Betting on Cinderella
The Cinderella Romances Book 2
by Petie McCarty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.
Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.
A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.
Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-a-dash-of-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.
Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.
“I want to make love to you.”
Garrett mentally kicked himself. He had gone and scared her.
Too much. Too soon.
But he couldn’t make himself move. He could lie here forever with Andi in his arms.
She wriggled from his grasp to sit up. “Um . . .”
She looked too uncertain.
He was okay with, “Not now, but maybe later.”
“I can’t,” she whispered.
Good thing he was sitting down. The jangle of fear that hit him could have knocked his knees out from under him.
“Can’t or won’t?” he forced out. No maybes on this one.
What the hell? Can’t and won’t?
All his uncertainties flooded back. Flora had said Andi and Peters were just friends. Was that friends with benefits? And what about that damn Drakos pawing her last week? No, he wouldn’t let those doubts crowd them here on the couch.
“Too soon?” he tried.
“Partly.” She looked away, and his heart sank amongst the growing heap of doubts.
“There’s someone else,” he said flatly, working to keep his expression blank and the hurt at bay.
She met his gaze square on then, no doubt trying to muscle her courage. “There’s something I should tell you.”
“I’m—” She exhaled hard. “—no good at it.”
What? Is that all?
He fought back a grin of pure joy. “I’ll give you lessons.” He pulled her back for another kiss.
She shoved at his chest. “No. I don’t think I should.”
She flinched at his expression, and he worked to smooth his scowl.
“Go ahead. Spit it out.” Even he didn’t like his tone. “You’re sleeping with someone else, right?”
He should have done his homework before he went off half-cocked with all the flowers and balloons, trying to woo her.
“No, and I should slap you for that, suggesting I’m loose enough to go out with you while sleeping with someone else.”
“Then what the hell is it?” he shouted, forgetting all about Flora at the back of the house.
“I’ve never done it before!” she shouted back.
“What? Slapped someone?”
“No, you jerk. Slept with someone.” This, she didn’t shout.
He froze, right down to his heartbeat, and stared at her bright-pink cheeks. Could it be? Was she? A virgin?
“Holy smokes,” he wheezed.
She stared at her untouched glass of wine. “I’m not saying you and I will never,” she said softly.
Relief, warm and desperate, allowed his muscles to finally move. He gently traced the line of her cheek with his finger, a lump forming in his throat at the touch of something so rare and priceless.
“Glad to hear that.” He brushed his lips across hers, light as a whisper. Once. “My little sweetheart.” Twice. “My precious—” Three times. Always a charm.
“You’re not mad?”
Those big blue eyes stared up at him with an innocence that made his too-experienced heart ache with emotion.
Should he tell her he wanted to go outside and howl his joy at the moon? To yell to the world what a lucky son of a gun he was? His Andi would be his Andi—proprietary, like his stock portfolio. All his. No one else. A primal sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.
“No, sweetheart, not mad. Glad,” he managed, then tugged her close and let his kiss show her exactly how he felt.
“When you’re ready,” he said against her lips. “Only when you’re ready.”
He had finally said and done the right thing, for she grabbed his shirt and laid an eye-crossing kiss on him.
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