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by Laura Davis
Category: Science Fiction/Romance
Description: For almost ten years, Von has been a prisoner on the desolate planet of Lawless--his only obsession, finding the next poker game. But then the sister of a powerful telepath, named Reader, draws him into a game which is destined to change his life forever. With a motley crew of characters, he is suddenly plunged headfirst into a battle for the planet Earth, where Von will rediscover a part of himself which he thought dead, and be surprisingly reawakened by love.
eBook Publisher: eXtasy eBooks/Devine Destinies, 2009 Devine Destinies
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [317 KB]
Reading time: 195-274 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Reader knew Von was beside him. He opened his eyes and smiled at him. "It was good."
"You ate it all, I see."
"Yeah. Told you I was hungry. Did you finally get someone to play poker with you?"
He laughed. "I'm even desperate enough to play with you."
"Wow that is bad."
Von picked up the tray.
"Tell me about this poker playing. It intrigues me."
"What do you want to know?"
"Where did you learn to play poker like that?"
Von looked over at him. He looked better tonight, still bruised and battered, but the pain had eased in his eyes.
"The first time I played poker, I played for the lives of myself and five other men."
Reader moved up a bit on his pillow, looked at him. "How did that happen?"
"I was a young soldier then. We were fighting an army from the Eastern Block. We were outnumbered and they surrounded us, took us hostage. They put us in this cage that was right beside this room where they were playing cards. I'd never played poker in my life, but stuck in that cage, waiting to die, with two of the others badly injured, I concentrated on that poker game. Three days later when I heard the order given to take us out and shoot us, I challenged the leader to a game of poker."
Reader shook his head. "What were the stakes?"
"Our lives. If I beat him, he was to let us go. And if I lost, he could go ahead."
"And he went for it?"
"I learned one thing about that man watching him play, he was gambler. And I knew he'd accept my challenge. I remember he asked me if I'd played poker before and I told him I hadn't. I told him it was my first time."
"Did he believe you?"
"I don't know, but he laughed and laughed."
"And you beat him?"
"No," Von said, "I lost."
"I lost," he grinned, "but it got me out of the cage. I grabbed the gun from the guard beside me when he was checking his cards, shot his guard and took him hostage until his men opened the cage and took out the rest of the men."
Reader was laughing.
"And you still kept playing poker?"
"Damn right I kept playing. After that, I practiced the game and read everything I could on it. I was so damn scared when I lost that poker game, I practically shit my pants."
Both he and Reader were laughing hysterically now.
"I said to myself, 'Von, you're never going to lose another poker game as long as you live.' And you know what? I never have."
When Cameo walked into the room, both Von and Reader were laughing like two fools. She shook her head. "There you are, Von." She picked up the tray. "Come on," she motioned to him, "out of here now and let Reader get some sleep."
"Goodnight," Von said with a smile.
"Night," Reader replied.
Cameo gave him a brief kiss. "Get some sleep," she said.
"Cameo," he said.
"Don't what? What are you talking about?" She eyed him.
"If you're planning on seducing him, don't."
Cameo slammed down the tray. "I'm a grown woman now, Reader. Stop treating me like a child."
"He doesn't ... see you that way."
"What do you mean? Everybody is both now, Reader. We're liberated. Even you've had women."
"Friend lovers, Cameo. I've had women friends as lovers, but I've never been in love with one. You don't pick the person based on sex anymore. It's just who you love."
"Exactly. And I've decided on him."
"But he hasn't decided on you."
"Why are you fighting me on this unless ... Reader!"
"Look, this isn't a competition, Cameo. I don't want to see you hurt. He's not for you."
"You know something about him. What do you know? He's had women, hasn't he?"
"Yes, and the one person he ever loved was never his lover. They didn't get the chance."
"That doesn't mean he can't fall for me."
"No, it doesn't mean that. It's just that if it happens, it might not mean the same to him. It's been a long time."
"Then he needs me."
"Maybe he needs you tonight, but, sis ... it could be anyone tonight. Never mind. You're right. You're a grown woman. Do what you will, but don't say I didn't warn you."
"Stop being such a doomsayer. Go to sleep," she kissed his nose. "See you in the morning."
She took the tray back to the kitchen. Von was nowhere in sight. She walked down the hallway and she spotted him in the next bedroom, undoing his shirt.