Surrender - Elizabeth Knox



6 weeks ago . . .

The phone on my desk rings and I glance at the number on the screen. It’s my in-house security. No way I can ignore it and go back to daydreaming about . . . nevermind. Duty calls.

“This is Chase.”

“Mr. Hayes, we’ve got a woman down here who we caught counting cards. She had two men with her but they fled. I’ve still got guys out trying to find them. No luck yet.”

I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose. Same shit, different day. Comes with the territory, I suppose. There’s either someone stirring up trouble or a scammer trying to count cards and beat the system. Luckily for me, I’ve got a top-notch team who keeps an eye out for these sorts of things and nips them in the bud before they become a more serious issue.

“I’ll be right down.”

I end the call and head for the elevators down to the basement where the security offices are. It’s also the holding area for troublemakers like this.

Before I enter the room, I take a few minutes to survey the woman. She’s got that typical Vegas girl look. Pretty enough with her dirty blonde hair that curls at the end and nude lipstick. The sequin dress she’s wearing barely covers the goods and there isn’t an ounce of remorse or regret on her face as she stands there, waiting for whatever’s next.

She can’t be older than twenty-four or twenty-five, yet I can bet that she’s done this sort of thing before.

When the door opens, she looks up at me and squares her shoulders. She’s confident and unafraid.

“Care to tell me your name?” I don’t waste any time. The sooner I get this over with, the sooner I can get out of here.

She smirks. “Diamond.”

I snort. “I’ve heard that one before, sweetheart. Why don’t you try for the truth this time?”

Viktor, the head of my security team and the one who called me down here in the first place, snatches Diamond’s clutch from in front of her and dumps the contents out onto the table.

In her collection we find condoms, a credit card and three IDs— all with different names. This girl is good. Or at least she thinks she is.

“Let’s see. I’m willing to bet this credit card is stolen,” I hold up the piece of plastic, “and all three of these IDs are fake. One call to the police and you’re looking at some serious jail time. Unless you want to start talking.”

Still, she doesn’t waiver. “I’ve got nothing to say. Your goons here think they saw something. I think I’m being harassed. You wouldn’t want word to get out that you made a habit of taking advantage of women now would you?”

“It would be your word against mine. It would serve you best to remember who’s holding all the cards here. Pun intended.” I shuffle the credit card and IDs in my hand. “Enzo tells me there were two guys with you. Who were they and where did they run off to?”

She leans across the table and the top of her dress falls open but I don’t take the bait. My eyes stay glued to her face.

“Tell me something, Mister. . . . I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name . . .” She pauses and I ignore her obvious request. “Whatever. Even if I knew who you were talking about, do I look like a snitch to you?”

“You’re only making this harder on yourself. What. Is. Your. Name?” I grit out.

“Take your pick. Who do you want me to be? Diamond? Ariel? Crystal?” She runs a finger across the table separating us.

“Okay. Diamond. Tell me why you thought you’d get away with counting cards in my casino?”

“You got some proof?” She picks at her nail polish.

Christ this is a waste of time. I’ve got somewhere to be. We could let her go and ban her from the casino or I can turn her in. At this point, either one would work for me.

The watch on my wrist buzzes, reminding me that I’m already late.

“Viktor, you can handle this as you see fit. I’m done here.” I nod once and exit the room.

I’ve already got everything I need so I take off for the parking garage and hop in my car to head to Club Crimson.

After a disastrous night last night, I’ve only got more stress on my plate today. At least I was able to leave work a few minutes early to head over