Read Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas Online

Authors: Randi Alexander

Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas (2 page)

BOOK: Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas
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He grinned. "Seven's my lucky number, so plan on at
least that many times." His hips ground into her once, quickly, before he
released her.

The promise of this hard cowboy riding her almost eclipsed
the excitement of winning whatever prize she'd hit on the slot. She glanced at
the chart below her reel. "Okay, three pink cakes…" It was the top prize.
She followed the line to the word "Progressive." Glancing at Boone,
she noticed him looking, too, and asked him, "What's 'progressive'?"

He looked up above the machine to a digital display. "I
think you won that." He pointed.

She looked up. "Two hundred and fifty seven thousand,
three hundred and twenty five." Her heart thudded and she met his
surprised gaze. "Dollars?"

"Hell, yeah!" He picked her up flat against his
front and spun her around three times. "You're rich!" He set her
down, laughing, his eyes sparkling.

She laughed so hard she got the hiccups.

Kira pulled her in for a hug. "Un-fucking
believable." She stepped back and her smile lit her face. "This is so
awesome."

Jayden and Dallas grinned. "Congratulations."

A cork popped and an employee in a Western-cut tuxedo walked
toward them holding a bottle of champagne. A woman in one of the casino's
skimpy cowgirl uniforms followed him, carrying a tray of champagne glasses.
"Congratulations, from the Old West Casino, sir." He looked at Boone.

The cowboy immediately pointed to Gieselle. "This is
your winner."

The tuxedoed man nodded. "How many in your party?"

"Five." Gieselle's voice quavered. Was she in
shock? Things were suddenly spinning around her.

Boone's arm slid across her shoulders. "Okay, Gigi?"

Gigi? She nodded. "Just a little stunned, I
guess."

A security guard walked up to the machine. "The manager
will be here presently."

A glass of champagne appeared in Gieselle hand.

Boone, Kira, Dallas, and Jayden lifted their glasses,
tapping them on hers.

"To Gigi. May luck always ride right beside you."
Boone winked at her.

His double meaning set a race of desire through her.

Before she could sip, a casino host had her and Boone stand
in front of the machine as a photographer took a dozen pictures.

Behind him, Kira used her phone to snap a couple of her own.

The tuxedoed man set the bottle in a silver stand and looked
at Boone. "Enjoy your champagne."

Dallas had the presence of mind to tip the two employees
before they walked away.

Boone smacked his friend's shoulder. "Thanks,
buddy."

Dallas nodded. "Don't thank me. You're gonna be paying
me back."

The cowboy laughed. "Still gotta cash my prize
check." He tapped his pocket. "Or we won't have enough to buy the
ladies supper."

Gieselle shook her head. "I'll be buying supper. And a
limo for all of us to see the city."

Jayden refilled their glasses. "I'll drink to
that." Jayden lifted his glass. "To Gigi's lucky day." He
winked. "And her generosity."

Gigi, again? Heck, she didn't care. Gigi did sound better than
Gieselle coming from a cowboy's lips.

They all touched glasses and drank.

Kira, Dallas, and Jayden walked behind her to look at the
slot machine.

Boone leaned in for a brief but steamy kiss.

Her body reacted instantly, her nipples puckering and her core
jittering with need.

"To our luck, baby." He looked intently into her
eyes. "Both the one-armed bandit and fate bringing us together."

"Fate." She liked this guy. Had watched him on
television for years, and couldn't believe her good fortune in finding him. Now
they shared the big moment of the jackpot win. Could that be a sign? Would they
have more than just one wild night together?

A tired-looking man in a rumpled suit reached them.
"Sir?" He held out his hand to Boone.

Her cowboy automatically took it.

"Congratulations. I'm the slot department shift
supervisor. If you'll follow—"

"No." Boone stepped back. "I'm not the
winner." With his hands on her shoulders, he eased Gieselle forward.
"She's the one who was playing the slot. I just pulled the handle for
her."

The man looked between the two of them. "We did a quick
review of the win." He looked around at the crowd, which had moved in
closer to hear. "Let's go back to my office and straighten this out."

Gieselle's heart dropped to her stomach. Crap, was this
going to be a problem? She'd already imagined using the money to start her own
business instead of having to work for someone else until she had enough to go
off on her own.

