Gambler's Woman

Gambler's Woman

2.8 20
by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Dark, dangerous Jordan Kyle lived life on his own terms, setting his own rules and playing for high stakes. He'd moved through this world alone, and was satisfied to have it that way—until he encountered Alyssa Chandler.

By day Alyssa was a cool, controlled mathematical whiz, sorting through facts and figures. By night it was a different story. At

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Dark, dangerous Jordan Kyle lived life on his own terms, setting his own rules and playing for high stakes. He'd moved through this world alone, and was satisfied to have it that way—until he encountered Alyssa Chandler.

By day Alyssa was a cool, controlled mathematical whiz, sorting through facts and figures. By night it was a different story. At night she became a creature of beauty and passion who was more than a match for Jordan. But were Jordan's seductive caresses enough for Alyssa to take a chance on a future together?

Only time would tell…

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
This classic romance of love and risk from Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Stephanie James, features 30-year-old Alyssa Chandler, who gambled on an earlier marriage and lost, big-time. Now she's a study in restraint, a hardworking statistical research analyst during the week, and a secretly successful blackjack player on the weekends. She thinks she knows all about playing the game of risk, until she meets Jordan Kyle, a professional gambler, in Las Vegas. One look and he's got her all figured out, and her cool demeanor melts in a hurry. Their impulsive weekend affair makes both rethink their short-term goals, until a jealous business associate finds out about Alyssa's secret life and tries to use it against her. Tip: Never bet against the heroine; never bet against true love. Ginger Curwen

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THE THIRD TIME THE QUIETLY DANGEROUS man with the eyes of antique gold materialized near a table where she was playing, Alyssa Chandler ruled out coincidence as an explanation. Statistically speaking, given the size of the casino in which she was gambling and the number of people swarming across its huge glittering floor, it just wasn't very likely that the same man would show up in her vicinity on three different occasions in a single hour.

The probability of three such events occurring randomly simply wasn't very high, and Alyssa knew all about probability theory. No, there had to be another explanation for the man's appearance, and none of the explanations Alyssa could think of sounded very pleasant. All, in fact, sounded rather dangerous; just like the man himself. It was time to move on.

Smiling at the professionally polite blackjack dealer, Alyssa scooped a hundred dollars' worth of chips into her soft, sequined evening clutch. Her carefully draped, off-the-shoulder gown of black jersey swirled gently around her ankles as she turned to slip into the crowd of pleasure seekers. A thin, liquid stream of silver edged the neckline, cuffs and rippling hemline of the dress, subtly reflecting the glow of the chandeliers as Alyssa made her way through the crowd.

The silver trim of the dress wasn't the only thing on her person that reflected the light. A rich fire buried in the depths of her thick auburn hair occasionally caught the elegant glow of the casino fixtures. Parted simply in the middle, the shoulder-length mass fell in a gentle curve on each side of her face, lightly brushing the smooth skin bared by the gown. The auburn hair framed an intelligent, ifnot beautiful face that was highlighted by a pair of eyes the color of the sea at dawn: not quite green, not quite gray. It was the shimmering awareness in those eyes, together with the charm of a mouth that curved readily into a smile, that made an onlooker forget that the face, as a whole, could not be labeled beautiful.

There was a certain charm to the secret smile that always lurked in her sea-green eyes, and that charm made people overlook the fact that they never knew quite why Alyssa was smiling so subtly. There was charm, too, in the smattering of freckles across her small nose, although tonight she had made a vain attempt to hide that unsophisticated feature. Tonight she was in Las Vegas, dressed in the most expensive gown she could afford, wearing a pair of black leather sandals trimmed at the heel in silver, and she had decided that freckles did not particularly go with the persona of elegant lady gambler that she had adopted.

If one ignored the freckles, however, it could be said that the rest of her fit rather well into the image she had constructed. Thanks to five feet, seven inches of height and a lot of swimming, the body, cloaked so sleekly in the black dress, was slender and graceful. There was a gentle invitation in the small curves of her high breasts and softly flaring hips; nothing blatant or voluptuous on the grand Las Vegas scale but something that would definitely be evident to the eyes of the discerning. Tonight, Alyssa had dressed to make the most of her figure in a discreet, sophisticated manner.

