Catch Me

By: Jennifer Probst

Chapter One

Rick Steele tipped the bottle of beer to his lips and scanned his surroundings. The famous club at the Castillo Hotel and Resort packed in both the celebrities and current “in” crowd, and tonight was no exception. The tri-level dance floor already held a rowdy group, baring more flesh than glittery clothes and grinding away with new dirty dancing. The music pounded and both male and female entertainers hung suspended in glass cages, revving up the masses as they rocked and rolled in G-strings.

He bit back a groan and wondered what the hell he was doing there. His long shift was over, and he craved some downtime. Instead, he’d let his boss talk him into a one-night stand for the evening on the pretense the whole experience would be good for him.

Shaking his head, he glanced at his watch again. He’d had a bitch of a day. Dealing cards called to his soul, but a bunch of sore losers and drunks had remained at his table to torture him. Now he waited in the trendiest club in Vegas for a woman he’d never met and tried to ignore his throbbing head.

He curbed his impatience and took another sip of beer. Ever since leaving Atlantic City for a change of scene, he’d been grateful. Vegas satisfied his sense of adventure and hard play and the past year proved he’d made the right decision. After the breakup with his fiancée, his old friend and owner of the Castillo hotels, Jackson Castillo, urged him to start new. He’d met Jackson years ago at a mutual friend’s bachelor party, and they’d indulged in a drunken fest that rivaled The Hangover. They had emerged close friends and kept in touch. Jackson kept bugging him to deal in Vegas and work for his hotel. Rick always refused, until he’d walked in on his fiancée giving his groomsman a blowjob.

He moved to Vegas the next week.

Though it was difficult leaving his brothers, Jackson had been right. As always. He rented a beautiful apartment, made good money, and had endless women stretched out before him in one glorious chorus line. He’d moved past his heartbreak and unleashed his single status on a number of very willing participants.

So why am I unhappy?

He pushed the annoying thought away and tried to get a grip. Okay, so it had been months since he’d last taken a woman to bed. His choice. Hell, he’d thought Jackson would applaud his selectiveness instead of urging him to accept a date through Madame Evangeline’s 1Night Stand dating service. Of course, it didn’t help that Jackson met his own wife through the famous, yet mysterious, Madame. And when Madame Eve actually requested Rick to meet this particular woman, well, Jackson declared the whole coincidence a sign. Rick decided his friend wouldn’t shut up until he agreed, so he’d bitten the proverbial bullet and given in.

His lips twisted in mock humor as he set the empty bottle down on the glass table. He wondered briefly why anyone would hand select him to meet any woman, let alone this Tara Denton—who’d apparently been through a brutal past according to the report Eve sent—and needed a tender hand. He liked to keep his distance from women. Get in and get out with his soul and heart intact. A little respect, a lot of pleasure, and no boundaries crossed. Of course, that’s another reason he’d taken a break. Easier to wake up alone than face the empty feeling of meeting a woman’s sleepy gaze and realize she’d never be the one. Or even the one for another evening.

His phone vibrated in his pocket. Muttering under his breath, he fished it out and read the flashing text.

Bonsoir, Rick. Are you ready for your adventure?

His fingers paused on the keys. A slither of unease skated down his spine. His gut screamed once he agreed, his life would never be the same.


He typed his answer with the ease of an expert and sealed his fate. Good evening, Madame Eve. I shall put myself in your capable hands.

A smiley face popped up on the Blackberry screen. Wonderful. Your date is in the Blue Room awaiting your arrival. Right corner table.

The screen went blank.

He shook his head at the enigmatic conversation and headed past the bar. The pulsing hip hop music dimmed as he made his way through a large tunnel of elaborate glass where an impressive number of gold statues were displayed in different forms of eroticism. He took a hard left, and entered the Blue Room.

Aptly named, the quieter lounge area spilled an eerie blue light, reminding him of the Blue Grotto in Capri. The room shimmered from the floor to the ceiling with stunning crushed turquoise crystals embedded in every surface. A large aquarium tank took up one wall, displaying exotic fish in all sizes and colors, sea turtles, and stingrays. The sensual sounds of a flute and trickling water spilled from the background speakers a few feet down from the main club, and gave the impression of another reality. The room was soundproofed to close out the loud dance music and invoke a different experience. The exotic atmosphere impressed him every time he entered the themed room, even in Vegas.

He let his eyes adjust to the change of light and focused on the far right corner.

She sat with her legs crossed, neatly tucked under the glass table. A pink frothy drink rested in front of her, and she fiddled with the paper umbrella. Obviously nervous, she didn’t look up, and he grabbed the moment to study her.

God, her body was killer. The plain photo tucked into the report Madame Eve provided didn’t do her justice. He estimated she barely topped five foot, even with the three inch heels she wore. She’d obviously gone all out for their meeting, evident in the sequined silver top clinging to lush breasts, and the short black skirt she kept yanking down, revealing a good few inches of rounded thigh. She sported the perfect hour glass figure that always pushed his lust buttons, but never seemed fashionable for women nowadays.

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