Here it is... the moment you've been waiting for... your first Leaving Las Vegas excerpt!
Glory Allen was keenly aware of the long pause that followed that statement. Ice collided with glass, creating a tinkling noise, the only sound in the cheap Las Vegas motel room. The neon lights from the Strip a half mile away streamed through the window, making the stacks of neatly piled hundred-dollar bills gleam blue and red. Not the neat ceramic chips used at the fancy casinos on the Strip, but real money. Cash. And surrounding the table sat serious poker players. Big men with square jaws and bulges under their arms.
Normally, Glory wouldn’t give a rat’s rump what anyone thought about her.
Normally, she wasn’t playing poker for high stakes in a private game well off the Strip.
In Beaux, West Virginia, cheating at poker could get a girl’s behind beat black and blue. Here in Las Vegas, she figured they’d just shoot her. Two to the head and a quick burial in the nearest patch of desert.
Under the table, she curled her free hand into a fist, fingernails digging into her palms. The pain helped her to concentrate, kept her expression still. She forced herself to keep looking straight ahead, staring into the eyes of the man who’d accused her.
Luke. That was his name. The man with the green eyes who’d almost made her forget what she was doing when he’d undone the top few buttons of his shirt halfway through the night, displaying a chest that was lean but still muscular. He wasn’t her type. A little too clean-cut. But confident, with backbone to spare.
Confidence was drop-dead sexy in a man.
And yet it didn’t matter how sexy Mr. Fancy Pants was, not when so much money sat on the table. Five-card draw. Jokers wild. Real, old-fashioned poker. And over two hundred thousand dollars, stacked at her elbow. But she needed more. She had to keep playing.
More importantly, he had to keep playing. Had to keep upping the ante until she’d won enough to get out and go home.
“You got proof?” she challenged him. When he shook his head, she said, “Losing is no excuse for bad manners.”
He clenched his jaw tight. The face of his watch knocked against the table. His emerald eyes flashed, changing his expression from one of contempt to something a little more testy. Not good.
She felt about as safe as a red wriggler dangling in front of a hungry trout.
The other players leaned forward. The man on her left drummed his fingers against the table. Mr. Grant, a Los Angeles fi lm producer who liked to adjust his tie when he thought he was about to win. His hand was at his throat now, undoing his crisp Windsor knot. His lips turned up in a thin, dangerous smile. “Let’s keep the game rolling. If you’re still in.”
Luke’s gaze swept around the table, confirming that the others wanted to continue the play. “I’m in.” His gaze stopped on Glory. “What about you?” His green eyes narrowed. Thin lines radiated out from the corner of his eyes, the small imperfections making him somehow more real. Human.
“I’m not going to fold,” she said. She couldn’t leave now, not when she had a game to win. A bus to catch. A town to save.
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