Mafia Reads Funny & is On Sale!

Trapped by the Mob, the first in the two-book Detroit Mafia Series, is on sale for 99c for a few days…

Here’s what it’s about:

Sure, Antonio Sarvilli is the money man behind his brother’s criminal empire, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. He’s not the one out there killing people. All he does is make greenbacks and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

That attitude changes when his brother assigns him to get to know Phoebe Cavanaugh, a Good Samaritan who witnessed something she wasn’t supposed to.

Now, all Antonio wants is to get out so he can be with Phoebe.

Except that’s not how it works when you’re part of the mob.

And here’s an excerpt:

Something wasn’t adding up, and considering Antonio was the numbers guy, when that happened, he became determined to find out why. It was in his genetic makeup.

Gino’s home office was the size of an opulent apartment in New York City. Why the hell one man needed so much space was beyond Antonio, who rapped his knuckles twice against the wooden door before stepping inside. He strolled across the plush carpet, deliberately twirling his key ring around his finger so Gino could see that he was in a hurry to be somewhere.

His brother spoke in low tones into the phone he held to his ear while he watched Antonio’s progress into the room. They were five years apart in age, though Gino looked ten, maybe fifteen years older. He’d played and worked far too hard for almost his entire life, and Mother Nature had begun to let him know.

His hair, along with the goatee he maintained to hide his weak chin, were speckled with gray. There were crow’s feet next to his eyes and lines around his mouth. While his arms were huge and Antonio would still not willingly challenge him to hand-to-hand combat, Gino was definitely going soft around the middle. Maybe he needed to start banging a dietician instead of those hookers.

But despite the signs of age, when he disconnected the call and sat back in his chair, steepling his fingers and giving Antonio that steady, unblinking gaze, he still reeked of power, control, dominance.

Just like he had for basically Antonio’s entire life.

Gino had started his own dry cleaning business only a few months out of high school. Today, he owned two-thirds of the dry cleaners in the metro Detroit area and bullied the other third so they wouldn’t encroach on his territory. An impartial observer could easily get the impression he owned the goddamn world. In his mind, he probably did. Antonio couldn’t recall the last time someone had crossed his brother. Probably not since sixth grade, when he’d already been a boy in a man’s body.

“Antonio,” he said. “I need you to do a job for me.”

Antonio shook his head. “Already did my job today. Made you a cool half mil. You’re welcome.”

On paper, Gino’s dry cleaning empire made half a mil a year. Everybody—including the cops—knew he was worth far more than that. But they couldn’t prove it. Nor were they aware that his younger brother was the money man; a fucking genius when it came to investing Gino’s substantial assets. Yeah, yeah, most of the money Antonio grew was dirty—really, really dirty—but Gino paid him a lot of greenbacks to ignore that fact.

Gino slid a piece of paper across the smooth surface of the desk. It looked like somebody had taken a screenshot of a video off the computer screen. A woman took up most of the grainy pic, a decent-looking blonde, frozen in the process of talking to, based on the microphone shoved in her face, a television reporter from one of the local networks.

“I need you to befriend this woman. Find out what she knows.”

Antonio glanced from the picture to Gino. “What, like how smart she is? Like can she count to ten or something?”

“Don’t be obtuse. I want you to find out what she knows about me.”

Antonio looked at the picture again. The woman was dressed in a tank top and running shorts, and her hair was pulled back into a ponytail. It was hard to tell from the image, but it didn’t look like she was wearing makeup, or at least not as much as Gino’s usual taste in women wore. Take away the blonde hair and she reminded him a little of Gino’s ex-wife, Margot, actually.

“I don’t mean to bring up a sore spot, but you didn’t have much luck with good-looking, presumably smart women the first time around.”

Gino’s forehead developed deep grooves as he frowned, giving Antonio that look that told him he was in danger of crossing the line between being an irritant and truly pissing off his really scary brother. “I am not interested in her like that, you nimrod.” He sucked in a breath through his nose, took his time exhaling. “She may have, um, witnessed something this morning. Something that naturally didn’t quite happen the way she saw it.”

“Do I want to know what this something is?” Probably not. Antonio was quite content to stay as oblivious as possible to Gino’s business dealings. It was easier to enjoy the far-more-than-comfortable lifestyle his paychecks afforded him if he didn’t look too closely at the root of all that income.

That’s why no one really knew about him; he hid in the shadows, tucked away in the background, managed the money from behind his secure-as-Fort-Knox laptop, and otherwise stayed out of Gino’s day-to-day dealings. He didn’t even come to his brother’s house all that often, and they almost never went out in public together.

