My skin crawls.

“I’m so glad you came back. Now we don’t have to cause any more trouble or inconvenience to anyone.” He throws back his head as he laughs. “We can be married straight away. Vegas is so wonderful, isn’t it? You’re never more than a couple of blocks from somewhere you can get married at once.” His head dips and his lips shine as his voice lowers, “And then you’re no more than a few steps from a hotel room, where the happy union can be fully and exhaustingly consummated.”

Random mob guy must have had some guns. Why didn’t I stay around longer and get a gun?

I’m glad I got here to Poppy before anything terrible happened to her, though.

But Drago says, “Your little friend here can be your bridesmaid.”

Her face tells me that his hand is not just resting behind her back.

He turns to her, “You must have a wonderful wedding dress for my lovely bride.”

I have an idea. “Poppy, we said the wonderful ivory dress you were making up for Nora Bryghte could easily be taken in to fit me. I think it would be perfect for my wedding, don’t you?”

With a puzzled frown, she nods. “Uh… y-yes. of course. Whatever you…”

“You could fit it for me right now. Couldn’t you. It would make me a beautiful bride for Drago.”

I can see that she’s totally baffled. I nod and say, “Yes! We could fit it right now.”

Poppy is still not getting it. “If we take it in the fitting room.” I look from Poppy to the small fitting room.

The main area for fitting is the most luxurious part of the showroom. Padded and upholstered with throws and pillows, seats for bridesmaids, the bride’s mother and other friends and relatives.

“Sure,” she says. “Of course.”

“Just one of my men will go into the fitting room with you.” He chuckles. It sounds like a song a rattlesnake might sing. “One man will be enough, I think.”

Poppy says, “The fitting room is too tiny. There’s room for us, or for one of these guys. Not both.” I think she’s getting it. “If they wait just outside, though, they can pass scissors and pins and things in to us.”

Drago does not look like a happy man. But then, does he ever?

All I know is, the little closet that Poppy often uses for informal fittings has a metal worktable we could use to jam the door, and a window we might get out of.

“No,” Drago says, “I see you got all these nice decorative screens about the place. All very romantic. No need to close yourselves in a tiny room. You can do your changing and fitting behind a couple of them.”

Chapter Fourteen


Mia’s friend Poppy steps out of the bridal store in a blood red bridesmaid’s gown.

My stomach drops and I’m super pumped when I see, behind her, my beautiful Mia. Tall, proud, and gorgeous in an ivory wedding dress, with my black leather jacket over the top.

But the real shocker is the four identi-goons in the doorway behind her. Following them, a guy who looks like the ogre in Shrek’s much uglier, gnarly uncle.

I step out of the car and stride toward the group.

The ugly guy shouts, “I do believe it’s Liam O’Malley’s poodle.” The girls part and Drago’s goons surround me.

All of them are pulling out their guns.

Mr. Ugly says, “Welcome to the celebration. You’re just in time. You can be our witness.”

I shake my head and tell him, “You’re definitely looking at marrying up in the style league.”

The nearest goon gets the side of my closed fist under his ear as I kick back hard at the liver of the one behind me. He crumples, but he’s not out of the game. Not like his pal. The one in front of me has his gun up.

I slap my palm into his wrist and twist his gun hand back, then grip the hand and wrench the gun around.

His knuckles make a sickening noise. A wet rip as the gun comes loose in my hand. His thumb droops. He howls. I drive a side kick and crack his knee as I spin for the goon behind. I smash the butt of the gun into his face, then hammer my hand hard into his ear, and again into his side.

I eject the magazine from the gun and toss it.

The goon I gave the liver kick to, he’s doubled over. He still has his gun, but I can see he doesn’t want to fight. I drive a haymaker up into his chin so he can sleep it off.

As he goes down, I take his gun.

Turning back, I jab the automatic hard between Drago’s eyes.

“I really despise guns,” I snarl at him. “Are you going to ruin my day and make me use this one?”

While he thinks about it, I kick him in his balls. His face is red and his eyes bulge as he drops, curled up tight on the ground.

Tags: Frankie Love Crime