I’d had enough. I squatted down under the pretense of grabbing a fresh deck from under the table and used the opportunity to hit the call button on my ear bud.


I rolled my eyes. I wasn’t sure I’d ever heard Drew’s head of security answer the phone any other way, much less in any other tone. The guy was a robot.

“I need you to take care of a player at table sixteen.”

“Isn’t that your table?” he asked, his tone again, unreadable.

“Yes,” I replied. “He’s making everyone uncomfortable. You’re going to have to come up with a legit reason though. I haven’t been able to find fault with his playing.”

“Are you sure this isn’t just because he looked at your woman one too many times?” It was suddenly Drew’s voice who asked the question.

“He’s making everyone uncomfortable,” I growled defensively. “And yes, he clearly has a death wish since he keeps ignoring my hints to get the fuck away from Lia. So one of you get your ass down here and figure out how to remove him, or you’re going to have a lawsuit on your hands when I beat the shit out of him.”

Drew sighed dramatically and I rolled my eyes. “Don’t pretend you wouldn’t act the same if it were Autumn,” I jibed.

“Fine,” he barked.

I stood back up, grasping the unopened deck of cards. “Sorry. folks, had trouble finding it. Guess I should keep my work space a little tidier. That’s what the ladies like, right?” I grinned and winked at a sweet older lady, making her blush.

As I unwrapped the deck, I glanced at Lia and almost broke out into laughter. She was trying not to glare at the woman who was old enough to be my grandmother. When she caught me staring, she narrowed her eyes in warning. “You owe me,” she mouthed. I grinned because she was cute as fuck. I had no problem paying up.

Knox showed up shortly after and bent down to quietly say something into the guy’s ear. The man nodded and stood. He threw one last nasty look in Lia’s direction, which had me ready to jump over the table and choke the life out of him. Knox seemed to know what I was thinking because he put out a hand towards me and shook his head. “I got it,” he growled and hurried the man off in another direction.

At my next break, I thanked the players and introduced them to my replacement. Lia cashed out, then slipped her card into a small, almost hidden compartment in her wallet. We still used chips at The Lennox, but Drew had switched over to an electronic system so we didn’t have to deal with much cash. Everyone was given a card and you could put money on it with cash or have it wired to your bank account. It was almost like a debit card that only worked at The Lennox Casino tables. Rather than buying chips with cash at the tables and then carrying them around with you, the dealer swiped the player’s card and they could then swipe it at another table in exchange for however many chips they wanted, or could afford, or they could go to the cage and have their money given to them in cash or wired back into their checking account.

Considering the amount of money that had to be on Lia’s card, I wasn’t surprised that she kept it hidden. Even if her wallet was stolen, the thief most likely wouldn’t find the card before she could report it and be issued a new one.

Lia walked with me to the employee entrance, then leaned up on her tip toes to place a sweet kiss on my lips. “I need to go register for the tournament,” she said when she lowered her feet back to the floor. “You get off at eight?”

“Yeah, then I have to meet Drew, Zack, and our friend Griffith for a drink.” I shook my head with irritation. “I tried to get out of it, but Zack and Drew are actually banding together to try and talk Griffith into a multi-year contract. They want to build a shared event space between our hotels and share the talent. Since I own half of Zack’s hotel, they are insisting I be there.”

“Griffith Thorne?” Lia squeaked. Her face was awash with shock as she stared up at me.

My eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Yes.”

“You’re friends with Griffith Thorne.” It was a statement not a question, but I responded with a nod anyway.

“He’s so ho—um,” she stopped suddenly.

I backed her up until she was against the wall and leaned down, crowding into her space. “He’s so what?” I asked, my tone low and laced with warning.

Her breathing picked up and her gray eye became stormy. “Not you?” she whispered.

“Damn straight,” I snarled.

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