Hell on Heels

By: Victoria Vane

Hotel Rodeo Series




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Karla, Steffi, Kristen, and Kathleen at Swept Away by Romance for beta reading the first few chapters of this story, and for giving it a thumbs-up. I appreciate your time and feedback more than I can say.

I would also like to thank my wonderfully supportive agent, Jessica Alvarez from BookEnds, and my awesome editor, Mercedes Fernandez, for seeing the potential in this sassy, sexy series. I hope readers will love Ty and Monica as much as I do!





Prologue



Ty Morgan jammed the elevator button three times with his thumb, and then, noticing he was alone, gave the steel door a solid kick with his boot. And then another just for good measure, curses flowing in a steady stream. He didn’t normally have such a short fuse, but he was so pissed off he was seeing red. With Tom’s forced retirement, he knew there’d be changes, but this was just too damned much! The new boss was both clueless and color-blind—to anything but red and black.

Sure, the place wasn’t doing as well as expected, but all of Vegas was still feeling the pain of the economic recession. These things didn’t fix themselves overnight. On top of that, the timing of everything had sucked, but with so much skin in the game, he and Tom would both lose their asses if they didn’t let it ride. Tom had understood that—even though he’d had the most at risk. But now Tom was out of the picture, and his choice of replacement didn’t know her ass from a hole in the wall.





A dull throb had begun behind Monica Brandt’s eyes, no doubt a lingering side effect of two weeks of sleepless nights camped outside the critical care unit at Desert Springs Medical Center. Desperate to ward off an imminent migraine, Monica snatched her Prada purse from the desk drawer and rummaged for an elusive bottle of Excedrin. She finally found the bottle and popped four, chasing them with the tepid dregs of a Starbucks triple espresso, not that she really needed the caffeine. She was already wired for a confrontation.

She flicked a glance at her diamond-bezel Tag Heuer Aquaracer—her last birthday present to herself. The watch, the bag, and even her Jimmy Choos were all well-recognized power statements in New York, not that he’d know the difference. And he was now fifteen minutes late. She uncrossed her legs and then crossed them again, sounding her impatience in the staccato tap of a stiletto heel. Monica snatched up her phone, was about to hit redial, and then threw it back down again.

She inhaled, counted to ten, and then exhaled with a huff of exasperation. Was this just some passive-aggressive strategy to unsettle her? Maybe. But then again, she was probably giving Ty Morgan way too much credit—the dumb cowboy probably didn’t know how to tell time.





Chapter One



Las Vegas, Nevada

Two weeks earlier





Ty was late meeting Tom. Noontime traffic was a bitch, and finding a parking spot for a dually anywhere in the city was always a royal pain in the ass. Giving up the truck would be the most practical thing to do, but the F350 power-stroke diesel was as much a part of his identity as his Stetson. Although this place was once nothing more than a lonely desert cow town, his hat and truck were both becoming increasingly out of place in a progressively urbanized Las Vegas.

Sometimes Ty wondered what had kept him in Sin City all these years, but the longer he’d stayed away from Oklahoma, the more impossible it seemed ever to go back. Tom, on the other hand, only used Vegas for brief getaways, a return to civilization after months of seclusion at his ranch. Although he’d made vast improvements to the spread since the old days, the isolation of it—hours away from anything but cattle, cactus, and tumbleweeds—was probably the biggest reason three wives had left him.

Barely squeezing into the first vacant parking spot, Ty cut the engine and then quickly scrolled through the messages on his iPhone—nothing that couldn’t wait. He switched it over to vibrate, slid it into his pocket, and climbed down from the cab.

Bob Taylor’s Ranch House was a haunt of the Vegas old guard, and one of Tom’s favorite restaurants. The western memorabilia covering the walls created an ideal ambience for a couple of transplanted cowboys. It was also all the way on the northwest side of town, which made it far enough off the beaten track to ensure the privacy they required. Ty hadn’t even realized how hungry he was until he was hit by the mouth-watering aroma of meat seared on the open mesquite grill. He’d skipped breakfast, too preoccupied to think about food. He inhaled deeply and salivated as he scanned the room, spotting Tom at his favorite table, a booth favored by Elvis and Ann Margaret when they were shooting Viva Las Vegas.

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