Cullen family. A playboy's playboy, he is taken with an intern in his office, Bella Swan. She is untouchable for many reasons, and he's in a tough re-election battle with Jacob Black. AH,M Adult Content


The Gentleman From Washington State is a fast-paced, thrilling, West Wing style drama smashed right into our favourite Twilight characters. The outcome? Sexy Senator Edward Cullen is bamboozled by the young witty intern Bella. Cue sexual tension, add some oozing thick intellectual substance, meaty plot and The Gentleman From Washington State is a stand out fiction.

It’s election year and Senator Cullen’s biggest rival is Jacob Black, who also happens to be Bella’s ex. With Alice and Rose working at his side, Senator Cullen is playing to win the election and, most importantly, the girl.

Whilst you will get plenty of smutilicious smut, this story also educates in the most unexpected ways. Miss Betty Smith is a brilliant story teller and takes the reader on a journey through the iconic political and historical sites of Washington DC while dropping anecdotes and details about the US political system and the finer etiquette of political life. Add feminist philosophical theory, political scandal, games and players, non-canon couples, lemony lemons, hawt Edward, sexy legal notions of equitable estoppel, current political issues plus treachery and treason and Miss Betty Smith is on the right path to uber awesome fiction status.

Bella from The Gentleman From Washington State is strong, educated and self assured – oh, how I adore a strong protagonist. Is it any wonder she has this effect on Senator Cullen:

"As Bella was talking though, Edward had lost himself. He was no longer Senator Edward Cullen, or Edward Cullen, Assistant District Attorney, or Lieutenant Edward Cullen, U.S. Navy, or even Edward Cullen, son of Senator Carlisle Cullen. He was just a guy named Edward completely enraptured by this slip of a girl, Bella. He could think of no place he would rather be right then, but with Bella at Safeco Field watching a Mariners game and drinking a couple of beers."

Senator Cullen is labelled the playboy but has a serious, committed, sensitive side, conveyed by Miss Betty Smith eloquently and salaciously:

“And no one would deny that his election was helped by his devastatingly good looks. Tall and fit with bronze hair and green eyes, he looked like Adonis. But Edward's good looks were associated with his one political handicap – he was and always had been a notorious playboy.”

Did I mention the sexual tension? Oh. My. The slow burn and Senator Cullen’s devilish plotting will have you begging for his panty dropping smile.

“The way he was smiling at her warmed her from the inside like she was drinking single malt whisky. He also made her want to bite a knuckle in sexual frustration. Must not have sexy thoughts about the boss thought Bella – well, at least not in front of him.”

For those of you who want an indication of the smut:

“He smiled at her and said, "I need to finish making it up to you."

She smirked. "And how will you do that?"

He smirked back. "Watch me." And Edward kneeled before her and buried his face between her legs.”

White hawt. Not-what-you-will-expect-but-oh-so-delicious-smut!

One of my all time favourite genres is man whore Edward tamed by virginal Bella. This story does that it in a way few fan fics ever have. Grab your best suit (or your Monica Lewinsky blue dress!), some large Jackie Onasis style sunglasses plus a string of pearls and jump on the campaign trail of Senator Cullen. The Gentleman From Washington State will not disappoint.

The Gentleman From Washington State is the first story where I have come across a politico Edward, and I love it! DC is one of my favorite towns, and I enjoy politics. To top it off, this manwhore Edward is also former Navy SEALward. If he road a motorcycle, it would be the perfect storm of Wards for me.

Edward is a Senator and is introduced to new intern, Bella, at the start of the story. What I love about the interest Edward shows in her from the start is her mind. She is intelligent and a quick wit, and that is Edward's initial interest. That he wants to sit and talk to her. Find out what she thinks of what she is reading and discuss with her his similar interests. That is sexy.

Given their positions, they both know each other are forbidden fruit. So, they both quietly admire the other. They both drift to fantasy when they happen to see one another. After admiring Bella lounging by a fountain one afternoon is one of my favorite, and sweetest moments, in the story.

