“I totally agree.” Mary adjusts the leash on Nibbie’s collar. “Mackenzie said the Block Party is in Times Square! Imagine us at a party in Times Square. I’m so excited I can’t believe it. I watch the New Year’s Eve Party every year!” She frowns. “Wish it was New Year’s Eve. Too bad Dick Clark died. He was the best!”
“I think so too!” Patsy spins in a slow circle, head back as she stares upwards. Timid Hampy peeks from her pocket. “I’ve never been to a city so big. Drove by Chicago once but just around the outskirts. This is so amazing!”
Lyn pulls out a tourist map and studies it. She turns it this way and that, muttering to herself. “According to this, we’re somewhere near the subway connecting Queens to Manhattan.” She points to a spot on the map. “Long Island City is here, just across the East River.”
“So how far is Times Square?” Mary gazes longingly at a drink stand. “I hope we get there soon. I’m starving.”
“Let’s take a taxi!” Patsy steps to the curb, pokes her fingers in her mouth and whistles, the sound loud and shrill. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” she laughs.
A yellow taxi squeals to a stop and the door pops open.
“!#$#@!)..)(8&^*,” the cab driver says.
“Wha……” Lyn looks helplessly at the other two.
“What did he say?” Mary hisses.
“I don’t think it was English,” Patsy whispers. “Better just get in and hope he knows where we want him to take us.”
They hustle into the cab waiting expectantly.
“(**&^%_)*&^%$ go?” The cab driver says again.
“He said ‘go’,” Lyn whispers. “We. Want. To. Go. To. Times. Square.” She enunciates each word clearly.
Driver smiles, stomps on the gas and peals away from the curb darting like a maniac through the heavy traffic. The meter begins clicking, so fast it’s hard to keep track of the fare.
“ACCCKKKK,” they all scream as they are tossed to and fro in the backseat. The animals whine with terror.
“Slow down,” Patsy yells.
“We’re gonna die,” Mary wails.
Lyn covers her face, peeking through her fingers. “Are we there yet?”
As if in answer to their heartfelt prayers, the cab screeches to a halt. They levitate forward and then slam back down on the seat.
Driver points to the meter which now reads $41.50.
“Next time we’re walking.” Mary hands Patsy a twenty.
They clamber out of the cab, thankful to be in one piece.
Lyn consults the map. “We’re here! Times Square!”
All three gaze in delight at the carnival-like atmosphere pervading the site.
Patsy pushes through the crowd to an open spot. “Mackenzie said the Block Party would be near the Carnegie Deli. She said it’s the one catering the affair.”
“I hear it’s wonderful,” Mary gushes. She inhales. “Just smell that food.”
“Over here,” Mackenzie calls. She races towards them. “Isn’t this just too fun? I’ve been here all day and I still haven’t seen everything. And it was wonderful. Tall buildings loaded with shops surround the square on every side, enough to make a shopaholic moan with unrestrained pleasure."
Their hostess leads them through the mass of meandering human bodies. “This is the edge of the Theatre District. Used to be a pretty bad crime area but has been pretty good since Mayor Guiliani cleaned it up.”
She stopped near a cordoned off area with rows and rows of tables and chairs fairly bursting with partygoers. “We’ve been advertising this for weeks and the response was outstanding.” She looks them over. “You guys look like you need a Manhattan! Jet fuel it is but not for the faint-hearted.”
They all sigh.
Mary wanders to the food carts. “Omygawd! Look at this food. Those diets we’re on just died a crashing death.”
Carnegie’s has done itself proud. Stacks and stacks of sandwiches, each a foot high. Hot pastrami and corned beef on homemade rye bread slathered with mustard horseradish, slices of dill pickles, hot dogs covered in sauerkraut and dripping with mustard and catsup. Bowls and bowls of deli salads - macaroni, potato, three bean, pasta - salads of every kind and for dessert – New York Cheesecake!
“I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!” Patsy samples a taste.
“I did die, but I ended up in New York!” Lyn grabs a plate. “Let’s eat!”
The daughter of Wall Street’s most notorious stock swindler, dog trainer, Rylee Pierce has perfected the art of flying beneath society’s radar. Prosecutor, Cooper Reed is a threat to her carefully hidden truths, but how is a woman supposed to resist a man capable of handling a psychotic Great Dane while charming her out of her panties before she has the chance to blink?
Rylee reacted to Coop’s suggestive comment exactly as he expected. She blinked and a tiny frown creased her brow. Whenever the conversation veered toward anything even remotely personal, she either fell back on that sarcastic wit she’d perfected or she retreated into silence. Like now.
Curious contradictions lurked beneath the carefree, lighthearted image she projected. She’d dismissed his show of interest, along with his invitation to meet his friends, and yet he caught her watching him several times during dinner, her eyes full of feminine awareness. Her aunt’s matchmaking annoyed her, but she smiled and teased him, including him in the family camaraderie around the table.
