Here is the first chapter for your enjoyment.
Carefree billionaire, Thomas Powers, is slacking in his duties. He’s living a wild lifestyle and letting the family winery business slip away from his priorities. It’s not until he meets a headstrong photographer when he realizes this is the first woman who doesn’t melt whenever she looks at him. It’s a challenge, but he’s determined to change her mind. He’s also determined to get rid of a problem in his life – the pesky imaginary man who proclaims to be Thomas’ guardian angel.
Morgan Foster is a photographer for a tabloid paper, and when she suspects there’s more to the story on one of her assignments, she’s determined to find out what is really happening. Unfortunately, that means she must work with the arrogant man who enjoys playing with women’s hearts. Being nice to him is difficult, only because she doesn’t want him to eventually capture her heart.
“Come on baby… Daddy needs a new jet.” Thomas Powers shook the red dice in his hand as he stared down the craps table. He’d been playing for an hour now and winning. He’d never considered himself a professional gambler, but he did like to play once in a while. And today… he was literally on a roll.
His good friend, Cole Langston, whose brother owned the casino, put this evening’s events together. Since it was Cole’s turn to find the entertainment for Thomas and their billionaire groupies, this was the perfect spot. Angie Birmingham was one of these groupies. Thomas had known her since grade school and only considered her a friend, even though he knew she wanted more. But today she was his good luck charm, so… if the stars were aligned correctly, she just might get her wish.
Angie stood by him so closely that she could have been the one wearing his clothes and rolling the dice. He held out his hand in front of her face. “Blow some good luck on me, Ang.”
Her eyes danced with excitement as she blew on his hand. From the smell of her breath, she’d been drinking much more than he’d realized. Hopefully, her intoxicated breath would put some kind of spell over the dice so that he could continue his winning streak. Already his total was up to fifteen thousand dollars. He’d already decided that when he reached twenty thousand dollars, he’d stop and call it a night. He could already hear his pillow calling him since he’d been up for forty-eight hours straight.
“Okay, here we go,” he said loudly to the crowd surrounding the table. “I’m going to roll a ten again.” Thomas didn’t know half of the people at the table – or even at the casino – but since he was a likable man, when he made friends, he usually kept them for years.
Holding his breath, he threw the dice. The room grew silent, and only the rolling dice was heard knocking against the gaming table. One of them stopped on the number six, and the other stopped on… four!
The crowd cheered. He whooped with excitement and grabbed Angie around the waist, swinging her around. She wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on his mouth. The kiss was okay, but he’d had better – and less alcohol-based.
When Angie tried to deepen the kiss, he pulled away from her and set her back on her feet. His friends who stood nearby clapped him on the shoulder and congratulated him. Thomas bent and gathered the winning chips. It was time to end the night, especially before he lost everything he’d won.
Suddenly, a flash from the end of the table drew his attention. A woman in a silky, black figure-hugging dress with spaghetti-straps stood out from the crowd. It wasn’t that the dark-haired woman was breathtakingly gorgeous that captured his attention, but it was the camera she held as she snapped pictures of him.
His first reaction was to yell at her and have someone escort her out of the casino. Thomas had had his share of nosey tabloid photographers. However, this woman was different somehow. Maybe it was that she was prettier, but it could have been the look of interest in her eyes when she lowered the camera and met his gaze.
“Oh, don’t stop now, Tommy.” Angie’s finger toyed with the wavy hair on his nape. “You’re on a roll. I mean, we are on a roll.”
She rested her head against his arm and peered up at him with glassy eyes, putting on her pouty face. He really didn’t like pouty faced women. He also didn’t like the smudged dark makeup under her eyes. Her auburn hair had lost its luster, too. Right now, she looked like one of those women who hung out in bars and only left when they were seeing double. He also didn’t like her calling him Tommy – a name he was teased with as a kid in grade school.
He switched his gaze back to the woman holding the camera. Her eyebrow arched in a judgmental fashion. He could read her thoughts perfectly without her even saying a word. Obviously, she wondered why he visually flirted with her when Angie hung all over him like a shroud. Perhaps after this last roll, he’d shake off his irritating shadow and meet the new woman he couldn’t stop looking at.
“Just one more roll… please,” Angie purred forcefully.
Gradually, the crowd began to chant. One more. It didn’t take long before the whole room echoed the encouraging sentiment. The woman his stare had been glued on wasn’t part of the chant. She shrugged and lifted the camera back to her eye and clicked a few more pictures.
Laughing, he joined the group again and focused back on the game. One more roll wouldn’t hurt… not since he was on a winning streak. Right?
He placed the chips back on the number ten square and picked up the dice again. The crowd cheered once again, making him feel that much more important.
Glancing at Angie, he could tell she was ready to blow on his hand, but he really didn’t want her to this time. There was no way he wanted her to think he’d be taking her home with him tonight, especially when his interest had turned to the gorgeous woman in the silky black dress.
“Okay, let’s do this again.” His voice lifted above the cheering. He shook the dice, trying to ignore Angie who kept tugging on his sleeve because she wanted to blow on the dice.
When he let the dice fly, the room became quiet once again. One dice landed on five, and the other…
Two hours later, Thomas’ driver dropped him off at his mansion. Maybe he should have let Angie blow on his hand again. Good grief! He’d lost twenty thousand dollars with one roll of the dice. I’m such an idiot!
