Check out more about the book here at Muse It Up's bookstore, where you can also pre-order it should you feel so inclined. There's an excerpt at the bookstore too, and just because I love you so much, I'll treat you to another right here. Enjoy!
Leaning her chin on her hand, Maggie looked at him for a moment before she decided to take the plunge.
“Okay. Danny, when I was in New York, I, um…had a fling. A brief thing, a one-nighter.”
“What?” Danny looked incredulous. “You told me you were only actually in New York for one night! Bloody hell, you didn’t hang about, did you?” He started to laugh. “I thought you gave up one night stands after the college days.”
“I did,” Maggie squirmed. “But this was sort of…different.”
“Oh, I see. Different.” Danny nodded in an annoyingly superior, knowing way. “A head over heels, caution to the wind, never to be repeated, special offer kind of different, right?”
Maggie gave a short, embarrassed laugh. “Something like that. Actually, a lot like that.”
“Aw, so sweet, my little chicky!” Danny reached out a hand and patted hers. “But it’s not as if it was your first time, or your last, let’s hope. So why all the panting ingénue stuff?”
Maggie sighed, a mix of wistfulness and longing that surprised her. “Because here’s the thing,” she said, her thumbnail between her teeth. “And you are not going to believe this.”
“Ha! Try me, girlfriend.” Danny took a swig of Bud. “There’s something hot about this one, I can tell.”
“It was him.”
Danny creased his brow as he pretended to think hard. “Nope. I’m going to need a little more than ‘him’, I’m afraid.”
Maggie cleared her throat, suddenly feeling nervous. “Okay. It was the guy we met today. Valentino. Tony Valentino.”
Danny’s lips wiggled around an ooo. “You are kidding me! Absolutely no way!”
“Yes, way,” Maggie said miserably.
“I don’t believe it. Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure, it’s not like I do it every day!”
Danny was opening and closing his mouth like a demented goldfish. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me? You spend one night in New York, you sleep with the FBI, and you keep that to yourself? You selfish cowbag! I may never speak to you again.”
Maggie shook her head and kept her voice low. “No, Danny, listen,” she said urgently. “I didn’t tell you because I shouldn’t have done it.”
Danny’s elbows slipped off the table in mock astonishment. “What are you talking about, you shouldn’t have done it? What, with that hunk? Good God, I’d shag him, and I’m straight.”
Picking up her water, Maggie paused with the bottle at her lips. “Somehow, I suspect you’re not his type. What with you not being a girlie and all.”
“For a guy like that, I’d change. And I’ll pump you for the sordid details in a minute, Lawless, but what the hell do you mean you shouldn’t have done it?” He pulled a face. “C’mon, he’s gorgeous, even more gorgeous than me, if that’s possible. I’m not seeing the problem.”
Maggie flopped back on her seat and heaved a sigh that came right up from her boots.
“Danny, just think about it. I meet this guy called Joey Pescolloni. He won’t tell me what he does for a living, says he has bits of business here and there. The guys he knows
all have shiny suits and signet rings.” She peered at him to see if any of this was sinking in.
It wasn’t. “Look. He takes me to a place called, oh, I don’t remember, La Speranza or La Gondola or something. Everybody in the place is flashing big bundles of cash.” She tipped her head to one side. “Is this waving any flags at you yet?”
Danny did his worst Robert de Niro impression, lifting his shoulders right up to his ears, hands open in supplication. “So whaddya know, he’s Italian, he likes pasta? Badda boom, badda bing!”
“Exactly! Badda...whatever. That thing you said.”
Danny’s jaw dropped halfway to the table. “Oh, my giddy aunt,” he said, leaning on each word as realization began to dawn. “You thought he was Mafia! Some wiseassed wiseguy.”
Maggie covered her face with her hands. “Yes, I did, I did…”
“So why the hell didn’t you just walk?” Danny couldn’t contain his laughter now. “You know, ‘excuse me while I powder my nose’ and just leg it through the bathroom window?”
Maggie squeaked. She opened her hands a tiny gap and peeked out. “Danny, you know why, you said it yourself. He’s gorgeous!”
“Ah.” Danny folded his arms and looked at Maggie in smug satisfaction. “Oh, now it makes sense. You were already too far gone in lust and Lambrusco. Lawless, you total trollop!”
Maggie slumped onto the table, her head on her arms. “I’m not,” she said in a small voice. “I’m female and breathing. Any woman would have done the same.” She looked up, trying to retain what little dignity she had left. “And it was a rather nice Pinot Grigio, thank you, not Lambrusco.”
“Whatever. He plied you with booze and had his wicked way. Or you plied him. Stop kicking me under the table.”
“You deserve it. Anyway, it wasn’t like that. I just fancied him like mad, and when I realized he felt the same, well, you know…”
“There was no stopping you.”
“There was no stopping either of us.” A sudden pang of sweet memory made her gasp. “Oh, Danny, it was quite a night.”
The waitress arrived with their order and the sort of enthusiasm that would have her telling them to be sure and eat up all their vegetables because it would make them nice and strong. Maggie fired a look at Danny, telling him in no uncertain terms to shut up until they were done. She smiled her thanks at the waitress, who beamed beatifically at them one more time and went off to bestow her blessings on some other lucky customers.
Danny attempted to lift a burger as big as the plate it sat on without losing any of it. “So, when are you going to spill the gory details? Coz I want to be sitting somewhere cosy with another beer in one hand and a ciggie in the other when you do.”
“I’m not telling you anything else, you dirty sod.” Maggie pushed her salad around the plate with her fork, stabbed a chunk of tuna and peered at it before she dropped it, appetite gone.
“Are you going to eat that or just torture it?” Danny asked, chewing happily. “Anyway, there is one thing you absolutely do have to tell me.”
Maggie looked at him, eyebrows raised. ”And that would be?”
“That would be…what are you going to do about it now?”
“What do you mean, now?” Maggie stared at him in horror. “Nothing!”
“Aw, do me a favour.” Danny paused in his chewing to lick mayonnaise from the side of his hand. “I twigged the way he was looking at you when the lights came on in that room. I thought it was coz he was looking forward to an introduction. I didn’t know he’d already had the pleasure.”
Maggie dropped her fork. “You’re making that up.”
“I bloody am not. You think I don’t know how a bloke looks when he’s thinking about rampant sex? I see it every time I look in a mirror. Trust me, he’s got the same fond memories of your sordid little adventure as you.” He dipped a French fry the size of a house brick in some ketchup and munched, speaking with his mouth full. “Possibly even fonder.”