Home > The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4)(11)

The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4)(11)
Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg

If Nick had chosen craps, Kate would have been lost, but she figured she could handle blackjack. The goal, for both the player and the dealer, was to get as close as possible to twenty-one without going over. Simple, right?

Nick placed fifty thousand dollars on each of the three betting circles on his side of the table. Kate did the same on her two spots and broke into an immediate sweat. There was a lot of money on the table. Money for which she was more or less accountable.

The dealer smiled and patted the table. “Good luck.”

She dealt the cards from a six-deck shoe. There were two cards dealt face up for each of their five playing positions. The dealer showed a four.

Kate had a sixteen on one of her hands and a seventeen on the other. She decided to stand.

Nick had a nineteen, an eighteen, and a twenty.

The dealer flipped her hole card. It was a six. The dealer dealt herself another card. It was a ten, giving her a total of twenty. The dealer winced politely, and swept up their chips.

Poof. Their two hundred fifty grand was gone.

It wasn’t Kate’s own money, but she couldn’t help thinking of all the things that she could have bought with it. A house in Las Vegas. Or a Lamborghini Gallardo. Or fifty-four thousand In-N-Out double-double cheeseburgers. Instead they had bought two mighty expensive drinks.

“With the way things are going we could be done early and need a couples massage,” Nick said to Kate. “Do you remember the conversation we had in the elevator?”



“And I think I’ll stick with the game for a while longer.”

After a half hour of play, Nick and Kate were up $1.5 million, and Kate was into the game, riding on a steady drip of adrenaline and her competitive nature. She put $250,000 down on each of her spots, and at the bar behind them, Goodwell picked up the receiver on a red telephone and made a call.

One floor below the casino, at the end of a long hallway, behind a door marked “Customer Relations,” a wall-mounted telephone rang. Evan Trace stepped out of the shadows and answered it. His face was meticulously unshaven and the sleeves on his handmade monogrammed white shirt were neatly folded up to the elbows.

“This is Trace.”

“We’ve got a couple whales up here,” Goodwell said. “Nick Sweet and Kate Porter. They’ve taken a blackjack table and are betting two hundred and fifty thousand a hand. They’re up one and a half million at the moment and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.”

“What do we know about them?”

“They came into town from L.A. on a private jet, walked in the door with five million dollars in cash, and booked the presidential suite for the night,” Goodwell said. “That’s it.”

“I want to meet them.”

“I thought you would,” Goodwell said.

“Invite them to my private dining room for a drink when either they’ve tapped out or we have.”

Trace hung up the phone. He wasn’t concerned about the couple winning, even if it added up to tens of millions of dollars. He was a firm believer that his profits came from the winners, not the losers. The winners always came back for more, giving up what they’d won and then some. He knew that from personal experience, which brought him back to the task at hand.

He turned to the center of the windowless room. The only furniture was a stainless steel workbench and the chair behind it. They were placed under the room’s single light fixture, a naked bulb that hung on a wire from the ceiling. A sandy-haired man in his late twenties sat in the chair. He was good-looking enough to be a model, or at least he had been before the beating. His eyes were swollen nearly shut, his lips were split, and his nose was bleeding.

Trace stepped up to the table and looked down at the terrified man. “You made a mistake, Stan.”

“I know that,” Stan said, his voice wavering, and glanced fearfully to his right, where another man stood in the shadows. “Mr. Garver can stop hitting me now.”

Garver was also in his shirtsleeves and was wiping Stan’s blood off his huge, meaty hands with a towel. His face looked like a head of cauliflower, the result of the beatings he’d taken prizefighting in his youth. He also had thick calluses on his walnut-sized knuckles, the result of the beatings he’d inflicted in the forty-odd years he’d spent in customer relations.

“I run an honest casino,” Trace said. “Sure, we give the players free booze to make them careless, but we never cheat them. We expect the players to treat us with that same respect. You didn’t do that, Stan. You cheated.”

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