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Everyone Cassie Wilcox loved is gone. And now, thanks to her drunken stepfather, her house and family business will be taken from her, too, unless she can find a way to buy back the ranch from the new owner. With less than two months to come up with money she doesn’t have, her options are running out, and apparently, her common sense as she rents out rooms to an eclectic group of strangers.
Returning home for Dalton Kincade is bittersweet. Not a damn thing has changed. Two years on the rodeo circuit weren’t able to shake free the memory of the feisty redhead who’d broken his heart into a thousand pieces. Nor the sting of her parting words…Never trust a Kincade.
Winning her beloved ranch in a drunken bet is the last thing he expected to happen, but at least he saved it for her. Now, he has to figure out how to break that news to a woman who never wants to see him again. Renting a room in the house he now owns might be a risk, but it’s nothing compared to betting his heart on winning back the love of his life.
Page Count: 228
Word Count: 57165
What kind of person carelessly bets someone else’s home?
“Two hundred and fifty thousand,” Dalton growled.
The dealer promptly produced a piece of paper for him to sign. Gritting his teeth, he signed the marker stating he was good for the amount and flicked the note back toward the man.
“Only half of what the property’s worth,” Gary grumbled, nodding his agreement. “Five card draw. Nothing wild.” He slammed back his drink and held the empty glass in the air for a refill. “Deal,” he barked at the dealer.
The man responded with a quick shuffle, then placed the deck on the table for Gary to cut before dealing them each five cards.
Dalton stared at the neatly stacked pile. Glaring at them wouldn’t change anything, other than delaying the inevitable. He’d still be in this shithole of a bar, risking it all—his entire life savings—on the luck of a draw. And for what? A piece of land? He’d wanted a spread of his own, but this way…?
“Are you going to play or just sit there?” Gary Evans slurred in drunken angst as he kicked back his chair and leaned over the table. Not waiting for a reply, he picked up the crisp piece of paper lodged between them, waved it in the air, and then slammed the deed back down on the hard, pressed wood.
Dalton raised his head and stationed a deadly stare on the intoxicated fool. Cautiously, he noted the shimmering of glee highlighting the steel gray of the man’s eyes before turning his attention to the dealer. He tapped the top card, then slowly trailed his finger along the red, swirled print.
Should’ve just walked away. And ignored Gary’s foolish bet and taunts which followed once the hook had been set. Hell, even taking on the bull that had halted his rodeo career seemed like a much smarter choice compared to this game of Russian roulette. Especially considering he was a loser no matter the outcome.
Dalton trailed his gaze to the piece of paper under Gary’s palm. Glancing at his hand, he discarded three cards. The croupier responded with a nod and granted him a new trio. Clenching his jaw, he folded his fingers around the squared edges and paused before picking up the pile.
“Read ’em and weep,” Gary squealed in glee as he tossed his cards next to the deed. “Four deuces.” He stumbled from the end of the table, closing the gap between them in one stride, before managing to shove a quadruple of stubby digits in front of his face. “Four.”
Dalton studied his hand with guarded fury…then stifled the drunkard’s premature victory with a simple flick of his wrist.
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