Nikki Silva thinks she’s blown up her life. Divorced, funding for her shark research cut off, she’s moved back to Provincetown to live with her father. Nikki’s written a grant proposal funded by a commission run by her ex-husband Ned, who would rather not give money to his ex-wife.
Marco Tornetti wants to turn a Newark spaghetti joint into a trendy bistro. His silent partner, Fat Phil Lagosa, wants to use the place to solicit questionable business deals. When Fat Phil turns on Marco and has him marked for a hit, Marco knows he’s in too deep.
Marco escapes the hit man and takes the first bus out of the city. Marco figures that Phil would never look for him in Provincetown‘s gay community. But when he meets Nikki, he finds that pretending to be gay isn’t as easy as it would seem.
I did not blow up the Mona Lisa. Not only did I not blow up the Mona Lisa—an old leaker of a boat whose blowing up could be construed as a favor to the aptly named Rusty Cook—I did not blow up any part of Rusty’s marina. My brothers will, of course, say otherwise. They had quite the laugh at my expense over coffee at Ella’s Place.
Rusty had been on the lookout for a boat for me. It had taken a lot of gumption and crow-eating to get to a place where I could consider buying a boat. I needed a cheap one, because God only knew how much money I’d be able to squeeze out of the Massachusetts Bay Commission via the research grant proposal I’d spent three long months laboring to produce.
The head of the commission was Ned Anderson. Ned, a brilliant shark researcher in his own right, had tumbled a long way: to full time administrator of a bullshit state commission. Though to hear Ned say it, it wasn’t a tumble but a reward for all the years he’d spent roughing it on a California channel island—an island that only had electricity every other day— in order to unlock the mystery of white shark feeding behavior. I had spent five years on that island with Ned. We were married at the time.
One divorce and one un-granted California grant later, I was back on Cape Cod, in Provincetown, living just off Bradford Street with my father and in dire need of a job. I wrote the proposal. Then I revved up my resolve, packed away my pride, and called Ned. He agreed to a meeting at the Long Wharf Marriott in Boston. It wasn’t supposed to get personal. Really. I had every intention of sticking to business.
I had my only dress dry-cleaned. I put my hair up and put on my gray suede shoes. My pop actually looked up from the TV.
“Where you off to, all done up?”
“No kidding? Max Groper hiring you on?”
Max Groper was head of Coastal Studies here in Provincetown. I had
asked Max for a job when I first got home, but Coastal is a small budget operation with limited funds for another researcher. The only other jobs around were fishing, which two of my brothers did, and working at Dairy Queen, which my baby brother was just shy of doing. As was I, come to think of it.
“The Bay Commission,” I said, as breezily as I could manage.
“Ned’s commission?” My father raised his eyebrows. I must say, he looked as though he didn’t quite believe it.
“It’s a job, not a reconciliation,” I said, not quite sure I believed it myself.