About the Book
Title: Dog Collar Knockoff
Series: Lucie Rizzo Mysteries
Authors: Adrienne Giordano
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: SilverHart Publishing
Buy Links: Amazon / iBooks / Barnes & Noble / Kobo
Catering to the pampered paws set took Lucie Rizzo from unemployed to entrepreneur. With her dog walking/chic pet accessory business on the verge of success, Lucie’s ready to make a name for herself. One not tarnished by her dad’s mobster rep.
When an art deal she brokered between clients turns suspicious, it’s up to Lucie to sniff out the truth. She might not know the difference between Monet and Manet, but Rizzos are no strangers to jail time—and Lucie refuses to be someone’s prison bitch.
Unless that someone is a tall, blond and Irish cop. Detective Tim O’Brien certainly knows how to get Lucie hot under the rhinestone collar. And with her on-again-off-again relationship with Frankie Falcone currently off, O’Brien isn’t shy about making her feel wanted, mafia ties and all. Even joining her crack—or crackpot—team on the trail of two paintings with equally shady origins.
Chapter One – DOG COLLAR KNOCKOFF
Lucie paused in front of the Lutzs’ garage while the door made its ascent. The heat from the tiny cobblestone driveway scorched right through the bottom of her sneakers, and she rocked back on her heels. For what this brownstone cost, the driveway should have come with air-conditioning. After all, Chicago in August? The humidity alone could suffocate her.
Once the door silently halted, Lucie pointed toward the interior door. “Stay alert, Lauren. This is where it gets tricky.”
The newest part-time member of Lucie’s dog walking team studied the door and waited for instructions. Lauren seemed like a nice kid. Well, at twenty, she wasn’t really a kid. Lucie was only six years older. Still, Lauren was new to Coco Barknell and needed to understand the intricacies of working with the dogs.
Particularly this dog.
“The door,” Lucie said, “is your friend. Otis is the deadly combination of a jumper and a runner.”
Lauren scrunched her face. “What?”
“When you open the door, you have to do a body block so he doesn’t squeeze through. He’s an eighty-five pound Olde English bulldog. If you’re not careful, you will either A) wind up flat on your butt with Otis on top of you or B) be chasing him around the neighborhood. I’ve done both and it’s not fun. Plus, it’ll destroy your schedule.”
And with the number of clients Coco Barknell serviced in a day, the schedule was the Bible. As happy as Lucie was about the growth of her dog walking and upscale-dog accessory business, she hated turning the dogs over to others. Of course, she’d done a thorough background check on Lauren, but these animals were almost her babies and she couldn’t trust just anyone with them.
Lucie stepped to the door and planted her feet, weight on her heels. “Are you ready?”
Lauren smiled and maybe that smile had a bit of lady-you’re-a-fruitcake in it, but the first time Otis did one of his Underdog leaps, she would learn.
Lucie opened the door and the howling began. “Hi, boy,” she said, her voice firm and level, no excitement that would cause a doggie mindmelt. “I’m coming in.”
Slowly, she inched the door open and slid through with Lauren bringing up the rear. Otis did his normal jumping and Lucie steadied herself for the onslaught. “Off!”
Finally, he sat, but he tracked Lauren with his eyes. Then—here we go—unable to withstand the pressure of a new person in his space, he leaped, his long tongue flying in search of a cheek to lick.
But Lucie would never be Cesar Milan when it came to making Otis understand who the alpha was. That was Joey’s specialty. It helped that he was six-foot-four and weighed somewhere in the vicinity of two-thirty.
“Sit, Otis,” Lauren said, her voice calm, yet assertive in a truly enviable way.
Dressed in micro shorts, a tank top, and sneakers, Lauren epitomized the wholesome, yet sexy college co-ed. Her heart-shaped face and long blond hair only added to the morphing of girl-next-door and sexy vixen. If Lucie wasn’t careful, the girl might drive Coco Barknell’s male clients insane.
But the risk was worth it. So far she’d been a responsible employee who showed up on time, ready to work.
Lucie led her through the kitchen to the utility closet, strategically placed in a nook between the kitchen and the adjoining dining room. Otis’s leash and various other dog supplies—poop bags, treats, shampoo—were all stored there and it made Lucie’s life a whole lot simpler. Too bad all her clients weren’t this organized.
“Whoa. Is this an Arturo Gomez?”
Lucie turned and spotted Lauren a few feet away studying the new painting near the dining room entrance. Lucie had seen the painting for the first time last week and marveled at the rich tones. She’d been drawn to the woman’s long, auburn hair cascading over her shoulders as she concentrated on the lute in her hands. The deep red of her dress brought out the smoky archway behind her, and Lucie imagined music echoing off the stone on the surrounding walls.
They shouldn’t be snooping, but the painting was right there. Plus, Lauren was an art history major and probably couldn’t control herself. Lucie decided to let it go. Except the schedule was quickly falling apart.
“I don’t know who the artist is, but the leash is in this closet.”
Ignoring her boss, Lauren inched closer to the painting. “I did a paper on Gomez once. Pure genius at Renaissance.”
“Uh-huh,” Lucie said.
“It might not even be a Gomez, but it looks like one. I don’t think this would be an original though.”
Lucie rolled her eyes. The only fake thing in Mr. Lutz’s world were his wife’s boobs. And those had probably cost a fortune. The man never did anything on the cheap.
“If this is a copy,” Lauren said, “it’s amazing.”
“Lauren, we need to go.”