It was during Edward's fantasy that Bella sensed that someone was looking at her. She looked at the people on the sidewalk around her, and they were all occupied with their own lives. She was about to shut her eyes again and enjoy the sun when she spotted Senator Cullen in the trees across the street. Bella didn't think that she was imagining that he was staring at her. She stared back at him curiously and wondered why he was looking at her. After 15 seconds of them staring at one another, Senator Cullen waived to her – just a small movement of his hand from left to right. Bella smiled as she hesitantly waived back, and a small smile appeared on Edward's face.

The little left to right wave. *melts* I pictured him leaning his shoulder against a tree in it's shade, arms and ankles crossed. Suit jacket hanging open, and then the smile! *shakes head to clear it* Back to the story!

Bella couldn't believe it. The whole silent exchange seemed odd, but also exciting. Edward's smile encouraged her. With a hand movement, she pointed to her chest and then pointed to him, asking him if he wanted her to come to him. As she did it, Bella was happy.

We must remember that this relationship is a big Monica Lewinsky no-no. They both know this, and Edward pulls himself from the moment.

But when Edward saw Bella ask if he wanted her to come over, he froze and panicked. He wanted so badly to nod his head yes and go on a walk with her. Edward wanted to start a relationship with Bella that would take them to that meadow by the lake.

But Edward's whole life had been about duty and honor and responsibility. He thought of everything at stake – a Democratic Senate seat, his family's legacy, and his career – also her career for that matter. It was too much. Instead of saying yes to Bella, Edward shook his head no and started walking back to his office with an anguished heart.

*heart aches*

But no worries. They both, especially a jealous Edward (of THE hottest Mike Newton ever written), don't want to resist any longer. With the aide of his family, Edward begins seeing Bella on the sly. They meet up, always chaperoned by a member of the Cullen family (i.e. they are in the same building, so they have the media excuse of Bella being a "friend of the family" if they are ever busted). They do date and find that they are completely compatible, and we watch as they fall in love.

Bella's V-card is still in tact in this story, and after finally admitted aloud their love for one another, she cashes it in very romantically on a bear skin rug in front of the fireplace in Edward's library. Very nice. Though, after, provides one of my favorite lines in the story:

"We got the rug dirty. And it doesn't matter. We're lying on a bear. He's had worse on him than cum."

Still, there are a lot of things working against them. They have a jealous former lover of Edward's getting suspicious. Edward's political rival, and Bella's former boyfriend, Jacob's people trying to dig up dirt on Edward. Finally, just the taboo nature of their relationship weighing over them. Something is about to give, and I am equally nervous and excited to see how it all plays out.

4.5 out of 5 Bearskin Rugs

Right-O fellow Wusspervs. This story WILL NOT, I repeat NOT hurt your heart. But do be aware that there are some scenes where Bella & Edward are not together. Not detailed. Bear(bare????) in mind that if *I* can cope, then so can you! :D. Ok disclaimer over. Onto the goodies!

I am in fecking love with this story something hardcore. I don't understand American Politics. (hell I don't even understand British politics for fecks sake!) but - that is irrelevant. All you need to know is that Senator Cullen is hot fucking stuff on the hill. I can picture him in his delicious suits, mad sex hair & sparkly debonair charm as he sass's about DC. Rarrrrrrrr. Do you need another reason to read this?!

Wait you do? (really? O_O) O.K then. How about some amazing UST. Sizzly, sexy, god how much do I want you, my knickers might not cope type of chemistry. How about forbidden love? Bella is just a wee poor innocent intern. The older (SEXY!) Senatory Cullen can not be seen to exploiting his staff, or using his power to have his very wicked way. He has to remain cleaner than clean. As he has a huge opponent for his seat in one Mr Black.. Oh said Mr Black? He has a history with the object of Edward's fantasies/obsession/lust/admiration/fixation/hard-on... Do you see how delicious this plot is now? DO YOU?