Confusion trumped wariness in her eyes now. He’d thrown her off-balance. Good. Since meeting her the other day, she’d been popping into his head with annoying regularity. Why should he be alone in his madness?
He’d been anxious to see her again, telling himself he’d imagined the unprecedented sexual pull he’d experienced for Elliott’s step-daughter, step-cousin—step-whatever. His imagination was in play, all right. From the moment he’d seen her again, he’d envisioned her in a number of different situations. She’d been naked in all of them.
And he wasn’t the only one experiencing the pull. Those flashes of feminine awareness in her dark-chocolate eyes broadcast her attraction to him, an attraction she evidently planned to ignore. He’d see about that. He hadn’t earned his reputation as a successful prosecutor by backing away from a difficult case, and the beautiful dog trainer was a case he meant to crack.
He turned away and wandered further into the room. Pippin trotted at his side.
“So, this is The Canine Academy?” He eyed the cages. “Where are your other students?”
A soft release of pent up breath reached his ears and he smiled. Yes, off balance was just how he wanted her.
“Gone for the day.”
“Why is Pippin still here?”
“Pippin required a more intense program. He’s our only boarder at the moment.”
“Have dinner with me,” he said, without turning around. She didn’t answer and he waited several beats before glancing over his shoulder. Her eyes shuttered, she fell back on sarcasm.
“We just finished dinner. What do you have, a tapeworm?”
He faced her. “I’d like to take you to dinner, Rylee.”
Her hand went to Belle’s head beside her and she jutted her chin up a notch. “That wouldn’t be a good idea, Coop.”
“Why? I’m attracted to you, and a man can tell when the attraction is mutual.”
She said nothing, returning his gaze while she scratched the fur between Belle’s ears.
“It’s just a meal.” He crossed his arms. “I’m not suggesting we jet off to Vegas.”
She snorted softly. “That’s a relief. Casinos give me a headache.”
The dry sarcasm made him smile. She hadn’t said no.
“Look, you’re a great-looking guy.”
He flashed a grin, pleased when her lips twitched in response.
“And I admit you have a certain amount of charm.”
“But, your father is married to my aunt.”
“Your mother’s cousin,” he corrected. He dropped his arms to his sides and stepped toward her. “And Dad and Silvia can get their own dinner.”
Her lips formed a genuine smile, but she shook her head. “People rarely come out of this kind of thing on friendly terms.”
“This kind of thing?” He continued to advance.
“We’re connected through Sil and Elliott. I don’t want to see them caught in the middle when this…dating thing, or whatever it is you’re after, ends.”
“This dating thing?”
“Or whatever it is you’re after,” she repeated. As he closed the distance, she stepped back and bumped up against the shark cage. She slapped her spread fingers against his chest to prevent him from coming any closer. “I’m not in the market for a relationship right now.”
“Then we don’t have a problem, because neither am I.” He brushed a fingertip over the perfect skin of her cheekbone. “So, here’s what I suggest.”
Her eyelids fluttered, pupils dilating, and reluctant temptation replaced the wariness in her dark orbs. Still, she kept a defensive hand on his chest.
“If you insist on negotiating when I’ve already explained my concerns,” she said, holding his gaze, “I’d rather you didn’t touch me.”
He checked the urge to kiss her at the artless admission of finding his touch disturbing. Instead, he moved his hand to the cage beside her head. He wrapped his fingers around the metal bar and dipped his head, bringing his face closer to hers. She blinked but held her ground, boldly meeting his gaze.
“I propose we get to know one another,” he pressed. “A few dinners. Maybe a show, or a ball game or two if you like. We find out what makes each other tick.”
“Hmmm.” Her mouth moved into a smirk. “Five seconds ago you were talking a meal. Now it’s a few dinners and a ball game or two. At this rate we’ll be jetting off to Vegas by the end of the week.”
She didn’t try to stop him when he took the final step that brought their bodies within inches of each other. “Has anyone ever accused you of being a wiseass?”
Head cocked as though considering the question, her mouth quivered on a smile. “Nope.”
“How about a liar?”
She lost the battle with the smile and her low laugh sent a lash of desire whipping across his midsection. He did what he’d wanted to do since arriving at his father’s condo days ago. Leaning in, he took...
My name is Mackenzie Crowne. Mac to my friends.
I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I were blessed with two rambunctious little boys who we managed to raise into wonderful men without any disfiguring mishaps. Dirt bikes and ESPN are the order around our house, and life at the ‘Testosterone Ranch’ more closely resembles one of today’s wacky reality shows, than yesterday’s 'Leave It To Beaver'. I’m one of eight kids, raised just north of Boston. I moved to Phoenix as an adult because living in the southwest feeds my soul. My love of books, specifically the romance genre, has been a lifelong affair, both as a reader and a writer. A bout with breast cancer sharpened my resolve to see my stories shared with others. In October I will be a five year survivor, living my dream.
To win a download of Mac 's book, all you have to do is just leave a comment and your e-mail address.
Contest ends tomorrow and everyone who comments is eligible.