How to Murder a Millionaire

By: Nancy Martin

Libby ignored her and cried, “Lucy! My stars, what have you done to your tutu? And who in the world let you have that weapon?”

“Aunt Nora did!” Lucy nearly stabbed her mother through the heart as she flung herself into her Libby’s open arms. “She let me have ice cream for breakfast, too!”

“Blabbermouth,” I said.

“Nice going,” Emma muttered to me. “What’s next? Showing them how to rob banks?”

“It was all the food I had in the house! How was I to know I’d have to feed the horde, not to mention store lab specimens in my refrigerator?”

Libby chose not to hear me. Bending at the waist, an act that nearly spilled her breasts like a truckload of warm marshmallow fluff, she used a lace handkerchief to wipe a smudge from her daughter’s less than pristine cheek. “Did you brush your teeth after the ice cream, sweetheart?”

“Aunt Nora ran out of toothpaste.”

“Heavens. Well, you won’t have to stay there ever again, Lucy.”

“You’re welcome,” I said tartly. “No charge for the babysitting.”

Libby straightened and adjusted her hat to dislodge the pesky flower once and for all. “Don’t apologize, Nora. I’m sure your mind is scattered after such a long vacation. We began to worry you’d run off permanently with That Man.”

“He has a name, you know.”

Blandly, Emma said, “You’ll notice she’s wearing the Rock of Gibraltar again.”

Libby seized my left hand and goggled at the giant emerald-cut diamond ring that flashed on my finger. “Oh, sweet heaven, what have you done?”

“Be careful,” Emma warned. “You could endanger the Hubble telescope with that sparkler.”

“It’s huge!” Libby cried. “It’s not stolen, is it?”

“No,” I said tartly. “I think he won it in Vegas.”

Her eyes widened. “You’re kidding!

“Of course I’m kidding.”

She peered more closely. “A diamond that size can’t possibly be real.”

“You actually gonna marry Mick this time, Nora?” Emma asked.

I took a deep breath. “Yes.”

Libby dropped my hand and cried out in anguish, “Nora, think of your family! You can’t besmirch our good name this way!”

“Hell, think of Mick,” Emma said. “You realize this is his death sentence?”

The Blackbird women all shared such genetic traits as auburn hair, an allergy to cats, and well-documented widowhood at a young age. Emma and I had lost our husbands before we turned thirty, and Libby’s marriages—three so far—had all ended in disaster. The joke around our social circle was that the only men interested in marrying us must be suicidal.

I had fallen hard for Michael Abruzzo, however, and he insisted he was strong enough to withstand a little family curse—even one that dated back more than a hundred fifty years. I had refused to endanger his life, of course. But after months of holding out, I was finally weakened by too much champagne and a glorious Caribbean sunset. When he’d asked me again, I said yes.

The fact that he was the son of New Jersey’s most notorious mob kingpin didn’t matter to me anymore. Not much, at least. But our love match was going to turn Philadelphia society upside down. The Blackbird family had been welcomed into sedate drawing rooms since the days of the Continental Congress, and a union   with the Abruzzos—known for racketeering, not racquet club memberships—was going to be the scandal of the season.

Libby groaned. “We’ll never live this down!”

Emma patted her shoulder. “Take it easy. Maybe the mayor will get caught with a hooker or something.”

Libby nodded. “Let’s hope there’s a catastrophe so we won’t suffer the glare of the spotlight.”

“Let’s hope,” I agreed, only half joking.

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