Oh & everyone has already said it - but Betty's use of non main players? Genius. Mike Newton? Hot (IKR?! Who'd have Adam & Eve'd it!!). I also love her characterisation's of Emmett, Seth, Rosalie, Leah and Irina. They are inventive and clever and kept this story fresh and intriguing. Many a loop ball did Betty throw me! & I bloody LOVE that!

This story is ridiculously easy and quick to read. So I swallowed it up - but it really comes into its own from chapter's 4/5 I think.

4.75 (stained) bearskin rugs out of 5 from Emmy!

First and foremost, The Gentleman From Washington State is that is NOT PackPerv™ safe. Jacob is conservative, Christian, Republican and Senator Edward Cullen’s political rival. I must admit I struggled with this and with the transition into reading 3rd person omniscient. I recognize that ever story needs a villain, and Jacob seems to be the easy choice for most Twilight Fan Fiction writers. However, once I got past the extremely out of character Jacob Black, I found this story to be fascinating and down right addictive.

While I can’t really relate to the “doe-eyed,” virginal, intern Bella, I find Senator Cullen and his struggle with his inexplicably intense attraction to Bella the most fascinating part of the story. The chemistry between these two is palpable, and sweet, despite the significant age difference. The fact that Edward is very sexually active with a couple different women at the beginning of the story and yet is still captivated when he first meets Bella only serves to fascinate me more.

Betty Smith has done a great job of spinning an intriguing, steamy and romantic story that has me a bit entranced. I’ll admit, I also have a bit of a crush on her Mike Newton. I also adore Alice and Rosalie. They are as much a part of the unique love story as Edward and Bella.

While, I was hesitant at first, I think Betty Smith has won me over, for now. I will keep my broken PackPerv™ heart on ice as I continue to watch how this unconventional, but beautifully written romance continues.

3.5 out of 5 Bearskin Rugs

The Gentleman From Washington State has all the elements of a story I love: It is well-researched, smartly written, and contains EPIC amounts of UST. We all know the old adage, "write what you know." Clearly, if Betty Smith isn't writing about something she knows, then she is one hell of a researcher, because she has this down to a science, and I adore her for it. I like her so much, in fact, that I proposed having an illicit affair with her. She said it would be unethical to sleep with someone who is reccing her story. And therein lies my dilemma with TGFWS. Okay, so perhaps I didn't propose the illicit affair, but she does write about one, and my, oh my, it is SO good.

No one will be surprised to hear me confess that my geeky ways include political wonkdom. I am a rabid political junkie. Creating Bella as an intern in Senator Cullen's office is a stroke of genius; where else could you create an environment that is ripe for an unethical and unprofessional affair between Senator and intern? It's along the same lines as teacher/student--it simply shouldn't be done. The issues surrounding the attractiveness of power and consensual relationships are almost as old as humanity itself.

Senator Edward Cullen is a Kennedyesque politician, a lawyer who has served in the military as a Navy SEAL, whose family is wealthy, famous, and the political elite of Washington state. He is charming, handsome, and randy as hell; he is a notorious womanizer. I need to clarify that he isn't an abuser of women--his liaisons are, for the most part, with women who use him as much as he uses them. He simply loves to have sex, and enjoys women who love to have sex.

His handlers are sisters Alice and Rosalie, and they have their hands full trying to keep his penis from getting them into all sorts of political hot water. Jacob Black, his arch nemesis, is running against him as the Republican's Senate candidate. Seth Clearwater serves as Edward's loyal Chief of Staff. Oh, and the intern mentioned earlier? You guessed it, Bella Swan. A woman who is much younger than Edward, and who, as an intern, is clearly off limits. Their mutual attraction and story line closely mirrors canon, and Betty Smith weaves the stories together beautifully. Where Senator Cullen cannot be caught making out with Bella due to political ramifications, it hardly differs from the canon Edward who cannot because it's too dangerous.

