After shooting one of her own clients and accidentally getting involved with the mob, Sofie Metropolis is finally starting to get the hang of the PI business. She's just landed her first high-profile case. A local Astoria girl has made good by marrying an up-and-coming South American pitcher who has just been signed by the New York Mets. Reni Venezuela's good looks and charm--not to mention his fastball and his slider--are bringing hordes of fans to Shea Stadium. But despite his stellar record, Reni's wife insists something's wrong with her husband. Can Sofie find out what?
Meanwhile, romance and all its complications are heating up for Sofie. But while the Mets steamroll toward the pennant race, Sofie must tail Reni and hope that whatever she discovers--steroids or an affair?--won't cost her beloved Mets the Series.
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TORI CARRINGTON is the pen name of Lori and Tony Karayianni, a husband-and-wife writing team who have published more than twenty-five novels. They are recipients of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award and have been nominated for the RITA Award. They live in Toledo, Ohio.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Sunday dinner at the Metropolises’ was always a big event, even without Diamond Vision. Forget that there were usually at least seven present at a table that was piled high with all sorts of great Greek delicacies, and that the longtime feud between my father and my maternal grandfather, Kosmos, periodically erupted into an almost food fight. This was the day when opinions were aired in an open environment where, yes, you might be judged, but you were always accepted. The exception being politics. Long ago, my mother Thalia had banned the discussion of any type of politics while there was still food on the table.
Of course, when coffee was served afterward, I imagined that a stoplight was hanging from the ceiling—instead of a chandelier—and it turned green, and everyone revved his or her engines.
Debating politics was as much a part of being Greek as stories about mythological gods doing strange things to swans. And there were usually as many opinions as there were gods, all different from the ones next to them, yet attached to the same family tree.
I’d once read somewhere that consistency was the one true sign of an intellectual. If that were the case then I’d pretty much say we all fell on the dumb side. One of my mother’s maxims was that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, then you shouldn’t say anything at all. And my father always added that the one speaking the loudest was generally the one that had the least to say.
Welcome to dinner at my family’s house.
As I sat at the dining room table sipping my post-dinner frappé, feeling sated and watching the goings-on around me, I recognized that I was in more of a thoughtful mood as of late. Where I might jump into the conversation right there, to contest my brother’s take on the latest political scandal, or there, where my father spoke on the viability of a female candidate for president, I instead stayed quiet.
The truth was, lately I’d become aware of a slight shift in our family dynamic. Oh, nothing drastic. We were still the same loving, sarcastic bunch, each of us easily giving as good as we got. And the changes went beyond the new fondness I’d witnessed between my mother and father ever since he’d surprised her with a thirtieth wedding anniversary party. (A really nice surprise for both of us, since Thalia had thought her husband was carrying on an affair and had half-convinced me of the same. Okay, she’d flat out convinced me. But in this case I’d never been happier to discover I was wrong.) The change also transcended Efi’s recent participation in the dialogue when she usually sat back with her skinny arms crossed over a chest bearing a T-shirt with some sort of crude or offensive saying or another. (Today it was yes, i’m a bitch, just not yours!) And even my maternal grandfather and father seemed capable of trading words without either one of them lunging across the table at each other.
Then again, maybe my family hadn’t changed. Maybe I had.
Someone said something along the lines of, “So what do you think, Sofie?”
I blinked as they all looked at me while my mother poured glasses of cold water and handed them out, perfect with the kumquat preserves she’d spooned onto tiny plates.
“How about those Mets?” I said.
Okay, so I hadn’t been paying attention. In all honesty, I’d much rather give my realization more attention than what it took to accept a water glass from my mother and pass it down. But obviously that wasn’t going to happen. At least not now when I had a family with which to engage in conversation.
“World Series, all the way,” my younger brother Kosmos said.
“Baseball.” My grandpa Kosmos tsked. “When is America going to get with the world program and make soccer its national sport? World Series. Outside of the Americas, who plays baseball?”
“Japan,” Efi offered.
“And when was the last time you saw them play in the World Series?” my grandfather asked. “Give me a good soccer game any day.”
