Page 15 of Conceal

I turn on my heel. The sound of my stiletto echoing against the marble as I leave. My steps are fast because I need to get far away from him. Even though I’m immune to his charms, I don’t like to be close to him. Because I might not be that immune at all. He was an ass. And I don’t have time for another hot rich boy. Especially one who’s so obviously a player.

No.

No time at all.

I make my way over to the bar. “What can I get you, Willow?” asks Josh, the bartender.

“Don Julio,” I grit out, and his forehead scrunches at the sound of my voice. I know he’ll ask me why I’m pissed because it is obvious from my tone, but I can’t be that girl. I might know Josh, but I don’t know him well enough, so I shrug my shoulders and grimace. “My feet hurt,” I offer as my excuse for my sour mood, and he nods before setting off to make the drink.

With him now gone, I look around the room. It’s a large wood panel library that’s been converted in order to play cards. Tables are set up in the middle and the bar is placed in the corner. As grand as the room is, it’s intimate, with sconces and candlelight giving a warm glow.

This is not the first poker game I’ve been to. It’s just my first time being on the other side. Watching others play without the excitement of taking part in the game. It’s different from this viewpoint.

From this angle, I can see the stress and, for some, the boredom. I like the observation, though. It’s fascinating. You can take in the whole scene, reading each person, understanding the wins. The only one I can’t pinpoint is Jaxson Price. Unlike the rest, he doesn’t look to be at all into the game. It’s more like he’s bored and has nothing better to do, so he plays. Or at least he wants the players to believe that.

What does that mean for me tonight? Will I leave here unscathed, or will I be another casualty or attempted conquest for Price?

“Here,” Josh says, pulling me out of my thoughts.

“Thanks.”

I grab the drink and head back over to Jaxson Price. Like a lamb being led to the slaughter, I wait to see my fate, highly certain my life or more aptly my sanity is in peril.

I place the glass down on the table, on top of a napkin, and as I do, his hand reaches out and touches my skin.

My breath hitches. I’m frozen in place at the contact.

“I would tip you,” he says, and I look at where our hands touch, “but it seems I lost my fifty . . .”

My heart pounds, and my palms grow sweaty.

I couldn’t have heard that right.

I lift my gaze. His eyes gleam at me with mischief.

But he stressed the word lost.

A nauseous sensation churns inside me as I realize what that means.

Fuck.

He knows.

Chapter Seven

Jaxson

The way her eyes widen in absolute terror at my words has my back going straight. Yes, I wanted to call her out for stealing my money, but I didn’t want to scare her. Because that’s how she looks. She looks petrified.

I don’t like it.

Not at all.

I’m a sarcastic prick, but I’m not a bad guy. Before I can say another word, she’s turned and walked away. I don’t even know this girl, but I can tell by looking at her, she has baggage.

Baggage I don’t want any part of, but I don’t want her to be concerned about me.

Even if she took the money, there was obviously a reason. It’s not like it makes or breaks me, but maybe, it did her.

With the game still going on, I can’t stand and go after her, but what I can do is concentrate on what I’m doing and play my hand this round.

By the time this hand is over, I’m itching to find her.

I stand from the chair which scratches against the floor as I push it back, and I turn to face the room.

She hasn’t come over in a while, but I need to see if she’s okay.

I head out into the hall and down the corridor that leads to the bathroom. The house is dimly lit. I assume that’s to add to the ambiance and all, but it makes it hard to see.

I’m almost by the door when I finally make out a form in front of me. Her back is to me as she faces the wall.

Although it’s dark, I know it has to be her. She stands out regardless of the dim lighting, the same way she stood out when I first got here. I would recognize her anywhere.

I step up behind her and lift my hand.

Before I even connect with her, she is jumping forward and then turning around.

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