Loner and con man Sam is a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy. Born into a world of scams, hoaxes and schemes, he settles in Miami after making a major art swindle, only to lose his heart to the wrong man. Broke and broken, he rockets out of the sunshine state only to be detoured to Las Vegas. Running from the problem is nothing new to this flim-flam man, but he has always worked alone until now. Pulling off the scam that his life now depends on, he is forced to join a motley crew of amateurs, including a former reality star, a retired showgirl, and a disabled vet and his stripper brother, who is running a con of his own.
Love, loss, redemption and sex are set against the bright neon of the Las Vegas strip in this sizzling romance!
I owed a guy money.
A lot of money.
And I made a deal with the devil.
Yeah, I’m a thief. Not proud of that, but not disturbed by it either.
No moral compass at all, survival of the fittest was what it boiled down to with us – Dad, Mom and me. Poppa was a rollin’ stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home…the old man was as good looking as my mother was beautiful, but they could never make it together. He would bounce back to us for a caper now and then when we needed to make a larger than average hit, and then he’d be off again. But even when we were together we were like sharks, moving from town to town. We lived as high as we could for as long as we could, and then we would be on the hunt for another sucker to take down. There truly is one born every minute, as P.T. Barnum famously said, and we were always ready to help that fool to be parted with his money.
First I was just a prop. Food, clothing, cigarettes, and booze were stuffed into the stroller net and to my tender, but thickening, hide. As a toddler, my carriage became a getaway buggy for auto parts, jewelry, rare books, and once, a few furs. I can still remember the soft brush of chinchilla against my skin. As I got older, I followed the lead of my parents. Scheming and scamming were their stock and trade, and I took to it like a baby duck to water, never questioning any of it because it was the only life I knew. I learned to hotwire a car, pick a pocket, forge a check, and dodge rent. Our coat of arms would have consisted of a piece of broken hanger and a pair of soft gloves to prevent fingerprints.
South Beach has beautiful Art Deco buildings and is packed with hot guys of all shapes, sizes and types. South beach is also packed with thieves, scammers, and con people like me. I was running an art deal, a specialty that I was becoming known for. It was an international arrangement in which I managed to smuggle two Dutch Master works out of the country on yachts. I knew a guy who had done amazing replicas of the works. With properly aged canvas (it’s amazing what plain old tea bags and the South Florida sun can do to age canvas), he used only the best materials to make the correct formulas of old pigment, and hand made his own brushes. The pieces were as close to the originals as anyone was going to get.
The haul was big. Following the way I had lived my entire life, I took a sublet in one of the glittery high rise buildings that dot South Beach, and lived a little. I like stability, but had gotten used to life on the go, settling in quick and not staying in the same place. But every now and then, when I was flush with cash, I would splurge and settle in for a little while. I was enjoying South Beach, so I hit the clubs, spent some time in the gym and at the beach, and met Carlos.
Carlos had large eyes the color of a melted Godiva chocolate, skin like satin, thick black hair landing nearly to his shoulders, and that body… he was built like he was made of steel coils wrapped in suede. The attraction was mutual and instant.
“Vegas Stripped” by James Brock, is a romance and con scheme mystery that combines a motley crew of amateurs, including a former reality star, a retired showgirl, and a disabled vet and his stripper brother, who is running a con of his own. Available exclusively from Amazon. Click on Cover Above to Purchase from Amazon. Also available in print from Amazon. Our website is http://www.beautobeau.com.
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