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Authors: Lisa Scottoline

Courting Trouble

BOOK: Courting Trouble
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L
ISA
S
COTTOLINE

 
 

 

To my readers, with my deepest thanks

 

For your dedication, I offer my own

 

May you always be courageous.

 

—B
OB
D
YLAN,
“Forever Young”

 

Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz (singing): When other friendships have been forgot, ours will still be hot.

 


I Love Lucy,
“Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress,”
Episode No. 69, October 19, 1953,
singing Cole Porter’s “Friendship”

 

Table of Contents

 

PerfectBound Exclusive e-Book Extras:
A L
ITTLE
M
ORE
A
BOUT
L
ISA
O
NE
N
IGHT ON
M
Y
B
OOK
T
OUR
T
HE
N
OVELS

 
 

1
 Anne Murphy barreled through the bustling lobby of the William Green Federal Courthouse, her long, auburn hair flying.

 

2
 R
OSATO
& A
SSOCIATES,
read the brass nameplate affixed to the sky-blue wall, and Anne stepped off the elevator into . . .

 

3
 Seagulls squawked over a greasy brown bag in a trash can, and dappled pigeons waddled along the weathered boardwalk, . . .

 

4
 Half an hour later, Anne had turned in her apartment key to a puzzled realtor and was streaking toward the Atlantic City . . .

 

5
 The smell that greeted Anne when she opened the door into her kitchen wasn’t one she’d ever come home to.

 

6
 Anne stood in her second-floor hallway, scratching Mel to keep him quiet and listening to the shuffle of feet below.

 

7
 Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” Mary gasped, just before Anne clamped a firm hand over her mouth and backed her . . .

 

8
 Anne fled to the back corner of the elevator as Matt Booker stepped in with his clients, Beth Dietz and her ponytailed . . .

 

9
 Fifteen minutes later, Uncle Sam and her large, stuffed manila envelope were downstairs in the office lobby, being let out . . .

 

10
F
RANKIE
& J
OHNNY

S,
said the sign on the storefront, in funky black letters. The windows had been covered with plywood . . .

 

11
Fifteen minutes later, a cherry-red Mustang idled in an illegal parking space, pointing toward an unsuspecting gay bar.

 

12
What’s going on?” “Gil Martin’s here,” Bennie answered. “Carrier’s in with him.” “
What?
Gil? Here? Why?”

 

13
Anne, in her white baseball cap and black Oakleys, Bennie, and Mary stood in the bright but tiny third-floor kitchenette.

 

14
Bennie steered the Mustang through the city traffic, keeping an eye on the rearview mirror. By now Anne had learned . . .

 

15
Outside the second-story window, dimestore firecrackers popped and holiday lasers sliced the night sky, but Anne . . .

 

16
Matt looked like he’d been punched in the face. An inch-long cut tore though his left cheek, jagged and freshly red, . . .

 

17
Loser!
Anne’s heart sank. The Mustang had been towed! She cursed herself and her red roots. Her bad planning and her . . .

 

18
The Chestnut Club was one of Philadelphia’s grandest gray adies, a Victorian mansion with a huge, paneled entrance . . .

 

19
The interview room at the Roundhouse, Philadelphia’s police headquarters, was as full as a stateroom in a Marx Brothers . . .

 

20
S
CHWARTZ

S
F
LOWERS,
read the sign outside, and the dark-haired sales clerk was so harried that she barely looked up . . .

 

21
Anne was surprised to discover that a lime-green VW Beetle could be almost as much fun as a Mustang convertible.

 

22
There was no lobby in the Daytimer Motel, only a small paneled room with a fake-wood counter that blocked access to . . .

 

23
There was almost no traffic heading into the city, and the Beetle zoomed up the steep slope of the Ben Franklin Bridge, . . .

 

24
It was dark by the time Anne and Mary reached the squat row house somewhere in the redbrick warren that was South . . .

 

25
The commissioner’s private conference room at the Roundhouse was large and rectangular, and contained a long walnut table . . .

 

26
I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU DID THAT!” Bennie was yelling at Anne from the passenger seat of Judy’s Beetle, and her voice . . .

 

27
Anne dashed down the sidewalk to Judy’s car. Her breath came raggedly and her knees had gone weak. She looked behind her.

 

28
The sun was still high but glowing a late-day orange, scorching a slow descent through the sky. The air had grown oppressively . . .

 

29
Boom!
A white chrysanthemum burst into bloom and faded to a sparking skeleton as the first fireworks went off in the night . . .

 

30
At the interview room of the Roundhouse, fluorescent lights on the ceiling cast harsh shadows that hollowed out the faces of . . .

 

31
It wasn’t an hour later, delivered by a speeding squad car, that Anne was home, dressed in jeans, a pink tank top, and yellow . . .

 

32
On the front step stood Beth Dietz and she looked like she’d been crying. “Can . . . I come in?” Sobs choked her voice, and she . . .

 

33
The fifth of July, a Tuesday morning, dawned clear and cool, the temperature hovered at a civilized seventy degrees and with . . .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 

A
nne Murphy barreled through the bustling lobby of the William Green Federal Courthouse, her long, auburn hair flying. She was about to do something crazy in court and couldn’t wait to get upstairs. If she won, she’d be a hero. If she lost, she’d go to jail. Anne didn’t think twice about the if-she-lost part. She was a redhead, which is a blonde with poor impulse control.

“Ms. Murphy, Ms. Murphy, just one question!” a reporter shouted, dogging her heels, but Anne charged ahead, trying to ditch him in the crowd.

Federal employees, lawyers, and jurors crisscrossed the lobby to the exits, hurrying home to start the Fourth of July weekend, but heads turned at the sight of the stunning young woman. Anne had wide-set eyes of willow-green, a straight nose dusted with freckles, and a largish mouth, glossy with an artful swipe of raisiny lipstick. Very female curves filled out a suit of cream-colored silk, and her long, lean legs tapered to fine ankles, ending in impractical Manolo Blahnik heels. Anne looked like a model, but given her past didn’t even think of herself as pretty. None of us outgrows the kid in the bathroom mirror.

“Uh-oh, here comes trouble!” called one of the court security officers, as Anne approached the group of dark polyester blazers clustered around the metal detectors. Manning the machines were five older guards, all retired Philly cops, flashing appreciative grins. The guard calling to Anne was the most talkative, with a still-trim figure, improbably black hair, and a nameplate that read
OFFICER SALVATORE BONANNO
. “Gangway, fellas! It’s Red, and she’s loaded for bear!”

BOOK: Courting Trouble
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