One quick word about canon characters: Betty Smith has created the best Mike Newton in fanfiction EVER. He's African American, wicked smart, a skilled athlete, politically savvy, and incredibly intelligent. He also has the hots for Bella. Edward recognizes that at once when he sees Bella and Mike together, and he and Mike share a "moment," where they size one another up. Suffice it to say, Mike backs slowly away, leaving Bella for Edward. He understands it would be political suicide to continue to date Bella if Cullen is also interested in her.

To complicate matters even further, Bella's ex is none other than--you guessed it--Jacob Black. The relationship didn't end well, and while Jake got married and had two children in the interim, he still pines for Bella. He is less than pleased when he finds out she is working for his enemy, and you just know that his campaign is going to attempt to use that to their advantage.

Edward and Bella have so many things against them, you sense that the relationship is doomed to fail. They have to be incredibly skillful and secretive in arranging meetings. Edward's past is always threatening to uproot Bella's confidence. His political nemeses will have a field day should they ever find out about the affair. Edward knows Charlie Swan, but only because Charlie helped Carlisle bail out Emmett, the eldest Cullen family child, when his drunken antics got the better of him. The clincher there? Bella doesn't know that Edward knows her father, the standard sin of "lying by omission." Did I mention that virgin Bella just started taking the pill, and when she finally has sex with Edward, she has a few pills left to take before her first period? This house of cards can be blown down in so many different ways, and you wince as you read future developments, not knowing which will cause the house to fall.

Finally, I have to discuss the UST in TGFWS. OH. MY. GOD. It is smoldering hot, some of the best UST ever. Really. Because they have to be exceedingly careful, every stolen moment together ramps up their UST. They cannot be together unless someone from the Cullen family is present to help keep up appearances. Their stolen, secret kisses caused my monitor to smoke. Even a bit of exposed skin is incredibly erotic, for all the things it causes Bella to think about doing to Edward or vice versa, but cannot. When they finally get to have sex, later in the story, Betty writes it very realistically. It is an amazing experience for both of them, but it isn't a 5-O unicorn rainbow spectacular for Bella, and Edward doesn't last as long as he would like to. While Edward's penis is gorgeous and ample, it isn't a "porn star oddity" (a description that totally had me giggling). They are a real couple, Bella is a real virgin, and it takes a little time before things are perfect. That doesn't detract from how much they both cherish the experience from the very first moment, and it makes the story more convincing and special.

I'm not even going to start quoting Betty, or I will never stop. Do yourselves a favor and READ THIS STORY! It is smart, funny, hot, engaging, and realistic.

5 out of 5 Bearskin Rugs

I'll be honest. This took a few chapters to hook me, but then once it did? Jaysus.

Let's start off with how great this Edward is. I mean he's a Senator. Woof. He's a single, hot Senator. Woof. He's a stunningly attractive, single Senator that likes to bone in D.C. Woof. Besides that though, he's an extraordinarily well written, wonderfully characterized Edward that you immediately adore. The bravado, the family ties, the self-loathing over wanting Bella, his loyalty. Oh yeah and he's a former Navy SEAL. Woof.

Bella on the other hand, I wasn't so keen on in the beginning (mainly b/c I have a problem relating to a 22 year old virgin but hey, she grew on me). She's headstrong, sassy and wonderfully opinionated and she doesn't take his shit.

I love that.

She's an intern. Now, before you go moaning about Monica/Bill etc. it's not like that. They fight the good fight against their burgeoning feelings. They try and take the high road instead of dropping trou in his office on day one. They do make a conservative effort to keep their relationship on the up and up but ultimately (and thankfully) they give in.

As Jeanne said, Chapter 7. Well then. Oh and Chapter 29 I happen to like too... Ah hell, all lemony chapters are really well done :)

Now, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the secondary characters. First of all, Betty has managed an epic feat of making me like an Esme. Maybe it's because she killed Carlisle off (damn it) but regardless, she's a ripe old bitty and I like her.

