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He snorted and then ran in circles for a solid two minutes, doing his best roadrunner impression until suddenly he ran out of gas and flopped at Kylie’s feet, panting in exhaustion.

Kylie shook her head and stared at the fountain. As she’d told Joe the night before, the legend was clear. Wish for love with a true heart and love would find you.

But legends were made up. Fantasies. Except . . . there really had been a lot of love stories to happen right here in this building in the past few years, several of them involving her good friends, and all could be traced back to wishing on this very fountain.

Last night when she’d wished for her penguin, she’d actually been tempted to wish for something else all together, and how scary was that? She would’ve liked to wish for Joe to openly look at her the way he sometimes did when he thought she wasn’t watching, his warm gaze making her hot and mushy at the same time, his expression telling her she was more than just sex to him, that maybe there were real feelings, feelings that could go deep, deeper than she’d ever allowed before.

Not that she’d wish away the sex though, especially since thoughts of that alone could give her a hot flash. The images were implanted, his just-for-her smile barely curving his lips, that hard, honed body taking hers however he wanted—because let’s face it, any way he wanted had been pretty damn amazing so far, especially when he used his tongue to—

“Now see, you gotta actually toss in a coin,” came a craggy voice and something hit the water. A coin.

Kylie’s head whipped around to stare at Old Man Eddie. He grinned at her. “Hope you wished for something good, darlin’,” he said. “Would hate to see that penny go to waste.”

“I . . . I can’t believe you did that.”

He shrugged. “You were standing here in indecision for so long that Vinnie fell asleep.” He pointed to her dog, who was still curled up on the sun-warmed cobblestones at her feet, snoring like a buzz saw. “What did you wish for?” he asked.

Oh good God. She’d just wished for more wild sex with Joe. She stared at Eddie and he gave her a slow, sly grin.

“So it’s like that, is it? Who’s the lucky fellow?”

“No. No, no, no,” she said. “It doesn’t count since I didn’t throw the coin. You did.”

Old Man Eddie just smiled.

“Oh come on,” she said. “Surely there are rules!”

“Don’t know, darling.” He shrugged. “I’m not much of a rule man myself.”

“Well, I’m certain there are rules, lots of them.” She told herself not to panic. “And anyway, the legend is about true love and that’s not what I was thinking about, so it’s not going to happen. Right? Tell me I’m right.”

He laughed. “I don’t know that either, but I’d give more than a penny to know what you wished for to put that look on your face.”

“Oh my God.” She whirled back to the water, determined to climb in and remove the penny. Only . . . there were a bunch of pennies in there and she could no longer remember exactly which one she’d seen Eddie toss in. And what if she removed the wrong one? What then? Would that mean she’d erase someone else’s wish? She couldn’t do that. She couldn’t live with herself if she did that. “Which one was it?” she demanded, stepping closer to the fountain. “I’m not sure . . .”

“What isn’t she sure about?”

This was from Molly, who was walking by with Willa and Elle, all three carrying bags from O’Riley’s Pub.

“Whelp,” Eddie said, rocking back on his heels, flashing Kylie a mischievous smile. “I believe our Kylie here just made a wish that she’s second-guessing right about now.”

Kylie stared at him. “But you’re the one who tossed the coin!”

“Details,” he said on a shrug. “Fact is, a wish was made, and it had you blushing big time too. I’m thinking it must’ve been about someone whose name rhymes with—”

“No!” Kylie rushed to say, not wanting to go there.

Eddie grinned. “Exactly. His name rhymes with no.”

Willa and Elle laughed. Molly looked speculative.

Kylie sighed. “I’m walking away now.”


She turned back to face Molly, who held out one of the brown bags. “I was going to drive this out to Joe, who’s stuck babysitting a witness and is starving. But I’ve got a meeting. Maybe you wouldn’t mind?”

Kylie looked at Elle and Willa, who were both suddenly very busy on their phones. “Um—”

“Great, thanks!” Molly said, and then before Kylie knew it, she was holding the bag and a hastily scribbled address on a napkin.

“What just happened?” Kylie asked Eddie when the women were gone.

Eddie laughed. “I think it’ll be much more fun watching you figure it out.”

The address on the napkin was a building only a few blocks away, so she and Vinnie walked. Or rather, Kylie walked, carrying Joe’s lunch and the lazy Vinnie.

She ended up in front of a building in Pacific Heights that appeared to be a large Victorian home divided into four residences. Just outside the main entrance was Joe’s truck.

With Joe in it.

He wore dark mirrored shades and a backward ball cap and—thanks to that and the window tinting, it was hard to see his expression as she walked up to the front of the vehicle. She hesitated, unsure whether to go to the driver’s side in the street or to the passenger side. She didn’t want to impose. She just wanted to drop off his lunch.

Oh, who was she kidding. He looked hot as hell and she wanted to climb into that truck and onto his lap and—

He leaned over and opened the passenger door for her. Shaking off her fantasy, she walked over to him.

He was in his usual work gear of cargos, a Hunt Investigations T-shirt and a windbreaker, which she now knew was mostly to hide the guys’ weapons and make them seem less threatening.

In Joe’s case, it only made him look all the more badass.

“You busy?” she asked.

“Babysitting a witness as a favor to an attorney we do a lot of work for,” he said. “The guy’s not in any danger, except he’s a flight risk. Lucas is in the back alley watching the only other exit. No one ever slips past Lucas. Get in.”

She’d discovered she didn’t much like him telling her what to do—unless she was naked—but she got into the truck with Vinnie and handed Joe the brown bag. “From Molly,” she said.

He went brows up and ignored the bag, reaching for Vinnie instead, holding the dog up so that they could look at each other nose-to-nose. Vinnie panted in sheer joy and bicycled his little legs in the air, trying to get closer to lick his new favorite person.

One hundred percent, Kylie understood the urge.

Joe set Vinnie in his lap, where Vinnie turned in three circles—making Joe wince at the paw placement—and plopped down for a happy snooze.

Then and only then did Joe look inside the bag. “Chicken wings and fries. Nice.”

“Molly said she was supposed to bring you lunch.”

Joe stared at her and then pulled out his phone. He didn’t greet whoever answered, just listened for a moment before saying, “You’re going to want to watch your back. Paybacks are a bitch.”

“Paybacks are a bitch?” Kylie repeated when he disconnected. “Who was that?”

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