"YOU"RE AT MY MERCY NOW, AMORE."
Sorry, bella. You got dealt the losing hand.
Witness to a crime, you"re my prisoner now.
I didn"t mean for things to happen this way,
But tying you to my bed and making you scream
is an unexpected pleasure. A privilege, really.
And even if I did trust you, now that I"ve had a taste,
I"m not sure I"d let you go…
Jack of Spades is a stand-alone romance in the interconnected Vegas Underground series. No cliffhangers, no cheating.Books in Series:Vegas Underground Series by Renee RoseBooks by Author:Renee Rose Books
Three kinds of gamblers spend big at my roulette table.
There"s the guy who"s all up in his head. He"s quiet, body language closed. He sits with hunched shoulders and barely meets my eye. He plays odds, usually has a system he sticks to religiously. Like he always plays red and doubles his bet when he loses.
Then there"s the reckless gambler. He"s riding emotion, drugs or alcohol. He"s the opposite of the first kind. No system, totally haphazard. He might ask the woman beside him for her favorite number and bet it.
Then, there"s the gut gambler, my personal favorite. He carries an electricity with him that often carries the entire table away. It"s the guy who"s found the magic. Lady Luck, mojo, their stars aligning"who knows what it is, but they have an energy they"re following. They stay in the flow, following their intuition and bet right every time.
Often they appear similar to reckless gamblers: they"re outgoing, social. They engage with the people around them, including me, their croupier.
The whale"that"s Vegas for big spender"at my table tonight is neither reckless, nor a gut gambler, although he has the personality and style of both. He"s gorgeous with a finely tailored suit and European flair, like he stepped off the pages of an Italian men"s magazine. He flirts shamelessly with me and chats up the people around him.
I scoop and stack the chips and award the winnings with practiced finesse, doing a one-handed split and stack and moving with lightning speed.
"There she goes, beauty and talent."
It"s cheesy, but I flash him a smile. I like having him at my table, love his charm and flair, the big tips, yet my spidey sense keeps sounding. There"s something off about him.
He"s down two thousand at the moment. He slides his chips out onto the table at the last minute, right as I wave my hand and call no more bets. He sets them up sloppily, too. I can"t tell if he wants them in the box for Third Twelve or Odd.
"Which one, sir"" I lean forward to get his attention as the wheel spins.
He"s been drinking quite a bit, but he doesn"t appear intoxicated. His eyes flick to my cleavage"which I still manage to work despite the masculine uniform"then back to my face before he gives me a slow, good-natured grin. "Odds, please. Sorry for that."
"No slop," I warn, and scoot the chips over as the ball settles.
He wins. He slides two hundred-dollar chips across the table to me as a tip. When I pull his chips in, I see he"s embedded a ten dollar chip in the middle instead of a hundred. I flick my gaze up and see he"s watching me. He winks.
I subtly signal for Security to come over.
It"s not the first time I"ve been propositioned to cheat for a customer. It happens often enough. It sort of boggles my mind that he"d spend two hundred bucks paying me off to make ninety. But I suppose it was a test. Once he found out if I"d give him anything, he would"ve tried it again and again.
Vincent, the security manager on the floor tonight ambles over and stands close to me, dipping his head to listen.
"This guy"s playing slop and trying to slip low chips in his stack."
Later, I would realize Vincent seemed a little too pleased with me, but it doesn"t register. I"m just ignoring the flutters in my belly as he walks around to escort the dude out. I"m not sorry. I did the right thing, for sure. I"m only disappointed because the guy was attractive and sort of fascinating to me, and I"d fantasized for just a moment about him asking me out.
But whatever. I"m not going to risk this job, not even for a sexy man in a sharp suit. Working at the Bellissimo is like a job, education and socialization all rolled into one glamorous package. It"s owned by the notorious Nico Tacone, of the Tacone Chicago crime family, who rules the place with an iron fist. I wouldn"t fuck with him. Even if he is in love with my cousin.
I finish my shift and head toward the employee locker rooms. When I pass the hallway toward the security offices, I stop short.
Vincent is standing in a relaxed posture, shooting the shit with none other than the sexy suit from my table.
"Corey," he grins and beckons me closer. "Come here, I want to introduce you to someone."
Oh Jesus. He was a secret shopper. Or whatever you call a security test. I don"t know why it pisses me off, but it does. My stomach tightens up into a knot as I stride over.
"Corey, meet Stefano Tacone, our new Head of Security."
I lift my hand to slap Stefano"s face. I don"t know why I do it. Yes, I have a redhead"s temper and I grew up in a violent family. Still, I should know better.