When Dad died, they hadn’t had any sort of burial or memorial service. Gino’d had him cremated and shipped the remains back to Italy to be buried in a small, nondescript cemetery there. Then he’d set Mom up in an assisted living facility where she’d wasted away from Alzheimer’s, and then he’d given her the same treatment as Dad. Hell, half the goons on Gino’s payroll probably thought he had no parents, had been born via immaculate conception. Not sure how they figured Antonio came along. Or maybe they weren’t even aware they were brothers.

Antonio didn’t mind. Pretending he wasn’t really part of Gino’s life was easier on his conscience.

“Frankie stopped by to pick up Nina, and this woman saw him. She seems to be under the impression I kidnapped my own daughter. Which, of course, isn’t true.”

Isn’t it? Antonio glanced at the closed door to Gino’s office. Today was Friday. Early June. Here in the Detroit area, most schools were still in session, at least for another week or so. “So what’s Nina doing here, anyway? Shouldn’t she be in school?”

Gino waved dismissively. “I’m letting her have a day off. Everybody deserves a day off once in a while.”

Right. “And does her mom know she’s taking the day off school?”

Gino scowled and spat out, “Margot had a date last night.”

“Good for her. Although I’m not sure what that has to do with Nina skipping school.”

Gino’s fist slammed onto his desk, rattling the sturdy, wooden contraption and sending his pencil holder skittering off the edge. “No, that isn’t good for her. She knows the rules. If she didn’t want to stay with me, she can’t be with anybody.”

“O-o-okay. I see you haven’t gotten any less psychotic over your ex. Look, I’m in a bit of a hurry here, so if you’ll excuse me…”

But before he could take a step toward the door, Gino stabbed his finger at the printout.

“Her name is Phoebe Cavanaugh. She apparently doesn’t live too far from Margot. Go introduce yourself to her, do what you do best.”

“What’s that? Make money for her?”

“Idiot. Charm her. For some damn reason, women love you. I want you to get friendly with her, find out what she knows about me, and then convince her to stop talking to the police and the media about this alleged kidnapping issue. Got it?”

Antonio shook his head. “Nope. Don’t got it. I think you’re confusing me with one of the other guys on your payroll. I don’t do front-end work for you. I’m the greenbacks guy. I make your capital grow, period. That’s the extent of my services for hire.”

“I’m the one who decides the extent of your services.”

Goddamn it, he was right. Antonio wasn’t stupid, although he tried to act that way sometimes in an effort to stay under his brother’s radar. But the reality was, Gino’s empire was exactly like every mafia movie ever made. You didn’t get out of the business unless you got arrested or killed. And you sure as hell didn’t disobey Gino Sarvilli’s orders.

Blood wasn’t thicker than water. Sure, Antonio made a shit-ton of money for Gino, but at this point, he’d probably never be able to spend it all before he died. If Antonio disappeared, there were plenty of other financial planners who could step into his shoes, even if they didn’t have quite his knack for growing the almighty dollar.

With a sigh worthy of an Oscar, Antonio slid the grainy photo off the desk. “What’s her name again?”

Like I said, only 99c for just a few days, or you can read it in KU: TRAPPED BY THE MOB

Trapped by the Mob Cover

 

Tami Lund drinks wine, wins awards, occasionally hits best seller lists, and writes (funny) mafia romance, among other genres… https://tamilund.com/

Homecoming Dress Shopping with Tami Lund

Last week, my daughter announced that she was going to Homecoming. And then she asked if I would take her shopping for a dress.

I naïvely said yes, excited over the prospect of spending quality time with my kid and having zero concept of what I was getting myself into.

I remember my own homecoming experience, of course, but that was… a lot of years ago and from an entirely different point of view. And as she is my one and only, I did not have any previous parent-point-of-view experience from which to draw.

So when I say I naïvely said yes, I mean, seriously, I had no freaking clue what I was getting myself into on that lovely, mild Saturday afternoon.

Her best friend went with us, of course. This I do know about teenage girls: they cannot make a decision alone. There must always be someone of the appropriate age and respect level to whom they can turn to and said, “What do you think?” before agreeing to anything. And I do mean anything.

Me: How about we pick up your bestie at noon and we’ll eat lunch before we go shopping?

My daughter: Hang on, let me text her and see if she approves of this idea.

Me: Uhhh….

Me: If you’re going to wear foundation, we should have a professional help select the right shade so you don’t have that line under your chin like we used to when I was a teenager.