Rosalie. Threw me for a loop.

But most importantly. MIKE NEWTON. I envision him as Blair Underwood. Woof x infinity. Enough said.


5/5 Blair Underme for TGfWS

Let me set the scene: Bella is new in town; intelligent, but enough of a dork to be relatable. Edward is gorgeous, charming, and a bit distant from anyone other than his close family. Upon their first meeting, she unravels him, and he struggles desperately to reconcile what he is with what he wants. Oh yeah, and Senator Edward Cullen's in the middle of a hotly contested political campaign and Bella is...... his young office intern. You see, the story's foundation may be familiar, but the setting? It's one of a kind.

The Gentleman From Washington State has all the qualities that I love in a good AH fic. Betty Smith has done a masterful job of taking canon characteristics and storylines, and infusing them into an all-human setting of well-developed plotlines and intense UST. When canon lines are delivered, they have new life, instead of sounding trite and inserted, they flow into a scene as well as they did the first time you read them. Keep an eye out for this, because it is perfect.

"I said we shouldn't be friends – not that I didn't want to be."

One of my favorite aspects of this story is the fabulous secondary characterizations. Mike Newton will make you swoon. Yes, I said it. Swoonworthy Newton - it's no longer an oxymoron. Alice, Edward's sister, and her husband Jasper are stalwart supporters of Edward's clandestine romance, and Rosalie is the vicious protector of the family with a wicked sense of humor.

"Rosalie snickered. "Oh Edward, there are few things I would rather see than the introduction of your little intern girlfriend to your lesbian fuckbuddy. Count me in."

It is a rare and special treat when a fic causes me to closely examine societal mores and question my own cultural opinions, and TGFWS has done exactly that. Betty Smith does such a convincing job of portraying Edward and Bella as perfect partners that I actually began to reconsider how I would feel if a similar story of romance between a political leader/young intern were to play out in RL. Edward himself struggles with wondering if a relationship can truly be consensual when he is, in fact, Bella's boss. I will spare you the Clinton/Lewinski editorial, although that debacle is used to underscore the forbidden nature of this relationship brilliantly. In the end, it is Bella's intelligence and logical thinking that finally convinces Edward that they are on equal ground, but Edward's interim cockblocking while he works out his own moral dilemma is just, so, very, Edward.

Now, that we've made it through our highbrow discussion points, I'll expound on my absolute favorite ingredient: the smut.

There is a special place in my pants for a story that can both make me think and effectively deliver the smut. TGFWS has just enough sprinkled in through the early chapters to keep my filthy mind engaged alongside my more cerebral pursuits of plot and character development. Senator Cullen is no prude, and before his heart belongs to Bella, he has some rather detailed sexcapades with several different ladies. In addition to his pre-Bella sexual pursuits, Edward's fantasies of Bella are quite steamy:

"he wanted to make love to all of her. He would show her how to help guide him entering her so they could be as one. Edward imagined Bella's body slowly enveloping him. He then would begin gently thrusting himself deeper into her, keeping the pace as comfortable and pleasurable for her as he could. He dreamed of coming inside of Bella and the two of them laughing and nuzzling one another"

You can still love this story if you dislike or don't know much about US politics. Betty Smith has gently woven in enough detail to get you up to speed and set the scene, but doesn't choke you by inserting an agenda. The Gentleman From Washington State is an engaging, thought-provoking love story which has me eagerly awaiting the day I can have some more of it.

4.5 out of 5 Bearskin Rugs


AJo said...

this is insane, because here i am interning in d.c. for the summer thinking, wouldn't intern Bella seducing politician Edward make for a great fic? and here it is. i definitely rec'd this idea to the Team HH crew for HH's FGB fic, but i'm so glad you've found it already! now i can read something else tastey delicious from HH while still getting my Senator Edward kicks.