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Diamonds and Moonlight

By: Carol Storm
Published By: Blushing Press
Copyright: ©2017 by Blushing Books® and Carol Storm
Nine Chapters / 36,100 Words
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Bruised and stunned by the death of her aristocratic English husband in World War II, Boston heiress Katie Killarney is determined never to risk her heart again. But a steamy encounter with a ruthless Miami gambler plunges the well-born Irish beauty into a dangerous world of scandals and secrets – and forces her to choose between playing it safe and risking it all for love.

Frankie “Diamonds” Donatello is a tough guy who’s seen it all, never plays by the rules, and always gets what he wants. When he meets Katie, he senses the fire beneath her icy facade, the passion under the disdainful mask, and the need for love beneath her wartime grief. Frankie’s motives are purely selfish at first. Seducing sexy Katie is a way to gain leverage over her father, and muscle into Boston society with the blessings of her powerful, well-connected family. But wild and willful Katie is much more than Frankie bargained for. Underneath the sophisticated charm and allure she is both a fearless daredevil and a wounded widow, a fiery Irish rebel in need of both warm hugs and firm discipline.

Can high-rolling Frankie Diamonds give her the love she needs without losing everything he’s gambled for in the process? Can Katie emerge from her grief and open her heart to a man who is strong enough to love her?  Can they, together, form a new bond that unites them as a powerful couple?

Publisher’s Note: This book contains elements of consensual discipline of adult women, sexual scenes and adult language. If any of these themes offend you, please do not purchase. 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Palm Beach, Florida

January, 1946

Powerful politician Edward Killarney lit a cigar, and gestured towards his daughter Kathleen. “Day after day, that’s all she does. Just lies there by the swimming pool like a stiff.”

Frankie “Diamonds” Donatello was amused. Big Ed Killarney was smart, one of the richest and most ruthless men in America, but he was utterly unable to fathom his daughter’s grief. 

“If you want me to, Mr. Killarney, I’ll ask her out.”

Big Ed gave a grunt of laughter from behind his cigar. “You go right ahead, sonny boy. I’ll sit here and watch.”

Katie Killarney heard the low murmur of men’s voices. Her father’s was deep and guttural. Now and then her own name drifted over to her, ferried across the heated surface of the pool. Her father laughed. Katie shut her sad, emerald-green eyes, wishing she could sleep the day away as usual. No doubt Big Ed was planning to buy her something, perhaps a luxury hotel or a chain of movie theaters. Better yet, perhaps a new diamond ring, to replace the one he had torn from her finger and thrown into the waste basket.

“They say you were married to some kind of war hero,” said a hard, male voice. “What are you, in mourning?”

Katie opened her eyes, jarred by the note of mockery. A scornful male was looking down at her. She noted details. The cut of his expensive suit was designed to advertise his slim waist and broad shoulders. Dark tan, white teeth. Cold eyes like a snake’s. One of Daddy’s Miami friends.

“That’s right, I’m in mourning. So buzz off.” The young war widow closed her eyes, annoyed by the scent of the man’s expensive cologne.

“Mourning just ended. Be ready at eight tonight.”

“You go to hell.” In spite of her pain, Katie felt her heart beginning to pound. But she refused to abandon her reclining pose in the comfortable chair. Instead she gave Mr. Snake Eyes a poisonous glare, her green eyes like daggers. Already she could hear her father’s footsteps as he came around the heated pool. 

“Make sure not to wear black. After all, the fancy English duke is dead. I hear he got knocked off in the war, along with a whole lot of other guys who weren’t dukes.”

“You bastard! I’ll kill you!” All of a sudden, Katie’s Irish temper got the better of her. It had been months since she felt the exhilarating surge of anger. She sprang from her chair, completely aroused by fury. Her father’s strong hand seized her arm, catching her just before her sharp nails could rake the snake’s much too handsome face. Katie jerked backwards, kicking and cursing. 

“Easy, my darling Kate. Frankie was just playing, that’s all. I told him you needed a laugh.”

“Why, Daddy? Why won’t you let me mourn my dead husband in peace?” The tall, slim, raven-haired beauty struggled for a moment, trying to break free, and then collapsed in her father’s arms. She was sobbing with relief that the emotional outburst was over. What she hated worse than the man’s cruelty was her own burst of passion. Her poor sweet husband was dead, yet she was alive. 

“You can’t go on mourning for ever, my love,” Big Ed said gently.

