Read an Excerpt
Lisa Portelli amiably waved at the last guest to leave the apartment, shut her door and walked back to the dining room. Remains of a birthday dinner and colourful gift wrap lay strewn about the expensive, antique cherry dining table that had once belonged to her grandmother. Turning twenty-nine wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to a woman. Since there was only one other alternative, aging didn’t bother her that much at all. She had a life most women would envy. She had a bank account augmented by not only her work as a New York City Police Department vice detective, but her grandmother’s money and an old family name. Anyone would envy her except that most people didn’t seem to understand a fat bankroll didn’t necessarily solve problems. One of the few people to understand that was currently walking into the room carrying two cups of hot coffee and beckoning her to sit down and relax.
“Come on, Lisa, let the mess go until later. We gotta talk,” Cathy Sullivan firmly declared.
Cathy raised one eyebrow as she sat at the table and waited for Lisa to scoot enough party debris aside so she could safely put the coffee cups down. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Lisa sat in the closest chair to Cathy, pulled her coffee mug closer, and took a sip before answering. “Whenever you say that, in that particular tone of voice, I’ve done something you think I need to be counselled about.”
“What tone of voice?” Cathy innocently asked.
“You know. The Lisa’s-been-a-bad-girl tone of voice. It’s the same one my supervisor uses when he wants to rag on me.” Cathy laughed. “You’ve been working vice too long. You’re paranoid.”
“No, I’m not.” Lisa adamantly shook her head. “You want to make a point.”
“All right, Miss Portelli. If you want me to get straight to the point, I will.” Cathy took a deep breath before continuing. “You know you and I have been friends since we graduated from academy.”
“And?” Lisa prompted.
“You’ve blown me off when I’ve asked this before. But I’ll ask again.” She sighed heavily. “Why is it that I never see you with the same man more than twice? And why the stuffed shirts lately?”
Lisa pretended to wince at the insult. “What’s wrong? You didn’t like Bradley Winthrop-Silsby the Fourth?”
Cathy simply stared at her.
Lisa couldn’t help smiling. “Okay, so you think Brad is a loser.” She stopped for a moment. “You’re right. He is.”
Cathy frowned and leaned toward her. “All of the guys you’ve been dating for the last year are losers. I know that’s not what you want to hear, and it’s not even the nicest thing in the world a best friend can say, but it’s true. You know it.”
Lisa nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. Some of the suits my parents try to hook me up with are dull as dirt. If I have to listen to one more guy explain stock options or brag about his Jaguar I’ll puke.”
“You used to date guys from your division. And I don’t think any of them could be remotely described as boring or narcissistic,” Cathy reminded her.
“Yeah, but that wasn’t serious. I was just messing around and they knew it. Nobody took any of that to heart, you know.”
Cathy tapped her finger on the table top and continued staring at her friend.
“What’s your point, Cathy? I know when I invited Brad to my party tonight that he wasn’t the most scintillating company in the world. But my parents asked me to extend the invitation.”