Home > Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)(9)

Devilish Game (Shadow Guild: The Rebel #4)(9)
Author: Linsey Hall

The game moved quickly from there, and I got lucky with the first few hands. Grey did too, or maybe he was just more skilled that he’d let on.

Either way, we advanced forward, hanging onto our spots at the table while one man and one woman dropped out. I drained my drink, and Grey ordered me another with a flick of his hand. It was a handy trick, since then he didn’t have to let the rest of the table know I was only drinking water.

After two hours, during which I hadn’t even needed to use the charm Grey had given me, we were the only ones left at the table. I was starting to get antsy, and the few glimpses I caught of Mac in her disguise just made me more nervous. If she were caught . . .

But hell, that went for all of us, and she was a big girl. She knew the risks. Didn’t keep me from worrying about her, though.

“Sir? Madam?” A quiet, polite voice sounded from behind me, and I turned.

A slender gentleman with a pencil-thin mustache and an impeccable tux stood a few feet away, watching us expectantly.

“Yes?” Grey asked.

“His Excellency would like it if you joined him for a game, should you be willing.”

His Excellency?

Okay, that was just too much.

Grey, ever the iceman, simply nodded. “I would enjoy that.” He looked at me, a brow raised. “And you?”

I gave a brilliant smile. “Of course. Just let me powder my nose, and I’ll be right there.”

The man bowed, then gestured to the door that led to Anton. He disappeared, and Grey and I rose.

“I’ll meet you over there.” He nodded toward the door.

“All right.” I hurried toward the bathroom, keeping a lookout for Mac.

She appeared right as I was walking down the hall toward the restroom. We didn’t so much as pause, but I gave her a nod, indicating that it was time to swap places with the bartender who served Anton. She hurried off, and I made quick work of checking myself in the mirror. Everything was in place, and the gold dress still looked fantastic.

A few minutes later, I joined Grey. He looked amazing, standing alone near the door, his cold eyes surveying the casino. His tux fit his tall, broad build perfectly, and as he leaned against the wall, he looked like a predator lounging on the Savannah, waiting for some unwary prey to walk by.

When his eyes met mine, they warmed briefly. Then his face hardened, as if he’d noticed the softness. It was a bad idea in general, given our situation, but even worse while we were on Anton’s turf. We’d agreed that my cover would be as Grey’s new fling. If Anton sensed that he truly cared for me, he’d use me to hurt Grey. The last thing I wanted was to be a pawn in a battle between two mob bosses.

Grey held out his arm, and I took it. Together, we strode into the large room. It was beautifully decorated, though far too extravagantly, with a single table in the middle. Four players sat around it, Anton immediately recognizable.

It was just something about him—his aura, maybe, or the cold deliberation in his eyes. He made ugly, terrible decisions every day, and it was reflected on his face. So was the fact that those decisions didn’t bother him a whit. Silver hair was swept back from patrician features, and his blue eyes were so pale they were almost colorless. His tux was as beautifully cut as Grey’s, but his slender build didn’t fill it out nearly as well.

Next to him sat an older woman with a tiny poodle in her lap. The poodle’s poof of white hair matched her own, and the dress that she wore glittered pink under the crystal chandeliers. The last two figures at the table were vastly different—one man had black eyes and pale gray skin. He was utterly terrifying, actually, with a cold gleam in his gaze that was definitely snakelike.

The last man turned to look at us, a charming smile pulling up the corner of one side of his mouth. He was handsome, with a strong jaw and brilliant green eyes that complemented his dark hair. His tux fit him perfectly and, like Grey, he had the muscles to fill it out. In fact, he looked like he should be out climbing mountains or crossing deserts in search of adventure.

“Welcome.” Anton’s voice was low and rich. “We could use some new blood in the game.”

Grey and I strode to the table. He took the seat next to the scary man, and I sat between the poodle woman and the adventurer. She gave me a derisive look that was matched by her poodle—the little beast’s lip even lifted in a growl. I turned my gaze away from the tiny monster and glanced at the man next to me.

He smiled charmingly. “It seems I got the lucky end of the seating arrangements. I’m Atticus Swift.”

“Nice to meet you. Marie Stone.” I gave him the fake name I’d worked up, not wanting Anton to remember me and seek me out.

Atticus held out his hand to shake, and though I’d normally avoid such a thing, I needed all the information I could get about my opponents. Knowledge was power, after all.

I gripped his strong hand and shook, suppressing a gasp at the images that flowed into my mind. Atticus, standing on the deck of a ship floating through the clouds, fighting off demons with a skill I couldn’t help but admire. Another vision flashed—this time of him in an enormous, gorgeous office with a view of high rises in the distance. He had power and wealth, that was for certain. And a love of adventure.

