“I’m glad you think so, because you’re going to need to help with the upholstery. This one is red and according to the picture Mom gave me, we need white.” She walked back up the ramp and into the truck.

Tony followed. “Why do we need white? It’s your car.”

Angie bent over at the waist and hooked her hand beneath the chair. “Let’s go. Lift. Nonna and Nonno had their first date in a black Caddy convertible, but with white upholstery. This is my contribution to her wish list.”

Damn. Tony lifted the chair into his arms and walked backward down the ramp, all the while thinking he was once again the slacker of the bunch. “I can help with the seats.”

“Good.” Angie smiled. “She’s going to flip.”

“I can’t believe you guys are doing this. How cool.” Trish held open the front door.

Tony tossed her a thank you with a nod of his head. The wish list was cool, and he wanted to be a part of the coolness, but how cool was it if his only contribution was being the upholstery boy to Angie’s big idea?

Nobody appreciated the upholstery boy.

“Tony, this stuff is unbelievable. You are a rock star.” Trish was standing next to the first wingchair, having bypassed Tony and Angie to enter the living room through the dining room instead of the hall. She stood there beaming at the chair, and then at him like he’d hung the moon.

Okay, so nobody appreciated the upholstery boy except Trish DeVign. He could do a lot worse. Still, that wasn’t going to impress Nonna.

“Done.” Angie swiped her hands as she walked toward the hall. “I’ll be in the truck, Tone. Give me a few minutes so I can call this guy about paying for the car and getting it delivered.”

“Thank you,” Trish called. “I’ll see you at Meyer’s.”

Tony turned back to the chairs and Trish, who had removed the plastic covering and settled onto the cushion, crossing her long legs and bouncing one barefoot with red-painted toes in his direction. As she sat, she rubbed her palms over the arms of the chair and breathed deeply enough that he risked hypnosis by the rise and fall of her breasts. Not the sort of thing he wanted to notice about a woman he couldn’t pursue.

“You really do great work.”

He smiled and stepped closer, because he was a gentleman who’d just been complimented. “Thank you.” He squatted and ran his hand along the nailhead trim, grazing her covered calf muscle, because he was a guy who liked the way her face flushed whenever he stood too close. “I’m glad you like it. When you’re in need of my skills again, you know where to find me.” And then he stood, taking two steps back toward the hall, because even a screw-up like him knew where to draw the line.

She sat ramrod straight, gripping the arms of the chair. “Tony, I need a favor.”

He stopped. “What’s up?”

“I need a…guest for my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. Would you happen to be interested?”

“I take it the good doctor wasn’t so good.”

A nervous chuckle escaped her lips. “Not good at all. And I RSVP’d for two with the hope that he’d still be around, and now my mother is driving me crazy, saying I can’t embarrass myself and her by cancelling this late in the game. I’m stuck.”

It was Tony’s turn to chuckle. “So you want me to unstick you?”

She shrugged, managing cute, coy, and sexy with one pouty-mouthed look. “Would you?”

If he was sane and sensible, no, he wouldn’t. “Absolutely. What time should I pick you up?”

“Thank you,” she breathed on a noisy exhale. “We should leave at three, but I’ll drive.”

“You don’t trust my driving?”

“It’s a wedding, Tony, and I’m wearing a dress. You should wear a suit, like the one you wore to Nonna’s party.” He liked the way she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth when she paused for a breath. “Dress clothes can’t be worn on the back of a motorcycle.”

An image of her creamy leg stretching out from beneath a short skirt and hanging alongside the chrome of his bike made his skin itch. He grinned to cover the not-so-innocent thought. “No bike. Got it. I’ll pick you up at three.” And before she could protest, he turned around and walked away.

He’d never been the kind of guy to let a woman down, and that was a blessing and curse. Now he needed a car worthy of escorting Trish DeVign to a family wedding, in addition to a grand gesture for Nonna’s wish list.

Talk about pressure.


Tony parked his bike in a spot marked Reserved for Joyce Richards. Of course he wasn’t Joyce Richards, but he knew his cousin’s executive assistant wouldn’t need the spot until she returned from vacation. Hitching his right leg behind him, he swung his boot over the seat and nodded at a well-dressed businessman who eyed him suspiciously. No doubt the stuffed suit thought Tony was associated with one of Vin’s criminal clients.

Just for fun, Tony picked up his pace, riding the guy all the way to the elevators, and then, at the last possible second, Tony darted right and took the stairs. He was still chuckling when he pushed against the plaque that read Vincent Spada Law Offices, State and Federal Criminal Defense.

One foot inside the cushy office and the receptionist’s blue eyes peered over a high-back desk. “Hiya, Tony.”

He propped elbows on the shiny wood and smiled. “Hey, Mavis. You’re looking beautiful today.”

She rolled back her chair and smoothed a palm over her giant ball of a belly. “I feel like a beached whale. Swear to God.”

“It’ll be worth it.”

“How would you know?”

“Big family, remember? And that’s what all my aunts say.”

She grimaced. “I hope so.” And then with a sigh, she pointed over her head to the hallway behind her. “Vinnie’s in the boardroom alone. Go ahead and go back, but be careful. He’s in a mood.”

Which could only mean one thing. Vin lost a case, and Vin, a former marine, hated to lose.

The boardroom door was opened a crack, so Tony nudged it wider to see Vin holding a flimsy-looking putter between two gorilla-like hands and aiming for a tipped-over plastic cup.

“You lose one?” Tony asked as he entered the room and closed the door behind him.

“Yep.” Vin dropped the putter and kicked the golf ball, which missed the cup and collided with the baseboard on the far side of the room. “I hate to lose.”

“It happens to the best of us.”

“Right. I suppose you understand what it feels like to watch a man be locked away for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s probably like screwing up the vinyl on a kitchen chair.” He slapped a palm to his forehead and groaned. “I’m sorry. That was lousy. Even for me.”

“Don’t worry about it. You’re upset.” The words stung, but they gave Tony something to use as leverage.

Vin grabbed his suit coat off the back of a chair before he sat, taking a few audible inhales and exhales, like he was trying to clear his mind. “So what’s up? Any changes with Nonna?”

Tony sat, too. “Nope. Not that I know of. I saw Angie an hour ago and she didn’t say anything.”



Vin whipped out his phone and tapped his fingers on the screen. “I tracked down those Italian tenors she loves through a colleague, and I’m trying to book a private performance.”

Damn. More wish list talk. The family was determined to send Nonna out in style. Tony nodded at Vin, despite the knot in his gut.

“Have you figured out what you’re going to do?”

“Working on it,” Tony said, avoiding eye contact so as not to see the telltale stare. Vin, more than anyone

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