The Cupid Caper (A Finley Goodhart Crime Caper)
by Larissa Reinhart
About the Book
The Cupid Caper (A Finley Goodhart Crime Caper)
Past Perfect Press (April 24, 2018)
Sassy, Sexy, Southern Suspense
She uses her criminal past to catch crooks. He wants her back. In the grift. And in his life. Can Finley Goodhart convince Lex that doing good is the greatest hustle of all?
Ex-grifter Finley Goodhart may try to stay on the straight and narrow, but walking that thin line becomes wobbly when she believes her friend Penny was murdered. The last thing she wants is to work with her ex-partner (and ex-boyfriend), the brilliant (brilliantly frustrating) British con artist, Lex Leopold. However, when it appears Penny’s demise might be related to an exclusive matchmaking service for millionaires, Fin needs Lex’s help to pull a long con to get the goods on Penny.
Romance is in the air for hustlers, gangsters, and their marks. Unfortunately for Fin and Lex, infiltrating the racket doesn’t make for a match made in heaven. This Valentine swindle could stop their hearts for good.
Wednesdays often brought the college boys to Jello’s Pool Hall. Particularly in the winter. I’d call it cabin fever, except we were in Georgia. Still, too cold to drink on their frat house front porch rocking chairs. Too early in the week to host a party. The non-heathens would be attending Wednesday night church. The good students would be in class or the library.
But the bad boys would bring money to places like Jello’s. Which was why I was there.
And how Lex knew to find me.
I had just racked a fresh round. Satisfied with the smooth lift of the triangle. No balls escaped. Feeling good about the roll of twenties tucked into the front pocket of my jeans. That gratification disappeared upon sensing a male presence behind me. The scent of his aftershave cut through the pervading smell of beer, stale smoke, and old fryer oil. I sniffed once. Recognized the spicy scent of his cologne. Rested the cue stick on the table.
“Wanna make a wager? I’m having a lucky night.” I bent over the table to place the cue ball. Angled the stick. Shot it backward. And turned to face him.
“Hello, love.” Lex grabbed the stick. “Watch yourself. I’d like to remain a baritone, if you don’t mind.”
“Sorry.” I didn’t sound sorry. Didn’t even get close. “Careful where you stand next time. Another town, maybe?”
He pushed the stick away. Grinned. Sidled forward. “Don’t want me too deep in your pocket?”
I rolled my eyes, then studied the man. His thick, sandy hair had been trimmed to maintain an artful dishevelment. Smiling blue eyes. Sensuous lips holding a relaxed smirk. His boy-next-door good looks never revealed anything but indolent charm and false promises. A real ace. Too careful and too practiced to show anything else.
“You look tired,” I said. “Tinge of blue beneath your eyes.”
“Too many lonely nights.”
“I bet.” I took a careful step to the side. Rested my hip against the table. “They have medicine for that, you know.”
“Not the cure I seek. You’re looking fit, though.” His gaze traveled the room. “How’d you do tonight?”
“What do you want, Lex?” My hand reached for the cue ball. I rolled it beneath my palm.
His eyes snapped back to me and told me what I already knew. I narrowed mine. His mouth quirked.
“Relax,” he said. “Gave you my word I’d leave you alone, didn’t I?”
“Your word isn’t worth much. And you just proved it, seeing as how you’re here and all.”
“When have I ever lied to you?”
I gripped the cue ball.
He raised his hand. “Right. But I am here out of the goodness of my heart. Thought I should see you about Penny Forbes.”
“What about Penny?” I frowned. “Are you working together? Not interested.”
“You haven’t heard?” The mask fell. His face tightened and he appeared older, matured. “Fin, we should go somewhere private.”
“Why?” I didn’t like the mask, but I didn’t like what he’d replaced it with either. He looked worried. Lex never worried. The carefree charisma wasn’t just an act. I was the worrier. “You know I’m on the square now. If you and Penny have gotten yourself into a mess, y’all just get yourselves out of it.”
“On the level, but still dodgy enough to plunder these wankers,” he muttered. “Finley, I’m serious. I don’t want to tell you here.”
“You’re never serious.” I turned. Settled the white ball. Chalked the cue tip. Moved to the side and leaned over the table. Sighted the ball. Placed the stick between my thumb and fingers.
Lex leaned over me, close enough for his words to buzz in my ear. “She’s dead, Fin. Penny’s dead.” A hand fell on my shoulder. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to tell you like this. Finley, come with me.”
I pulled in a breath. Ignored his hand and the clamor ringing between my ears. Gritting my teeth, I lowered my head. Centered my gaze on the space between the second and fourth racked ball. Brought the stick back and let it glide. The break rang. Two solids slammed into the back and corner right pockets.
Lex’s hand shot forward. Caught a stripe as it raced toward the front left. “Sloppy. That’s a scratch.”
“Hey.” I turned, swinging the stick with me.
He caught the stick again, pushed it aside, and grabbed my arm. “Love, did you hear me? I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be the bearer, but God knows I can’t… I had to see you. News like this. I cocked it up.” He shook his head. “ Fin. Are you all right? What can I do, love?”
“Nothing.” I shook my arm free and fixed my eyes to a point on the wall behind him. I hadn’t seen Penny for months. She’d been busy. I’d been hiding. But dead? She was too young—mid-twenties, like me. Car accident? Cripes, I hoped she didn’t get sick. The fatal illnesses I knew that struck Penny’s age bracket weren’t pretty.
I sucked in a deep breath. Let it out. Hated how shaky it sounded. “How’d she die?”
“Let’s talk somewhere else.” He paused. Sighed. “Right. Drug overdose. Heroin, is what I heard.”
My eyes flew to his face. The blue eyes watched me. Soberly, with a hint of pity. I despised that look even more than the worry.
“No way on God’s green earth. Penny’s momma was a junkie. Crooked as she could get, Penny wouldn’t touch a substance stronger than champagne. You heard wrong, Lex.”
He shrugged. “I’m sorry, love.”
Larissa Reinhart is back with a brand new series, and it definitely looks like this will be a great one!!!
The description for the synopsis is spot on. It’s sexy, sassy, and southern suspense at its best. Reinhart has a way of creating unique and quirky characters, and Lex and Finley are no exception as are all the secondary characters.
I live not too far from Atlanta, so I really liked the setting being in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. It’s always fun to know you have been to some of the locations in a book…at least for me.
This was a great combination of romance and mystery. I loved the element of the “con” and add in the themes of trust, faith, and redemption and you have yourself a great little story. I’m looking forward to reading my next Larissa Reinhart novel.
About the Author
Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa Reinhart writes humorous mysteries and romantic comedies including the critically acclaimed Maizie Albright Star Detective, Finley Goodhart Crime Capers, and Cherry Tucker Mystery series. Larissa’s a contributor to the 2017 Silver Falchion Reader’s Choice winner, was the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year finalist, 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Larissa’s family and dog, Biscuit, had been living in Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, and join her newsletter for a free short story.
Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLarissaReinhart/
Barnes & Noble: http://smarturl.it/CCNook
Universal link: https://www.books2read.com/cupidcaper
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