My grandpa Kosmos had recently taken to watching soccer games on a Spanish-only station, even though he didn’t speak a word of the language. My mother said it was because he liked the way the commentators yelled “Goal!” when the teams scored. I’d watched a match with him last weekend and quickly understood that soccer language was pretty universal. Foul, corner, penalty, they were close enough even in Greek for a non-Greek to be able to follow the game. Besides, all you did was sit around and wait for the goals to be made anyway.
At any rate, I was glad that everyone seemed to have forgotten about my momentary blip on the baseball radar screen two weeks ago. Finally. I swear, for at least a week I’d gotten nailed by at least five people a day who’d seen me and either made a snarky comment or openly laughed at me. Not the makings of a good day any way you looked at it.
“Is that another tattoo?” my mother asked my sister, segueing into the “what were you thinking” segment of Sunday after-dinner discussions.
Efi considered her upper arm, which bore a yin-yang type of symbol. “No.”
“I don’t know why you want to go and mark up your body like that.” Thalia shook her head. “It’s a sin.”
“Actually,” I said casually, “I was thinking about getting a tattoo myself. What do you think, Efi?”
My sister’s face lit up like Times Square at night.
Of course, I was merely trying to deflect my mother’s attention. I liked that Efi was participating in after-dinner conversation and not going upstairs to lock herself in her room.
While every now and again I wished I were more like my little sister, the Sofie jury was still out on the tattoo issue. I loved to look at Efi’s. But would I feel the same with the ink on my skin? Hell, I changed my mind on which pair of jeans was my favorite from day to day. What would I do with a permanent tattoo? Especially at this time in my life when it seemed everything was in a state of flux?
“I got the court notice yesterday.”
Grandpa Kosmos’ words stopped all conversation. Partly because he was off topic. Mostly because we all immediately knew what he was talking about but had conveniently relegated the reality to the edges of our collective conscience.
Correction: The fact that my ex-fiancé was pressing criminal assault charges against my sixty-pushing-seventy grandfather for having busted his nose was something I went out of my way not to think about. Otherwise I was afraid of what I might do. Particularly in light of the new bond I was forming with my Glock.
Of course, we’d all known that we’d have to face this sooner or later. You know the saying, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”? Well, we were now standing staring at the bridge and had to decide who was going to take the first step.
The way I saw it, Grandpa Kosmos was completely justified in socking Thomas Chalikis—more than even I was, maybe. He’d given the lousy skirt-chaser my late maternal grandmother’s ring so he could propose to me. And after I’d decided I wasn’t too keen on the idea of nooky roulette—meaning I didn’t want to be left wondering which one of my friends my spouse was showing little Thomas to now—and Jake Porter had rescued the mangled ring from my garbage disposal, I’d found out that the diamond wasn’t a diamond at all, but high quality CZ—cubic zirconia. Meaning that somewhere between the time Grandpa Kosmos had given my ex my grandmother’s ring and Thomas had it reset to propose to me, the diamond had been switched out.
All things considered, the question should be whether I would sue Thomas for the cost of the missing diamond, rather than whether my grandfather should be facing criminal charges for hitting a man a third his age.
“I can’t believe that no good, lying, cheating, son of a bitch is getting away with this,” Efi said.
Normally my mother would cuff the back of her head or my father might glare at my sister to get her to apologize for her crass words.
Now we were all in agreement.
“When’s the date?” I asked, barely able to swallow the big sip of frappé I’d just sucked into my mouth.
“A week and a half from now. Wednesday at ten in the morning.”
A week and a few days. Good. That gave me some time to work with.
Although what work, exactly, I was going to do remained undetermined.
I could always take a cue from Tony DiPiazza and fit Thomas-the-Toad-Chalikis with a pair of cement overshoes and push him into the East River from Hell Gate Bridge.
But since getting Thomas to come anywhere near me, much less on top of a bridge, was out of the question, I’d probably have to get far more inventive.
One of the advantages of being a private detective was that you set your own hours. There was no time clock, no boss breathing down the back of your neck questioning your tactics or your work ethic. Of course, it also helped that my uncle Spyros was the spyros metropolis, private investigator that was stenciled in gold letters on the front window of the small office on Steinway, wedged between a Thai restaurant and a fish store. And that for the past few months he’d been an absent boss, on an extended vacation in Greece. When I ...
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Book Description Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2007. Audio Cassette. Book Condition: Brand New. unabridged edition. 9.20x6.50x0.80 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1433210630