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What happens when a charming, out-of-work actor is tapped to wine, dine, and romance an attractive young woman, but ends up falling for her sister instead?

Vivacious, pretty Val Antonucci has just ended another disastrous date, so she heads to her family's trattoria to commiserate with her sister Lucy. Across town, their brother Cyrus spends the evening brooding, boozing, and brawling until the boredom overtakes him and he and his pal Tony also retreat to the restaurant for some late night refuge. But instead of peace, he finds a local, arrogant casino mogul, Randolph Masonly, pressing him and Lucy to sell the business.

In a glittering casino, Alex Goodman lets his poker face slip and it costs him dearly in a high stakes game, but the battering he takes at the tables is nothing compared to the sight that greets him when he gets home; his wife in bed with another man. Meanwhile, wannabe actor and full-time waiter Danny Alvieri loses his cool, and his job, in the heat of the moment during a disagreement about an overcooked steak.

After a long evening, Lucy keeps the trattoria open late when the despondent Alex comes knocking on her door. Though he's a stranger to her, she lends him a sympathetic ear, and some solid advice, concerning his imminent breakup with his cheating wife. When she finally arrives home, she's called upon once again by her parents and Cyrus to address her sister Val's rapidly escalating dejection and cynicism. Jokingly, their mother suggests they pay a man to treat Val right for a while to get her back in the swing of things. The joke leaps to reality when the womanizing Danny comes calling in search of a job.

Eager for a job and amused at the prospect of making money for dating a beautiful woman, Danny accepts an offer from Lucy and Cy to work as a waiter in their restaurant while taking Val out on a few dates. Val, oblivious to the ruse with Danny, goes on a date and begins opening up to him. While Dan wines and dines her, Cyrus fumes and festers about the money, because he and Lucy are footing the bills for the high-class dates while the trattoria struggles to stay alive. Turning up the heat, Danny finds Val attractive, but his feelings for Lucy grow stronger and more undeniable. Adding to the mixture, Lucy helps him get an audition for a coveted upcoming movie role just as new friend Alex freaks out in a fantastical way at his ex-wife's house. It's not long before everyone's tensions hit a full boil, making this sibling stew a very tasty and tangy treat.

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Susan Diplacido

Susan DiPlacido lives in Pennsylvania, plays in Nevada, and loves to write. Trattoria is her first novel. Her second novel, 24/7, will be available in 2005. You can find her online at www.susandiplacido.com.

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