The girl straightened up. “Right. Sorry. I’ve just never seen one in a private collection. I remember something weird about Gomez’s paintings and how they were sold. I could be wrong though. I’d love to know where he got this one.”
Lucie knew exactly where Mr. L. had gotten it. She’d introduced him to Bart Owens, an art gallery owner who was also a Coco Barknell client. Mr. Lutz had mentioned he wanted to invest in art. Lucie connected him with Bart, and next thing she knew, Bart offered her a finder’s fee for the sale of the painting. And all she’d done was make an introduction. If the amount of the finder’s fee were any indication, that painting was most definitely an original.
After that hefty commission, Lucie—a business owner with escalating expansion expenses to deal with—found herself dropping Bart’s card off with every client she serviced.
Lucie reached into the closet for Otis’s leash. “I think it’s an original. Here’s the leash. Always grab a few of his treats. If he gets loose, it’s the only way to lure him back. He’s a sucker for peanut butter. Trust me, you don’t want him to get loose. He’s an animal.”
At the sight of his leash, Otis leaped, knocking Lucie back a step, but she held her hand out. “Yes, baby. I know. It’s Lucie time.”
When Lucie shoved the leash at her new dog walker, Lauren tore her gaze from the painting. “Sorry. I promise I’m not this flighty. It’s like meeting my favorite celebrity. Total fan-girl here. Would you be able to find out the name of this painting for me? Would that be okay?”
She looked back at the painting with a wistful longing and something in her expression reminded Lucie of herself at twenty. She’d been at Notre Dame back then and dreaming of a future in banking. She’d worked hard, graduated with honors, and landed a job as Mr. Lutz’s assistant at one of the city’s top investment banks. During that time, she’d lived her dream of being more than mob boss Joe Rizzo’s kid. In the world of investment banking, she’d moved beyond the title of mob princess.
For a little while.
Being downsized had certainly humbled her. Reminded her, as if she needed reminding, how easily life could change. It had also busted her back to living in her parents’ home.
That aside, she was now living a different dream. Building her own company. Who would have imagined her little side business of making high-end dog accessories would take off? But take off it did.
In a big way.
Now Lucie, along with her mother and best friend, Roseanne, had a major department store pressuring them for more dog coats and collars. The faster they made them, the faster they sold and Lucie’s panic meter had shot to the red.
All in all, a nice problem to have considering she could still be unemployed, but as with any growing business, time had become scarce. Speaking of…
Lucie checked the time on her phone. Eight minutes behind.
If they didn’t make up some of that eight minutes, by the end of the day, it would be an hour.
“Let’s hit it, Lauren. Plenty more dogs to see today. I’ll ask Mr. Lutz for the title of the painting.”
You know that feeling when you read a blurb in a book and you start laughing? Or you’ve read an author in one genre and decide to take a chance on a genre that said author is venturing into? And then once you take that chance, you could almost kick yourself because you have found an author that is now an auto buy and if you hadn’t taken that chance, you’d be missing out on something special? You see my friends, when I made the decision to stop reviewing for the blog I knew that I was going to miss out on some great tours and books. Rest assured, I will not EVER miss Ms. Giorando and her books.
I’ve talked to some peeps about this series and they said, if you like Stephanie Plum then this series is for you. Confusion, I might be the only person in the free world that didn’t love that series. Love the author, just not the series. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the romantic elements in it. Two guys, one girl. Yes, Harlie hates a love triangle and this one was just too painful for me to read. Pick one already. Quit stringing them along.
Lucie has kinda the same problem but once the decision is made there is no turning back. Yes, I read the first book in the series and got to know her relationship with Frankie. Major swoon over him but in the end, I think the decision that they both made in this book is final. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. First love, true love is tough and sometimes making that decision is hard and painful but it needs to be done. I cried for Frankie and Lucie but I also understood the why and how. Some of their obstacles are too great and sometimes you just need to move on.
Lucie moving on with Tim will be refreshing. Mob princess with an Irish Cop. The possibilities are endless with this couple. They genuinely liked each other. No strings, no back story. Just two people who are taking it nice and slow. No pressure from their two different worlds. In fact, that is what I liked about that aspect of the story. It’s an element and not the focus of the story. The true focus is on Lucie and her world. Dog walking, dog accessories, her family, friends and finally coming to terms with what happened when she had to move back home.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include Ro (bestie), Joey (her brother), her Mom and even her Dad that is in prison. Colorful characters that I am totally in love with. All of them. Ms. Giorando has written a very funny, yet emotional series with characters that are real. Yes, she could have gone the other way but she didn’t. You will care about them in ways that you never thought you could.
I really could go on about this book and the series so far, but truly you need to read it and see for yourself. Ms. Giorando has a fan for life now. Sure her romantic suspense is what I first started reading but March can’t come too soon. I must have my Lucie fix.
* * *
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.
Connect with Adrienne: Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Street Team
* * *
There are three giveaways on this tour – two $25.00 gift cards and a swag pack.
* * *
Blog Tour Stops
February 8, 2016
Adventures in Writing
Read Your Writes Book Reviews
Long and Short Reviews
February 9, 2016
Lush Book Reviews
Thoughts of a Blonde
February 10, 2016
Reading on the Rocks
February 11, 2016
Em & M Books
So Many Reads
Becky on Books
February 12, 2016
Nicole’s Book Musings
Nerdy Dirty & Flirty
February 13, 2016
Renee Entress’s Blog
Romancing the Book