He needs roots.
She needs money.
A whirlwind wedding could solve all their problems…if it doesn’t bring the Vegas mob down on their heads.
Grace Winters needs a miracle in the form of cash. A young widow with a stack of bills and a dead-end job, she’d do anything to save herself, her son, and her mother from the street. Anything but gamble—the Vegas vice that got her husband killed.
Dominic Rosas needs a happy family—or at least the appearance of one—to buy out his father’s shares in the Lucky Star casino, ousting the vicious man and avenging his sister. When he finds himself wildly attracted to a down-on-her-luck waitress with a stubborn will and a sharp sense of humor, a hasty marriage seems the obvious solution to both of their problems.
To Grace, Dominic seems too good to be true, a kind man with money to burn and an inner strength a world away from her gambling-addicted husband. They share a spark she’s never felt before, giving her hope that maybe this time marriage might work. But when she finds out he’s investing in the Lucky Star, the very mob casino where her husband gambled away their future, the dream crashes around her. Dominic swears he can invest in the casino, avenge his sister, and keep her safe, but Grace fears she’s placed her bets on the wrong man—again.
Dominic had sat on the stool nursing a cup of coffee for the last thirty minutes and, despite the laughter Grace had been able to pull from him, nothing had lessened his rage at his parents. He needed to kill a little more time, and that’s how he came to be sitting beside a beautiful woman in a cheap pink uniform that reminded him of a feminine, round birthday cake—except the curvy parts looked much more palatable. “So,” he began, hoping to hold her attention for a while longer, “why the bad day?”
In no hurry, she poured sugar from the glass dispenser into her coffee and stirred it with a spoon. “Why don’t you tell me about your day?”
“Because I want to know more about you.”
“Um…I live with my mother. I have a five-year-old son who, I have to admit, is a holy terror. Scared yet?” She had high cheekbones and a lush bottom lip that created a perfect heart when her mouth was pursed like it was this second.READ MORE
Innocence, that’s what he sensed from her. And kindness. Maybe a shy sense of humor. What would she think of his life, the excesses he paid for, like laundry service, to make life simpler? She wasn’t like anyone he’d dated, women who owned lavish dresses that would put the cheap pink uniform to shame. And, yet…she’d snagged his attention.
“Doesn’t your husband help with the kid?” he asked.
She lifted her left hand and wiggled her fingers. “Widowed. Seriously widowed. He crashed his car, and it exploded.”
“I’m sorry.” He took a sip of his coffee, quiet for a moment.
“Thank you.” She dipped her head. “So, what about you? What’s your story?”
“My bad day? I had to fly all day to get back here because my parents were trying to institutionalize my sister so they could steal her inheritance. Lucky for them, my sister left me a message that she’s safe. That’s why I stopped here—to check in with my household manager.”
With a low whistle, Grace shook her head. “Your day is officially worse than mine. How does your wife feel about in-laws like that?”
“Never married.” He leaned closer, and her scent, oranges, surrounded him.
Grace looked around the diner like she might get up and end their conversation, so he rushed to fill the silence. “I manage a hotel in New York. I actually won an award last night—the hotel won an award. I’ve increased revenue by three-hundred percent since I became manager.”
“Very impressive.” She lifted a finger and twirled it to encompass the diner. “Coffee sales have increased by twenty percent since I started here.”
Dominic laughed, and she offered him a grin. “Is that right?” he asked.
“No, but it sounds good.” The grin slid off her face, and she heaved a sigh. “I should probably get back to work.”
He couldn’t simply let her go. He’d walk out of here and never see her again—unacceptable. “Come out with me tonight.”
“Are you going back home?”
“At some point.”
“That would be fun.” Standing from the stool, she shook her head slowly as she gathered up her coffee cup and saucer in one hand and picked up the pot with the other. “I don’t date for fun. I do nothing for fun reasons, not for two years now.”
“When your husband…?”
“Right.” He could see the struggle on her face, the frown furrowing between her brows. She might’ve said yes if she didn’t have so many responsibilities now. “No dates, but the consolation prize is pie.”
Something flowed between them, a thing he’d never experienced before. All he could say was, “I’ll take apple.”
“You got it. But, listen, the prize thing was a joke. You’ve got to pay for it.” He laughed deeply, the third time she’d done it to him. He couldn’t remember when he’d last laughed before coming in here. It was that as much as her beauty that attracted him.COLLAPSE