Authors: Nicolette Pierce
Tags: #mystery, #poker, #the big blind, #Romantic Suspense, #nadia wolf, #Romance, #las vegas, #Suspense, #comedy, #thriller, #nicolette pierce
By Nicolette Pierce
Published by Nicolette Pierce at Smashwords
The Big Blind is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Nicolette Pierce
Cover design by Lan Gao. Copyright © 2013 by Nicolette Pierce
All rights reserved.
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Your sweet smile and unlimited supply of energy makes every day a new and exciting adventure.
A huge thank you to Nikki Gavin for, once again, giving me excellent advice and guidance. Also, thank you for the suggesting the title to this book. Fantastic!
Lan Gao your cover design is brilliant. Thank you for your hard work and creative design.
Thank you to Judy Hanson for reviewing the novel and your wonderful advice.
Victoria Jacobson, a gigantic thank you for your help with the daunting task of editing. Writing would be so much more difficult without you!
Kathy and Bill, thank you for helping me with toddler duty so I could have a little time without sticky fingers all over my keyboard.
Thank you Lonnie and Amy for being the wonderful friends you both are and reading my book when it was in its most ragged state and not threatening to end our friendship. Love ya!
Books by Nicolette Pierce
Mars Cannon Novels
Nadia Wolf Novels
The Big Blind
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
are of a wobbly makeshift
friends gathered around.
could only have been
cigar. It had all
My mother insisted they edit their language and jokes around me, which they did quite colorfully. Jokes became coded with “her maracas, his beef stick, and doing the humpty-dumpty dance”, and it didn’t take a genius to break those codes.
I found my niche at an early age. By the time I was a teenager, none of my Dad’s friends would play Texas Hold’em with me. They would make me sit out until they switched to Omaha or Stud. By that time, I had kicked the bubblegum cigar habit and got hooked on something much more sinister – pretzel rods. While my friends talked about boys and clothes, I talked about Doyle Brunson and odds.
My name is Nadia Wolf, and I’m a professional poker player . . . but some days are debatable. I’m twenty-eight years old. I wouldn’t say there’s anything remarkable about me, but I’ve been told I’m not terribly hard on the eyes either. I’m five-feet-six. My hair is long, brown and infused with copper highlights. I like my green eyes the best. My Dad jokes that my eye color must have come from the neighbor across the street with the suntanned skin and game-show-host smile. Mom stays tight-lipped when the subject comes up, but I think that’s because it’s an old and tired joke. She lost her sense of humor when MacGyver went off the air.
Poker is still a man’s game, but there have been plenty of women who have infiltrated the game and can rival any man at the table. I moved to Las Vegas a few years ago and have been earning enough money working the tables to scrape by. It’s been a slow journey and the life of high stakes still eludes me.
I was itching to further my poker career so I entered a tournament for which I had to scrimp and save. If I had any thing worthy of selling, I would have sold it in a heartbeat. The World Series of Poker is a tournament every serious poker player dreams of winning. The million dollar prize is worth it. A diamond bracelet is also awarded to the winner. The prestige of winning the bracelet is similar to a gold medal for an Olympian … at least in the poker world.
The buy-in cost was ten thousand dollars, and I was in my first day of the tournament and nearly on my last chip. My brain and checkbook were in agony as I narrowed my eyes at the man sitting across the table. He met my gaze and held it. His blue eyes were unreadable as they normally were. My pulse jumped.
His lips curled to reveal his straight white teeth. “Raise,” he said, shoving five thousand dollars worth of chips into the middle of the table as smoothly as his voice had called it.
I’d been tangled in hands with Caleb Usher a few times before, and I’ve never escaped unscathed. Of all the tables in this damn poker tournament, why did I get stuck with him?
I fingered the corners of my two playing cards laying face down on the table and inspected my tiny stack of chips. If I called, it would be an all-in bet. I had a pair of queens, but it wasn’t enough for me to go all in. The risk would be too high. My ten thousand dollar buy-in could be gone the second he turned over his cards.
I have a gambler spirit like the rest of the players in the tournament, but I wasn’t relying on just luck. There were too many possible outs. Caleb could make a straight or flush and my pair of queens would be garbage. And he’s well known for his unbeatable luck. My personal theory is that he has secret leprechaun DNA. I nearly smirked at the thought, but I had to stay in control of my facial movements. Any small twitch or tick could be considered a
. An uncontrolled tell is the death of a poker player.
The rest of the players gazed at the table in boredom after sitting hour upon long hour. Their hands busy, mindlessly shuffling their stack of chips waiting for the next round. I ignored the continuous clicking sound their shuffling produced.
My eyes cut back to Caleb. He sat perfectly still; his eyes bore into me. Anyone else would have looked down or hid behind their sunglasses. Caleb was serious and that wasn’t his nature. He gave me the
I needed. He wasn’t toying with me the way he normally did. Throwing my hand to the dealer, I flashed a courtesy smile at Caleb.
“I’m out,” I said with only a hint of defeat that began bubbling up from my last round.
The dealer shoved the pot of chips over to Caleb and swiped the cards from the table.
It was the last hand of the evening. Even with the set back, I survived the first day of the tournament. I grimaced at my few remaining chips and sighed. Tomorrow was going to either be an extremely short day or a monumental uphill battle. I’ll have to go all-in to grow my stack, but going all-in is a one-shot play.
A redhead with long legs and a plunging neckline that showed off her ample cleavage bent over to give Caleb a long slow kiss; her skirt hitched up which caused the remaining men at the table to blink out of their stupor.
“Sugar pie, can we go now? I’m bored and the camera crew is on the other side of the room. They didn’t get one shot of me today,” she pouted.
He flashed a smiled at her. “Yeah, let me just turn in my stack.”
I busied myself and gathered my belongings. I stretched as I stood from the table and let out an appreciative sigh. It felt fantastic after hours parked at the poker table.