About Wishful Thinking
Author: Kiernan Kelly
Word Count: 50100
Page Count (pdf): 171
Date Published: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Evil Plot Bunny
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
File types in download zip: PDF, .mobi and .epub
Tony Brazzio, co-owner of Club Raven, Baltimore’s premiere men’s club in 1875, has a pocketful of cash and a chip on his shoulder. He’s out to prove to his co-owners — and himself — that he’s not a fluke, that anyone can be successful give the opportunity, no matter how poor his beginnings.
Bull O’Brian and Dandy Gilroy are two hoodlums from the rough streets of New York’s Five Points. They’re pickpockets by trade, and both possess psychic talents that make them two of the best. When Tony offers to bring them to Baltimore and give them the chance at a life of riches in polite society, they jump at the chance, if only to steal the members of Club Raven blind.
The best of plans rarely work the way they’re intended, and things swiftly go from bad to worse for Dandy and Bull. There’s murder afoot and a detective on their trail, and not even copious amounts of hot, sweaty sex can ease their fear or guilt.
As for Tony, he’s faced with admitting his experiment is a failure, something he’s loath to do. It’ll take a great deal of persuasion, a little luck, and a lot of lube to make sure his plans for Dandy and Bull become more than just wishful thinking.
Tony sat on a stool in Club Raven’s huge kitchen. A plate piled high with fragrant spaghetti Bolognese sat in front of him, accompanied by another dish holding an array of meatballs, sausage, and braciole. He held a tiny saucer full of grated cheese, and drizzled some over the top of the spaghetti with a delicate silver spoon.“Mama, it smells delicious.”
A very round woman hovered nearby. She wore a black silk faile mourning dress, and a long white apron. Her only jewelry was a simple gold wedding ring, a broach fashioned from human hair that was pinned to her ample bosom, and a pair of black rosary beads she kept in her apron pocket. Her gray-streaked black hair was neatly braided and pinned into a coronet encircling her head. She flicked her fingers impatiently toward his plate. “Si, si. Mangiare.”
Tony chuckled. “Si, si. I’m eating, Mama. You’re going to make me fat.” He twirled his fork in the pasta and lifted it to his mouth. His eyes closed in near ecstasy at his first taste. Nobody cooked like his mama. It was why he brought her to Club Raven as his private chef. She had a nice little apartment behind the kitchen. This way he could see to her needs, and didn’t have to worry about her living in Five Points, but she could still feel useful.
“Perché hai portatoquei due ragazzi irlandesi qui?” She made the forked sign of protection with her fingers. “Sono problemi.”
“I know the two Irish boys are trouble.” He smiled at her, then speared a piece of sausage on his fork. “I need to make them respectable. Rispettabile, you understand?”
“Stai andando a mettere se stessi in difficoltà, Antonio.”
“I won’t get myself in trouble, Mama. I told you—I’m one of the owners in this place.” He shook his head. Mama just couldn’t believe that her son, poor little Anthony Brazzio from Five Points, could co-own a magnificent building like Club Raven. It was as if Mama spent her days with one eye always looking for the trouble she was sure was coming. “I admit, though, I’m wondering if maybe I made a mistake bringing them here. They’re up to something, I can feel it.”
Mama grunted low in her throat, a sound Tony knew well from his childhood. It meant Mama wasn’t happy, and a scolding was shortly to follow. He stopped himself from cringing by sheer force of will.
“Quindi, perché li hai portato qui? Mandarli via!” Mama waved her hand as if dismissing the whole problem.
“Mama, I’ve explained this before. You and me, we’re not society people, but everyone else here is. I always feel like members of the club look down on me, don’t trust me because of where I come from. I think most of them believe I’m an exception to the rule, a curiosity. I want to show them that anyone from places like Five Points can better themselves. That’s why I brought those two men here.” He sighed, and put his fork down.
Mama smiled, and put a reassuring hand on Tony’s shoulder. “Poi farlo, Antonio. Mostrali.”
Tony smiled back, and patted her hand. “I will, Mama. I’ll do it, and I’ll show them all.”
He stood up, and bent to place a kiss on Mama’s cheek. “Grazie for the spaghetti. I’ll see you for dinner.”