I’m not what you’d call a morning person. At least not until I polish off my first pot of coffee. Thanks to my mother, the only living heart donor, I have a lovely cottage on Palm Beach. The cottage wasn’t very lovely when she sold it to me and it did have a body in the closet, but that was a minor detail when weighed against the prospect of having my own little piece of Atlantic Ocean to myself.

After showering and drying my hair, I went to my closet of secrets. Secrets, you ask? Oh yes. Thanks to my mother cutting off my trust fund money, I, Finley Anderson Tanner (F.A.T. to my enemies); have been reduced to the shady underworld of thrift stores, outlet malls and eBay. I’m a walking, talking salute to gently used. Enough about my precarious financial issues.

I selected a Lilly Pulitzer dress in pale lime with small aqua flowers and a killer pair of peep-toe Kate Spade shoes I’d unearthed at a deep discount during the bi-annual Episcopal Church fundraiser. Since the South Florida summer was in full swing, I twisted my long hair into a pseudo-mess and secured it with a couple of lacquered chopsticks.

With a travel mug in my hand, I left my lovely little cottage for the ten-minute drive to my office in West Palm Beach. It was a pleasure to drive with the top down on my Mercedes. Well technically it belonged to Mercedes leasing, but I didn’t dwell on that. And in no time, I was at my desk at the offices of Dane, Lieberman and Caprelli. And I was only fifteen minutes late.

The receptionist made a note of my tardiness. I think she keeps a running tab so she can tattle to the senior partner, Vain Victor Dane. Victor has his nails buffed more often than I do. He’s quite the metrosexual. Ellen Lieberman is the contracts specialist at the law firm. She’s nice enough but I don’t think she’s shaved her legs since the Carter Administration and her long, curly hair is equal parts red and gray. Vane Dane might not like me, but Ellen does. And so does the newest addition to the firm. Tony Caprelli is a criminal defense attorney with black hair and eyes the color of expensive chocolate. He has dark brown hair and a smile that makes my knees buckle. Two things get in the way of dating him. Thing one – he’s my boss. Thing two – he comes with baggage in the form of a fourteen-year-old daughter. Still, a girl can dream.

Only this girl dreams about Liam McGarrity. He’s a P.I. the firm uses and if Tony makes my knees weak, Liam makes them nonexistent. He has jet-black hair and piercing blue eyes. He’s got a killer body and a great sense of humor. And an ex-wife he still has dinners with almost every week.

My available man pool is drying up.

As a paralegal, I do estates and trusts under the watchful eyes of Vain Dane and criminal litigation support under the sexy eyes of Tony Caprelli. Tony’s work is definitely more interesting but I can handle an estate with my eyes closed.

No sooner does my purse hit the floor – a purse I scored on eBay, a pink Coach bag with a small black smear on the bottom – my intercom rings. It’s Maudlin Margaret the receptionist.

“Yes?”

“Mr. Dane wants you in his office now.”

This can’t be good. I’m only called to the fourth floor to be chastised. Dutifully, I grabbed up a legal pad and hurried to the elevator. Dane’s office was floor to ceiling glass with a stunning view of the Intracoastal and the Atlantic off in the distance. I tapped on the door.

He didn’t glance up from the documents he was scanning, he just said, “Sit.”

Heel. Stay. Liver treat.

“I want status updates,” he said, still not looking at me.

Well I want another cup of coffee. “The appraiser is going to the property today on the Palmer estate. I’m waiting to hear from the broker on the Ellis estate so I can finish the initial inventory.” I blathered on for about seven minutes.

When I was finally finished, Vain Dane glanced in my direction for the first time. “From now on I want memos every Monday so I’ll know where you are on each estate. Is that clear?”

“Not a problem. Liar, Liar. I hate doing busy work. I hate working period.


You can read more about Finley in SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR, the fourth book in the “Finley Anderson Tanner” mystery series. The first book in the series is KNOCK OFF.

USA Today Bestselling author Rhonda Pollero has penned more than 40 novels including the popular Rose Tattoo, Landry Brothers and Finley Tanner series. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is considered an expert on structuring the novel. Please visit her on the web at www.RhondaPollero.com

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

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