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Let It Ride
By Katherine Garbera
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Did you discover anything being a woman?" Didi asked me when I appeared in front of her.
The body-disappearing thing still made me crazy. Twenty-five years as a mob capo ordering hits and living large had not prepared me for life after death. I'd cut a deal with God, or rather with Didi, God's emissary at the Pearly Gates. And now I was a freakin' matchmaker to the lovelorn. It wasn't as bad as I made out to Didi, but the skinny-angel broad got on my nerves and I didn't want her to know that I actually liked doing these good deeds.
However, I didn't like the surprise she'd left me with last time, sending me to Earth in a woman's body. No man should ever have that experience. "I didn't," I answered her. "This time I want an assignment where I get to be a guy. Not an old fart, either."
"Was it a hard adjustment?" she asked. I didn't like her tone. But then, I didn't have to like her. Staying up here, instead of going to hell, was a heck of a deal.
"Let's skip to the good part. Just give me one where I can be a guy."
A large pile of file folders materialized on the desk. I took pride in the fact that though the stack still was big, it was lighter by two.
She smiled at me, which I didn't trust. Despite being an angel, this one had a mean streak in her.
"How about one in Vegas?" she asked.
Now I really didn't trust her when she was being nice to me. "Am I going to be a showgirl?"
She laughed. She wasn't half-bad-looking when she smiled. "Not this time."
She was trying to scare me again. It wasn't going to work. I'd faced a man with a loaded Glock and hadn't quivered.
"This one is special."
Special. The word echoed in my head and I shuddered. Merda, I didn't know if getting to heaven was worth all of this. "How special?"
"You'll see," was all she said.
I opened the file and scanned it. The chick, Kylie Smith, was a secretary from Los Angeles. The guy, Deacon Prescott - he was my kind of guy. He'd grown up on the streets and worked as an enforcer for the Vegas mob.
"This one doesn't look so tough," I said to Didi.
"Good. Then you won't have any problems."
My body dissolved before I could retaliate. Didi liked having the last word. But that was okay. I was on the Vegas strip, standing in front of one of the newer casinos, and for the first time since I'd died, I felt like my fate wasn't so bad.
* * *
Deacon Prescott leaned closer to the ten-inch security monitor and found the woman of his dreams. Her features were indistinguishable. But every other detail was perfect.
Her brown hair was caught at the back of her neck; her clothing was understated - elegant. He zoomed the camera in for a closer look.
"Perfect," he muttered. She was everything he'd been searching for. She had classic bone structure and a sedate hairstyle, everything he'd been hoping to find in a wife and never expected to see in the lobby of his hotel/casino, the Golden Dream.
She surveyed the lobby. Damn. She was probably here with a boyfriend or husband. He adjusted the camera's zoom lens - she wasn't wearing a wedding ring. Her green eyes were wide-set and her features delicate. She was an ordinary woman in the real world, but out of place in the garish world that was his life.
At thirty-eight it was well past time for him to settle down and start a family. And the only thing that had been holding him up was the right woman. A woman who could be that other half of his life without engaging his emotions. If he'd learned anything from a lifetime in Vegas, it was that fortune changed on the roll of the dice. Happiness in life and forever love were only illusions.
"What are you staring at?"
Deacon glanced over his shoulder at Hayden MacKenzie - Mac to his friends. Mac owned the Chimera Casino and Resort. The Chimera was the second-most successful operation in Vegas behind the Golden Dream.
Excerpted from Let It Ride by Katherine Garbera Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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