In the coming days I plan to share the books in the “good fortune changes lives” box set Luck of the Draw. This set contains 13 wonderful, eclectic stories revolving around taking chances and winning!
Luck of the Draw is an Amazon exclusive and contains all new
stories and will be released May 11. For a very limited time this set is
selling for only 99c.To order Luck of the Draw
Here we have a lovely first chapter from Jacquie Biggar’s
A Gambling Hearts Novel
USA Today Bestselling Author
Copyright © 2017 by Jacquie Biggar
Matthew Shaughnessy tapped the two crappy cards lying face down on the table and prayed for something better. There were three men left, including him, after what had turned out to be an all-night poker match with some of the best players it had ever been his misfortune to come up against.
The dealer kept eyes down and slid three cards off the top with a flick of mobile fingers. Matt’s gaze circled the table, landing for an intimidating moment on each opponent. They stared back, doing their level best to catch the minutest tell—if he gave one away.
The pile of chips in the middle had grown to gargantuan heights, enough to tempt even the most hardened gambler to give up his life savings.
He needed this win.
The Arab on his right in flowing white robes, fidgeted. That was a good sign. He had shit cards too, then.
So it was between him and the Canadian diplomat. Interesting. The man looked confident, but his pile of chips was dangerously low. This was Matt’s chance.
He pushed everything he had left into the pot. “All in,” he growled, defying them to match his bet.
The Arab laughed. He shoved his cards and sat back in the velvet upholstered captain’s chair. “You play well, my friend. This night is yours. I’m out.”
Matt held in his relief, merely nodding and waiting for the Canadian to make his move. The crooning voice of Michael Bublé drifted into the private chambers. Matt glanced up, surprised. He’d been so involved with the game he’d almost forgotten they were in a high-roller room at the casino. He returned his attention to Gardener, willing him to give up, throw in the towel so they could all go home.
Perspiration dotted the man’s brow. He used the napkin under his watered down scotch to blot it away with the air of a dying man headed for the gallows. The dealer glanced at Matt with a you-got-this gleam in his eye.
Gardener lifted his cards one-by-one, and the expression of glee that passed over his face made Matt’s stomach drop through the floor. The vision he had of a beach vacation with a hot babe faded. Instead, he was now going to have to figure out how he was going to keep the promise he’d made to help his family out of their financial disaster. They were counting on him to save the ranch that had been in their family for over one hundred years.
And he’d just gambled it all away.
Dammit, he’d known he was taking a chance. Disgusted, he slugged back the whiskey, breathing through the fire as it burned its way into his roiling gut, and grabbed his cowboy hat on the back of his chair, preparing to leave the room with his tail between his legs.
“You no play hand?” the Saudi asked, disappointment at losing his night’s entertainment clear in his expression.
“I… I can’t.” The desperation in the Canadian’s tone arrested Matt’s departure. He eased back into his seat, hope rising faster than a Texas tornado.
The man rolled his chips into the middle, but he was way short of the wagered amount. “Will you accept an IOU?” he begged, biting his lip and guarding those damn cards.
Matt hesitated, loathe to win this way, but unwilling to give it away either. “House rules, man. No cash, you forfeit the game.”
Gardener eyed the pile of chips like a starving man catching a whiff of a sixteen-ounce steak. Suddenly, he turned and dug into his jacket pocket. Matt stiffened. Was he going to pull a flipping gun on them?
Instead of a derringer, the man held out a diamond ring, nestled in the palm of his hand. “Will you accept this as a token?”
Matt sucked in a surprised whistle. The ring was a beaut. A center stone, at least two carats, and surrounded by a ring of blue fire. Sapphires. It had to be fate. How else could he account for the fact that he stood a chance of winning the bounty of a lifetime?
“Where did you get that?” he demanded, his grip turning white where it wrapped around the arm of his chair.
Gardener looked at the ring and shrugged. “It’s been in my wife’s family for generations. My daughter is getting married next weekend and has always wanted this to be her wedding ring. I brought it to be cleaned but got sidetracked by this game. She’s going to hate me if I don’t have it to pass on to her husband.” He tapped his cards confidently. “Good thing I don’t have to worry about that, right gentlemen?”
The Arab crossed his arms and gazed back and forth between them, obviously getting as much enjoyment out of this turn of events as he did the game he’d just lost over a hundred-fifty grand playing.
Matt wavered between doing what he knew was right—his momma had ingrained the life lesson into his head—and grabbing the money and getting while the getting was good.
He couldn’t do it. Fair was fair.
“Throw it in there,” he grumbled, ignoring the Arab’s chuckle.
Gardener wheezed out a relieved sigh and dropped the ring on the pile seemingly without a thought to its legacy.
“Call,” he quipped, triumphant. He flipped his cards over in a fan proving why he’d been so damn sure of himself—a full house, jacks high.
He rubbed his chubby hands together and reached out to pull the winning pile his way.
A euphoric sense of accomplishment twisted Matt’s lips into their first true smile of the night. “You might want to hold up there, partner. You haven’t seen my hand yet.”
Both men leaned forward. One with interest. The other with a growing look of dread.
Matt displayed his cards one by one.
Queen of hearts. Queen of spades. Two of clubs. Queen of clubs.
Even the crooning Bublé went silent in anticipation.
Queen of diamonds. Four of a kind.
Matt was now the proud owner of a stranger’s diamond ring.
About the Author
JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want, that is until they're gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls.
She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.
Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can't function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. :)
Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:
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