EXCERPT of Buyer Beware

May 30, 2018 Uncategorized


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I said I could do casual and swore I’d never fall in love. I lied…

She’s innocence incarnate, and I’m the one who will steal it. She soothes my tortured soul, and for a while, I’m happy. Until a vicious sociopath and her haunted past threatens to ruin it all.

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~~~ EXCERPT ~~~

“That’s fucking not going to happen.”

The voice of nightmares stops me in my tracks.

Not wanting to see the face of evil for the second time today, I duck into a tiny alcove where housekeeping stows their cart when they clean the meeting rooms. Dante walks my way, still babbling, and stops in front of the restroom door.

I can see him, but he can’t see me. I watch his beady eyes dart from left to right. Once he thinks the coast is clear, he grimaces at the phone.

“You know what, Lou? If you don’t shut the fuck up and do what I tell you to do, your beloved nanny is going to get her ass thrown on a boat back to the homeland. Do I make myself crystal clear?”

Lou? No way. It sounds like Dante is threatening Lou Graham, the head of the Nevada Gaming Board. What the hell could he have on Lou, a guy who’s so squeaky clean he could have invented the squeegee?

My mind races, trying to connect dots that twist in a never-ending circle. It doesn’t make a bit of sense. But if the mafia kingpin has someone that important to the success of every other casino owner in this town fitted snuggly in his back pocket, we’re all fucking screwed.

“You see that you do,” Dante says, disconnecting the call as he pushes the restroom door open with a resounding smack.

Whatever Lou did or didn’t do or say has pissed off Dante, a man who doesn’t show much emotion. If he did, he’d lose his hard-won control. I wonder what it could be, but I don’t waste time pondering it now because I need to get the hell out of the Mona Lisa before Dante comes across me and puts two and two together. He wouldn’t appreciate anyone knowing details of his underground activities. Especially me.

After retrieving my Mercedes without incident, I drive the few blocks to the Armónico and hand my keys to my valet, instructing him to park it in my personal spot since I’m in for the night. I’ll get some room service and work from my bank of rooms. Maybe make a few calls to the one person I trust in this damn town. He might have an idea of what Dante’s up to. Either way, it can’t be good.

As I’m walking to the elevator to ride to my penthouse, a ruckus draws my attention. The only thing that usually causes a stir is if one of the musical acts we’re known for booking happens to be milling around signing autographs and posing for selfies. Sometimes, even I’ve been known to create a stir ever since that damn article Las Vegas Magazine did on me a few months back. Most eligible bachelor in Sin City and all that bullshit. Single women have been flocking to the hotel in a desperate attempt to snag the unattainable, but I don’t want anything to do with any of them.

I walk up to my right-hand man but keep my voice low. “Troy, what the fuck? I don’t want this kind of shit at my casino. This is a classy place, and we don’t tolerate bad behavior.”

Troy looks at me, his lips turning up at the corners. “I’ve already handled it, boss. Just a little dispute between one of our dealers and his sister. She’s a feisty one, apparently. That’s her right over there. She’s just leaving.”

I follow Troy’s stare with my own eyes, and once they land on the woman in question, all the air in the universe disappears. I can’t breathe or move. Can’t even think. Only one thing on my body twitches with signs of life, and it’s the only part of me I want to remain still. It doesn’t. Her sculpted curves tempt me in a way I’ve never felt before. Silky long hair falls just above the rounded globes of her perfect ass. Skin so olive and smooth my hands itch to touch it.

“What’s her name?” I ask, using every ounce of my strength to keep my voice level.

Troy gives me a funny look. “Marcella Castillo. Her brother, Manuel, is a dealer here.”

Even though I’m talking to Troy, my eyes never leave the vision of female perfection until every inch of her silhouette is burned into my brain.

“Find out everything you can about her. Everything.”

“You got it, boss.” At Troy’s laugh, her head turns my way, and my eyes meet her expressive orbs of liquid brown.

And I’m lost.


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