Knowing the image she was projecting, she would ordinarily have assumed that the man with the golden eyes was merely responding to that subtle, feminine magic. In the minds of the vast majority of the male population, the illusion of Las Vegas was woven not only with the promise of gambling but with the promise of easily available women.

But the man who had materialized near her three times during the course of the evening had not been focusing on the curve of bared shoulder or narrow waist. He had been watching her play blackjack, and the shuttered fascination in his eyes was far more dangerous to her than lust would have been.

Lust could be handled, firmly and coolly denied with the knowledge that the casino personnel would be only too quick to come to the aid of a patron in distress. For although she had dressed to suit her own fantasy this evening, the intelligent, sensible woman hidden in the black jersey gown had no intention of becoming some man"s fantasy. No, a man who might have decided to try his luck with her instead of the roulette wheel would have been no danger.

But a man who followed every move she made when she played blackjack was in another category altogether. Such a man might be very dangerous, indeed.

Was he on the casino's staff? Behind the dealers roamed a variety of personnel who kept an eye on operations: floormen, pit bosses, shift bosses and the casino manager. Most were easily identifiable and certainly made no effort to conceal themselves. But that didn't mean there might not be additional personnel who, like the shills, were supposed to blend in with the patrons.

Slipping through the crowd, Alyssa passed one kind of gambler after another. The traditional figure of the little old lady in tennis shoes stood amid a row of slot machines, industriously throwing away her social security check. A high-rolling, loudmouthed Oklahoma oilman threw his money away with a great deal more showmanship at the craps table. In between ranged every type of gambling human under the sun.

The soft glow of the chandeliers fell impartially on all, reflecting the warmth with which the casino welcomed each customer. That welcome was extended because the vast majority had one thing in common: ultimately, they would all be losers.

There was only one sort of client the casino did not welcome, and that was the very rare individual who won, not just occasionally but consistently, steadily, inevitably. And that was the sort of gambler Alyssa Chandler was. She won.

Oh, she was careful about it, never letting greed carry her away to the extent that the casino management would be alerted. She made it a point to lose periodically, and when she won, it was always in small amounts. But by the time she was ready to leave Las Vegas at the end of the weekend, she planned on being a thousand dollars ahead. There was no reason to think her plans would not be fulfilled. After all, she had made the same decision the weekend before and had gone back to California with precisely a thousand dollars in her purse, all of which had been won in small, discreet sums at several casinos.

Surely she hadn't won enough tonight or been so conspicuous as to attract the unwanted attention of the casino management. A small frown knitted her auburn eyebrows as she moved up the three steps that separated the huge gaming floor from the cocktail lounges and hotel facilities that ringed it. Still, it paid to be cautious. A suspicious casino could easily bar her from playing, and that was the last thing she wanted. Perhaps it was time to get into a cab and head for another establishment.

Debating her course of action as she walked to the lobby area of the hotel casino, Alyssa didn't see the golden-eyed man until he stepped away from the cluster of cheerful gamblers moving into the nearest of the cocktail lounges. Quite suddenly, he was blocking her path.

Alyssa caught her breath as she met his gaze directly for the first time. In that moment, she realized the futility of trying to avoid the confrontation.

"It's all right," he said quietly as if he could read her mind. "I don't work for the casino." The voice was rich, dark and infinitely disturbing.

Relief was Alyssa's first emotion, followed almost immediately by a host of new suspicions and questions. Or was he lying to her about not working for the management? "I can't see why that should be important to me one way or the other," she managed sweetly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way out."

He didn't move. "I'd like to buy you a drink." The tawny gold eyes held hers with an expressionless promise. Alyssa got the distinct impression that it would be risky to turn down his offer of a drink.

For a long moment, they stood in a tableau, assessing each other, playing a waiting game; then, without a word, Alyssa decided to capitulate and find out what he wanted. There was no point in running away. If she had been marked by the casino, she had been marked. Better to find out exactly what this man wanted. Ignorance was never really bliss; it could often be downright dangerous. With a faint inclination of her head, she turned and walked into the nearby lounge.