Katie knew her father was right. She glanced over at the sharp-dressed stranger, who didn’t seem impressed by her tears at all. Something about the man really got on her nerves. He wasn’t her type, not at all. Still she couldn’t ignore him. He made her want to lose her temper, even to scream at the top of her lungs. It was his fault she felt so on edge all of a sudden. So alive.

“You’d better mind your manners, honey. I’m no stiff. Remember, eight o’clock sharp.”

“I can hardly wait.” That was Katie at her most sarcastic, but the tall, tanned gangster didn’t even know he was being insulted. 

“Then it’s a date.”

“Yeah. It’s a date.” That evening, as she dressed to go out after wasting the afternoon on a manicure, a facial massage, a hot bath, and a nap, Katie told herself that she was seeing Frankie Diamonds purely out of spite. Instead of lying by the pool all day and thinking of Billy, she was going to spend the evening with a man who had no room in his heart for grief. Frankie would make her angry, and she wouldn’t have to cry as she did alone in her room each night.

 Only it didn’t work out as she hoped. That night at the club, she found fresh reason to cry. The orchestra played We’ll Meet Again, a song she and Billy had listened to every night during the London Blitz. As her eyes welled up and tears began to fall, Katie secretly hoped that Frankie would take her hand and listen to the song in silence, the way Billy always did. Instead he said, “Jesus. What did you do to the poor guy, anyway? The way you carry on it’s like you killed him yourself!”

The young widow swallowed her tears, taking bitter pleasure in her own self-control. There was something about being around the cheap, flashy mobster that stiffened her backbone. “Billy and I never got the chance to be a real couple. We had a wedding night, and that was about it.”

“No one ever knows how much time they’ve got.” Frankie looked like he was going to say more, something serious. Instead he flashed that stupid grin, the one that made her want to slap his strong, suntanned face. “That’s why a doll like you should forget the past and enjoy every minute.” 

By the time the evening was finally over, Katie’s nerves were on edge. She was expecting a crude pass, something coarse and physical that she could reject with pride. She told herself that she was looking forward to shooting Frankie down. Her senses were alert in a way they hadn’t been in months. First there was the silent ride home, driving slowly along Ocean Boulevard, both of them watching the moonlight glow along the beach. Then the two of them were walking up the path to her father’s house. The lights were still glowing in the back of the elaborate Mizner-designed mansion. Her palms were damp, and her heart was hammering away as the two of them halted in the shadows behind the towering ficus hedge. Now was the time. No doubt the soft moon and the ocean breeze would give Frankie Diamonds an excuse. If that wasn’t enough, there was her lovely face and the smell of her perfume. But then…nothing happened. 

Frankie said goodnight before she could shoot him down.

“Don’t I get a kiss?” Katie called, as he was walking away.

The sharp-dressed gangster came back up the flower-lined path. Katie could practically hear her own heart hammering away. She felt tense and expectant, her senses all on edge. Her lips pouted. 

And then he gave her a peck on the cheek. 

“Don’t take it so hard, kid. And don’t waste your pity. The guy probably didn’t want it.”

“The hell he didn’t!” Katie really enjoyed slapping Frankie Diamonds’ darkly handsome face. Her moment of triumph was short lived, however. Instead of taking his punishment like a gentleman, Frankie behaved like a cheap hood. Before Katie could even pull back her hand for another slap he hauled her down from the steps, dragged her into the bushes, and began spanking her behind!

“Stop that! Let me go! How dare you . . . ow!” Katie knew that she could bring her father’s people running just by screaming her head off. Yet there was something so humiliating in the idea that she needed to be protected from the man she had just struck with such total self-assurance. Gritting her teeth, she choked off the scream in her throat, taking a stubborn pride in her strength.

“I told you to mind your manners,” Frankie said, as his hand struck again, stinging her bottom through the silken undergarments she had put on just for him. “If Billy wanted to give it to you, he would have given it to you. You’re crying about his problems, not yours.” 

“Billy gave it to me plenty,” she gritted out, standing up straight and adjusting her skirt, feeling her cheeks flame as she rubbed her sore behind. Her whole body was on fire after that spanking. It wasn’t pain, exactly. It was more a surge of sudden awareness, as if all her nerves were tingling from head to toe. Billy had never made her feel this way, not when he kissed her, not even when they tried so hard to make love on their wedding night. The discovery brought a fresh load of guilt down on her head. “My husband gave me all his love,” Katie muttered stubbornly, fighting off the waves of shame with an almost desperate loyalty to the memory of her fallen husband. “All of it.”

