Who's That in the Itsy-Bitsy, Anyway? by Stevi Mittman
In this lighthearted mystery, a decorator remodeling her family's beach house discovers her mother's lost love letters...to a Mafia don!
Summertime Blues by Kate Austin
A woman pursuing her dream job in marine biology literally starts at the bottom--cleaning fish tanks at the local aquarium. Luckily, her handsome boss is there to ease the pain of climbing the career ladder.
Kokomo by Jennifer Greene
Crazy for the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" ever since she was a carefree teen, a successful attorney decides to visit the song's namesake Caribbean island. Too bad her assistant books her a ticket to Kokomo, Indiana, instead...where there's no beach, but a former flame is about to make waves.
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July 09, 2007
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Excerpt from Summer Dreams by Stevi Mittman
"Are you out of your mind?" my friend and partner in our decorating business, Bobbie Lyons, asks me as we come in from the heat and I plop down on the stool in her kitchen. Considering the fact that I've just told her that Carmine De'Guiseppe has offered to foot the bill for four weeks at sleepaway camp for all three of my children so that I can move into his house in the Hamptons and renovate it, her reaction isn't exactly surprising.
She reaches into her fridge and hands me a nice cold can of diet soda which I hold against my throat. "Because I'm considering doing it? Or because I haven't accepted it?"
I know, I know. It sounds like a slam dunk. But it's more complicated than it sounds. For starters, there's the fact that Carmine was, once upon a time, my mother's boyfriend. I mean, way, way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and before DNA testing could prove paternity, if you get my drift.
And then, it's a well-known fact that the man has definite Mafia connections. I'm not exactly sure what they are, but I am sure I don't want to get involved with anything even remotely involving the Mafia--not after finally extricating middle names.
One Nicky the Nose was enough for my lifetime, thank you very much.
Bobbie, hair in place, makeup perfect despite the heat, tips down the sunglasses she hasn't yet taken off, and studies me over the rims. She gives me one of her let me get this straight looks, which is just this side of her please tell me you're kidding looks. "Four weeks in the Hamptons without the kids? Teddi, I'd be there in a heartbeat if Mike and I weren't going on that cruise to Alaska."
In the imaginary Go For It column, I put as Number One the fact that Bobbie's twin girls will be off at camp, leaving my eldest, Dana, bored out of her skull. Number Two: Bobbie and Mike won't be around to help even up the parent-to-child ratio with all three of mine. And Number Three: How about the fact that it's only May and today it hit ninety-one degrees and I don't have central air-conditioning?
Then, in the No How, No Way column, I chalk in my mother's name. No, make that chisel in. She's permanently in that column, but this time it's worse than usual because the woman is way too interested in Carmine lately, and not nearly interested enough in Number Two on my No How, No Way list--my father. I just can't imagine telling him that I'm going to decorate Carmine's house while the man sends my father's grandchildren to camp.
When I tell Bobbie as much, she shrugs and asks why I'm so obsessed with "full disclosure."
"Well," I remind her, "unlike your mother, mine doesn't live three thousand miles away. She doesn't have your mother's philosophy of "live and let live," either. You know as well as I do that her nose job wasn't just to make her look better, but to help her sniff out every last detail of my life, the better to interfere in it."
Bobbie, who doesn't have to worry about calories, puts some chips in a bowl on the counter in front of me while I continue.
"That little turned up hook at the end of her nose that makes you think of Candice Bergen? A direct result of sticking it in everyone else's business."
Bobbie examines a chip as though there is a hidden message embedded within it. "Yeah, yeah," she says, because she's heard it all before. "So just don't tell her."
Like it's as simple as that and Swami June won't somehow divine the truth.
"Come on," Bobbie tells me. "You're smart. Get her to send you off with a smile."
"A smile? With all that Botox, I can't even tell if she's smiling. Besides, the only thing that could make her happy is if I tell her I'm going out to the Hamptons to marry a plastic surgeon."
There's a beat, and then Bobbie and I grin slowly at each other. "Maybe not marrying," Bobbie says. "But what about fishing in the Hamptons. After all, what better place to catch a sturgeon? Or did you say surgeon?"
Four weeks in the Hamptons. Without the kids. I imagine Detective Drew Scoones and me on chaise lounges with cold drinks in our hands, ocean waves crashing in the background.
Drew and I recreating that scene in From Here to Eternity. Drew and I going inside. "Mark could take care of Maggie May, I bet," Bobbie says. Maggie May? Oh, right. I forgot I even have a dog. "He loves to do little favors for you."
That's Bobbie--dig, dig, dig. I ignore her and tell her that Carmine says it's in terrible shape. His sister furnished it and used it for a couple of summers in the late fifties, but no one's been in it in years. I am trying desperately to keep a lid on my excitement because that's what I do--I prepare myself for disappointment.
Bobbie nods. "You're right," she says, smiling slyly. "You really shouldn't go. I mean, when you could just stay home and entertain three whiny kids...without my help...hey, you could get lucky. The ice cream man might come around! That'd be exciting."
Only, I admit, if he was in his early forties and drop-dead gorgeous.