Being a cop might be in Anthony Moretti's blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that's just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony's morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual.
Though waitressing at The Darby isn't exactly Maggie Walker's dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she'd really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby-and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband-she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.
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“So?” Vincent said. “You women communicate in shoes and chocolate and—“
“And wine,” came a soft female voice from the edge of the table. “Don’t forget wine.”
He knew his brothers would never let him forget it if he said it aloud, he very nearly did, just to hear her name on his lips. But somehow he knew this woman, not by her voice, or her look, or even her smell, but just by her presence.
He felt her. Felt when she was near. Felt when she was afraid. And felt when her eyes were on him.
“You’re a wine-o, Mags?” Luc said, forcing her to shift her gaze from Anth to his brother, and causing Anth to want to relieve Luca of all of his teeth.
Maggie gave a small smile. “Let’s just say that sometimes a glass of wine is just exactly the thing.”
“Or a bottle,” Ava chimed in. “Sometimes a bottle is just the thing.”
Maggie grinned down Luc’s girlfriend. “Or a bottle,” she agreed. “Although the hangover is rarely worth it.”
She flicked a gaze at Anthony, and he gave her the smallest of winks, reassuring her that he did in fact remember that her last hangover involved him and a series of texts …
Too late, he realized that his siblings would be watching him like a hawk, and no way were the Morettis the type to let one of their own off the hook.
“Did you just wink?” Elena asked.
Anth gave her his best scowl, but his sister merely shrugged. “Glare all you want. I know what I saw.”
“Then why did you ask?”
“What Sister Dearest meant to ask,” Luc chimed in, was not did you wink, because obviously you did, but why did you wink, Anth?”
“I didn’t wink.”
“You totally winked,” Ava chimed in. He transferred his glare to the pretty brunette who merely beamed and stole a piece of never-ending supply bacon.
“You did wink,” Maggie said, a smile lighting up her face as she looked at him.
And though Anthony knew it was insane … knew that his family would see right through him, he couldn’t stop himself from smiling back.
Vincent cleared his throat. “Hey, Mags, baby … I think there was maybe some mistake, but um, Anthony seemed to get all the bacon in the restaurant.”
“Seriously, there are like, twenty pieces,” Elena chimed in.
Anth leaned back in his chair and watched as Maggie’s pretty features formed the picture of confusion. “I’m not sure what you mean.”
Nonna pointed a long spindling finger at Anthony’s plate. “Sure you do. You made sure he got half of a hog all because you two had relations.”
Maggie gave one of those slow, secret smiles that only women seemed familiar with and leaned down so her lips were close to his grandmother’s ear. “Mrs. Moretti, with all due respect … if I were to have relations with a man, he’d have all the reward he needs. You get me?”
Maggie stood up slowly, grinning a little when Nonna let out a delighted whoop and smacked her palm against Maggie’s backside as Ava and Elena gave Maggie high fives. Even his mother looked strangely approving.
Anthony, meanwhile, was torn between grinning with the rest of his family and wanting to drag Maggie out of the back door of the diner, press her up against the brick wall and show her that when it came to relations, he was no slouch either.
About Lauren Layne
A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she's naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren's lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan, and currently lives in the Seattle-area. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She's also a total website nerd and insists you check out laurenlayne.com!