My daughter: Hey, bestie, what do you think? Do you agree with her?

Me: Slow blink, blank stare.

Me: Hey, why don’t we eat at On the Border for lunch? (Mostly because OTB serves margaritas and even though I didn’t truly grasp at that point what was about to happen, I knew I was going shopping with two teenage girls and that was enough to desire a drink or two before embarking.)

My daughter to her friend: What do you think? Would you rather eat at the food court?

Friend: Yeah, that’s cool.

See how that worked out for me?

So we went to the food court in the mall, which, for the record, is my least favorite place in the entire world to eat. First, it’s really, really loud. And chaotic. Second, there’s no alcoholic beverages. Third, I got food poisoning from this particular food court when my daughter was a wee toddler, and while it took three days to recover physically, I’m still not entirely emotionally over the experience.

(This time around I had a vegetarian pita that was quite delicious and did not, for the record, give me food poisoning.)

After lunch was an obligatory stop at Starbucks because this is another thing teenage girls cannot live without.

And then we officially began Homecoming Dress Shopping. By began, I mean we dove right into the deep end. The very first store was nothing but racks and racks of brightly colored, fancy dresses with hardly an inch between for patrons to squeeze through on our search for the perfect silk and satin and tulle and lace. Those dresses were—wow, were they ever short!

That was my first shocker. When I went to homecoming a thousand years ago, it was practically a mini-promo. Like a prelude or maybe practice. And yes, while I’m grateful for the much smaller price tag these days, that money we’re saving is a direct result of a lot less material.

These dresses were also backless. And had cutouts in the front and the sides. Some were two pieces with great gashes of abdominal skin showing in between. Oh, and skintight. And did I mention short?

Did I also mention that my daughter is (only) fourteen years old?

The bestie came up to me before they truly dove into the process and said, “So, is there anything off limits?” When I asked what she meant, she said, “Like, anything that is a definite no? Backless, too short, that sort of thing.”

Props to the kid for asking, eh? I almost said, “Good luck finding something if I list even one style as off limits,” but I didn’t.

I said, “I trust her judgment.”

And off they went.

Well, until they found the first dress, anyway. And then the second. And then I became a living dress rack who followed them around as they flitted from rack to rack, loading me with this and that and no, not that one but how about this one…And finally, when I could feel the carpal tunnel flaring, they decided to get into the (really, really long) line for the dressing rooms.

As weird as it sounds, that part was actually fun. In the line, and then lounging in the waiting area while the girls tried on dress after dress after dress; that was where the parents bonded. Oh, and grandparents. We complimented each other’s children, we commented on the length of the dresses; we offered up the tiebreakers when it came down to two equally loved gowns. And we unanimously agreed that the place would double their profits if they had a wine bar set up in the waiting area.

For the parents, of course.

Eight different garments later and the very first one my daughter tried on was the fave.

But we’d only been to one store, so of course we had to go to at least one more and scope out their offerings.

The next store sold prom dresses too, so guess what we did? Yep, tried on prom dresses. They found totes adorbs ones too, and I pointed out that their tastes and dress styles would very likely change before they’d be heading off to prom, but still; it was fun to twirl in front of the mirrors and take selfies.

And then finally, finally, the decision was made. We returned to the first store and bought the first dress. It’s a high-necked, sleeveless gown in deep purple, with a flouncy, not too short skirt. It’s gorgeous, and so very grown up and perfect for my not so little anymore girl.

purpledress.jpg(And no, I have no pics yet – although this dress is pretty similar. And yes, it has pockets! I wasn’t allowed to take pics, but I finagled an agreement that there would be ridiculous amounts of picture-taking on the day of homecoming.)

By the way, this homecoming dress shopping excursion lasted for over five hours. Much of that was waiting in line for the dressing rooms, but there was also jewelry and shoe shopping and of course a visit to the smoothie store (because Starbucks wasn’t enough?!). When it was all said and done, we completed the outfit in one day flat, which was my personal objective, so yay!

And we ended the day with dinner that wasn’t in the food court (or even in the mall!), and definitely included wine. And then we went home and her bestie’s grandma met us there and my daughter put on the full ensemble and showed it off for us.

And that’s when it hit me that my baby girl is not a baby anymore.

Although yes, she’s still my baby. And she always will be, no matter how many homecomings and proms there are in her future.

Tami-Lund-Bewitching-the-Dragon (1).jpg

 

Tami Lund is an award winning, best selling author who also now claims to be an expert homecoming dress shopping mom. And yes, she has a new release coming out in a couple of weeks. Click the pic!