Frankie nodded, his dark face serious in the moonlight. “And deep down you’re wondering, is that all there is?”

“W-what?” The words were so unexpected, and so true, that Katie just looked at him.

“You heard me.” 

This time Frankie kissed her on the lips. Hard. 

****

Of course it was easy to pretend the kiss had only stunned her, that Frankie’s devastating display of physical mastery had only knocked her socks off because he had taken her off guard. The next day, Katie spent most of the morning in bed thinking it over. She had breakfast from a tray and read the morning papers, frowning when she discovered that gossip was already starting to spread. Seeing the blurry snapshot of the two of them on the society page – the Italian mobster and the Irish debutante, Frankie grinning like a hungry wolf while she made like a deer caught in the headlights – made her wonder if the bad publicity would make her father call a halt to the whole thing. Part of her almost wanted Big Ed to step in, but then again, Katie told herself there was no reason she couldn’t handle her own affairs. The moment Frankie called her she would just tell him she didn’t want to see him again. And she was certain he would call before the day was over.

Things didn’t work out the way she planned, however. The moment Katie tossed aside the morning papers her sour-faced mother banged on the door and dragged her off to church. Katie had slept through morning mass but she could still go to confession and make an effort to banish her unholy and unhealthy thoughts. Mother never asked what she was thinking and feeling on these trips; she just assumed that anything Katie had on her mind was dirty and sinful. The two of them went shopping afterwards and then there was a bridge game at the home of one of Mother’s friends. Everyone talked about how the church was going downhill, because Father Dolan wasn’t strict enough about denying the sacraments to divorced women and people who rented houses to Negroes. This was the life that was waiting for her if she banished all her sinful desires. Katie felt so bored and frustrated that she could have screamed. And just to make it a perfect day, when she got home at the end of the afternoon she discovered that Frankie hadn’t called after all. That made things perfect!

After three more days, Frankie did call, and once again he got his way only because he caught her off guard. Katie had been playing golf all morning with her father, and had finally forgotten about Frankie for a few minutes. A morning of golf with her father was always a treat because Big Ed wasn’t like Mother. He didn’t worry about her sinful thoughts. He laughed at her dirty jokes and sometimes he told a few of his own. When they were golfing he treated her almost like a son. Of course, Katie couldn’t talk about her real feelings. She just made wisecracks about how men were only after one thing. Big Ed loved that; he said she was a smart cookie. He knew that no-one was good enough for his girl. 

Katie always went all out to please her father. The golf games were competitive, and she had to be a good sport and laugh even when Big Ed’s jokes about chasing show girls behind Mother’s back weren’t all that funny. Katie always felt so good when she had her father’s attention, but afterwards she sometimes got a sad, let down sort of feeling, like the effort was just too much for her. So, when Frankie finally called she was taken off guard and didn’t handle things in quite the right way.

“Hello?” The bedside phone rang loudly several times before Katie could scoop it up.  

“What’s the matter, baby? Did I wake you?”

“No, no, you didn’t wake me!” Katie only realized after she sat up that she’d been lying down on the bed, resting after her game of golf. The lunch tray and magazine she’d been reading had been removed hours ago. In fact, she’d been sound asleep when the telephone jolted her into wakefulness.

“Glad to hear it.” Frankie sounded like he was totally on to her. “Anyway, I was calling to see if you felt like going to the racetrack in Hialeah. But maybe you’re still sore from the other night.”

“Sore is exactly the right word,” Katie said, in an exasperated tone. Only Frankie would bring up the spanking he’d given her in such a casual way. He just didn’t hide things like other people. “Listen, I don’t think you and me are going to work out. But I want to see you one last time.”

“Sure, beautiful. One last time is fine for me.”

“Will you stop calling me ‘baby’ and ‘beautiful’?” Katie almost shrieked into the phone.

“I will,” Frankie said gravely. “After you explain about how it’s just for one last time.”

Katie slammed down the phone. It was crazy to be so angry when she was only going to see him again for one last time. Then again, it was crazy to be so excited about seeing him again, too.

****

“For Christ’s sake, you looked like a nun!” Even when he was angry, Frankie Diamonds’ laughter was surprisingly infectious. Katie couldn’t help smiling herself.