The casino manager turned and walked away.

"We'll be in the Roundup Bar." Dallas gestured
over his shoulder. "Kira and I, that is." He looked at Jayden.
"Junior, here, said he had plans." He lifted his brows.
"Right?"

Jayden adopted a cocky grin. "Nope. I got nothin' to
do." He offered Kira his arm. "I'd be happy to sit and have a drink
with you two."

Kira smiled, took his arm, then took Dallas's, too.
"Take your time," she threw over her shoulder at Gieselle.

Boone took her hand. "Let's go get your money." He
smiled at her. "So we can get that fancy meal you promised."

They walked quickly to catch up to the manager, her anxiety
building with each step.

He led them through a nearly invisible door and down a long,
brightly lit hallway to a small office. As he sat, he gestured for them to take
the guest chairs. "We have the video." He typed at his keyboard then
swiveled to look at a television on the wall.

In slow motion, it showed Boone inserting a dollar in the
machine, pressing the button, then grabbing the handle. Watching the kiss they
shared brought warmth to Gieselle's cheeks and heat to her core. Especially in
slow motion, the tangle of their lips and arms took sensual to the next level.

She glanced at the manager. He smiled at her. "How long
have you two been together?"

She heaved out a breath. "Would you believe we just
met?"

He smiled and turned toward to the television where Boone
pulled the handle while their kiss went on. "Ma'am, this is Vegas. I
believe anything is possible."

They watched as the three cakes came up, one after another,
the lights flashed to life, bells rang, and their kiss went on.

Boone turned in his chair and winked at her.

Gieselle smiled. His presence eased her worry.

The manager stopped the video playback. "So you can see
that Mr…." He tipped his head and looked at Boone.

"Boone Hancock," her cowboy supplied

The man wrote then looked up. "Mr. Hancock is legally
the prize winner."

"But I don't want it." Boone took her hand.
"I want to give it to her." His voice sounded as determined as the
tightness in his jaw.

Relief washed through her. Boone could have claimed the
money, waved goodbye to her, and left Vegas a rich man.

As the manager looked at her, he sighed. "And your
name?"

"Gieselle Colberg-Staub."

He wrote again. "Here's the issue." The manager
leaned back in his chair. "There are tax implications here. Ones we can't
legally get around."

She sat forward in her chair. "Such as?"

He gestured to Boone. "He may be a tax evader, trying
to get out of paying—"

Boone sat up, as stiff as new cowboy boots. "I'm a
rodeo bull rider."

Gieselle waited for him to say more, and then snorted as she
sucked in air, trying to stifle a laugh. A couple chuckles escaped her.

Boone glared at her.

"Sorry." She suppressed her smile. "I don't
understand. What does being a bull rider have to do with honesty?"

He stared into her eyes. "I believe in the American
dream. I'm going to make it big on the rodeo circuit and I'm going to start my
own business based on the name I make for myself. I'd never do anything to
jeopardize the future I've got ahead of me." His face softened, became less
intense. "One day, I want to hold public office, work for the community,
help those that need it, and punish those who deserve it." He blinked a
few times. "I want a family of my own, and a ranch where my kids will
learn those same values and ethics."

"Boone. I…" She swallowed the sudden urge to kiss
him, to tell him she believed in him. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to
laugh."

A corner of his mouth quirked up. "And I didn't mean to
get all righteous on you, Gigi." He glanced at the manager. "My
apologies."

The manager's eyes had lost the tired, bored glaze and now
held appreciation. "Mr. Hancock, no need to apologize. And I should be the
one to ask your forgiveness for blurting out what may have sounded like an
accusation." He picked up a piece of paper. "I'll stick to my
approved script from now on." He smiled.

Boone nodded.

Gieselle wanted to be on her cowboy's lap, in his arms. But
this was neither the time nor the place. This whole jackpot fiasco was spinning
out of control. How could she make this work out for both of them?

She turned to the manager. "Could we have a minute,
please?" As a plan formulated in her mind, she grew excited to share it
with Boone.

Chapter Two

 

Boone stood and watched the casino manager leave his own
office at Gigi's request. Once the door closed, he turned to her. "We're
going to have to make this fast, baby." He reached for her with a grin.

She laughed and slapped away his hands. "That's not
what this is about, you studly, horny cowboy."

