Just By Chance – Chapter 4

Manny’s Lounge was more crowded than usual for a Tuesday night. The dozen or so patrons who would have normally been sipping happy hour wine and martinis on the patio and enjoying the balmy September evening were driven inside by the sticky humidity. The earthy, stone wall tiles and large copper wall fountains offered a cool oasis from the unexpected change in weather. Potted plants set between the small mahogany tables lent a tropical feel and provided a bit of privacy for the upscale Boca Raton crowd.

Nikki Robb and Kim Carter, best friends, sat at a table close to the bar enjoying an oaky chardonnay.

“How was your date with your detective friend?” Kim asked. “I want all the details.”

“He came over and cooked for me,” Nikki said, smiling. “Spinach salad with smoked salmon, pine nuts, and walnut oil dressing.”


“Followed by shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta.”

“Double wow,” Kim said. “And for dessert?”

Nikki smiled. “Incredible sex. And…I let him stay over.”

“Way to go, girl,” Kim said, raising her glass for a toast.

“I’m more than crushing on this guy,” Nikki said. “If things keep going like they have been, he just may be the one.”

“So, when am I going to meet him?”

“Maybe Saturday?” Nikki said. “So, how about you? What was your client like last night?”

Kim pondered a response, her brown, almond-shaped eyes accenting her half-Asian heritage. “Nice guy,” she said, “but different.”

“Different? How so?”

Kim curled a lock of long, dark hair with her slim finger, recalling the man’s face…good-looking…and his curly black hair. “He seemed like a nice guy,” she said. She remembered the gold chains he wore around his neck and his thick wrists. Some might think they were too gaudy, but they seemed to work on him. “Maybe a little macho,” she continued, “but he was very polite. And very generous. He tipped me five hundred dollars.”

“Wow,” Nikki said, her blue eyes widening. She flipped a curtain of long, blonde hair behind her shoulder, took a sip of chardonnay, and looked up at the flat screen television mounted above the bar. “Look at that.” She pointed at the screen with her glass.

A picture of a man—deeply tanned, with curly black hair and deep-set eyes—appeared on the screen.  A headline scrolled below his picture:  Mobster Vincent Molini Found Dead in Hotel Room.

Kim suddenly straightened. “Oh my God,” she gasped.

“What?” Nikki asked, surprised.

“Oh my God,” Kim repeated, her eyes glued to the screen.

“Are you okay, Kimmy?”

“I think I’m going to throw up,” Kim said as she raced for the restroom.

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