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Accidentally Married to the Billionaire 1(8)

By´╝ÜSierra Rose



“I think I’ll cash out. You’re the best luck I’ll have in this casino. Thanks,” she said.

He offered to buy her dinner, but she told him truthfully that she’d already eaten. The truth was she didn’t want to marry a bald sixty-year-old that stared at her like a piece of meat. That blue drink just wasn’t strong enough to make him look appealing.

She cashed out her chip and decided that leaving the casino floor $590 richer than she entered was a victory. It would almost pay for the dress and shoes. After a few drinks, Marj headed up to one of the clubs to dance with two of the single ladies from the marketing group.

“C’mon!” said Tina. “Let’s dance!”

“Yeah!” Della roared.

Marj slid onto the crowded dance floor of a club as dark purple as her dress was dark blue. It felt lush, like the night sky with glittering dots from the disco ball sliding across the walls and ceiling. Techno music throbbed, and they danced in a group until those expensive shoes started to hurt. She sat down at the bar on a plush stool and ordered a whiskey sour with extra cherries. She crossed her legs and sipped her drink.

“Hey, girls,” Tina said. “I’m wasted. Let’s head back to the hotel.”

Della nodded. “Okay. Sounds like a plan. At least I got to experience a little bit of Las Vegas. It was fun.”

“I’m ready to go too,” Marj said.

A man sat down beside her. Correction: the hot man sat down beside her. The one from the elevator who asked if she was going down and she had cut him down to size with a withering look. Now here he was in a black shirt with the sleeves rolled up, everything about him dark and forbidden. The room seemed to recede, to grow quieter, warmer and more shadowy somehow. His eyes dimmed the light, the scent of him, expensive herbal body wash, she guessed. Frankincense clung to him, exotic, spicy and strangely reminiscent of Sunday Mass, Marj thought. But he was far more fallen angel than altar boy.

“Leaving so soon?” he asked.

Marj smiled. “Yeah. We really stayed later than we should. We’ve got a big presentation tomorrow. And I haven’t met my new boss yet, so I have to make a good impression.”

“I think he’s beyond impressed,” the man said, his entire face lighting up.

Tina finished the last gulp of her drink. “He won’t be if we’re late tomorrow.”

The man set down his empty glass on the bar. “Maybe he’s preoccupied with more pressing matters and doesn’t really care if you ladies show up with a hangover.”

“It was nice to meet you,” Tina said slurring. “But we have to go.”

“Have a lovely evening, ladies,” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man then ordered another drink. Marj looked at the handsome man and noticed that something troubled him. It looked like he needed somebody to talk to.

“Hey,” Marj said to him. “What’s wrong?”

“The long version or short version?”

“Short.”

“My entire life is crashing down around me.”

“Need somebody to talk to?”

“I’d love someone to talk to. It won’t change a damn thing, but getting it off my chest might make me feel better. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m so screwed. My life is over.”

Marj turned to Tina. “You guys go ahead on back. I’ll be back in a little while.”

“And leave you here with a total stranger?” Della said.

The man waved his hand. “Um, I’m not a stranger I’m...”

Tina cut him off. “If my friend doesn’t come back, then I’ll...”

“I can handle myself,” Marj said.

They said goodbye and left.

“Your friends just left you with a stranger,” the man said.

“I just met them today. They don’t know me from Adam. They’re just work colleagues.”

“I’d offer you a drink, but you have one,” he said, his voice low, almost dismal.

“I’ll have another,” she said quickly and slammed back the one she had so fast the ice hit her in the nose.

Marj placed the empty glass on the bar with a cheeky smile, and he managed a ghost of a grin. It was slight, and yet it made her catch her breath. She wondered if a real smile from him would stop her heart. This half smile alone shook her. If she’d been standing, her knees would’ve gone weak. She gripped the edge of the bar to steady herself from her perch on the stool.

“I’m Marj Reynolds. I’m in town on business. Until this moment the only pleasure Las Vegas has afforded was a sliver of cheese at supper,” she said, biting her lip alluringly.

He motioned to the bartender, who proceeded to bring her a new drink. He watched her fish a cherry out of her drink by its stem and bite it.

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