He flexed his muscles and gave her a steamy look. "How
about now?"

Smiling, she shook her head. Her beautiful hazel eyes
sobered as she stood. "I wanted to make sure this was okay with you."
She crinkled her nose.

"Sure. What's on your mind?"

"I want to split the jackpot with you."

His head jerked back. One hundred twenty five thousand
dollars, less taxes. He could start the rodeo school he and Dallas and Jayden
had talked about. Pay off the money he owed his folks. Buy a decent truck. He
looked at Gigi's pretty face. Find a woman to love, and start a family…
"No." It just wasn't right to take half her money. "It's
generous of you to offer, but I can't accept."

Her mouth opened then closed, and her brow wrinkled.
"You have to. It's only fair. I had two dollars in. You had one dollar in,
and you—"

"No." He had no right to it. "It should all
be yours."

"Listen, please." She stepped closer and placed
her little hand over his heart.

Tender feelings slid around his chest while hot, nasty urges
grew low in his belly. This woman was sweet and sexy and exactly what he
needed. He shook his head to settle his brain in the right place. Exactly what
he needed for a couple hot nights. That's all. Looking up at the ceiling, he
tamped down the urge to see if it could be more.

She stared at him as if he'd lost some of his lucidity.
"Boone?"

"Yeah. Sorry. Listening." He laid his hand on top
of hers. Warm and soft.

"I've never won anything before, so I have to give you
credit for bringing all the good karma. You had a dollar in, plus all that
luck…that adds up to half the jackpot. "

He lifted her hand and kissed her palm. "I appreciate
that you're trying to do this, but it just wouldn't be right."

"Please?" She gave him a mewling voice and doe
eyes.

How could any guy resist? He shook his head.
"Gigi—"

"Where did this 'Gigi' come from?"

He shrugged as he nibbled on the pad of her pinky finger.
"Hard to remember that big, fancy name of yours." He needed to get
her alone. Get her under him, naked; get their bodies joined, hot and sweaty.

She tugged back her hand. With a patient smile, she sighed.
"I know what you're thinking about, but we need to do this first."
She sat. "Tell me the reasons you won't take the money."

He sat next to her, his hand on the back of her chair, his
fingertips playing with her silky hair. "It was your machine."

"That's it?" She shook her head. "Okay,
imagine if I had left two dollars in the machine and walked away. Someone came
up, put a dollar in, and won the jackpot."

He nodded. He could tell where she was headed.

"Could I come back and say, 'Oh, excuse me, I get part
of that because I left my money in there'?"

"I see what you mean."

She laid her hand on his thigh.

Pulses of lust rushed to his cock. The sooner he got this
settled, the sooner he could get them settled. In his bed.

"Boone, let me do this for you. It's the only fair
way."

He puffed out a breath. "It doesn't seem all that fair,
but if you're sure."

She smiled so wide, he nearly lost his breath. "I'm
sure."

She had to have a hell of a generous heart to give up half
of a small fortune. Everything about her so far lined her up as the perfect
woman for him.

He pressed his lips tight together. That line of thinking
would only bring him trouble. "Okay then." He stood. "But if you
change your mind, you can—"

"I won't." The look in her eyes confirmed her
words.

 "I'll get the boss back in here." He opened the
door and gestured to the manager. "Ready."

Once they were all seated, Gigi explained that she wanted to
split the money.

The manager rubbed his eyes. "Okay, here it is one more
time. The money belongs to Mr…." He checked his paper. "Hancock.
You…" He looked at Gigi. "Can't take half of what is not yours."

Boone leaned forward. "I want to give Miss
Colberg-Staub half the money."

Her head swiveled. "So you can remember Colberg-Staub,
but you can't remember Gieselle?" She gave him a glare that she ruined by
smiling.

He grinned back at her. "Yup. Just blame it on one too
many falls off rank bulls."

The manager cleared his throat. "All right. Here's how
this works." He gave them each a serious look. "The Gaming Commission
needs to verify the jackpot. It'll take until morning to get this all tidied
up, since it's the holiday." He slid a tiny folder with two keycards in
it. "You'll have the Gunslinger Suite for two nights." He glanced
between them. "It has two bedrooms, since you're not…together."

BOOK: Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas
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