Devon sipped his drink at the bar while blowing out smoke from the rather large cigar he'd lit up only moments ago. The perfumed air around him smelled tons better than stale, century old cigarette smoke from the group of old biddies playing poker near him.
Slot machines rang out, lights flashed from the hotel lobby and travelers milled about. This was the hustle of Las Vegas.
He looked over his shoulder at them, saw one wink and decided he could offer at least a kind, yet discouraging smile.
The bartender returned with two glasses of bourbon. "I'm off in ten minutes. Join me for a round?"
Devon nodded. Jake was well dressed, well groomed. The long sleeve black shirt fit his frame perfectly. Salt and pepper hair had been trimmed close to his head. Soft gray eyes scanned the bar area, watching the women, mostly married couples at this time of day, come and go.
"Why aren't you with someone here," he slid the glass over to Devon.
Devon picked up the bourbon, brought it to his lips, closed his eyes and inhaled the sharp scent of caramel from the amber liquid. Pursing his lips, he opened his eyes and averted his gaze from Jake.
"You're dodging. That's the same bourbon I've been pouring you for years. Come on Devon, a man like you should always have some sort of eye candy with him."
"I'm not the type to settle down." Devon took a long sip from the glass, letting the warm liquid coat his throat, warm his heart. He wasn't about to settle down, not for a while, if ever. The last time he even came remotely close had been with a woman who didn't understand him.
"It's over the dame that walked out on you isn't it?"
Devon shrugged, swirled his drink and looked at the bar. "I come here too much."
"Yeah, well we love you for it. The Castillo's love of Vegas started according to rumor, over their love of high rollers like yourself."
"I’m flattered," Devon set the glass down. "I'll pay for another."
"Fuck that." Jake reached for the bottle, "It's on the house. Trust me, after the way you've been moping around here you need it." He poured a full glass set the bottle on the bar.
"The last three--"
Jake held up two fingers. "Consider this a favor. You've been celebrating all week, right? You just closed a huge deal and all your associates are at the tables or partying elsewhere in Vegas. Where are you? The hotel bar with your favorite bartender. I'm flattered, Devon but you need to get laid. You're wound tighter than a clock."
If that's all it was, Devon had no problem finding trouble. If he wanted older, the group of women across the way from him would be more than eager…but wouldn't they run when they found out his brand of fun involved restraints and leather?
The younger crowd talked a good game too but when it came to pony up, the girls got scared.
Most of them anyway.
None of them had her beauty. Or grace. Or open mindedness about sex.
Yet she ran from him too.
Jake sighed, took a long sip and drained his bourbon. He slammed the glass down. "Hey, I know how to get what you want."
Devon's eyes arched. Then it hit him. Before he could say word one, Jake was pulling out a matchbook and writing something down on it."
He'd tossed it across the bar. "I have--"
He blew out another big cloud of smoke from his cigar. "No matchmaking services, Jake."
"Look," Jake waved his hands through the thick cloud, "Just text this number with the word interested."
Devon picked up the matchbook, saw the local Vegas area code and sighed. "No. I'm not." He set the matchbook back down and slid it across the bar. "I don't need a matchmaking service."
"You're right," Jake settled down on a stool. "You need a miracle. And that’s what these people are."
"I don’t want," he slowly spun around in his chair, awareness creeping up his skin as he caught sight of a raven haired woman with long legs, clad in stockings and a black cocktail dress. Her breasts pushed out the top and revealed a very enticing view. Ankle boots completed the outfit but all he could focus on was her form. Her figure moving, serving drinks off the tray with complete grace.
"You've spotted someone. That's the old spirit. Now," Jake leaned in, "Tell me, which one?"
Another cocktail waitress passed by, obscuring his view from Shelly. That had to be her. He motioned with his eyes.
Jake's gaze traveled along the path of slot machines until he'd spotted her. "That girl?"
"You know her." It wasn't a question.
"Yeah That's Marcy. She usually works the morning shift for us, you know. When guys like you are sleeping."
Marcy? No, he'd swear the palpitating in his chest was for that woman named Shelly. The woman who walked out on him a few years ago, broke his heart and strengthened his resolve to succeed in business, was serving drinks in a Las Vegas casino. Her love was the driving force of his wealth.
Devon ran a hand through his long blonde hair, brushing it off his shoulders so it hung down his back like a cloak. "Or conducting big business deals. I should go to her."
"You should stay away from her. She's a psycho. Loose cannon. Real loner like you. No friends, but an excellent server. Besides, you know the rules. No engaging the waitresses while they're on duty."
"I have to meet her." Fate brought her to him in the Castillo resort in in Vegas of all places. But…how was he going to get to her. "When did she start working here?"
Jake's brows furrowed together in a thick line. "I'm not supposed to talk of that sort of thing, Devon. Seriously."
Devon's eyes narrowed. He shifted in his seat and leaned an elbow on the bar, rubbing his chin.
Jake's brows furrowed. "You're thinking again. Not a good sign. She's trouble."
Devon leaned in, clutching his drink. He dropped ash into the tray beside them. "What if this matchmaking service could help me?"
An eyebrow rose. "Like how? They're a high end service, not something the average man or woman needs to be involved with. Your average clientele in Vegas isn't up to par."
Devon looked at the matchbook. "1NightStand," was written across the cardboard along with a phone number. His mind had already been made up. He'd get this service to help him. For the right fee, anything was negotiable. Life was one big negotiation, a game he enjoyed playing. That's why Shelly was so important to him. Her constant questioning of his methods made him what he was today. "I am."
Jake sighed. "I would never doubt that but you're playing with fire. I don't know much about the people that run this service, only that it's special and results are guaranteed. Look," he sighed again and set his head down in his hands, "you should talk to Jackson about this."
"Castillo himself? The man who owned the hotel chain had very good taste and was very well connected.
"Yeah," Jake looked at him, his eyes slightly wider than before. The worry on his face should have warned Devon this was going to cost him.
Devon didn't care. He needed to see Shelly. He needed to tell her he loved her.
Jake shook his head. "You're asking for the world, Devon."
It was about time he reappeared in Shelly's life and made her understand just what she meant to him. He needed that, or closure. If he could convince Shelly of his love, of his true love for her and the way she was inside…that was the challenge.
She walked past him and hair swished over the waistline of her dress, drawing his eyes to her shapely legs once again.
To have her in his arms again, what a treat. Her looks hadn't changed. The glimpse he'd caught of her face before she turned to serve another patron confirmed that. Dark purple eyes set in high cheekbones, spoke to the deepest reaches of his soul.
Long arms and legs, as emphasized by the way the dress clung to her legs, were meant for wrapping around him.
Just the thought of her naked flesh against his made him hard
He steadied his resolve. Looking Jake directly in the eyes, he couldn't hide the large grin slowly spreading across his face. He took a confident puff off his cigar and blew white smoke above Jake's head. "I know. And I always get what I ask for."