Last Chance

By: Erika Wilde

CHAPTER ONE





As the executive casino hostess for the Onyx in Las Vegas, Valerie Downing was used to watching high rollers excite a crowd, especially when Lady Luck was on their side and each roll of the dice paid off for everyone playing at their table.

In this instance, the game of choice was craps, and the person generating all the excitement was one of the hottest, sexiest men she’d ever laid eyes on. That was saying a lot, considering all the good-looking guys who’d come through the casino in the time she’d worked there.

Besides being blessed with a stunningly gorgeous face and a hard body made for all kinds of sin, he most captured her attention with the abundance of confidence and easygoing charm he exuded. The seductive, inviting curve to his lips when he smiled didn’t hurt, either. And judging by all the women surrounding him, each one blatantly vying for his attention, she wasn’t the only female currently admiring all that charisma and masculine sex appeal.

Standing just outside the gaming area, Valerie continued to keep an eye on the increasing action at the craps table, fairly certain that she’d be summoned to extend the hotel and casino’s VIP services to entice the man to stay. A gambler didn’t win a huge chunk of change at one of these tables only to leave and squander the cash elsewhere. Her job was to make sure the big winners stayed at the Onyx, and any further gambling was invested right back into their casino.

“Looks like you have a live one at the craps table.”

Valerie glanced at the petite blonde who’d come up beside her, amused by the note of interest in the other woman’s voice, and knew her friend was lusting over Gorgeous Guy. Skye Lambert, her roommate, worked as a cocktail waitress in the casino, had a bigger-than-life personality and a centerfold body that easily rocked her black miniskirt and lace-up corset uniform. She also had a huge appreciation for the opposite sex, though there was only one man in particular she wanted. Unfortunately, he treated Skye more like a little sister than like a woman who desired only him.

Another round of boisterous cheers drew Valerie’s attention back to the craps table and Gorgeous Guy. Apparently, he’d just rolled a great hand. “He’s definitely riding a lucky streak, and he’s making a ton of money for a lot of people, himself included.”

Skye sighed dreamily. “Doesn’t hurt that he’s a smoking-hot hunk with a face and body to die for. He’s not one of our regulars, is he?”

“No.” Valerie was familiar with the established high rollers, and she’d never seen this guy before today. She would have remembered him. “I’m just waiting for him to finish playing so I can offer my services and make sure he becomes a regular.”

“Yeah, I’d love to offer him my services,” Skye murmured wickedly.

Valerie laughed at her friend’s outrageous comment as Skye continued on her way to the bar to pick up a drink order.

Gorgeous Guy reached for the dice, but before he could toss them onto the table again, a curvy redhead who’d been by his side the entire afternoon grabbed his hand, brought his palm up to her pursed lips, and blew seductively on the dice for extra luck. Obviously enjoying the woman’s seductive tactics, he grinned like a rogue, then with a flick of his wrist he sent the dice tumbling across the green felt-covered table.

The croupier called out a triple, which meant another generous payout for everyone. The gamblers riding on Gorgeous Guy’s luck were loud in expressing their elation, and the same redhead who’d just blown on his dice now wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a zealous kiss of gratitude on his lips. When she finally let him breathe again, he was laughing and enjoying the spotlight. Then he started racking up his chips to cash out while the woman he was with continued to fawn all over him.

Valerie’s cell phone vibrated against her hip, and she pulled the device from its case and checked the message from the pit boss who’d been supervising the action.

75K leaving the craps table. Male. Blond. Blue collared shirt.

Gorgeous Guy. She replied with a standard I’m on it to let the pit boss know she had the target in sight as he headed toward the cashier—without the woman who’d been all but glued to his side at the table.

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