“The point is we were seen together. And now here we are at the racetrack.” The slim Irish beauty was careful to whisper, even as she touched her companion’s sleeve. Fortunately, she was absolutely certain that no-one was listening. Katie had spent the better part of the morning looking over her shoulder. She knew how these things went. Once two prominent people were an item, the story took on a life of its own. Everyone wanted a scoop. A society photographer might jump out from behind the stables, or leap over the paddock fence and suddenly snap her picture. But so far it looked as though the men gathered here were interested solely in the purchase of horseflesh. 

“Yeah, here we are at the racetrack. So do me a favor and let me watch the ponies.” The big, tough gangster patted her behind, and then ignored her entirely as another promising three year-old stepped stiffly into the circle. Big city boy or not, Frankie Diamonds was just as horse crazy as the rest of them. Even the old-time breeders took more notice of her than he did. Katie glanced at Senator Claypool standing in the shade. He raised his julep glass and smiled. The senator was from a very old family, and rumored to be fabulously wealthy. He was a real old-fashioned Southern gentleman. Of course, he was an elderly widower, much too old to chase after a girl like Katie. His face was red, and his hair was as white as cotton. Still, there was something charming about the way he raised his frosted glass, as though inviting her to join him with a toast of her own. 

“Come on, baby, come on!” Frankie wasn’t talking to her. He was encouraging the three year old, his heavy ringed hand running possessively up and down Katie’s bare arm. The smell of manure and the thud of the hooves gave her a headache, while the sweltering heat made her feel dizzy.

“I’m going inside for a while. Enjoy your horses, Mr. Donatello.”

“Yeah. Come on, baby, come on!”

Indoors it was much cooler, and Katie was very happy to remove her huge flower-decked straw hat and sit back in a tall wicker chair. She crossed her long legs and relaxed with an ice-cold drink while Senator Claypool joked about politics and teased her about her family’s ambitions.

“The thing is, honey, a nice young fellow like your brother just doesn’t know how to get along with folks. Down here it’s important to respect tradition, and not make waves with wild talk about changing things around. You rub a man the wrong way, and the next thing you know….”

Katie frowned at the pictures of prize-winning thoroughbreds that lined the oak-paneled walls. “So you think my father is raising money so that my brother can run for the Senate?” 

“I know it’s a fool idea. But your father dotes on all his children, boys and girls. You know that, honey.”

“Believe me, Senator, my kid brother is much too smart to get mixed up with politics.” The girl looked up suddenly, her green eyes flashing. “But I still don’t see why Frankie should be kept out of the Breeders’ Association.”

“Because he’s not the right type.”

“You mean, because he’s Italian. Well, I’m Irish!” Katie lifted her chin proudly.

“Honey, that’s got nothing to do with it. My grandmother was a French Huguenot. But Frankie Donatello is bringing the wrong kind of money into the state.”

“Well, Senator, suppose I was to make an agreement with you?”

“What kind of an agreement would that be, honey?”

“I promise to persuade my brother to stay out of Florida politics, and you promise to help get Frankie into the Breeders’ Association.”

“That sounds like an interesting proposition.” Senator Claypool motioned for the colored waiter, who immediately brought fresh drinks for both of them. “But before we drink to that, you’ll have to agree to one prior condition.”

“What is that?” Katie lifted her glass, smiling at the old man.

“Call me Augustus.”

“You don’t have to worry now, Frankie. I’ve fixed everything! Hic!” Katie called out, tripping down the marble clubhouse steps in the slanting orange rays of the late afternoon sun. 

“What are you talking about?” Frankie Diamonds looked impatient and male and stubborn, leaning against his long, black expensive car with his burly arms crossed over his massive chest. He had obviously been waiting for her for quite some time, yet he couldn’t just come in and get her because he wasn’t a member of the exclusive Breeders’ Association. At least not yet! Katie giggled, and then suddenly stumbled, tripped up by her high heels.  

“Easy there, beautiful! You can’t go dancing with a broken leg.” Frankie was fast on his feet, so fast that he danced forward and caught Katie in his arms just as she herself caught sight of a bright flash out of the corner of her eye.

“Photographers!” She groaned, covering her face with one hand as Frankie whirled so that they only caught sight of his broad back and her slim white arms wrapped tightly around his neck. And then they were in his car, speeding off down the wide palm-lined boulevard. 

“Don’t worry, doll face,” Frankie said, laughing at the look of dismay on her pale features. “They got your good side, a perfect profile shot. But all they saw of me was the back of my head! Katie Killarney dating a mystery man, there’s a headline to get the society watchers buzzing.”

