A Reckless Note by Lisa Renee Jones



    When you touch me, I tremble. When I close my eyes and you’re not here, I remember your touch, your hands on my body, your tongue on my skin. And when you kiss me, as silly as it might sound, I melt. I go places with you, do things with you, that I never knew I could welcome in my life. But it’s all about you. It’s all about what you make me feel.

    I know you feel that I’ve become your “reckless note” in the never-ending pursuit of a story you cannot leave without a proper ending. But that’s just it. I’m part of this story now. I’m part of your story. And I never meant for any of this to happen. I couldn’t know that we’d meet and the world would spin beneath my feet, and somehow ignite a million shades of beauty in my life. I couldn’t know that I’d change how you saw, well, everything.

    Please don’t do this. Don’t shut me out.

    I don’t know who I am without you anymore.

    We will find the answers you need together. We will find your family “recipe.” I wasn’t lying. The answers you need can be found with me and at the Riptide Auction House. I promise you. Come see me. I won’t keep secrets any longer. I’m done with secrets.

    Love forever,



    One reckless note can change everything.

    My mother used to say that to me and my brother, Gio, and even in the years since she passed, the words echo in my mind, as I know they must in my brother’s. After all, we heard those words on nearly a daily basis from the moment our father disappeared until the moment our mother died seven years later. I’d been eleven when my father disappeared and eighteen when my mother was murdered. Now, I’m twenty-eight and the only person I have left in this world is also missing. Gio forgot that saying, he forgot that a reckless note can also be deadly when you’re born into our family. I’ve known for months that he forgot, but that letter from Sofia, whoever she is, confirms that his promises to stay away from our family secrets were not kept. And now I have to find him before it’s too late, the way it was for mom and dad. I refuse to believe Gio is dead. He’s protecting me. It’s the only acceptable answer.

    It’s a mild October late afternoon, with the hot eighties temperatures finally breaking into the low sixties windy day as I approach the double glass doors of the world-renowned Riptide Auction House. Nerves flutter in my belly with the idea that I’m about to do everything my mother warned me never to do—I’m about to place myself in the middle of the world that destroyed our family. But I’m also trying to save the only family I have left. A security guard opens the door for me and I quickly smooth down my wind-blown, long, dark hair.

    “Welcome,” he greets.

    “Thank you,” I say, shifting the Louis Vuitton briefcase my mother had given me for my high school graduation. She’d gotten it from a thrift shop and validated its authenticity. I didn’t care where it came from. It’s Louis Vuitton, a luxury I’d never known, though she had. We’d had money in Italy before we’d fled after my father’s disappearance, and did so with nothing. Unfortunately, the briefcase is the only thing I’m wearing that is a recognizable brand, but at least it pops against my basic black skirt and matching black silk blouse. Though as I walk under the extravagant chandelier that seems to have hundreds of dangling diamonds, and across floors so glossy white I need sunglasses, it doesn’t seem quite enough.

    The receptionist desk is to the right, a long white number that shines like the floors, so shiny that I imagine this is the kind of desk heaven might have. The Italian in me clings to religion, and the idea of heaven right now, but I reject the idea of Gio being there with our parents, not here with me. He can’t leave me. I won’t let him leave me here alone.

    There are three people spread out behind that fancy desk and I choose the friendly-looking redhead with a splatter of freckles on her button nose.

    “Hi,” she greets. “I’m Amber. Can I help you?”

    “Hi, yes.” I slide a card on the counter. “I’m Aria Alard,” I say, speaking my mother’s maiden name with the confidence she meant it to give me. No one here has to know who I really am. Ever. They can never know. We disappeared with my father, our historic bloodline ended forever. That’s what we let the world believe of my entire family. “I’m with Accent Collectibles,” I add. “Is Sofia here?”