Read Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas Online

Authors: Randi Alexander

Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas (7 page)

BOOK: Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas
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He stood her next to the bed, tugged off her hair towel and
robe, and tucked her in. Before he even slid in next to her, she was half
asleep.

Gieselle woke with a start. The bedside clock said
four-fifteen a.m. Boone's hand rested on her belly and she slid out from under
him. Digging a T-shirt and jeans from the dresser, she grabbed her jogging
shoes and walked out to the living room.

The tree, the birthday cake, even the candle were the most
thoughtful gifts any man had ever given her. She wanted to surprise him with a
little gift. Something that said she needed more than these two amazing days
with him.

Grabbing her wallet and phone, she snuck out of the suite
and headed down to the twenty-four hour gift shop.

The casino was quiet. Just a few hardcore gamblers played
slots. The poker rooms were busy, though. In the shop, she browsed a minute
before the sleepy employee walked over and greeted her. When Gieselle explained
the type of gift she was looking for, the woman came to life. In minutes, they
found the perfect thing.

A replica old West pocket watch. Flipping it open, there was
a place to put a photo.

Gieselle touched her phone in her pocket. Kira had sent her
the picture. "Is there a place in the hotel to print out a photo?"

The woman smiled. "What a great idea. The business
center on the third floor is open twenty-four hours a day. They'll get you all
set up, then you come back down here and I'll gift wrap this for you."

Gieselle smiled. "Thank you. He's going to love
it."

A half-hour later, she snuck into their suite and set the
little package under the tree for him to find. She undressed, slid back into
bed, and he rolled over, capturing her in his arms.

"Where'd you go, baby?"

"Just felt the need to gamble." Gamble on offering
this man a little more of her life.

****

Boone felt the bed shake. Half-awake, he'd been dreaming of
the beautiful woman he'd made love to early this morning, and his cock stood at
full mast.

The covers shifted and something warm touched his thigh.

He opened one eye.

Gigi's feet stuck out of the covers on the other side of the
bed. She licked and nibbled at his hipbone.

"What's going on here?" His growl set a giggle
rolling from her.

"Room service." Her soft hair trailed onto his
belly as her breath blew hot against his shaft.

"This is the kind of room service I've been looking for
my whole life."

A warm hand grasped the base of his cock and her tongue
trailed a path up to his throbbing head. "Only in Vegas, baby."

He laughed.

She giggled, and got very busy under the covers.

A half hour later, after Gigi begged him to get out of bed
so they could go down to the buffet and eat, he stepped out of the shower.

"Your phone buzzed." She stood gorgeously naked
brushing on mascara in the bathroom mirror.

He walked up behind her, dripping wet, and pressed his hard
cock into the crease of her fine ass. "You sure we don't have time for a quick—"

"I'm starving. And it's my birthday." She wiggled
her ass against his erection. "Feed me first and I'll spend the rest of
the day in bed with you."

He hefted out a breath. He'd hold her to that promise.
"Best Christmas ever." Their eyes met in the mirror.

She smiled. "For me, too."

Pushing back, he dried himself and forced his heart to back
away, too. No sense in drifting into her pretty hazel eyes and dreaming of
things that couldn't be. In the bedroom, he found his phone.

Dallas had sent a text. Did you get $125K worth of nookie
out of your buckle bunny?

"Harsh." It was Dallas's way of reminding him not
to get involved. Not to fall in… He looked into the bathroom where Gigi
blow-dried her hair. No, not love. Just a need for companionship. If he kept
telling himself that, sooner or later he'd believe it.

Boone typed his reply. Less taxes, of course. He shook his
head. This wasn't the conversation he should be having about a woman like Gigi.
But if it would keep Dallas from busting in and hauling him back to Reno, he'd
play along. He slipped into a clean pair of boxers and jeans.

His phone buzzed again. Dallas texted, Taxes up the ass,
buddy!

"Crude fucker." He replied, That's a lot of taxes.
Gonna need more lube. It felt awkward talking about her like that, but Dallas
didn't need to know how invested he'd become in Gigi. He read his words again
and wished there was a way to recall that last text. "Shit." He set
his phone down and walked out to the mini fridge for a bottle of water.

