Mississippi riverboat gambler, Jedidiah Nash, knows he’s a scheming bastard. After defeating Richard Laurent at cards, the two come to a scandalous agreement. The stakes? Laurent’s wife for one night.
Jed has no intention of bedding the married Creole beauty. Instead, he expects to part her from the rest of Laurent’s money in exchange for her virtue.
Angry at her abusive husband for gambling her away, Elena Laurent concocts a scheme of her own. And after one night in a stranger’s arms, she might just be playing for keeps.
An Excerpt From: LOVER BY CHANCE
Copyright © DEBRA GLASS, 2010
All Rights Reserved
Elena blinked. Her eyes focused on a tall, black-haired man. Her breath froze in her chest at the sight of him. Wavy locks protested against the pomade in his hair. His fashionably cut suit fit him to utter, mouth-watering perfection. Although he dressed the part, Elena knew this man was no gentleman. He leaned casually against the doorframe as if he belonged in this cabin—with her.
“Monsieur…I…you startled me. Apparently, you are in the wrong room.” But already, her mind wrapped around the question of why he had her key. Panic welled. Her pulse accelerated.
“Oh no, Madame Laurent. I’m in the right cabin.”
Elena’s eyes widened.
The man’s mouth stretched into a smile. And God in heaven, what a smile! Dimples deepened in his stubble‑shadowed cheeks. His eyes twinkled mischievously.
Elena gulped. “I don’t understand.”
His gaze slid from her eyes downward, lingering in such a way Elena’s mouth went dry. Her wedding was only two days prior and not even Richard had looked at her this way—as if he might devour her body and soul. Her breathing quickened and then stopped altogether when his eyes returned to hers once more.
“I won you, my dear,” he said, leering.
Her mouth fell open. Won me? Won… “Won me?” she said finally forcing the words from her lips. “What on earth are you talking about? Where’s my husband?”
“He’s still in the grand salon—no doubt, drowning his sorrows.” The man took a step farther inside the room. “What a prize to lose!”
Elena retreated an instinctive step backward. The backs of her knees came in contact with her chair. She felt trapped, ensnared by this devilish man with no way to escape. “What do you mean, you won me?”
“I mean, ma chéri, that your husband ran out of funds and that he used you as collateral. Unfortunately—or rather fortunately for me—he lost.” Again, he smiled and Elena cursed the way her stomach tensed at the sight of it.
“What are you?” she demanded. “Some sort of card sharp?” Heavens, why couldn’t she think and why couldn’t she stop this infernal trembling?
“Card sharp? You cut me to the quick, madam.” His fingers splayed wide over his chest in mock dismay. “Card sharp carries with it such an ugly connotation. I prefer to consider myself a…professional.”
“A professional cheat!”
His lips parted—again in false trepidation. “I am not a cheat, cher. What I am, is an opportunist.”
“You’re vile,” Elena snapped. “No gentleman would dare ever suggest that a husband put his wife up as stakes in a card bet.”
His dimples deepened even more. “I never claimed I was a gentleman.”
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