Without Regret (Devil's Playground #1)

BOOK: Without Regret (Devil's Playground #1)
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Without Regret

By Nicole Edwards

The Alluring Indulgence Series

Kaleb

Zane

Travis

Holidays with the Walker Brothers

Ethan

Braydon

Sawyer

Brendon

The Club Destiny Series

Conviction

Temptation

Addicted

Seduction

Infatuation

Captivated

Devotion

Perception

Entrusted

Adored

By Nicole Edwards (cont.)

The Dead Heat Ranch Series

Boots Optional

Betting on Grace

Overnight Love

The Devil’s Bend Series

Chasing Dreams

Vanishing Dreams

The Devil’s Playground Series

Without Regret

The Sniper 1 Security Series

Wait for Morning

The Southern Boy Mafia Series

Beautifully Brutal

Standalone Novels

A Million Tiny Pieces

Writing as Timberlyn Scott

Unhinged

Unraveling

Chaos

Without Regret

A Devil’s Playground novella

Nicole Edwards

Nicole Edwards Limited

PO Box 806

Hutto, Texas 78634

www.slipublishing.com

www.NicoleEdwardsLimited.com

 

Copyright © Nicole Edwards, 2015

All rights reserved.

This is a self-published title.

 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

 

Without Regret – A Devil’s Playground novella
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Cover Image: © essl | 123rf.com
(9613668)

Cover Design: © Nicole Edwards Limited

Editing:
Blue Otter Editing

ISBN (ebook): 978-1-939786-48-7

ISBN (print): 978-1-939786-47-0

Table of Contents

Dedication

To Chancy

Remember the day I was complaining about writer’s block?

You told me it was my opportunity to write anything at all.

So I did.

Thank you for always being there to motivate me.

Note from the author:

Devil’s Playground is a spin off from the Southern Boy Mafia series (which is a spin off from the Sniper 1 Security series). This book is a stand-alone. You do not need to read any other books to follow along
. However, if you’d like to read more about Max Adorite, you should certainly check out the Southern Boy Mafia series.

I’ve been known to cross my series over so that you can keep up with the characters from other stories, but the intent is always to keep them separate so they can be read independently.

Enjoy!

Much love,

Nicole Edwards

1

The dark interior of the casino called his name, but Isaiah Fontenot doubted the voices were saying the same things to him that they were saying to most of the people surrounding him.

Hit me!

Stand!

Come on, six!

No, those weren’t the same voices he was hearing. Not today, anyway.

Isaiah wasn’t drawn to the flashing lights of the slot machines or the cheers coming from the blackjack tables. Nor did he find any interest in the chaos that surrounded the craps tables.

Then again, he wasn’t a gambler—at least not when it came to casino games. Other things in life, sure.

So, it only made sense that he wasn’t hearing
those
voices in his head as he snaked his way through the various slot machines, past the line of blackjack tables teeming with people. Unlike most of the people in the place, he wasn’t seeking a way to discard some of his hard-earned money in minutes. No, Isaiah was actually looking for someone.

A woman.

More accurately, a beautiful woman. One who had found herself in a shit ton of trouble as of late and had somehow ended up as Isaiah’s problem.

Being that he was from Las Vegas, lived and worked on the Vegas strip—in the very casino he currently traversed, in fact—Isaiah didn’t have much interest in the tourist hot spot, didn’t find intrigue in the sights and sounds of money being spent hand over fist in an effort to hit the big one, all with enormous hopes of coming out a winner. However, he did see the merits of using the place as a hideout, as the woman seemed to be doing.

With a cautious eye on his surroundings, Isaiah continued toward the bar.

Nope, nothing.

No spark of excitement in his gut, no antsy fingers ready to hit or stand. In fact, Isaiah was certain he’d been desensitized to it over the years. Although he wasn’t opposed to gambling as a whole, he simply tended to lean toward a different type of risk, something a little less … controlled.

Not to mention, the family he worked for wouldn’t take too kindly to him gambling on the job. He’d been sent on this particular mission to locate a specific person, who, according to his boss, wouldn’t be too keen on going with him once he did finally locate her, but that was a challenge Isaiah was up for.

Good thing he knew how to make things happen. It was one of the reasons the family he worked for depended on him and his twin brother, Micah, to run the show in Las Vegas. They’d been in charge of one of Vegas’s swankiest nightclubs, Devil’s Playground, for the past five years and had, over time, established quite the reputation.

