Love's Wager

By: J.M. Jeffries

The stakes for love are sky-high

No one can do A-list glitz and glamour like public relations consultant Nina Torres. The grand reopening of a Reno casino and resort to rival Vegas promises to be the media event of the decade. And with Casa de Mariposa’s unveiling slated for New Year’s Eve, Nina’s got to work her legendary magic fast. But this smart and sophisticated divorcée has come too far to let some uptight ex-soldier cramp her style, even if Scott Russell is off-the-charts gorgeous.

Keeping people safe is what Scott does. But the sensual Nina is putting more than his job as head of security at risk. And when their fiery clash of wills ignites a passion that leaves them both wanting more, there’s no turning back. Now Scott will need everything in his arsenal to protect Nina from past and present dangers. Together, are they ready to gamble on the most priceless jackpot of all?





“Are you going to put on a ten-gallon hat, boots and spurs?”

He grinned. He’d been a cowboy for Halloween five years in a row. “I just might, ma’am,” he drawled and pretended to tip an invisible hat at her.

“Can I go, too? This I have to see.”

His eyebrows rose in surprise. “Are you inviting yourself along?” He had to stop himself from yelling out “yes.” Play it cool, he told himself.

“I think I am.”

His heart raced and his hands started to sweat. “I’m really going to just take photos. Photography is my hobby.”

“Really? My brother, Ben, is into photography.”

“Then tomorrow’s a date.”

He couldn’t help his next move. She looked so delectable with the evening breeze tugging at her hair and with her face so calm and serene.

He set his wineglass down, pulled her into his arms and kissed her. Her lips were warm and pleasantly sweet with the wine. Her body leaned into his, and he felt every soft curve, smelled her faint perfume, and knew he’d wanted to kiss her since the moment he’d met her at the bar by the pool.







Dear Reader,

One thing we forget is change happens regardless of whether you want it or not. Every time change is on the horizon, we have a decision to make. Do we fight it and preserve the status quo, or do we embrace it and go headlong into a great adventure?

Jackie says change is only good when she wants it. Change is a battle to be waged according to Miriam. For Nina Torres and Scott Hunter, change is a fact of life. Join them as they plow through their unexpected surprises, life-altering decisions and the greatest adventure that awaits them in Reno, Nevada, the biggest little city in the West.

Much love,

Jackie and Miriam





Jackie: To all my super baristas old, new and future. Thank you for going on the journey with me, for being there for me and letting me mother you. You make me laugh and you inspire me.

Miriam: To my grandson Frederik, granddaughter Kathyn, and future baby Pace, I wish you the best life has to offer. Follow your dreams.






Chapter 1

Holding a glass of her favorite Chardonnay, Nina Torres followed the hostess to her booth. Lua el Sol had been her father’s idea. The restaurant featured the best food, music and decor his Brazilian home had to offer.

Lua el Sol was a riot of color with green palm trees at various intervals, fan-backed wicker chairs at the tables and booths along the walls upholstered in bright blue. Huge carnaval masks hung on the walls, the brilliantly colored feathers swaying with the air currents. Birdcages dotted the huge restaurant with bright-hued, plush-stuffed parrots inside. Nina’s father, Manny Torres, had tried to use real parrots, but they squawked too loud and distracted the diners. He’d donated them to the Los Angeles Zoo and replaced them with stuffed ones.

Nina waved at her mother, Grace Torres, as she slid into the booth. Grace was a beautiful woman with smooth, mahogany-colored skin, masses of black, curly hair tumbling down her back and slanted brown eyes. She was still slender despite having seven children. Nina, the eldest of the only two girls, looked just like her mother except for being several inches taller and slimmer. Her chin-length black hair, more wavy than curly, framed her narrow face and pointed chin. Her eyes were more amber than brown.

Nina loved her parents’ restaurant. She loved the boisterous atmosphere as waitstaff maneuvered through the tables, trays piled with an array of enticing, delicious food. The aroma of spice hung heavy over the room.

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