The first day of spring arrived,filling me with an overwhelming sense of freedom. Even though the temperaturewasn’t real warm, it meant that winter was officially over. Even better, a rideon the motorcycle behind Ramos was now a possibility.
I’d missed that and I’d missedhim. He’d been gone for two weeks helping Uncle Joey take care of someout-of-town business. I wasn’t exactly sure what that entailed and… believeme, I didn’t want to know. Jackie, Uncle Joey’s secretary and wife, told methey were both due back in the next few days, and deep down where I didn’t wantto admit it, I could hardly wait to see them again.
That probably made me a badperson, since I worked for Uncle Joey, and he was a mob-boss. Ramos was hishit-man and he’d saved my life a few times. I had to admit, it was a far cryfrom the first time I’d met Ramos almost a year ago, when he was thinking hemight have to kill me for the big boss.
I’d had to tell Uncle Joey mysecret that I could read minds to stop that from happening. Since then, myskills had come in handy for Uncle Joey, and gotten me into a lot of trouble.But he’d always been there to bail me out, both literally and figuratively.
So now I helped Uncle Joey, notbecause I was forced into it, but because I wanted to. That was just twisted onso many levels, and he wasn’t even my real uncle. But I couldn’t seem to stop,so I did my best to keep on the right side of things.
Ramos was another part of thatstory. He was one hot and swoon-worthy man any woman would fall for. I had tokeep reminding myself that I was happily married every time I laid eyes on him.He was the quintessential bad boy and, like a decadent chocolate dessert withwhipped cream and a cherry on top, something that I might want in the worstway, but would also be very bad for me.
If I wasn’t married with kids…well, who knew what could happen, but I loved my husband and children, andRamos respected that. Even so, there were still times when my heart seemed tohave a mind of its own around him, and I’d have to rein it in or lose control,which was not an option.
Only a handful of people knew Icould read minds, and I liked it that way. I told everyone else I hadpremonitions, and that mostly worked. I also had my own consulting agency,which included helping the police along with my own clients. Because of that, Imanaged to get into even more trouble, and that wasn’t counting the mob-bosspart.
My husband, Chris, had asked formy help on a hard case. He was an associate partner in the prestigious law firmof Cohen, Larsen and Pratt. This case was the single most important event ofChris’ career, mostly because the partners were looking to replace the Cohenpart of the firm, and changing it to Larsen, Pratt and… Nichols.
This was a huge deal, and Iwondered if the fact that Chris handled all of Uncle Joey’s accounts hadsomething to do with it. Probably, but I wasn’t touching that with a ten footpole. This put a lot of pressure on me. Not as much as Chris, but still… Ididn’t want to screw it up for him.
That brought me to my problem. Iwasn’t sure I wanted to help Chris, mostly because he was defending a womanaccused of killing her husband, and ten million dollars from the life insurancepolicy was in the balance. To complicate matters even more, the husband’scompany was one of Chris’ biggest clients.
If they won, Chris’ firm would geta nice, fat share, and also keep the company as a client. But from everythinghe’d told me, she sounded guilty as sin. If I listened to her thoughts, I’d knowfor sure, and that would just ruin everything. It made me realize thatsometimes my ‘gift’ wasn’t so great. Not when I had to use it to get someoneoff who actually deserved some jail time.
But… wasn’t that what I did forUncle Joey? So how was this any worse?
In fact, I’d recently made a dealwith a government agent to keep Uncle Joey out of prison. In exchange for myhelp on one of his cases, he’d agreed to make any charges against Uncle Joeydisappear. When Uncle Joey found out what I’d done, he wasn’t too happy withme. Especially since he thought I’d told Blake Beauchaine I could read minds.
Once he knew I hadn’t, and Blakejust wanted me for what he thought were my mad interrogation skills, he’dcalmed down. Still, Uncle Joey told me he could have handled anything Blakemight have thrown at him without my deal. To be honest, it kind of hurt myfeelings. Then he made me promise to involve him if Blake ever came to collect.
So now on top of everything else,I had Blake’s phone call to look forward to, and Uncle Joey to involve afterthat. It was enough to give me an ulcer.
“Shelby? We’re ready for you,”Chris said, poking his head out of the conference room.