dealers around the neighborhood. Warrick had often wondered how his life would have turned out if his uncle hadnât pulled him over that fateful night twenty-two years ago. There waslittle doubt in Warrickâs mind that he would have ended up a pusher, or a junkie like his father. Or worse, dead. But his uncle had put a stop to all that, altering the course of Warrickâs life forever. Randall was the one who had taken Warrick and his family out of the projects and set them up in a better neighborhood. Randall was the one whoâd taught Warrick the meaning of an honest dayâs work when he made his nephew spend hours after school washing squad cars down at the police station, mowing lawns, cleaning storm drains and volunteering at homeless shelters. And it was Randall who had adjusted his schedule and worked overtime as needed just so that he could attend Warrickâs high-school basketball gamesâheâd never missed one.
For as long as Warrick could remember, his uncle had always been there for him, never asking for anything in return. Even when Warrick made his first million, and other relatives began crawling out of the woodwork and hitting him up for money, Randall refused to take a dime from his nephew. He wouldnât let Warrick buy him a new house or give him the funds to retire early from the police department. Randallâs stubborn pride was a tremendous source of frustration to Warrick, who, though he knew he could never repay his uncle for saving his life, wanted to try anyway. But no matter how often they argued or how gently he cajoled, Warrick couldnât persuade his uncle to take his money. Angry and frustrated, heâd finally given up.
And then, six years ago, Warrick had been attending a car auction while on a business trip to Italy. The moment heâd seen the red 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS Spyder sports car, with its powerful V12 engine and sleekly muscled body, he knew he had to get it for his uncle, whose passion for vintage cars had dominated more than a few conversations over the years. Without batting an eye at the seven-figure starting bid, Warrick had outmaneuvered several other buyers, purchased the car and had it shipped to his uncle in time for his fiftieth birthday.
The arrival of that car had done what nothing or no one had ever accomplished in Randall Mayneâs life. It had rendered him speechless.
He had immediately picked up the phone and called Warrick, who was still on business overseas. Warrick, groggy from sleep, hadnât known what to make of the strangled, inarticulate noises coming through the phone line, half afraid his uncle was having a heart attackor stroke. When Randall finally got his bearings, he lit into his nephew. Boy, how many times have I told you I donât want or need your money? And how do you expect to hang on to your fortune when you blow half of it on old sports cars?
Warrick had silently laughed through the lecture, then swallowed a hard knot of emotion that had lodged in his throat when, at the end of the tirade, his uncle had whispered humbly: Thank you, son.
A year later, Randall, who had always dreamed about collecting and restoring classic cars, retired from the police force to do just that. Because heâd always been savvy with his money and had made some wise investments along the way, heâd retired with a sizable nest egg that enabled him to live comfortably and fund his somewhat expensive passion.
Watching him tinker under the hood of the T-Bird, Warrick realized that he hadnât seen his uncle this happy since his divorce had been finalized more than twenty years ago.
Chuckling to himself, Warrick set aside his beer, stood and walked over to Randall. âRebuilding the engine?â
âTrying to,â Randall said gruffly, his heavy black brows furrowed together. âThis oneâs giving me a little trouble though.â
Warrick shook his head, leaning down beside him. âItâs