Detective Drake Nash: hot, alpha, bossy, and… mine.
Now, if someone could tell his ex that... I don’t care if the summer fayre is coming to Holly Woods and she’s on the planning committee. What I do care about is sugar-filled food, bright lights, late nights… and danger. The type that won’t come in the form of Nonna’s new cantankerous British parrot, Gio. (Please see the damage done to Mom’s new curtains.)
Unfortunately, when the danger comes, it comes in the form of something Holly Woods has never seen. The town is rocked to its core, and once again, I’m in danger. Only this time, it isn’t because of my clients—this time, I’m in danger because of who I am… Because of my heritage.
And despite the HWPD’s best efforts, the bodies keep on piling up.
Drake’s determined to protect me. I’m determined that I can do it myself.
Danger. Mystery. Darkness. Malice.
It’ll be a miracle if any of us make it out of this with guns unfired, cupcakes still frosted, and hearts intact…
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It’s better for my sanity if I get this conversation with Nonna over and done with.
Oh my fuck. I have to meet the parrot, too. Holy fuckballs. What if the colorful rat sides with her?
Oh, who am I kidding? Of course it’s gonna side with Nonna.
Shit. Clearly, I can be swayed by the desperation of my future sister-in-law. I’ve really gotta get a handle on that crap. This should be Devin having this conversation, not me.
That thought hits right as I pull up behind Mom’s car on the drive. I take a deep breath, apprehension coiling in my lower stomach, and get out of my car. This feeling always hits whenever I get to my parents’ place, but today, it’s particularly strong. I know that Nonna will play the innocent card and make everything a lot harder.
I walk across the front yard, and a loud squawk rings in my ears. My heart stops for a brief second, and I bite my tongue. That thing is loud. How are Mom and Dad coping with that?
I knock on the front door twice before I push it open.
“Ye cruel wench! Ye vile wench! Cazzo! Cazzo!”
Nice to meet you, too, Gio.
“Hello,” I call hesitantly, closing the door behind me.
“Aye! Ye bloody wench!”
“Oh, shut up, you little shit!” Mom yells.
I walk into the front room in time to see her cover the offending bird’s cage with a bedsheet.
“Wench! Wench!” Gio squawks from beneath the black sheet.
Mom smacks the cage. “I’ll wench your beak real soon!”
Oy vey. Things have sure gotten violent in the Bond family home.
Nonna shuffles into the front room and, upon seeing Gio covered, gasps. “Kellie, you-a let-a him go-a!”
Mom snorts. “Believe me, Liliana. If I could imprison the little shit, I would! My curtains are ruined!”
I glance at the window. There’s a giant rip in one of the drapes. The ones she bought two weeks ago.
Nonna gasps and rushes across the room, her cane nothing more than a steadying tool. “Gio!” she exhales, whipping the sheet off. “You-a okay?”
The concern on her face is comical. Oh, Nonna.
“Vile wench! Vile wench!” Gio shrills, violently flapping his bright-green wings. “Kellie, ye vile wench!”
I squint. Doesn’t seem like Gio’s conversational skills are up to much unless he’s going to hop on the Black Pearl.
“Hello?” I try again, stepping fully into the front room.
Nonna is leaning forward, cooing at the parrot, and ignores me. Mom turns, her nostrils flaring.
“Nonna, do you know you can hear that thing halfway down the street?” I inquire.
“He is-a no thing,” Nonna murmurs. “He is-a Gio!”
Gio’s wings flap again, and Nonna stands. Two beady, black eyes focus on me, and it’s surprisingly uncomfortable. A high-pitched noise that sounds awfully like a whistle emits from the cage, and I blink harshly.
“Did he just—”
Gio interrupts me with a loud, unmistakable wolf whistle.
Holy shit. The parrot just wolf-whistled at me.