However, what made him more of an idiot was when he’d confronted the gorgeous lady taking pictures. It had seemed that his failure was something she’d wanted to cherish. When he’d realized that she continued to take pictures, he stormed over to her, yanked the camera out of her hands, and threw it to the floor. The lens had broken off the expensive camera. At the moment he hadn’t cared. Now he felt guilty. Seeing the flash of anger in her pretty eyes and hearing the words exiting her mouth, would remain in his memory for a long time.
He didn’t know what had come over him. Was he embarrassed for acting like a sore loser in front of an attractive woman? Or was it the insult that he’d lost twenty thousand dollars on one roll of the dice? Either way, the night had ended poorly.
Marching into his home, he grumbled under his breath. He’d never forget the way everyone at the table at looked at him after he’d rolled that last hand. The dice were rigged. That was the only explanation. One minute he was winning like a king – and the next minute he was leaving the casino without a dime of his winnings. At least he hadn’t taken any more money out of his bank account.
He reached the stairs and stopped, gritting his teeth. He’d learned two very important lessons tonight. Gambling with his money was not a good idea. The game was addicting… or at least winning had become addicting. But no more. Next time it was Cole’s turn to pick a party spot, Thomas would let his friend know they were not going to the casino.
The second lesson was… never let his anger get so out of control that he chased off women. If he hadn’t broken her camera, maybe she would have given him her phone number.
He scrubbed his hands through his hair and yawned. It was definitely time for bed. He’d been up for forty-eight hours straight. Well, the last time he checked, it had been that long. Now his bed was really calling him. He’d be surprised if he made it to the mattress before his eyes closed.
“Excuse me, sir.”
The unfamiliar voice snapped Thomas around on the step so fast he lost his balance. He quickly grasped the wooden railing to keep from falling onto the black and white checkered tiles on the floor.
Blinking, he tried to focus his vision on the short, middle-aged man standing in the corridor. The light from the hall shone on his thinning head of hair, emphasizing a bald spot on top of his head. The man wore the oddest clothes. The shirt was baggy and entirely too ruffled around the wrists and neck, but it was the man’s strange shorts that had Thomas nearly chuckling out loud. They were snug fitting and reached below his knee… and were fastened with buttons. Not only that, but he wore stockings, and shoes with large buckles on them.
Thomas rubbed his eyes. He was definitely seeing things. Had he been watching a historical movie sometime during the forty-eight hours of partying? And really, why would he? He didn’t like watching historical shows.
When he focused back on the stranger, the bizarre man was still wearing those different clothes. This must be a joke. “Who are you and what are you doing in my home?” He glanced around him, wondering if one of his other household staff was nearby. But the few that worked for him usually didn’t stay up waiting for him to come home.
“Pardon me sir, but my name is Percy Mills.”
“Why are you here?” Thomas snapped. “Are you filling in for one of my workers?”
“Uh, no sir.” He twisted his chubby hands against his thick waist.
“Then why are you here?”
“You see, Mr. Powers,” he stepped closer, “I was sent from…” pausing, he glanced upwards, “a higher elevation.”
Thomas arched an eyebrow. “Alaska?”
“Uh, no… not quite. You see, sir, I was sent from… Heaven.”
Thomas sure wasn’t hearing correctly – due to lack of sleep, he guessed. Closing his eyes, he shook his head, trying to clear the fog out of his tired thoughts. “Yes, because that makes so much more sense than coming from Alaska.”
The man grinned, displaying two crooked bottom teeth. “Indeed. That does have more logic.”
“Who sent you?” Thomas snapped, wishing the man would just tell him so he could go to his room and sleep.
“Well, you see,” Percy stepped closer, “the man who actually sent me is named Luke – you know, like the apostle in the Bible?”
Thomas rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know the Bible. I’ve read it.”
Percy’s eyes widened. “You have? I would have never guessed.”
Thomas fisted his hands. Who was this man to judge, anyway? And why was he still here?
“Anyway,” Percy continued, “Luke is considered the head of the department. He sent me here to help you get back on the right road.”
Road? Thomas glanced around him. He was inside his house, so why did this man think Thomas was on the wrong road? Unless…
Inwardly, he groaned. He was dreaming. That was it. That would explain the historic-looking man and his strange language and the odd things he was telling Thomas.
He held up a hand, stopping the small man. “Right now, the only road I want to be on is the one leading to my bedroom, so if you’ll please just go back to wherever you came from and let me sleep.”
Thomas turned and climbed a few more stairs, but the man’s buckled shoes clicked on the tiles as he hurried toward the stairs.
“But Mr. Powers, I cannot go back. I’ve been sent to help you and I won’t return until I’ve completed my mission. Then, and only then, will I get my wings.”
Thomas rubbed his throbbing head. “Oh, I see. You’re a pilot. Well, you might as well look elsewhere because I’m not hiring. I have my own pilot, thank you.”
The man chuckled. “No, sir. I’m not a pilot.”
Thomas looked over his shoulder at the man and sighed. How was he going to get rid of him? “Then what are you? A stewardess?”
“No, Mr. Powers. I’m… your guardian angel.”