As he eased up against the bar, Isaiah peered around, pretending to be looking for someone. It was partially true, he
was
looking for someone, someone he’d already located. In fact, he’d made eye contact with the copper-haired goddess, even offered a smile that reflected his feigned interest. Or he hoped it had, anyway.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

In an attempt to appear casual, Isaiah ordered a drink and then retrieved his cell phone from his pocket while he waited. Thumbing the screen, he pulled up his contact list. He didn’t have to scroll too far to find the information for Maximillian Adorite. Pulling the number up, he hit the button to send a text.

Found her.

Less than a minute later, he received a response:
Report when you have more information.

Knowing his boss didn’t need unnecessary pleasantries, Isaiah pocketed his phone as he retrieved his drink from the bartender. He sipped the top-shelf, single malt scotch, allowing his gaze to once again roam the area. His mark hadn’t left from where she sat alone at a corner table. She looked nervous as hell, and Isaiah couldn’t very well blame her. Despite the fact that he worked for the Texas family known as the Southern Boy Mafia, by far one of the most powerful and influential organized crime families in Texas, this girl … well, she’d inadvertently gotten in bed with some pretty nasty people, and his boss had asked that he pull her into the fold in order to protect her.

Strange, that. Isaiah wasn’t used to tracking people, or saving them, as was the case here, but he didn’t defy orders—nor did he question them—when they came down.

So here he was.

Waiting.

Max Adorite wasn’t known much for his kindness, but ever since Max had married Courtney Kogan, he’d gotten a little soft. Not that Isaiah would ever let anyone hear him say that. After all, he didn’t have a death wish. Apparently, with this particular gig, Max was doing a favor for his wife. According to the information he’d been given, the mystery woman’s family had sought out the Sniper 1 Security team to help locate, and protect, the woman’s brother, and since Courtney’s family owned the business, and the incident was in Vegas, they’d leaned on her to help out because they knew Max had business there.

And now Isaiah was involved.

Micah should’ve been, as well, but … he was MIA. As was usually the case during the daylight hours.

For a brief moment, Isaiah allowed his gaze to slide over the mystery woman whose life he was about to save, although his methods would likely be questioned. Not that he gave a shit. He got things done, and he knew just what the situation warranted.

He’d known what she looked like thanks to the picture Max had provided, but the camera hadn’t done her justice. Her long hair looked like copper silk hanging over her slender shoulders and caressing the tops of her breasts. From his vantage point, he could also tell that she had a really,
really
nice rack—something that hadn’t been evident in her picture—hidden beneath a snug, black tank top.

Her clear, sea-green eyes glimmered in the dim lights shining over her as she peered out from beneath her lashes, pretending not to notice him watching her. With the way the lights shone down on her, her alabaster skin appeared soft and smooth, and despite his mission and the notion that the woman would likely freak once he officially introduced himself, Isaiah couldn’t deny the instant attraction he felt for her.

Not that he was looking for a woman. He had enough of those to deal with on a nightly basis, all types, all races, all shapes and sizes. He loved women, all of them, but he didn’t have to go searching for one. Being that he managed Devil’s Playground—Max’s Vegas nightclub, named the same as its sister locations in Dallas and New York—he had his pick of the litter on any given night. Since the club was located in one of the ritziest hotels on the strip, Isaiah didn’t have to worry about relationships, either, thanks to the tourists who strolled in and out of his world almost instantly. In this city, people were usually just visiting, merely a temporary distraction, as far as he was concerned.

But tonight, before he went to work, Isaiah had another job. One that required him to move away from the bar and talk to this woman before she slipped away and he had to spend hours searching for her again.

When she finished her drink, he decided to make his move. Taking his glass with him, he made his way over to her. Smiling, he decided to forego a cheesy line in the hopes that direct would be the better angle.

“Mind if I buy you a drink?” he asked as he approached, watching the attractive woman intently.

And for the first time in all of his thirty-eight years, Isaiah experienced something he’d never encountered before. The woman whose attention he was looking to attract took one look at him and … panicked.

Yep, that was certainly new.

2

Lord. Have. Mercy.

Any other day, any other place … Cassidy Owens could’ve been tempted by the handsome stranger who approached her so casually.

Not today.

Nuh-uh.

Sure, she had noticed the tall, well-dressed, dark-haired man sitting at the bar, eyeing her as though he had a craving for something sweet and she’d been dipped in sugar. He was one of those men who drew attention without even trying, and she’d been almost flattered by the fact that he’d turned all that heat on her as soon as he’d glanced her way. Tall, with broad shoulders and nicely styled short hair … he was attractive in a way that screamed wealth and power.

