Read an Excerpt
"I'll bet there was less red at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre," Lt. Sam Holland said as she stood in the doorway to the Fraternal Order of Police Hall and surveyed the scene before her.
"Wow." Senator Nick Cappuano took a long look around the big room. "Wow."
Sam's sister Tracy joined them. "Oh. My. God. Celia and her friends went freaking nuts with the hearts and flowers."
Every square inch of the large room was decorated with red flowers, balloons and streamers.
"I've seen murders that were less bloody than this reception," Sam said.
"It is her first wedding," Nick reminded them. "She has the right to go all out."
Sam wondered if he'd expect his first wedding to be as elaborate. She'd been there, done that and had no desire to do it again. But for him...Well, for him she'd do just about anything. However, she was drawing the line at hearts and flowers. She had a reputation to uphold.
"Holy shit," Sam's sister Angela said when she joined them. "Check out the ice sculpture. Jesus."
"Cupid, not Jesus," Nick said, smiling at the horror on the sisters' faces. "Be nice, you guys. Celia is so excited."
"I had no idea she had this in her." Sam battled her way through the streamers and balloon ribbons to get to the bar. She needed a drink, and she needed it now.
"You'd be well advised to keep her far, far away from your wedding," Tracy said.
"No kidding." Sam downed a glass of pinot grigio and gestured for another. "How much of this do you suppose Dad knew about?"
"None of it," Angela said, smirking.
"He's a smart man," Nick said, "so I'm sure he told her to do whatever she wanted."
"Is that what a smart man does?" Sam asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Not this smart man. If I did that, we'd end up with beer and peanuts at O'Leary's."
"And that would be bad how exactly?"
Nick bent to kiss her. "We can do better."
Before Sam could tell him she didn't want to do better than O'Leary's, they were interrupted by the arrival of the bride and groom. Sam couldn't deny that her father and his new wife radiated happiness. How could Sam begrudge the woman who had married her paralyzed father the reception of her dreams? Her own wedding, Sam vowed silently, would be as low-key as she could possibly make it. In fact, eloping was starting to look really good to her.
Dressed in red satin bridesmaid gowns, Celia's new stepdaughters stood faithfully by her side while she cut the heart-shaped red velvet cake and fed a piece to her groom. They endured the speeches and the toasts and smiled for no fewer than a thousand photographs. The ultimate insult, however, still awaited them.
"She can't make us," Tracy said when the DJ asked the sisters, their husbands and fiancé to come to the dance floor.
"Dad can make us," Angela said. "He still has that look. You know the one I mean."
"I've never wanted to be called to a murder scene more than I do right now," Sam said through gritted teeth.
"Ladies," Nick said with that charming smile he'd been using all day to manage them, "it's one dance, and then you're done."
"I know I speak for my sisters when I tell you to shut up and stop defending Valentine's Day Bridezilla," Sam said.
Nick laughed at the dismay on their faces as the first notes of Bette Midler's "The Rose" filled the room.
"I'm going to puke in my shoes," Angela muttered. Three-and-a-half months pregnant with her second child, she'd been green for weeks.
"Those are my Jimmy Choos," Sam reminded her, "and if you puke on them, I'll kill you."