It's Thursday and time for our second weekly installment. This one is going to be good!!!! Enjoy!
Hustle Into Love
“Have you been to the Cotai Strip before?”
His innocuous question made her blink, but she grabbed at it gratefully. “No. I’ve visited Lì in Hong Kong, but I’ve not been to Macau.”
“You’ll find it a very interesting place.” He pointed out the window. “Cotai is the portmanteau or blending of the names of the two islands it connects. This whole area is reclaimed land. It once was the sea, a channel between Taipa and Coloane. Developers began working on the area in 2006 when the Venetian resort was built. It is the biggest casino in the world. And it has helped the entire island of Macau by drawing in tourists and other investors. One by one all the casinos you see now were added. The City of Dreams is the next largest, but more are being built every day.”
Chantal peered out the window at the huge resorts lining the streets. “They say it’s the Las Vegas of Asia.”
“On a much smaller scale.”
“Is that The Golden Tiger?” Chantal craned her neck as she saw the distinctive logo that marked all of Lì’s new stationary and proclaimed the newest casino on the strip. A huge crouching tiger snarled over its shoulder as it stood in the gateway of a mock Chinese Temple. “Lì said it was amazing. He was right.”
“So why not stay there? Why take your business to a competitor?”
She blinked at the bald question, but found herself explaining. “I wanted to have the freedom to look around. Incognito. That's my word of the day. Can’t do that if everyone knows who I am.”
"Incognito?" He gave a snort of disbelief. “Honey, you should know by now, you stand out in a crowd. Staying in a different hotel won’t help you.”
Her mouth dropped open at his easy use of the endearment. She’d have to nip that little bit of unprofessionalism in the bud. But before she could say anything, they pulled up in front of the massive Venetian hotel. She stared in awe at its glowing pale yellow walls, old world columns, huge frescoes and paintings. As she was helped from the taxi, the sound of Italian music drifted in the air, and she gaped at the immense lagoon that wrapped around the front of the vast building. It was complete with flickering street lamps and black painted gondolas.
“The actual gondola ride is inside the casino alongside a twisting inner city of streets and shops,” her assistant offered when he saw where she was looking. “The gondoliers even sing. I hear they are quite good.”
“Maybe I’ll see if they want to switch casinos,” she muttered as she gawked at the sprawling resort. She had been all over the world, but she still found she was impressed by this type of magnificence. “No wonder Lì is worried. It will be hard to compete with this.”
“But you’re going to make it all better, right?”
This time there was no mistaking the mockery. Chantal whirled around and glared at him. The fact just looking at him made her itchy gave her anger even more strength. “Just what is your problem? Did you want my job or something?” She stomped her foot. “Damn it. I’ve had enough. You are the most opinionated and rude assistant I’ve ever met. You are too bossy, ask the wrong questions and can’t even follow a simple direct order. Are you trying to get fired?”
To her surprise, instead of backing down, he only grinned. “You can’t fire me, Chantal. And I don’t have to take your orders.”
She stared at him, nonplussed. When she spoke her words simply dripped with ice. “I beg your pardon.”
“You do that very well.” He laughed and flicked a long finger against her cheek. “I don’t have to take your orders because I don’t work for you.”
Now he’d gone too far. “You sure as hell don’t anymore,” she snarled.
He handed the new porters some money and sent them on their way inside the hotel, their carts loaded with Chantal’s baggage. Then he turned back to her. “Wrong, honey. I never did.”
She went from being furious to completely confused. “What?”
Taking her clenched fist, he smoothed it out and kissed it lightly. Then he slid back into the taxi.
“Cái!” She put her hand on the car door. “We’re not finished here.”
“That’s just it, Chantal.” He gave her a wink, making her think of a very smug black panther she’d seen at the Hong Kong zoo. “I forgot to tell you.”
“Tell me what?” she gritted out.
“I’m not Cái.”
Her hand dropped away in astonishment and the taxi’s automatic door closed. Cursing, she jerked it open again. “If you’re not Cái, then just who the hell are you?”
He grinned again, but this time she wasn’t aroused by it. She was too damn mad. “I’m the one Lì put in charge of the hotel while he’s gone. So in a way, that makes me your boss.”
She stomped her foot again, ignoring his claim of being her boss. She knew what her contract said, every word of it, and she answered to no one but Lì. “You still haven’t told me who you are.”
He dipped his head again and those ebony eyes sparkled. “The name is Mace D'Avranches. You might have heard it before. I’m Lì’s half-brother.”
That's it for this week, but there will be more on Tuesday, so make sure you check back. And don't forget to leave your comments below. Not only to enter the contest, but because I really want to know what you think!
Hugs and see you next week!
Follow Your Dreams