How could someone not looking for trouble stumble upon it so easily? Susan Kent wonders this exact thing when she finds the man of her dreams, only to discover that he lives in a nightmare of his own making.***
Jake Kelley thought he found the peace and simplicity he'd been looking for all his life. But in bringing Susan into his world, is he only dragging her down instead of pulling himself up?
The dark underworld of gangland Chicago throbs with intrigue, thrills and danger--those who venture there seldom leave intact…if they leave at all.
"Susan!" Katie exclaimed in awe. "Are those really for you?"
Robbie was dancing around the room chanting, "Susie's got a boyfriend! Susie's got a boyfriend!"
"Who are they from?" Rose asked.
I searched through the flowers for a card of some sort, and quickly found it. All it said was, "I'm sorry." That was it, nothing more. Of course, I knew who they were from.
I tucked the card in my pocket before anyone else got their hands on it. The last thing I wanted to do was explain why Jake was apologizing.
Everyone was looking at me expectantly, so I had to say something. "They're from the fella I went out with last night. I'm going to put them in a vase." Ignoring their curious stares, I rummaged through the cupboard until I found a vase big enough for the flowers. A dozen roses! I would say a fella's got to be pretty sorry to send a girl a dozen roses. I filled the vase with water, and put them in the middle of the kitchen table. The room was already starting to fill with the beautiful scent of the flowers.
Dad looked over his paper and scowled at the flowers, then flipped it back up and continued reading, muttering something about dirty Irish. It was obvious the flowers didn't impress him nearly as much as they impressed the rest of the family.
Rather than sit and get the third degree from my sisters and brother, I retreated to the bedroom I shared with my sisters. Since Mom wouldn't let Katie or Robbie leave the table until their homework was done, I was guaranteed a little bit of privacy in there. It wasn't long before Rose came in after me, though. I didn't mind talking to Rose. She was closest to my age, and we were as much friends as we were sisters.
She flopped down on the bed beside me. "So, what's the story? You might as well spill it, because I'll bug you until you do."
I knew that was no idle threat, she'd done it before. I told her all about meeting Jake at the store, going out to Groeb's and the ride home. "Well, after he kissed me, I slapped him across the face and went inside."
"You didn't!" she exclaimed in delighted disbelief.
"You better believe I did, and you should do the same if some piker tries to put the moves on you."
"But he's not a piker, that's pretty obvious, since he sent you those flowers. Think how much they must have cost. Imagine, roses in January! So, what are you going to do now?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know. I don't know how to get in touch with him or where he lives or anything. I suppose he'll stop by the store tomorrow or something."
"What are you going to say to him?"
I traced the floral pattern of the bedspread with my finger for a moment while I thought about her question. "Well...he did apologize and send me flowers, and I really do like him. But, I can't make things too easy for him either, can I? He might think I'd let him get away with it again."
I smiled at Rose. "I might."