“It’s not funny,” Katie said, though she couldn’t help smiling at the last part. “If we cause a scandal, I’ll get sent home. Or worse, I’ll be forced to marry someone else!” The Irish beauty’s slender hands shook slightly as she took out her compact and began repairing her makeup. “My mother is just looking for any excuse to have me shipped back home to Boston, away from Daddy.”

“I thought you were his favorite,” Frankie remarked. 

“I am, but my mother only cares about getting me married off again as soon as possible. All her real ambitions are centered on getting my brothers into politics. Bobby is the youngest, but if he has even the slightest chance to capture Augustus Claypool’s Senate seat she’s going to expect me to live like a nun. And that means no mystery men,” she finished up, a crooked smile on her lips. 

“So what did you mean when you said you fixed everything?” Frankie asked. 

Katie explained her conversation with Senator Claypool, and how they’d come to an understanding. “He wants my brother to stay out of Florida politics, and I want to live my own life for a change. I’d also like for you to have a chance to get into the Breeders’ Association,” she declared. “Pretty clever of me, wasn’t it? I got a lot done while you were drooling over the ponies!” 

“Pretty smart,” Frankie grunted. “But I didn’t ask for any favors. Looks like I’ll have to discipline you in order to teach you how to behave.”

“The hell you will!” Katie snuffed out the ember of excitement at the thought of being spanked again by the big, tough, gangster. “Look, Frankie, I like you. You’re a lot of fun. But I’m not getting serious about anyone, not ever again!”

“Yeah,” Frankie replied, lazily. There was a brief, heavy silence, the two of them enjoying the ocean breeze and the beautiful Florida sunshine. Katie kept glancing sideways at Frankie Diamonds, taking in his tanned, smooth skin, the way his big hands gripped the steering wheel. The sunlight glinted off his midnight-black hair. Even though his looks were rather crudely exciting, Katie tried to tell herself that the gangster was all wrong for her. He was so Italian, and so very male.

“I’m not trying to high-hat you,” she said breathlessly, using her father’s slang for acting stuck up. “What I mean is, I like to have fun. But not like what happened the other night!”

Frankie smiled. “Since when do you like to have fun? I thought your specialty was making yourself miserable. First you’re crying because you can’t forget poor old Billy. Then you’re sore at me because you forgot him already. I didn’t hear you mention his name when I was kissing you after our late night date. Or when I was spanking your behind.”

“That was a dirty trick you played on me!” Katie cried out. “You know damned well that I would never have kissed you if you hadn’t used brute force. It was disgusting, the way you pulled me into the bushes and put your hands all over me! It was disgusting,” she repeated, not certain whether she was referring to the quick, naughty spanking or the long, lingering kiss that followed. Both images kept running through her head, over and over, whenever she looked at Frankie Diamonds.

The tough hood flashed a smile, his deep voice teasing her senses. “You didn’t like it?”

 “You made me feel cheap, and I don’t like that.”

“How did Billy make you feel?”

“Huh?” The question was so unexpected that Katie drew a blank. For a moment she just stared at Frankie Diamonds. He certainly was the opposite of Billy. He was flashy, self-confident, and sexy. He was all hard muscle and tanned skin, flashing brown eyes and dazzling white teeth. Even his cologne got on Katie’s nerves, because breathing it in was like drawing Frankie inside her, inhaling the heat and musk and power of the man himself. His coarse vitality intoxicated her. 

“The British war hero. The perfect gentleman. The guy who died. Did he have to take your panties down to get you good and hot?”

“Billy didn’t get me good and hot,” Katie blurted. It wasn’t until the words were out of her mouth that she understood how they really sounded, and what they really meant. “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded,” she told Frankie breathlessly, backpedaling and trying desperately to save face. Her skin felt as if it were on fire. “What I was trying to say was, Billy and I never . . . we didn’t . . . it was nothing like me and you!”

For a moment Frankie almost looked thoughtful. “Well, in that case, that poor guy didn’t know what he was missing. Now I really do feel sorry for him.”

“Well, don’t.” Katie suspected the gangster was playing games with her, only pretending to understand her grief. Frankie would laugh if he knew how she really felt. Still, the impulse to share her thoughts with someone was very powerful. The dark-haired girl took a deep breath. “Sometimes, when you really love someone, you can feel close to them without wanting to…. I mean, there is such a thing as caring for someone without being consumed by physical desire.” Katie paused. “Not that I don’t have those kind of feelings. But that’s not the same as being in love!” 