He followed, a dark, silent shadow at her heels, taking her arm just as she located an empty table and was about to sit down. His touch, warm through the fabric of her dress, surprised her, drawing her attention briefly to his hands as he took the seat across from her. Long, well-shaped fingers gave an impression of strength and exquisite sensitivity. In the next instant, Alyssa was shocked to find herself wondering what those fingers would feel like on a woman's naked skin. She banished the image with the single-minded skill of a professional statistician who knew how to focus on the big picture.

"Have you finished playing for the evening, or would you like to stick with the mineral water you've been drinking?" the stranger inquired very politely.

Alyssa winced. He had even noticed what she had been drinking! "I've finished for the evening," she told him coolly. "I'll have a Drambuie."

"With the glass warmed?"

"Please." His politeness was beginning to ruffle her nerves. Such polished civility, such courtesy, such an expression of urbane attention, had to be suspect in a man, any man.

While he gave their order to the pretty cocktail waitress, Alyssa made a quick, surreptitious survey of her accoster. A pelt of dark, Vandyke-brown hair was combed easily back from a broad forehead and worn long enough to brush the collar of his crisp white shirt. His eyes, the feature Alyssa had been most aware of for the past hour, were of a light amber brown that bore more than a passing resemblance to the color of old gold. Those eyes bothered Alyssa, primarily because she failed utterly to read any expression in them other than the suspect politeness.

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Meet the Author

The author of more than 23 consecutive New York Times bestsellers, Jayne Ann Krentz, who also writes under the pen names Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, has over 23 million copies of her books in print.

In addition to her fiction writing, she is the editor of, and a contributor to a nonfiction essay collection, Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. The book received the Susan Koppelman Award for feminist studies given by the Women's Caucus of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association.

Jayne's outside interests include vegetarian cooking and participation on the Advisory Board for the Writers Programs at the University of Washington extension program.

Jayne Ann Krentz has believed in the importance of romance fiction since the beginning of her publishing career. With each passing year she grows more convinced of its significance and its contributions to the lives of women everywhere.

She earned a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a master's degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before she began writing full-time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.

Jayne is married and lives in Seattle.

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Brief Biography

Seattle, WA
Place of Birth:
San Diego, CA
BA in History, University of California at Santa Cruz, MA in Librarianship from San Jose State University (California)

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Gambler's Woman 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book I have ever read by Jayne Ann Krentz. In fact, it was originally written under one of her pseudonyms, and it was obviously written for Harlequin. The characters were poorly drawn and not interesting. It is just sex with no plot. Ordinarily, Krentz is one of my favorite romance/adventure writers, but this one is a no go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've really enjoyed most of Krentz's books, having read almost all of them. This one was a HUGE disappoitment, the male character was creepy possessive almost in a stalker way. The female character was weak and helpless to stop the overwhelming 'passion'. Truthfully after the first 25 pages, I just went thru the motions of finishing the book. Honestly, it didn't get any better, just more nauseating. Almost rather read a Harlequin. Almost.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it from beginning to end. The herroine was uncertain yet adventurous stepping into a fantasy world and allowing herself to be seduced so skillfully by a hero that was definetly rough around the edges. Very determined to get what he wants which was his lady love. He was very chauvanististic but still had his appeal. The characters together was absolutely fabulous. There was nothing idealistic or sweet about them relating to each other. No sappiness here. They had real conversations with each other and sometimes it was not nice. I loved their story. I found myself smilling over their happiness while I was reading the last couple of pages. I enjoyed it. I don't usually give reviews but I had to when others were so negative on another site. Almost made me miss out on a good read.
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Having read probably most of Jayne Ann Krentz's novels (or at least many of them) this won't end up my favorite. It was ok, but it seemed like a amauter effort....maybe it was one of her earlier books? Usually I like the guy; this guy I wanted to call the cops on! He just seemed like such a jerk. I'll read it again, and for the price, it wasn't bad, but her other books are much better.
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