Escaping Vegas - Danielle Bourdon

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Text 2015 Danielle Bourdon

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by Montlake Romance, Seattle

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Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Montlake Romance are trademarks of Amazon , Inc., or its affiliates.

str2-13: 9781477830055

str2-10: 1477830057

Cover design by Jason Blackburn

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014922410

To my sons Ayden and Tristan:

Thank you for all your patience.

Mom loves you.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

EPILOGUE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CHAPTER ONE

When Madalina Maitland stepped into the Luxor Hotel and Casino, she never dreamed she’d be leaving on the lam with a stranger. She was there to vacation. To soak up the summer sun. To gamble a little of the minor inheritance that had fallen into her lap like pennies from heaven. Five hundred bucks wouldn’t brand her a whale in Sin City, but it was more cash than she’d had on hand in a while. After finding a great deal on a flight from Southern California—ninety-eight dollars round trip—she’d tucked the remainder of the thirteen-hundred-dollar inheritance into the bank for emergencies and incidentals. Her late grandfather, bless his soul, had insisted she use part of the money for a well-deserved getaway. As if he had somehow guessed from their last (and final) conversation that the mundane responsibilities of everyday life were finally taking a toll. In response to his wishes—and a desperate need to reconnect with life—she was here, ready to take Las Vegas by storm.

Grinning from ear to ear, excitement swelling like an incoming tide, she paused just inside the tinted glass doors to take a deep breath and absorb the ambiance. Two towering statues flanked by a wall of exotic hieroglyphics loomed over the expansive foyer, creating a square-shaped entryway into the casino proper. Potted palms rimmed separate fountains, the water lit from beneath by cleverly placed lights. With a little imagination, one might believe one had stepped back in time, transported to ancient Egypt, with all its rich history and aesthetic charm. In the distance the mesmerizing ching-ching-ching of slot machines and the jubilant cries of someone who must have hit a jackpot sent shivers of anticipation straight down her spine.

Oh yeah. That’ll be me, she thought. Madalina Maitland, you’re gonna win big.

She realized the odds of hitting the Mother of All Jackpots was about as likely as her sprouting a second head, but she was trying out some New Age thing she’d read about in a book titled Positive Thinking: The Power of Optimism.

If all she had to do was think about winning, she could do that. Thinking was free, and underrated as far as she was concerned. Madalina, usually known as a pessimist and a skeptic to her friends and family, decided to make this a “new beginning” all around.

The first lesson she learned in her shiny new adventure was that stilettos and polished floors didn’t mix. Neither did standing in front of the doors when so many people were pushing in and out, intent on adventures of their own.

A man blustered past, muttering under his breath about tourists blocking the road.

“I’m sorry. Excuse me,” Madalina said. In an effort to get out of his way, she took a few quick steps forward. That was when she started to slip. To correct her balance, she pinwheeled an arm, nailing the muttering man in the shoulder with her purse. The heavy luggage she was dragging by the handle didn’t help matters any.

Catching her by the elbow, the stranger guided her upright. His hand felt strong, sure, steady. Madalina glanced up—way up—into her savior’s face. He was the kind of man she only saw in movies. The kind she didn’t think existed in the real world. Six-four, built broad across the shoulders and lean in the hips, her savior was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. He wore his hair two inches past his nape and sported a thick layer of whiskers on a jaw that looked chiseled from stone. His eyes were somewhere between blue and green, with little flecks that reminded Madalina of fool’s gold. When he smiled, it was the smile