A Weekend of Misbehaving - Carmen Falcone

Chapter One

Alice Sommers slammed the door of her red Ford Focus. Did her AC seriously have to break again, on the hottest Texas summer night? She locked the car, even though no one in this area would be interested in it or its contents.

Grabbing an elastic band from her pocket, she pulled her hair up in a high ponytail. Sucks to be me. She turned to cross the street to Lorenzo Baldi’s exclusive building when she was thrown against her car.

An ache shot up her spine as her back slammed across the metal. She squinted at a tall bald man with a neck tattoo. “What the hell?” she managed past her parted lips.

“You can’t ignore me anymore. I want my money, bitch,” he said, and she recognized his raspy voice.

A bone-chilling cold spilled into her veins and stilled her blood. For a moment, she wasn’t even sure her heart was beating. As the man clamped his slimy hands around her arm, her heart thumped with a vengeance.

She pushed past the fear lodged in her dry throat. Suddenly the speeding ticket she got earlier and sweating like a whore in church while she drove weren’t the worst parts of her day anymore. The man whose hands kept her from moving, and whose body was too close to hers for comfort, was Buck—the loan shark she had avoided like the flu for the past three days.

She tried to disentangle herself from him. “Listen, I was going to call you… I don’t have the money right now, but I swear if we can come up with some sort of payment plan—”

“Payment plan?” He let out a hearty chuckle, then snorted. “There ain’t none in this business. I’m giving you seven days to come up with the money.”

Was he crazy? “That’s impossible. How can I get fifteen thousand dollars in a week?”


“Hey, wait a minute. No. You told me my sister owed you—”

He tightened his grip, and she gasped. “Sweetheart, I usually give a lot less time. Since Rachel is a nut job, I’m cutting you some slack. But I’m in this for profit. So twenty it is.”

“Oh yeah? What are you going to do if I’m a day late?” She injected some confidence in her voice, even though her palms were slick with cold sweat.

He let go of her arms. She took a deep breath and motioned to push him away, making complete use of her newfound freedom. The bastard, however, outmaneuvered her and pushed her against the car again. “I know where you and your fucked-up sister and niece live. I even know where your mother lives. Not to mention where you work.”

A shiver zapped down her spine. “Leave them out of this.”

“That’s up to you, ain’t it?” He loosened his grip, but the evil in his black eyes kept her locked in place. How could she move when her entire body was one big knot of trembling tension? Her blood thrummed in her veins. “If you tell anyone about this little warning, you’re dead meat. If you don’t bring me the money in one week, you’re dead meat. If you don’t answer your fucking cell phone when I call—”

“I’m prosciutto. Got it.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Good.” He stroked her cheek, and she jerked away from him. “Wouldn’t want anything to happen to this pretty face.”

She shot him a look of disgust, and he winked at her. Unfazed, he got in his car, which she realized was parked behind hers. A vintage white Cadillac. Did Buck moonlight as a pimp? Jeez.

She drew in a deep breath. Speculating about that creep’s after-hours activities wasn’t going to help her come up with a solution.

It took her longer than usual to move her wobbly legs and walk across the street once he was gone.

With trembling fingers, she grabbed her cell phone from her bag and called Georgia, who was vacationing in the Caribbean with her boyfriend Brent and their kids. She hadn’t yet told her best friend about Rachel’s latest stunt, quite aware Georgia would tell her off for being a pushover. Easy for her to say.

Shit, what could Alice do? With her mom, bipolar sister, and six-year-old niece Brenda, she didn’t have much choice. Especially after she’d promised Dad, before he died in the hospital following a car accident, that she would watch over them. Why didn’t he specify a time frame? The rest of her life seemed like a long freaking time.

“Hi, Alice!” Georgia answered after the third ring, her voice perkier than usual.