Shall we see just what happens downstairs? I'm thinking both Chantal and Mace will be just as worried about each other as they will be about Li's casino. Let's find out. And enjoy!!!!
Hustle Into Love
Follow Your Dreams
In any other situation the incredulousness in Chantal’s voice would have been amusing. But not this one. Grabbing up his pants, Mace pulled them on. “Yes. Richard, down at the desk, just got a phone call from someone claiming to have set a bomb on the main casino floor.”
“Oh God.” Running to her closet, Chantal snatched out a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. “Do they know where?”
Mace shook his head. “No. The caller wasn’t specific.”
“We have to get the guests out.”
He glanced at her impatiently as he strode from the room to pick up his shirt. He quickly shrugged it on…what was left of it. “It’s being handled. Security is escorting everyone out. We’re also evacuating the hotel, just in case.”
Chantal pushed back her hair as she followed him. “You think it could reach here? Take out the hotel?”
“That or there might be a second device planted in one of the rooms. I’m not taking any chances.” He looked around furiously. “Where the hell is my other shoe?”
“Under the bar.” She dropped to her knees and dragged it out from beneath. “Here.”
“Thanks. Are you ready?”
“Almost.” Quickly, she pulled her hair back into a ponytail and slipped on her flats. “What can I do?”
“Do?” Mace strode over and pounded on Eric’s door “Philips!” he shouted. “Get your ass out of bed. You’re needed.”
“Yes, do,” Chantal answered patiently. “Eric and I—” she motioned to him as a sleepy-eyed Eric came yawning to the door, “—we can help. What do you want us to do?”
Fear iced Mace’s veins at the thought of Chantal being anywhere near the bomb. “You’re going to go outside with your bodyguard. I don’t need you to do anything.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Are you nuts? You think I’m going to run away and be safe and let you walk back into the casino?”
Mace didn’t spare her a glance as he spoke to Eric. “Bomb. Downstairs in the casino. We’re evacuating. Get Chantal out and far, far away. Sit on her if you have to. Do you understand me?”
“Damn it, Mace—”
Eric’s eyes were no longer sleepy. “Son of a bitch. A bomb? Well, hell. Welcome to fuckin’ Macau.” With that pithy remark, he disappeared back into his room.
“Mace, listen to me—”
Turning, he grabbed her hands. “No. Damn it, Chantal. You listen to me. I want you out of The Golden Tiger and safe. I won’t be able to do my job if I have to worry about you. You’ll go with Eric if I have to tie you up with your bathrobe belt again.”
She gaped at him. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“You’re not being fair. This place is just as important to me as it is to you. Neither of us want to let Lì down, but—” fear and fury turned her eyes a deep gold, “your job isn’t to deal with bombs. Your brother wouldn’t expect that of you. Let the experts handle it.”
“I’m not going to disarm the bloody thing,” Mace retorted. “All I’m going to do is make sure all our people are out. That is my job.”
Her lips tightened. “Then it should be mine, too.”
He bit back a snarl at her stubbornness, but was relieved when Eric strode through the door. “Enough, Chantal. I want you out of here in the next five minutes. Get your purse and go.”
“Not without you.”
“God damn it!” he roared, his patience at an end. Grabbing her up, he tossed her, fighting and gasping into Eric’s burly arms. His eyes met the bodyguard’s. “I don’t care what she says. I don’t give a damn what she threatens you with. You get her out of her or I swear… I don’t give a fuck how big you are, I’ll take you apart piece by piece.”
* * * * *
At least one American had common sense, Mace thought sourly as he and a few of his security people made one last walk through the restaurants on the lower level of the casino. The small bomb squad unit—all two of them—were slowly going through the main floor looking for the explosive device. Eric hadn’t argued, he’d just tossed Chantal over his massive shoulder and carried her outside.
Mace grimaced as he thought of some of the truly inventive curses his lover had rained down on both men’s head. Obviously, she was not happy about being manhandled.
But he didn’t care. That coppery taste of fear when she’d announced she was staying had almost choked him. No way was he going to let the woman he loved lose her life over a few sic bo tables and roulette wheels. And if it was just a hoax, as the police commander had suggested, he still would rather know she was safe and mad than something he couldn’t bear contemplating.
The hotel was clear, only the security guards outside the lobby remained, watching the doors to prevent anyone from entering. Mace, and the three security men with him had cleared the rest of the casino, now all they needed to do was do this last walk through of the dining area and they could leave as well.
He glanced over at the arched doorway to the main casino. He could see flashlights as the two experts picked their way through the tables, machines and other furnishings. The slow burn of anger he’d felt from the beginning grew stronger. Who the bloody hell would do this? And why? Oh, he knew bomb threats weren’t new and many places had to deal with this type of insanity, but the thought someone might blow up Lì’s building on Mace’s watch made him furious. Knowing people could be hurt had his stomach rolling.
“That’s it, Mr. D'Avranches,” Bruce, the head of security shouted. Bruce was a native born Macanese, who’d been working at The Golden Tiger since it opened. He took it as a personal affront that someone could have gotten in and planted a bomb. “We should be clear. Once they finish on the main floor—”
The explosion happened so suddenly Mace didn’t even have time to blink. The floor rolled beneath his feet, sending him crashing to the floor. The arched doorway blew inward, showering him with cement dust and debris. He felt a stabbing pain above his eyes as the acrid smell of burning sulfur mixed with the scent of burning material and wood. The noise was deafening, making his ears wring and his head spin. At that moment he wondered if he shouldn’t have taken Chantal’s advice and let someone else handle everything.
And then, everything went black.
Wow! I wasn't expecting that. What will happen to our intrepid hero? And what about Chantal? Just where is she while this is going on? Find out in the next installment of... *drum roll please*... Hustle Into Love.
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Follow Your Dreams