Upping the Ante

“Get me a drink, Zara.” Sharif rattled the ice cubes in his empty glass. He had been drinking nonstop for most of the night.

Jace watched the woman scurry away to do his bidding. Not that he was the only one. A simple emerald green sheath, slit to mid-thigh on both sides to display shapely legs guaranteed male attention.

How did an obnoxious guy like Sharif get women as good looking as the sloe-eyed beauty? Jace shook his head and returned his attention to his cards. Eye candy – her role was to distract the other players. He wouldn’t fall for the honey trap. Beautiful women were plentiful in Las Vegas.

Jace eyed the meager stack of chips in front of Sharif. The older man had to be feeling the pressure. He tried to appear nonchalant as he asked the dealer for one card but Jace caught the faint sheen of perspiration on his forehead. Jace indicated he wanted two cards.

Sharif ran one hand over the girl’s trim behind as he studied his cards. Jace met her eyes and perceived a delicate flush diffuse her face. She lowered her eyes, avoiding further contact with Jace. Interesting.

Two players folded. Down to three now. Jace shoved a stack of chips toward the pot.

“I’ll raise you ten thousand,” he told Sharif. He sat back in his chair and waited.

Zara bent to whisper in Sharif’s ear. He elbowed her away. “No,” he told her, and pushed a stack of chips forward.

Her lip trembled, her dark eyes glistened. She stepped behind Sharif. Her expression reminded him of a kicked puppy he had rescued as a young boy. Fuck.

“I’m out,” said the elderly man at the table. “The stakes are too rich for me.” He gathered his chips and left. The two players who had folded earlier left with him.

“Let’s end this,” Jace told Sharif. “It’s fifty grand now.” He shoved more stacks to the center.

“That’s a bit steep for me.”

“Then fold.” Jace started to pull the pot toward him.

“Wait…” Sharif paused, and then said, “I bet her—I bet Zara.”

Zara stiffened. She moved a step away from Sharif. Jace watched the color drain from her expressionless face. He glared at the stupid jerk across the table.

“Don’t be an ass.”

“She’ll do as she’s told. Won’t you, Zara?” Sharif didn’t even look at her.

Zara nodded, glanced at Jace, and lowered her gaze again. Jace was struck with a sudden need to see her look him in the eyes, to acknowledge he existed.

“I’ll call.” Sharif spread his cards on the table. “Three kings, ace high.” His confidence was palpable.

Jace laid his cards down. “Full house … jacks over deuces.”

A stunned Sharif could only watch as Jace gathered up winnings. He left the room without a word to Zara.

“I need to cash in.” Jace wasn’t quite sure what to do after that. Zara followed him out of the room to the cashier cage. She followed him until they reached the elevators.

“You can leave. You don’t have to stay with me.” The elevator door opened. He stepped inside.

“I have nowhere else to go.” Her voice had a soft musical quality. She stepped in beside him. The doors closed. A light floral fragrance teased his nostrils and permeated his senses. His cock stirred with interest.

She hesitated as he entered his room. A jerk of his head gave her permission to enter. The door shut with an audible click behind her.

The sound of a zipper and the quiet whisper of fabric alerted him just as she stepped out of the pile of emerald silk at her feet. Lustrous ebony hair hung past her shoulders to the middle of her breasts. She wore black lace panties and sheer stockings. Nothing else. His cock was ramrod straight and anxious to do its duty.

Zara unbuckled his belt and unzipped his jeans. Her hand was warm and smooth as she fondled him inside his boxers. She sank to her knees and tugged his pants down. He watched as her rosy lips parted, moved forward, hovered over the edge of his surging staff. Her breath was moist and delicate against his throbbing cock.

Her little pink tongue darted out and began to circle the swollen head. She took him in her mouth, very slow…very deep…long sinuous strokes that grazed his entire length. She glanced up at Jace but then lowered her eyes.

“No,” Jace said. “I want you to look at me.”

Zara opened her dark brown eyes. Jace sank into their sable depths. Her eyes promised magical and mysterious delights, she embodied an ageless sensuality. Her wicked, wonderful mouth made his cock surge with unexpected fervor, made him pant and writhe with a lust he had not experienced for a long time. His blood pounded hotly in his cock, in his head, in his whole body. He came, spurting, seemingly without end, down her throat.

Jace never broke eye contact with her as he lowered her onto the bed. He wanted to taste her, to fuck her, to have her lose herself in him, to come apart for him.

“My name is Jace.”

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