Amber left behind the world of con-games once before and
she's ready to do it again. She agreed to work with
Marshall, her dad's ex-partner, just so that she could have
enough money to place her dad in a good facility for
Alzheimer patients. Now that she has what she needs, she's
ready to ditch Vegas and return to her Concierge job at the
Crown Chandler hotel in Beverly Hills. Fate has other plans
for her though when Amber catches the eye of Mike Corwin, a
Boston Police Detective. Amber and Mike have an instant
attraction which leads to the best night of their lives,
including wedding vows and winning a slot machine jackpot.
When Mike wakes up alone and half the winnings are missing,
he wonders if it was a bad dream or just a well executed
But it wasn't either of those things. Marshall kidnapped
Amber's dad for the cash he needed to enter a high-stakes
poker game, plus he needed Amber's skills in order to win
big. But the game doesn't go as Marshall planned and
suddenly Amber has to worry not only about her dad being
okay but also about King Bobby, a swindled player seeking
revenge. Amber's showing up at Mike's apartment is meant to
be a happy surprise, and maybe her best bet for survival,
but Mike isn't so sure he's ready to welcome back his
If Amber can win Mike over, they might have a relationship,
but it would always have to be without love or the Corwin
curse kicks in. Amber's willing to lay her cards out on the
table and tell Mike she loves him, but can Mike take the
same risk with his feelings? These opposites are definitely
attracted but can they make their differences work or will
those differences be what splits them apart forever?
Next in the series is Olympic swimmer Jason Corwin's story.
Will Jason find a way to clear his name and maybe even find
his own chance to beat the Corwin family curse?
Long ago, a witch proclaimed an eternal curse that every
Corwin male who married for love would be destined to lose
his woman and his fortune...
he good news is that Mike, a police officer, awakens after
some hard partying in Vegas $100,000 richer and married to
Amber, the gorgeous woman he met the night before. The bad
news: His last name is Corwin. The really bad news is that
Amber's a consummate con who took his money and ran. Seems
the family curse has finally hit him.
But to Amber, Mike isn't business as usual. Something about
her new husband softens her steely heart, even as she
betrays him. And Mike, first hell-bent on divorce, welcomes
a second chance to defy the curse... and turn his run of bad
fortune into a lucky streak!
Amber Rose wanted out of the con-artist life. Counting cards
in Vegas high-stakes poker games was not the way she wanted
to live—even if it did bring in money she desperately needed
to pay for her Alzheimer's-stricken father's medical bills
and keep him in a top-notch nursing home. But now she'd
saved enough to find another way. She glanced around the
crowded, smoke-filled casino, where she'd arranged to meet
Marshall Banks, her soon-to-be ex-partner. The Bellagio was
his favorite hotel on the Strip and she hoped the atmosphere
would put him in a good mood for when she delivered the news.
Amber glanced at her watch. Though it felt like hours, only
five minutes had passed since she'd arrived. Relax, she
ordered herself, when she finally caught sight of Marshall
across the room.
She couldn't help but notice many appreciative female eyes
followed him as he cut through the crowd. With his black
slacks and colorful striped dress shirt, and dark,
slicked-back hair, he epitomized Vegas glitz and studly Andy
Garcia-like appeal. Women had always been drawn to Marshall.
As a young, impressionable teenager, Amber had been one of
them. How could she not have a crush on her father's top
Sam Brenner had been a gambler extroaordinaire, a man Amber
had been in awe of. He was everything Vegas—big and large,
dynamic and exciting. He'd adored his daughter and he'd seen
to it she had everything she'd ever needed. Since he was
often traveling the gambling circuit, leaving Amber with his
parents, she'd extended her awe and love to her dashing
father to her hometown, Vegas. She reveled in the glitz and
glamour that emanated from it in waves.
The shine had long since come off Marshall, though, and
these days she saw her soon-to-be ex-partner for the man he
really was. A middle-aged con who made his living by
gambling and cheating, simply because he could. Amber's
reasons for getting into the life had been less
self-serving, yet she couldn't deny they shared a mutual
investment in their partnership.
"Hey, beautiful." Marshall stepped up beside her and pressed
a cool kiss to her cheek. "How are you this morning?" he
asked, interrupting her introspection.
"I'm just fine." She pressed her fingers together to keep
from fidgeting or tipping her hand before she was ready.
"Can I get you a drink?" Marshall asked.
She frowned at his question. "Isn't noon a little early for
"Come on, babe, relax. It's Friday. The start of the
weekend." He flagged down a waitress. "Johnnie Walker Black
for me. And a chardonnay for the lady."
