An Excerpt From: ACE OF SPADES
Copyright © J.HALI STEELE, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
The dealer never looked up. Cards deftly flipped through her hands and slipped between each other with only a whisper of sound against the red felt. A professional who didn’t even bat an eye, she shuffled, cut and placed the deck in front of him. He had been suckered into the stupidest bet of his life. One he’d be sorry for if the right card wasn’t pulled.
Aldan ”Ace” Spade and his three friends were regular high rollers at the Coral Sea Casino. The pit boss had allowed the dealer to veer from the game of blackjack because no one else sat at the table with them.
He’d arrived late and missed drinks with his buddies at the gentlemen’s club located in the building next to the casino. The bet was whether or not he could take home the new hostess. This time Ace played blind.
He didn’t mind taking a girl to his place but damn, he hated not knowing what she was like. The manager hired the shallowest women in the world. They all seemed to care about one thing—hanging around long enough to hook a winner with deep pockets. He could count on one hand those who had survived long enough to accomplish that feat.
He pulled a card from the deck. The dealer took hers and faced it up. Eight of diamonds. His chances of turning over a higher card were fifty-fifty. Lower and he’d be stuck with the new girl.
Ace had grown tired of his lifestyle. Weary of the nameless women traipsing through his life. Shit, he was getting soft. And knocking on forty. The thought of settling down crossed his mind a lot lately. Problem was he avoided nice girls like the plague. Too many went bad in his business. He wasn’t interested in picking up the pieces anymore. Most of his life he’d played the field, and scored more often than a dollar hooker.
He flipped his card over. Five of hearts.
“Fuck me to tears,” he groaned. “I don’t feel like company tonight.”
His friends laughed at him. Ren said, “Hope you brought cash. I don’t take checks or IOUs and I got a feeling we might win the bet tonight.”
“Christ. Is she blonde?” He hoped she wasn’t. “Come on, let’s get this shit over with. Nobody told her about me, right?”
Trace still grinned. “Tell her what? You’re filthy rich or you’re just filthy?”
He glared hard at his friends. “She can’t be any worse than keeping company with you sorry bastards. Closing time she’ll be on my arm and I don’t take IOUs either.” Wasn’t often he was turned down.
They exited the casino using the boardwalk entrance and made their way to the club. There was a nice crowd and they waited a bit before the manger approached. “Your regular table’s empty, gentlemen. I’ll send a waiter over.”
After they’d been seated a while, Ace peered around, trying to catch sight of the new hostess. Not a sign of her. Aside from the woman on stage, she’d be the only female employee. The servers were all male and two bouncers flanked the stage to make sure no touching went on there.
“Hell, maybe she didn’t make it a day.” He continued to peruse the crowded room.
“Not to worry, she’ll probably be here longer than most.” Ren’s toothy grin made him wonder. No way she wouldn’t be a knockout. So what was up?
“Just wait.” Trace’s cryptic reply didn’t help Ace any. For some reason the guys were evasive.
The dancers treated what they did like a profession. One many sneered at, but a job nonetheless. Quite a few of those he employed attended the local college. They performed here to make a buck—and the tips were phenomenal.
The Shell was known by other names—titty bar, topless bar—but it was one of the cleanest run and safest in the county. The dancers were the best and if any of them tried to handle private business on the side, they were sent packing immediately.
Ace would have it no other way.
No one knew he owned the place except his friends. Even the manager didn’t. Everything got handled through his attorney.
The only problem here existed with the damn hostesses. Most were let go for outrageously coming on to the patrons. Others just couldn’t take the rowdy men who frequented the club. He kept hoping they’d find a lady who, with finesse, would stand up to the angry, rude sons of bitches. Ace made it a point not to interfere, but if that woman ever turned up, he’d make sure she stayed.
And you knew there was a video right?
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out.-© J. Hali Steele