Cracking it open, he stood looking out at Vegas in the
morning sunlight. A different world than the nighttime city. This morning, it
looked hard and cold, frayed at the edges and dirty all over.

"No." Gigi's soft cry came from the bedroom.

He rushed back in. She wore her robe and held…his phone.
"Aw, hell."

"Dallas says to take the cost of the lube out of Gigi's
half." She looked at him with pain and terror in her eyes. "I read
the other messages, too." Her hand shook as she handed it to him.

He set the phone in a dresser drawer as his heart shot a
twinge across his chest. "You're reading my messages?" It was the
first thing he thought to say, and the last thing he should have spoken out
loud.

Tears filled her eyes. "I saw my name. I didn't mean
to…" She shook her head and turned away.

"Listen, baby, it's just guy talk."

She ripped off the robe and stepped into her jeans, slung on
a bra, and pulled her T-shirt over her head. "Guy talk? You really talk
about women like that?"

He hefted out a breath. "We just have this thing. This promise.
Keeping each other from making a mistake."

With one shoe in her hand, she searched for the other.
"A mistake? Treating a woman like a lady is making a mistake?"

His back stiffened. "I treated you like nothing less
than a princess."

"You did. And you had me fooled." Her hands fisted
at her hips. "I know you think of me as a one nighter, and maybe that's
all I am to you. But for you and Dallas to talk about me like I'm a slut…"
She dropped her head. "Maybe that's all I am."

The words were said more to herself than to him.

She wiped a tear from her cheek. "Maybe I was fooling
myself."

"No. Gigi. Wait a minute." He could diffuse this
if he could think of the right things to say.

Spotting her shoe, she reached under the bed and bumped her
head on the footboard. "Bitches and whores." Rubbing her scalp, she
stood and brushed past him, walking out into the living room.

He followed. "It was inappropriate. Okay? I'm
sorry."

She looked at him with such agony in her eyes, he nearly
choked.

"I'm sorry, Boone." She picked up her purse and
walked to the door. "Sorry you didn't get to take me up the ass the way
you wanted." She turned the door handle.

"Now hold on." He stormed over and pushed the door
closed. Held it shut. "Forgive me, give me another chance. Let's just hole
up here, lock ourselves in, and I'll find a way to make it up to you."

"How, Boone? How can you take this hurt away?" She
touched her chest. "Was I just imagining that we had something special?
Something more than a couple days?"

Ah, shit. This was what Dallas warned him about. Getting in
too deep. Falling without thinking first. Making a mistake that'd cost him more
than he could afford.

Cold acid swirled in his gut. This was his chance. Break it
off clean for both of their sakes without having to do the whole goodbye scene.

"Yeah, baby. I think you were imagining it." The
lie rose like bile but it was the best way to handle it. He removed his hand
from the door. He turned and walked away.

Silently, she left him.

He nearly collapsed from the pain. Boone walked to the bar
and grabbed a tumbler and the half-empty bottle of whiskey. He passed the tree
and flopped onto the loveseat. "Merry Christmas, asshole." He poured
a shot, added another inch, and set down the bottle.

How did doing the right thing feel like fifteen seconds
under a bull's hooves? She needed to move on, finish college, start her
business. He needed to focus on his rodeo school. He had Dallas and Jay to
think about, not just himself.

Stretching out his legs, he bumped something under the tree.
A package? He set down his glass and picked it up. Wrapped in cowboy Christmas
wrap, it had to be for him. From her. Should he hand it back to her unopened?

She's just throw it at him.

He pulled off the paper and opened the cardboard box. A
pocket watch. It reminded him of the one his grandpa left to his little
brother. The cover had an engraving of a cowboy on a horse. He pushed the
button to flip open the top. The time was right. Color caught his eye. He
tipped it back.

She'd printed a picture of the two of them standing in front
of the Birthday Baby after their win, holding champagne glasses. She smiled,
but her eyes looked mostly shocked. He had his arm around her and grinned,
proud and happy and…about to fall in love?

"Shit. Fuck me." He snapped it shut and wrapped
his hand around it. The gift was sweet, but adding the photo was a message.
They'd found something rare and special, and he'd shoved it away because it
didn't fit into his timeline. "Asshole."