Chardonnay was Amber's drink of choice when she and Marshall
were acting the part of gambler and his bimbo. Amber didn't
want anything to do with the charade now.
She waved her hand in the air. "Nothing for me."
With a nod, the cocktail waitress turned and walked away.
Marshall immediately cocked his head to one side. "Something
wrong?" he asked Amber.
She shook her head. "No, it's just that it's awfully early
in the day." Even for a Friday.
He pinned her with his astute stare. "What's your problem?
You usually don't give a damn what I drink or when as long
as we have a gig planned that'll bring in some cash. And I
already told you we're set for tomorrow night. Relax." He
reached out a hand to smooth her long curls.
She forced herself to release a calming breath. He was
right. She'd never questioned him about his drinking before.
From the moment she'd asked him to join her in her mission
to raise big money by revisiting the tricks her father had
taught her in her youth, she'd always let him do his own
thing. Amber didn't want him drinking now because the more
alcohol he downed, the more volatile he could become when he
heard her news.
She might as well get it over with. "About tomorrow's game."
Amber clenched and unclenched her fists. Her palms were damp
and she resisted the urge to wipe them on her dark dress.
His wary gaze turned his irises coal-black, but Amber wasn't
afraid. He usually possessed enough charm to cover his
explosive temper. Usually.
"What's wrong?" he asked again.
"I won't be there."
"That's a bad joke." He frowned, the scowl marring his
features. "You know I can't win without that photographic
memory of yours. What could be more important than the game?"
How to explain honesty, morality and guilt to a man who
didn't worry about those things? Amber bit the inside of her
cheek, wondering how to phrase things so he'd understand.
She met Marshall's unnerving gaze. "I'm not coming tomorrow
because I'm finished with card counting. With this life."
She'd always loved the highs and challenges that high-stakes
gambling offered, but she also needed to like the person she
viewed in the mirror each morning. And she had, until she
was forced to leave the career she loved to look after her
father. As a concierge in Beverly Hills, Amber had had a
legitimate job that offered her enough challenge to satisfy
her reckless streak. She'd found the best in life and she
wanted it back. And since she'd saved enough money to take
time and find another way to pay for her father's care, she
intended to do just that.
"Finished? Come on, baby. Be real." Marshall laughed from
deep in his chest as his eyes wandered over her. "Like I
just said, we're a team, you and I."
"Not anymore." At twenty-four years old, she'd learned that
she preferred to come by her excitement honestly.
"Oh, really?" He folded his arms across his chest, his body
language telling her he wasn't buying one word. "Where else
are you going to get the tax-free cash to pay for that fancy
place your old man is in?" He leaned in closer as he spoke.
The suddenly too-strong scent of his distinctive cologne
assaulted her senses and she pulled back. "That's my
problem, not yours. I'm just telling you our days as
partners are over. I'm out."
"The hell you are." He grabbed her arm tight.
She shook him off and shot him a deadly look. "Do not touch
me like that again. Ever." She rubbed her sore arm. "I've
made my decision and nothing you say… or do is going to
change my mind."
"Sorry, babe. I have too much riding on tomorrow night to
indulge you," he said through gritted teeth. He took a step
toward her, clearly intending to scare her into changing her
No sooner had he wrapped his hand around her forearm again
than someone stepped beside them. "Is something wrong here?"
Amber jerked toward the sound of the sexy male voice and was
literally blown away. Good-looking was too mild a
word to describe the dark-haired stranger whose gaze bore
into hers with genuine concern.
"Everything's fine." Amber didn't want this man to get into
an argument with Marshall, who seemed primed for a fight. As
long as they were in public, her ex-partner wouldn't do more
than make a show of manhandling her.
"Doesn't look fine to me." The stranger deliberately stared
at Marshall's hand on her arm.
Amber would have shoved Marshall away, but she knew she'd
only set him off and cause more trouble for the stranger who
seemed determined to play white knight.
"I don't see what business it is of yours," Marshall said,
all bluster and machismo.
"I'm making it my business." Her rescuer shoved his hand
into his back pocket and pulled out a wallet, flashing a
badge. "I heard the lady ask you to keep your hands to
yourself. So either you're deaf or just plain stupid. Care
to tell me which?" He shoved the small leather billfold back
into his pocket just as fast.
Marshall immediately released his grip on Amber's arm. "Hey,
no harm," he said, raising his hands in a gesture of
surrender as he took a step back.