“Well, personally, I don’t have any interest in falling in love. I’d rather enjoy myself while I still can.” Frankie shrugged his broad shoulders. “A lot of guys died in the war, kiddo. And they weren’t all English dukes. Speaking for myself, I’m getting mine while the getting is good.”

“Yes, I’m sure you are,” Katie said primly. “But I’m nobody’s cheap good time. And you can’t pretend that spanking me was a sign of respect. It was a primitive gesture of male dominance, and it wasn’t just to put me in my place, either. It was supposed to make me feel desire!”

“At least you felt something. How long has it been since that happened?”

“When I’m around you I feel too god-damned much!” Katie’s dark scowl held for a moment. Then all at once she realized what she had said. She felt like an utter ass for admitting the truth.

 Frankie laughed, the sound as coarse and annoyingly masculine as his dark good looks and his bulging muscles. “You’re squirming an awful lot, kid. The leather upholstery?” 

“No!” Katie snapped. “I mean, thanks for the ride. I had fun this afternoon. But I think we should take a little break.” She manufactured a shaky laugh. “The publicity, and all that. You know.”

“Sure.” Frankie sounded less than devastated. “How about a farewell dinner later tonight? I’ve got a table reserved at the Oyster Club. You know how wild that place gets after midnight.”

“Oh no, tonight wouldn’t have worked anyway. I have a date with my mother. For church.”

****

“There’s still no-one who can celebrate a Midnight Mass like Father Gilhooley in Boston,” Patricia Killarney declared, exiting the brightly lit church with her daughter in tow. “Still, it’s good to see that all the money we’ve given to the Miami parish has been put to good use. Did you see those new golden candlesticks? And those beautiful stained glass windows? I’ve never been so moved by the Holy Spirit!”

“Me neither,” Katie agreed, trying to sound devoted. A huge yawn gave her away. 

“I’m going to bed the minute we get home,” Katie quickly promised her mother. “You can count on me, Mother. Just like you can depend on Father and the boys.”

“I do. I think what happened to your husband has had a sobering effect on your character. I’m pleased, Katherine.”

Katie said nothing as her mother helped her into the waiting limousine. Deep down the youngest of Edward Killarney’s children was fully committed to the family’s future. But she wondered why the future was only something for the boys to be concerned with. Katie wanted to help the Killarney family. But she wanted a future of her own too. What about her future?

Katie closed her eyes as the sleek limousine purred to life. But instead of seeing her family’s political future she just kept seeing Frankie Diamonds. He loved putting her over his knee, but not so she would keep quiet and stay in the background where she belonged. He used discipline to excite her, not to calm her down. In a funny way he didn’t care if she behaved herself. What he really liked was when she let herself go….

“Here we are,” Mrs. Killarney said, as the limousine lurched to a stop at the Killarney home.

“Gee, I must have fallen asleep!” Katie flashed her mother a winning smile, feeling just a touch of guilt as the stern-faced older woman hugged her briefly and kissed her good night. It was so easy to fool Patricia Killarney. Katie knew that her mother expected her to go right to bed, and that the chauffeur would lock up the family garage for the night. 

But what Mother didn’t know was that Katie had her very own motorcar, a little white Buick convertible, parked less than half a mile down the beach road. Edward Killarney could deny his youngest child nothing, in fact he secretly enjoyed spoiling her and catering to her every whim. Daddy was always nice to her. Perhaps it made him feel better about crushing everyone else who stood in his way. 

Katie wasn’t sneaking out of the house because she wanted to see Frankie Diamonds again. She didn’t want him kissing her, or spanking her, or making her say things about Billy that stirred up all kinds of memories and regrets. What she wanted was to get him out of her system for keeps.

Katie had been restless ever since she climbed out of Frankie’s car that afternoon. The gangster had let her break things off without much protest. All the same, he’d gotten under her skin with some of the things he said. Tough, good-looking Frankie seemed to know that she felt guilty because Billy had never stirred her senses or set her most basic passions on fire the way he did. And that she was hiding from any kind of good time that would make her face the truth about Billy. 

Well, tonight she was going to have a good time at the Oyster Club. It would just be the old crowd, nice boys, and she would laugh and flirt and dance and enjoy herself, just like the old days.

Without Frankie Diamonds.

 

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