Love was never supposed to be part of the end game.
Fallon’s life has been a road paved in misery and loneliness,
then one day she’s propositioned with a way to change it all.
From that day forward, she planned on never looking back.
That is, until, she met her target, the man who could destroy everything.
Fallon’s a survivor, but can she survive him?
Gabriel is independent and brutal.
He learned early on about his mother’s games.
For years she has tried to control every aspect of his life.
Born to be her successor, he refused to be her chess piece.
But when a mysterious woman shows up, Gabriel’s life is turned upside down.
Is she his mother’s pawn?
Soon, both of them will learn the games Gabriel’s mother, Catherine Stern, plays are for keeps.
Secrets and deception always find a way of being revealed.
As I walk into the casino, I begin to get nervous and find myself stumbling. I have to stop and take a minute to gather myself. I chant over and over again in my head. “I can do this.” With my newfound confidence, I find the cashier’s box. I give my name, and in return I am handed a tray full of chips, different values of chips equaling to a hundred thousand dollars. I almost have a heart attack. I can’t believe she would give me this much to play on. What if I lose it all?
A man comes around the cashier’s box, introducing himself, then escorts to a table full of men; five, to be exact. I quickly scan and take notice they range from different ages and builds. As I sit, I feel all the stares, one particularly. A very handsome man sits right across from me. He has a strong build with wide shoulders. I take in his large hands and how they look so strong. His face is a masterpiece, as if it is chiseled out of stone, with brutally soft looking lips. He has dark hair, and his eyes are intoxicating. They are amber in color, and seem to be focused on me.
I sit with proper posture, making my breasts accentuated, my cleavage in full view. It gets the attention I intended it to, though the man across is still just staring at my face; however, it isn’t long before he slowly begins to appreciate my dress. Step one accomplished: get noticed. The game begins, and two hands are played, but I bide my time as I start to get a feel for my opponents. Once I feel confident I have them pegged, I begin to play. I win a few and lose a few, and even fold some hands I know are winners. I don’t want to get anyone angry; money is not my goal at this table. I am not playing to win their money; I am playing to gain their attention and desire, especially from the man sitting across from me. A couple of them try to talk to me, to gather information that I am not willing to give.
I lift my eyes as I fold my next hand. A man brings a humidor box to our table and lays it in front of my desired man. Mister tall, dark, and handsome proceeds to open it and offers one to the other gentlemen. He skips me, which kind of pisses me off. I think, How dare he overlook me?!
I make a noise with my throat and ask, “Is there a reason I wasn’t offered one? I love a good Cuban, just as I am sure you do.”
He looks me in the eyes to see if I’m serious, then says, “Please forgive me. I don’t know many women who can handle a good Cuban, as you put it.”
I respond, “I can handle a lot, and you should not presume to know what a woman can, and cannot handle.”
With interest, he hands me one and I begin to roll the cigar between my fingers in a sexy manner, for the exact purpose to see who would get a rise from it; it gets more than I would have thought. The mouth of the man on the side of me drops as he clears his throat. My mystery man obviously appreciates the view as I light my cigar, puff on it a few times, then blow out a perfect circle. His mouth tilts all the way up, and his eyes burn through me. I knew from the minute I sat down this was the man Catherine wanted me to learn more about. He acts as if he owns the place. His ego is as large as he is, but I get the feeling he can live up to his ego.
The next hand is dealt, and a sexy blonde wiggles her way into position next to my mystery man. She leans on his shoulder, whispering something into his ear, which does not get the desired effect I am sure she wanted; however, it gets me an ugly scowl from the blonde. I, in return, ignore the look and go on with my hand.
I tell the good looking man, “I think your lady would like some of that attention you are giving out. I appreciate it, but as you can see,” looking around at my captive audience, “I have enough to share, and I won’t be accused of being greedy.”
He looks thrilled by my bluntness. I look down at my cards; I am given pocket twos. The board shows a pair of kings. I make a bid, but modestly; a lot could change on the next card. I really don’t have a good hand. From my position, it is just a play to see what the others will do. I am called by three of the five men, then the turn card is revealed: another two. I decide to slow play the hand, letting my opponents take the lead so I can, learn which of them feels confident. One of the men makes a small bid but looks weary. Two of them fold their hands. My mystery man raises the bid, and I call after watching him for a minute. I figure he might have three kings. Posture is everything in this game, and unless the woman who is trying to hang onto him has him thrown off, he does not have a winning hand. The other man also calls the bid; however, I am pretty certain he has nothing. The river card is revealed, and it changes nothing. I know I’ve won this hand. I need to decide how to get as many of his chips as I can, and this is where skill comes into it. I place a higher bid than before, showing some restraint, but not enough to seem overconfident. The man on the side of me folds. Mystery man raises, and I give him an appreciative look and venture to go all in. He in return gives me a curt smile that says, “Baby, let’s play.” We flip our cards. He has a three of a kind, kings. Impressive, but not as impressive as my full house: three twos over kings. I smile at him and gather my winnings as he stares, sending a shiver through my whole body. It causes my body heat rise, and I know I am blushing. His smile continues to rise as he belts out in laughter.
After calming down, he tells me, “I appreciate your skill. I like a woman who knows her way around the game.”
I think my panties melted at his voice; it is deep, smooth… like a fine brandy. Warm and inviting.
“Well, I appreciate the chips.”
As I stand to leave, I watch all the men follow my lead and stand like gentlemen.
With a small smile, I tell them, “Gentlemen, good game.”
As I start to walk, my man- Huh? my man? – Surprisingly, it sounds right in my mind asks, “What’s your name?”
Not wanting to reveal any information about myself, I smile and say, “Mine. My name is mine.”
I wink and start to walk. I don’t look back. It is a show of confidence, but I know he is watching. I can feel his glare on every curve of my body. Tonight, was the best night I ever had. I felt wanted, desired, and for the first time it was wanted. But the best was feeling in complete control.
Written by Monique Orgeron’s eldest, most beautiful, and intelligent daughter. (My sister is going to hate this part.)
My mom happens to be the most caring, loving, and stubborn person I know, well anyone knows. She gives 100% percent of herself to everyone and has given up so much of herself for my sister and I. For twenty-one years she has poured her heart and soul into making sure we know that we are loved and that we can do anything we put our minds too, but it was about time she figured that out about herself.
Up until this year I hadn’t seen my mom do anything for only her, but this book has allowed her to travel the world through the pages of a book, make new friends, and feel the joy of doing something exciting.
There is a new light behind her eyes and it is just making me feel more joy than she can ever imagine. While she might be annoying most of the time, I am so thrilled that she is finally allowing herself to grow as a person and not spend all of her energy on her family.
It has been a long journey of self-discovery for my mom; she has gone from domestic supermom to domestic goddess throughout the process of writing.
We are so very excited and proud of you! I love you as big as the world.
-Bria and Tony