First Page: Immortal Gambler (unpublished manuscript)
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Immortal Gambler: Blurb
Ariel: Ariel is broke, in debt and comes home from closing the doors to her dreams to find her apartment destroyed, her step-father tied up and three Russian thugs threatening his life. To save herself, her step-father and pay back his debt, Ariel agrees to enter the world of prostitution without fully grasping the consequences. There, she is bought by Drake, a handsome jerk with a secret that could make her life even more dramatic than it already is.
Drake: For more than twenty years, Drake has been tormented by dreams of an elusive red haired beauty who is also the key to breaking a hundred fifty year old curse put on him by his vengeful ex-girlfriend. Now that he has finally found her, he will do anything and everything in his power to keep her by his side but finding her is only the beginning. Drake realizes that in order to fully break the curse, he has to do more than just give Ariel powerful orgasms every night.
Ariel’s life was not turning out the way she wanted it to, the way she had always imagined it would turn out. She wanted a do over. If it were possible, she wanted the universe to reverse its laws and take her back in time so she would amend all the bad decisions she had made. Her over ambition had made her want to start a business soon after college. In a recession no less. She would reverse that decision. She would also reverse the decision of employing her less than helpful step-father who had done more harm than good to her business. What had she been thinking? It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with hindsight, she knew that it was more of his dangerous charm that had persuaded her to employ him.
She wanted to forget it all, if only for a while. Her mind drifted to her dream coffee shop. Not the one she had just closed doors for the last time but the one that was always perfect in her dreams. Filled with customers on every table and smelling always of fresh coffee and confectionery. Ariel could almost smell it. Her mind almost managed to obliterate the unpleasant stench of body odor and a tiny hint of urine that dominated the bus until a woman brushed her arm as she walked past, jolting her back to reality. The bus had stopped and she got out of it as quickly as she could.
She had already sold her car so she could pay Sue, the coffee shop’s only waitress, her remaining salary. It was only half of the actual amount but she had understood Ariel’s plight and had not pressed for more. Ariel had to lie to Sue where she had gotten the money; she would have refused it if she knew.
Whilst on the subject of employees, Ariel thought, it was about time she and Lionel had the talk. She was not sure how to gently tell a stepfather, a man who had raised her as one of his own, who was currently living on her measly income that he was no longer welcome to do so. He had to know that either he had to look for a job, a real job not gambling, or he would have to look for his own place. Just anticipating telling him that felt harsh, but she conceded that he had to understand that she could not support him anymore.
She walked down the familiar streets of Flamingo road, dragging her feet as the Nevada sun warmed her back on its way down, thinking of excuses to give Lionel but none plausible came to mind. Eventually the inevitable happened. She had reached Mel Groove’s place.
As she reached the door to her apartment, Ariel took out the keys from her handbag, inserted the key into the keyhole and turned it. The door was already unlocked. Lionel had left it unlocked again, she thought. Ariel scowled silently, sometimes the man behaved more like a child than a man. She had told him countless times about the dangers of leaving the door unlocked in a neighborhood such as the one they were living in.
When she opened the door, tiny pieces of form rubber went straight up her nose causing her to sneeze. Ariel flicked the light switch on to brighten the matchbox kitchenette. Books, DVDs and lots of broken glass where all scattered on the floor. Either her apartment had been ransacked or Lionel had gone on another one of his self-loathing, alcohol and cocaine binges. She reluctantly took two steps further and turned into the living room.
Duct taped to a chair in the middle of the room was her stepfather, face bloodied and swollen with bruises. On his right was a tall, lanky, blond, middle-aged man clad in a black Italian style silk suit, holding a gun to his head. Ariel let out a scream which she quickly muffled by closing her mouth with her hand a little too late because the man turned to face her.
‘Ary!’ He beamed, opening his arms wide in a mocking welcoming gesture.
She cringed in fear and revulsion at the nickname Lionel so loved to call her by which she so hated.
‘We’ve been waiting for you.’ The lanky blond smirked.