His phone rang. Was it Gigi? He leapt to his feet and
grabbed it. He didn't recognize the number, but it was a Vegas area code. Could
she be calling from Kira's room? "Gigi?"

"Ah, no. Is this Mr. Hancock?"

"Yes."

"This is Ray Truman, the slot department manager at the
casino. We're ready to distribute the winnings to you and Ms.
Colberg-Staub."

He had to get to her before she went to the casino office.
"Have you contacted Miss Colberg-Staub yet?"

"Yes. I just hung up from her."

"Damn."

****

Gieselle closed her phone. She stared out the window of Kira's
room.

"Was that him?" Kira lay on the bed, her head
propped on her bent arm.

"No. The casino office is ready to hand out the
money."

"Good. Get your money, and let's get the hell out of
this town."

Gieselle's chest gave her pain with every breath. Her
stomach churned, and her throat tightened each time she thought of him. He
wanted her out of his life.

The words repeated like a bad soundtrack at a cheap casino.

He wanted her gone.

Her phone rang and she checked the number. It wasn't a Vegas
number. She sent it right to voicemail.

Kira sat up. "Let me get dressed and I'll go down with
you."

The hotel phone rang and Kira picked up the receiver.
"Hello?" Her eyes opened wide and she mouthed, "It's him."

Gieselle shook her head. She had nothing left to say to him.

"You're worried about her?" Kira listened for a
few seconds. "Is she here?" She looked at Gieselle for an answer.

The decision came in a split second of clarity. She nodded.

Kira wrinkled her brow, giving her a confused look.
"Yes, she's here."

Gieselle mouthed, "In the shower."

"But she just got in the shower." She listened for
a moment. "Sure. I'll keep her here until you get here." Kira gave
the phone the middle finger, and hung up.

"Okay, here's the plan." Gieselle walked to the
door. "When he gets here, tell him I'm in the shower. Turn on the
water."

"Wait, where are you going?"

"I have to let him go. If I don't, I'll be living with
him in my heart for the rest of my life."

Kira rubbed her forehead. "You know I hate it when you
talk in riddles."

Gieselle smiled. "Just delay him as long as you
can." She left the room and headed for the far bank of elevators, just in
case Boone was already on his way. On the ride down to the casino, she listened
to her voice message.

"Gigi, this is Boone. I'm sorry. I made a big, stupid
mistake. Call me back. Please." He paused. "God I wish I could turn
back time to an hour ago."

Her finger hovered over the delete key but she couldn't do
it. His voice would haunt her forever, but the message would be a good reminder
of why she needed to guard her heart more carefully.

****

Ten minutes later, Boone paced the small room, past the
empty, unmade bed and past Kira in sweats, sitting on her rumpled bed with her
arms crossed, glaring at him.

"So, Boone, you really said you'd need more lube to
take the cost of the taxes out of Gieselle's ass?"

He tugged his hands through his hair. "I told you. It
was just trash talk that Dallas and I do. It didn't mean anything."

The bathroom shower still ran. He'd been in the room for—he
checked his watch—eight minutes and thirteen seconds and she still hadn't come
out.

"So, tell me again why you said you didn't feel
anything for her? After she said she felt something for you."

He fisted his hands. "Because I'm a goddamn idiot,
okay?" He thumped his fist on his forehead then dropped into a chair.
"I thought she'd be better off without me complicating her life. And I
thought I'd be better off if she was just a memory. But I was wrong." He
dropped his head into his hands. "So fucking wrong."

"Somehow, you're convincing me. But I'm not the one you
tossed out of your life."

He caught Kira's gaze. "Do you think she'll ever
forgive me?"

"You two seem good together." Kira looked away.
"Gieselle was happy." Emotions rolled across her face. "She
deserves to be happy, and I think she could be with you."

She stood and opened the door to the hallway. "She's
not here."

"What?" He looked at the bathroom door, strode to
it, and threw it open.

The shower was empty.

"Where is she?"

"I don't know. She left right after you called the
room. Asked me to detain you as long as…"

BOOK: Cowboy Jackpot: Christmas
10.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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