Not only that—there was a distinct streak of honor to him. He was some kind of thief; I was sure of it. But an honorable one. Unlike everyone else at this table—I didn’t need to touch them to know they were shady as hell—he was a decent man. Albeit with a love of breaking the rules.

I tried to get an image of what his cards looked like—he had a hand in front of him—but the magic that surrounded the table made it impossible. It was an impressive spell, whatever it was, allowing my gift to work but not in a way that would allow me to cheat.

Damn.

At least I had the charm from Grey tucked into the top of my stockings, though it wouldn’t be easy to deploy it with this crowd surrounding me.

The dealer, who I’d barely noticed until now, cleared his throat. The man was so bland looking—pale skin, pale hair, a soft face, and stooped shoulders—that he nearly blended with the background.

“Buy in is fifty thousand. One hundred to raise.”

I tried not to let my jaw drop, but Atticus noticed my shock and leaned close. “Bit steep, I agree.”

“Isn’t that why you play here?”

He gave me a devastatingly handsome smile. Under any other circumstances, I might have flirted. I should have flirted. I should have done anything I could to tear my traitorous heart away from Grey. If it knew what was good for it, my heart would throw itself at Atticus.

As it was, I felt nothing when I looked at Atticus. He might as well have been another species, albeit an objectively attractive one.

Unable to help myself, I glanced at Grey.

His eyes were slightly narrowed as he watched Atticus, and I could all but see the threat wafting around him.

Atticus leaned close to my ear and murmured, “I think your friend would like to knock my head against a wall.”

Grey’s eyes flashed, and he smiled coldly.

Oh, he could definitely hear Atticus, and he agreed.

I just smiled—hopefully in a mysterious way—and looked at the dealer expectantly. What I really wanted to do was jump on Anton and hold my knife to his throat, demanding answers.

But there were eight guards in the room, one at each corner and others at the door.

So, that approach was out.

The game began, moving swiftly at first. Anton was nearly silent, his gaze darting between the different players with the coldness of a snake’s. When it landed on me, I had to suppress a shiver.

Surprisingly, the first person to leave the table was the terrifying man with the gray skin and black eyes. He hadn’t said a single word the entire game—every signal he’d given to the dealer had either been a hiss or a tap on the table.

Finally, he lost spectacularly, and that was that.

Anton grinned with satisfaction when the man rose and slunk away toward the door, clearly pleased to have beaten him. So far, the mob boss was the best player at the table, though the rest were holding their own.

The woman in pink watched the cards avidly, her interest keen and her excitement high. Atticus, on the other hand, seemed bored. Almost as if he weren’t here for poker at all and was just phoning it in with his bets. I shot him a glance out of the corner of my eye, and he grinned, almost as if he could read my curiosity.

Across the table, Grey looked between me and Atticus, his shoulders tense. Was he jealous?

We’re not supposed to care about each other! I wanted to shout at him.

I merely looked away, catching the eye of the woman’s little poodle. The creature glared at me, its eyes on my cards. I scowled back and tilted them in so the little cheat couldn’t see them. Despite the fact that I could feel the magic-suppressing charm that surrounded the table, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could telepathically convey to his owner what my hand looked like.

One hand in particular was so close, the betting so intense, that I nearly lost my spot at the table. Everyone else except for Atticus had folded, and the charming bastard was about to drive me away.

I could win this if I just had the slightest idea about his cards.

Now or never.

If I was going to use the charm that Grey had given me, this was the time. Carefully, I slipped my hand under the table and pulled the little charm out of the top of my stockings. Tension pulled my skin tight.

Please don’t see me.

Grey coughed and nearly spilled his drink, and I wanted to shoot him a thankful glance. No question—he was trying to draw eyes away from me. Grey was so controlled and so smooth that he would never spill his drink.

Skin cold with nerves, I pressed the charm to the bottom of the table. Immediately, I could feel the suppression magic around myself deaden.

Casually, I pressed my knee against Atticus’s under the table. Immediately, images flowed into my mind, bombarding me.

Atticus, bribing a guard. Then him sneaking around the back hallways of the casino, looking for something. Interesting.

I tried to direct my power toward his cards, wanting to get an idea of what he held. Or at least, whether he was bluffing.

   
Most Popular
» Magical Midlife Meeting (Leveling Up #5)
» Magical Midlife Love (Leveling Up #4)
» The ​Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash
» Lover Unveiled (Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
» A Warm Heart in Winter (Black Dagger Brothe
» Meant to Be Immortal (Argeneau #32)
» Shadowed Steel (Heirs of Chicagoland #3)
» Wicked Hour (Heirs of Chicagoland #2)
» Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland #1)
» The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club
» Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #
» Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)
vampires.readsbookonline.com Copyright 2016 - 2023