"Really?" The other man squared his shoulders, which seemed
to grow broader beneath his navy T-shirt. "Why don't we ask
the lady if that's true. Did he hurt you?" His caring voice
softened as he spoke to her, wrapping around her like a warm
She met his gaze. "I'm fine now." She bit the inside of her
cheek to keep from saying anything that might incite more
trouble between the men.
Marshall nodded in agreement. "See? Just a lover's quarrel.
Isn't that right, babe?"
Nothing could be further from the truth. Her goal had been
to extricate herself from Marshall. She wasn't about to let
him pull her back in. Or lead her sexy savior to the wrong
conclusion about them.
She shook her head. "Actually we are…I mean, we were
business partners. But we aren't anymore," she said.
The stranger's blue eyes narrowed. "Then I guess there's
nothing left to discuss, is there?" he pointedly asked
Marshall, dismissing him.
Marshall shifted on his feet.
Amber knew no one could make him leave if he wanted to stay,
but the stranger had flashed a badge.
So Marshall turned away, but not before sending Amber a
He wasn't finished with her yet.
Michael Corwin watched the dirtbag walk away, making sure
the other man left the casino before turning his gaze toward
the beautiful woman he couldn't help but rescue.
"Are you really okay?" he asked.
She cocked her head to one side. A cascade of blond curls
fell over her shoulder as she glanced at him. "I'll live,"
she said wryly. "I could have handled Marshall myself. But
thank you for stepping in." Appreciation and what looked
like admiration glittered in her clear blue eyes.
As a detective, it was in his nature to be protective, but
as a man he'd been drawn to the alluring woman who'd
obviously needed his help. "You're welcome."
She studied him intently. "You aren't a Las Vegas
cop, are you?"
He raised an eyebrow at her astute observation. "Boston,
Massachusetts. What makes you ask?"
"The accent clearly says you aren't a local. Marshall would
have realized it himself if he'd been composed enough to
breathe." She extended her hand. "I'm Amber. Pleased to meet
"Mike Corwin." He shook her hand and felt the jolt all the
way through his body, settling right in his groin.
Unexpected, but not unwanted, he thought. "Do you have a
last name, Amber?"
"It's Rose. Amber Rose."
He raised an eyebrow at the exotic-sounding name. Added to
the short black cocktail dress that draped her slender body,
revealing ample cleavage for such a slight woman, he had to
admit she made for an enticing package. One he couldn't
ignore if he'd wanted to.
"I know it's an unusual name," she added.
"Actually, I was going to say it sounds like it belongs to a
Vegas showgirl. No insult intended."
Her porcelain skin flushed beneath the tacky casino
lighting. She grinned, showing off one dimple in her cheek.
"You're half-right. Rose was my mother's maiden name. Celia
Rose. She was a showgirl."
A shadow passed over her eyes. "She died when I was born.
So, what brings you to Vegas?" she asked, changing the
subject as she looked down and noticed their
He'd been holding on, drawing lazy circles around her wrist
with his thumb, enjoying the connection that felt so right,
so fast. Obviously she didn't want to discuss her mother and
he let the subject go. "I'm here for a wedding."
"Yours?" She jerked her hand back, a horrified expression on
"Hell, no, not my wedding. Do I look like the kind of guy
who'd hit on a woman if I was getting married?" he asked,
quickly setting things right. "It's my partner's."
"Oh." She exhaled hard. "So you are hitting on me?"
she asked, sounding extremely pleased at the notion.
"Most definitely." He stepped closer. Despite the acrid
smell of cigarette smoke in the air, he caught a whiff of
her floral scent and grew immediately more aroused. "I'm not
married or involved," he said, further reassuring her.
Her lips turned upward in a smile.
Any normal, red-blooded man would be attracted to her. Mike
had worked so many hours lately, he couldn't remember the
last time he'd gotten laid. He didn't normally go around
picking up the women he rescued, but Amber was different.
Sexual attraction wasn't her only appeal. She was
intelligent and obviously had morals—she'd made it clear she
wouldn't have been interested in him if he'd been someone
He was here enjoying a long weekend before he had to be back
in court early Monday morning to testify in a case he'd
closed last year. He'd planned to have fun, unwind and
celebrate with his friends. This woman was an unexpected
bonus and he realized he wanted to do all of the above with
her by his side.
He wasn't normally so impulsive, but what the hell? Where
else but Las Vegas could a man indulge and not feel guilty?
If the desire was mutual.
"So." She ran her tongue over her glossed lips. "What are
you going to do now that you've hit on me?" she asked in a