The Gambler - Raquel Belle Page 0,1


“Well, I paid enough for them!” Stacy replies with a giggle.

“Please, Stacy, we all know that you didn’t pay for them,” Blaire, the last fixture in Deanna’s crew cuts in. She’s playing the slot machine next to Deanna’s, likewise concentrated on her screen and largely oblivious to the rest of the world. Clad in a short black skirt, sky-high black stilettos and slinky black halter-top, her outfit is no less head-turning than Stacy’s. The miniskirt seems to be this town’s unofficial uniform.

“Fine, fine, they were technically a gift from Oliver.”

“Is that your boyfriend?” I ask.

“Ha! He’s Stacy’s sugar daddy,” Blair says with an eye roll.

“I still can’t believe you let that old fart pay for your boob job,” Deanna remarks, taking another swig and draining her glass.

Stacy protests with a giggle and a shimmy, “As a dancer, it was a solid business investment! My tips have doubled since I got these,” her boobs barely move despite the motion. I’d never seen fake breasts up close and personal until I came to Vegas. I’d never seen a lot of things until I came to Las Vegas. And I’ve only been here for about 12 hours.

Deanna, my always-cooler sister, has been living here for about a year and already she knows her way around the Strip—the four-mile long stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard where the premium hotels and casinos are concentrated. She’s got a job as a bartender and shares an apartment with Stacy and Blair—who also work in the nightlife scene.

Stacy is a mere 5’4, but with an eye-popping hourglass shape and bottle-blonde hair that ensures she stands out in any room. Blair is no less of a showstopper, with her waist-length straight black hair, caramel skin, and piercing almond-shaped eyes that stop men in their tracks. She works as a bottle girl at one of the big Vegas clubs. From what I gather, the job is basically twenty-percent carrying bottles, and eighty-percent partying with the rich guys who order the bottles to the VIP tables.

The fact that my sister Deanna not only knows people like this but is actually one of them is still mind-blowing to me. She fits right into their group…in her short red dress and matching heels. Her hair is loose and wild, while mine is pulled back into a low-slung ponytail. It’s one of the only ways to tell us apart physically. That, plus the fact that she’s got a piercing—a lone silver sparkle in her right nostril. And a tattoo—a tiny rose on the inside of her right wrist. These are additions she’s made since she left our hometown nine years ago.

The only one out of place here is me, the visitor. The summer dress I have on seemed fun and flirty when I tried it on at home. The ruffle at the hem just grazes my knees and the V-neck shows the tiniest hint of cleavage. But compared to the Vegas crowd, I look like I’m straight out of “Little House on the Prairie.” I would never have the guts to dress like these girls. I just don’t have the figure for it. Or the attitude. I guess that’s where my sister and I are different.

“Come on, let’s go back to the roulette tables,” Brian nudges Deanna. “You’re on a streak. Put it to good use.” He motions towards the middle of the room. The slots are lined along the side. In the center are the tables for blackjack, roulette, and other games I’ve never even heard of. Each table is manned by a smartly dressed dealer in a crisp white shirt and black bowtie. Marble floors encircle the carpeted island of tables in the center, creating a road that scantily clad cocktail waitresses and shooter girls click along as they pass trays, take orders, and clear glasses.

“Fine, fine. Let me just call over an attendant so I can get my payday!” Deanna furiously jabs at the “attendant” button on the screen. Almost immediately, a casino employee appears by her side.

“Yeah, let’s make some real money,” Blair agrees. “Then we can get a VIP table later at Lush Club.”

“Or Marquis!” Stacy chimes in. “I want to go dancing!” She tosses her head back and shakes her butt to an imaginary beat.

“Ladies, come on, I can get us a VIP at those clubs anytime,” Brian says, smoothly, his icy blue eyes gleaming. “I know all the big club owners,” he explains, locking eyes with me.

“That’s cool. Are you also in the club business? Like