At first, she’d paid him no mind, or pretended to, anyway. Aside from admiring him briefly, she’d done her best not to look his way. However, since then, she’d been well aware that he was watching her. And now that he approached, her internal alarm system was shrieking loudly, leaving her with only one choice.

Flee.

Logical, right?

As she pushed back from the table, the chair she’d been seated in toppled to the ground, and she used the distraction to make her escape.

“Going somewhere, sweetheart?”

Oh, hell.

Doing a double take, Cassidy’s head snapped around on her neck as she looked from one man to the other.

Uhh … there were two of them.

Two
.

How was that even possible?

One would’ve been enough, but two… That was far too much temptation.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have time to get the answer to that question because her fight-or-flight instinct had kicked in, and she knew she had to go. Far and fast.

With a quick, dismissive smile, she found an opening and took it, stepping down from the tiered floor of the bar and onto the casino floor, ducking slightly so that she’d blend in with the group of people crowding around the craps table.

Okay, so she wasn’t incredibly naïve. Cassidy knew that the handsome duo hadn’t just been hitting on her, nor were they sitting back and wondering why the hell she’d run when offered a drink. Nope, she’d seen that knowing gleam in the first guy’s eyes. Their brief introduction hadn’t been happenstance, which was why she was still hauling ass as fast as her three-inch wedge heels would take her. She doubted she could outrun them, but Cassidy had something spurring her on—a very strong, very determined will to live.

Using the overly crowded casino to her advantage, she maneuvered through the packed place, slipping between one set of slot machines, then another, getting lost in the groups of people crowded around, until she wound up in the high rollers lounge, the inquisitive attendants’ eyes instantly seeking her out.

Crap.

Not exactly where she had intended to go, but as she glanced around, it looked as though she’d accomplished her goal. The dark-haired strangers were nowhere to be found, thank goodness.

“Shit,” she said on a long exhale.

“Can I get you something?” a young blonde woman with a bored expression asked as she made a quick pass by, holding a tray and a tablet at the ready.

“No, thanks,” Cassidy answered softly, turning her attention to another machine, faking interest. When the waitress disappeared, Cassidy allowed several minutes to pass while she pretended to peruse the various machines that required a fifteen-dollar minimum bet.
Minimum
! Holy crap. Like she would ever waste that kind of money.

But that was honestly the last thing on her mind.

Peering out of the room through the clouded-glass windows, watching the people milling about, she didn’t see her pursuers.

Had it really been that easy? Slipping away from those two?

One could only hope, but Cassidy doubted that the men who were after her would be so easy to evade. After all, if they were the ones who’d trashed her condo … well, Cassidy knew the night was far from over.

Taking a deep breath, she scanned the area outside of the room and decided the coast was clear. As clear as it was going to get, anyhow.

She needed to get somewhere less public, preferably a place no one would think to look for her. Granted, she didn’t know where else to go since she’d spent the last two days at the hotel, sleeping when she could—which consisted of approximately three fitful hours in a forty-eight-hour period—and trying to get in touch with her brother. Unfortunately, she’d had to use her credit card for the room, and likely that had sent up red flags, which had brought those men after her.

If only she could talk to her brother. Jordan would know what to do, but for whatever reason, he wasn’t answering, and that was what had her most worried.

So, sure, she was sleep deprived, a little irritable, but she wasn’t dumb. Paranoid, maybe. Dumb, no.

Sliding into a group of people, Cassidy followed them toward the hotel lobby. If she could only reach the elevator without being seen by the dynamic duo, she’d be home free.

Several tense minutes later, with a sigh of relief, Cassidy punched the button that would call the elevator while she watched several people standing around, animatedly talking about their plans for the evening. The bell dinged, signaling the arrival of the car. The instant the doors opened, Cassidy sidestepped the people exiting so they wouldn’t run her down, and then she slipped into the elevator behind them. A chorus of greetings sounded in the narrow corridor, which must’ve meant the people who’d come down had joined their party. As the doors began to close, she realized she was alone in the car.

Thank goodn—

Shit.

Her relief was short-lived when a large hand interrupted the doors from closing.

Oh, hell.

“Relax,” the dark-haired man from the bar said as he joined her inside the car, his duplicate following close behind him.

Cassidy was tempted to scream, but her shock halted the sound in her throat as she stared at the intimidating men eyeing her closely. Then the doors closed, sealing the three of them inside. Alone.

Yep, she was going to die, no doubt about it. And to think, she’d been waiting until next month—when she turned thirty—to start checking off things on her bucket list.

