by Sandy Marshall
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Eirelander Publishing
Release Date: March 6, 2009
Dark revelations and secret love lead to personal resurrection.
Carolyn Madison didn't kill her husband but didn't mourn him either. The rapist deserved to die, or at least she thought so. Beneath a myriad of family secrets, Carolyn drags the skeletons out of the closet and in the arms of her true love, learns to love again.
Walt Tollhouse has pined for Carolyn since she was a shy seventeen-year-old. Little did he know Robert Dubois would steal her away, and then destroy the beautiful spirit he still loved? Beneath the guise of clean-up man, the martial arts instructor never pushes his battered love but gives her silent support she deserves.
Robert rolled his window down, fanning himself as he waited for the cars in front of him to exit. He’d run the company since the death of Carolyn’s father and hadn’t expected to see her at the party tonight.
She’d never taken an interest in the casinos while she raised the kids, but then she hadn’t needed to. He’d paid child support and maintenance to impress old man Madison, so she hadn’t needed to work, but she’d gotten an accounting degree. Hell, she could’ve been working at the firm. He wouldn’t have known it; he didn’t spend any more time there than he had to. She wouldn’t risk coming face to face with him unless she’d found out about his dealings.
Damn, she had to be onto him; otherwise she’d never chase him. He was in deep trouble, and he didn’t want to get into it with the ex-soldier before he left town.
Even though the old man had always treated him like a son, for the last few months he’d ignored Robert. He’d been left out of the loop and treated like a piece of shit by Madison before he died.
Suddenly, a figure rose outside his door. Before he could act, someone grabbed him by the collar and jerked his head through the window.
“You bastard. Come out here, you asshole,” Walt roared. “Time to learn some manners, Dubois.”
Stunned, Robert instinctively hit Walt in the jaw and yanked himself back inside the car. Damn. He had to get away from this madman. Robert tried to roll up the window while trying to push Walt out. “What are you talking about?” Damn these cars. Why don’t they move?
“You know what I mean.” Walt grabbed the handle, trying to open the door. “Get out here. Time you fight someone your own size.”
The car in front of them took off. Without even looking for traffic, Robert tromped on the accelerator, exiting the lot. The son of a bitch still hung on, running beside him.
“It’s not over, Dubois,” Walt hollered and let go.
Robert watched him in his rearview mirror. Walt hated him, and he suspected the man loved Carolyn from the way he hovered around her.
He’d only wanted to party one more night in his Kansas City casino. Barely seeing the road, he glanced at the railroad tracks and the trees lining the Missouri river as he sped along Highway 210 and groaned. He needed to get the hell out of town if he wanted to stay alive, but he couldn’t just quit gambling cold turkey.
Twenty minutes later, Robert glanced over his shoulder before he entered his favorite casino. Good! No one he knew was around him. He took a handkerchief from his suit pocket and wiped it across his forehead. The stories about Walt’s skills and the way he took care of Madison’s enemies made him nervous. Although Tollhouse stayed in the background, Robert knew he was capable of anything.
Robert headed to the high stakes table to get his usual line of credit. He strode across the room and smacked into a man in a loud red shirt surrounded by a large, riotous group of people, but with only a scowl, he went on.
He threw ten one hundred dollar bills on the blackjack table. “Give me five blacks and the rest in green.” Tonight he had the cash to back it up; he had paid the loan shark. Absolutely, never again would he get indebted to him.
A waitress walked nearby, and he waved at her. “Scotch straight.” He placed a couple of black chips worth a hundred dollars a piece on his spot and watched the dealer throw the cards out one by one to the players.
This time, he would leave the five blacks out. Someone sat beside him, and he glanced at the other player. Robert knew the man in the loud red shirt and greasy hair was a loser. He could spot them a mile away--he’d been snakebit. Quickly, Robert grabbed his chips before the cards were dealt.
“Here’s your drink, sir.”
“Thanks.” Robert handed her a green chip. He gulped the Scotch in one swallow and handed the glass back to the busty redhead. “I’ll take another, but I’ll be over there.” He pointed to the roulette table.
Moments later, Robert stood at the roulette wheel and called out, “Red,” as he placed a hundred on the table. The ball pinged around the wheel before it landed, then cheers went up. He’d won.
“Red again.” He let it all ride.
“Here’s your drink, sir.” The waitress handed him a glass. Robert clasped the drink and dropped a green chip on her tray.
“One more time.” A hand clapped him on the back. Robert winced at the touch and the swarthy man in the red shirt leaned forward to place his tokens on red. “I’m going to clean up with you.”
The jinx had followed him, but he’d leave before the man’s luck rubbed off on him. Robert shrugged him off and picked up his tokens. He handed them to the croupier. “Give me black.”
“Damn you,” the red-shirted man yelled when he lost his money.
Robert had known the guy was a jinx, but with a glance at the fellow, a pang of fear coursed his body. Was the man following him? Could he work for the loan sharks? Hell, he could even be following him for his partner, Bill Rutherford. A couple of days ago, Bill had questioned him about the stocks. When Robert told him everything was going as scheduled, his partner had sounded as if he didn’t believe Robert.
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