Taming the Carefree Billionaire - Marie Higgins


“Come on baby... Daddy needs a new jet.” Thomas Powers shook the red dice in his hand as he stared down the craps table. He’d been playing for an hour now and winning. He’d never considered himself a professional gambler, but he did like to play once in a while. And today... he was literally on a roll.

His good friend, Cole Langston, whose brother owned the casino, put this evening’s events together. Since it was Cole’s turn to find the entertainment for Thomas and their billionaire groupies, this was the perfect spot. Angie Birmingham was one of these groupies. Thomas had known her since grade school and only considered her a friend, even though he knew she wanted more. But today she was his good luck charm, so... if the stars were aligned correctly, she just might get her wish.

Angie stood by him so closely that she could have been the one wearing his clothes and rolling the dice. He held out his hand in front of her face. “Blow some good luck on me, Ang.”

Her eyes danced with excitement as she blew on his hand. From the smell of her breath, she’d been drinking much more than he’d realized. Hopefully, her intoxicated breath would put some kind of spell over the dice so that he could continue his winning streak. Already his total was up to fifteen thousand dollars. He’d already decided that when he reached twenty thousand dollars, he’d stop and call it a night. He could already hear his pillow calling him since he’d been up for forty-eight hours straight.

“Okay, here we go,” he said loudly to the crowd surrounding the table. “I’m going to roll a ten again.” Thomas didn’t know half of the people at the table – or even at the casino – but since he was a likable man, when he made friends, he usually kept them for years.

Holding his breath, he threw the dice. The room grew silent, and only the rolling dice was heard knocking against the gaming table. One of them stopped on the number six, and the other stopped on... four!

The crowd cheered. He whooped with excitement and grabbed Angie around the waist, swinging her around. She wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on his mouth. The kiss was okay, but he’d had better – and less alcohol-based.

When Angie tried to deepen the kiss, he pulled away from her and set her back on her feet. His friends who stood nearby clapped him on the shoulder and congratulated him. Thomas bent and gathered the winning chips. It was time to end the night, especially before he lost everything he’d won.

Suddenly, a flash from the end of the table drew his attention. A woman in a silky, black figure-hugging dress with spaghetti-straps stood out from the crowd. It wasn’t that the dark-haired woman was breathtakingly gorgeous that captured his attention, but it was the camera she held as she snapped pictures of him.

His first reaction was to yell at her and have someone escort her out of the casino. Thomas had had his share of nosey tabloid photographers. However, this woman was different somehow. Maybe it was that she was prettier, but it could have been the look of interest in her eyes when she lowered the camera and met his gaze.

“Oh, don’t stop now, Tommy.” Angie’s finger toyed with the wavy hair on his nape. “You’re on a roll. I mean, we are on a roll.”

She rested her head against his arm and peered up at him with glassy eyes, putting on her pouty face. He really didn’t like pouty faced women. He also didn’t like the smudged dark makeup under her eyes. Her auburn hair had lost its luster, too. Right now, she looked like one of those women who hung out in bars and only left when they were seeing double. He also didn’t like her calling him Tommy – a name he was teased with as a kid in grade school.

He switched his gaze back to the woman holding the camera. Her eyebrow arched in a judgmental fashion. He could read her thoughts perfectly without her even saying a word. Obviously, she wondered why he visually flirted with her when Angie hung all over him like a shroud. Perhaps after this last roll, he’d shake off his irritating shadow and meet the new woman he couldn’t stop looking at.

“Just one more roll... please,” Angie purred forcefully.

Gradually, the crowd began to chant. One more.