That’s what you get for procrastinating, Cass.

“We’re not here to hurt you,” one of them explained, his voice gruff. “Hit the button for your floor.”

“Like hell,” she replied, grateful her voice was strong and steady now.

Not dumb, remember?

“You’ve got two options, Cassidy. We either get to your hotel room, get your shit, and get you to safety, or we head to the top floor, where we can at least protect you.”

“Protect me?” she asked, the incredulity evident in her tone. He couldn’t think she was that gullible, could he? “Protect me from who? You?”

The second man spoke, his voice sounding eerily the same as the other guy’s. “In a second, someone is going to hit the call button, and the doors’ll open again. The next person to get in the elevator might not have your best interests in mind.”

Cassidy snorted her disbelief. “Are you—?”

“Questions later,” the first man scolded while the other one hit the button for the top floor.

Her eyes widened as she realized what was happening. They were kidnapping her and they… “Wait. How do you know my name?”

Oh, God. It was true. The bad guys had found her.

Neither man said anything, glancing at one another before turning to face the elevator doors.

They were both immaculately dressed in what she could only assume were expensive suits. Despite the fact that they were big and broad, Cassidy noticed something else about them both. They were packing. And she wasn’t referring to the mountains of muscles beneath those suits. She’d seen enough movies to know that those were guns pressing against their jackets, and her mouth suddenly went dry.

“Where are you taking me?” she finally asked as the elevator continued to rise, passing one floor after another.

While she waited for an answer, she tried to come up with an escape plan. Throughout her life, she’d never learned what to do in a situation such as this. Even her master’s degree in sociology hadn’t helped her—nor did her administrative job in the health care system—despite the fact that she could practically predict what would happen next. Human behavior and all that.

Knowing there were some very dangerous men looking for her—all in an effort to get their hands on her brother—Cassidy hadn’t planned ahead for the point when they would finally catch up to her. In fact, she’d hoped to never get to that point.

Too late now.

“The least you can do is tell me who you are before you kill me.”

Both men peered over their shoulders at her, matching smirks lifting the corners of their lips.

“Name’s Isaiah,” the one on the right said easily. “Isaiah Fontenot. This is my brother, Micah.”

Well, that was a start. It meant little to her, but at least they’d gotten past the ignoring her part.

Feeling lucky, she decided to go for broke. “What do you want from me?”


From
you?”

The guy on the right—Isaiah—continued to glance back at her, his grin wicked, but for some reason, Cassidy didn’t fear him. Not entirely, anyway. Why, she had no idea.

“We’re doing a favor for our boss,” Isaiah explained. “And no, before you freak out again, we’re not planning to kill you. You’ll get all your questions answered when we get to the room. You can call him.”

“Who’s your boss?” she asked, but the doors opened before he had a chance to answer.

Cassidy found herself being ushered out of the elevator, down a long hallway, then through another set of doors, another hallway, and finally another elevator. Once inside, Micah hit the button for the top floor, which, in that particular elevator, was different from the last one.

If she hadn’t been nervous before, she was now.

Less than a minute later, the elevator came to a stop, and she was once again ushered out.

With shaking hands, she gripped her purse, wishing like hell she’d thought to grab her trusty can of mace before she’d hightailed it out of her condo. Hindsight.

Isaiah—she could only tell them apart thanks to the different colors of their suits—ran a key card through the electronic reader on the door they came to, and the lock disengaged. While Micah remained behind her, Isaiah led the way into the room.

For some stupid reason, Cassidy dutifully followed. And now the jury was officially out on the not-dumb claim she’d made earlier.

“Evening,” a stocky blond man said by way of greeting. “Everything’s cool here. I’ll wait in the hall.”

With that, the guy was gone.

“Who was that?”

“Security.”

Who the hell were these people?

Unable to voice her question or to get her feet to carry her forward, Cassidy didn’t budge until Micah urged her forward.

“We’re not the good guys, Cassidy, but I assure you we’re better than the ones after you.”

Well, since he put it that way… What the hell was that supposed to mean?

Before she could put sound to the words bouncing on her tongue, she was pushed inside the room, and the door was closed and locked behind them. Instinct kicked in, and Cassidy searched the room for a weapon, anything that she could use to fend these men off, because no matter what they told her, she believed, without a doubt, that they were
not
the good guys. After all, they both had a dark, mysterious edge that made her keenly aware of them. If she had to guess, they were the type of men people didn’t fuck with.

The only question left was … how bad were they?

BOOK: Without Regret (Devil's Playground #1)
8.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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