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Authors: Nora Roberts

The Winning Hand

BOOK: The Winning Hand
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Nora Roberts

Hot Ice

Sacred Sins

Brazen Virtue

Sweet Revenge

Public Secrets

Genuine Lies

Carnal Innocence

Divine Evil

Honest Illusions

Private Scandals

Hidden Riches

True Betrayals

Montana Sky

Sanctuary

Homeport

The Reef

River’s End

Carolina Moon

The Villa

Midnight Bayou

Three Fates

Birthright

Northern Lights

Blue Smoke

Angels Fall

High Noon

Tribute

Black Hills

The Search

Chasing Fire

Series

Irish Born Trilogy

Born in Fire

Born in Ice

Born in Shame

Dream Trilogy

Daring to Dream

Holding the Dream

Finding the Dream

Chesapeake Bay Saga

Sea Swept

Rising Tides

Inner Harbor

Chesapeake Blue

Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

Jewels of the Sun

Tears of the Moon

Heart of the Sea

Three Sisters Island Trilogy

Dance Upon the Air

Heaven and Earth

Face the Fire

Key Trilogy

Key of Light

Key of Knowledge

Key of Valor

In the Garden Trilogy

Blue Dahlia

Black Rose

Red Lily

Circle Trilogy

Morrigan’s Cross

Dance of the Gods

Valley of Silence

Sign of Seven Trilogy

Blood Brothers

The Hollow

The Pagan Stone

Bride Quartet

Vision in White

Bed of Roses

Savor the Moment

Happy Ever After

The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy

The Next Always

eBooks

The O’Hurleys

The Last Honest Woman

Dance to the Piper

Skin Deep

Without a Trace

The Donovan Legacy

Captivated

Entranced

Charmed

Enchanted

Cordina’s Royal Family

Affaire Royale

Command Performance

The Playboy Prince

Cordina’s Crown Jewel

The MacGregors

Playing the Odds

Tempting Fate

All the Possibilities

One Man’s Art

The MacGregor Brides

The Winning Hand

The MacGregor Grooms

The Perfect Neighbor

Rebellion & In from the Cold

Night Tales

Night Shift

Night Shadow

Nightshade

Night Smoke

Night Shield

Nora Roberts & J. D. Robb

Remember When

J. D. Robb

Naked in Death

Glory in Death

Immortal in Death

Rapture in Death

Ceremony in Death

Vengeance in Death

Holiday in Death

Conspiracy in Death

Loyalty in Death

Witness in Death

Judgment in Death

Betrayal in Death

Seduction in Death

Reunion in Death

Purity in Death

Portrait in Death

Imitation in Death

Divided in Death

Visions in Death

Survivor in Death

Origin in Death

Memory in Death

Born in Death

Innocent in Death

Creation in Death

Strangers in Death

Salvation in Death

Promises in Death

Kindred in Death

Fantasy in Death

Indulgence in Death

Treachery in Death

New York to Dallas

Anthologies

From the Heart

A Little Magic

A Little Fate

Moon Shadows

(with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne Willman)

The Once Upon Series

(with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne Willman)

Once Upon a Castle

Once Upon a Rose

Once Upon a Star

Once Upon a Kiss

Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Midnight

Silent Night

(with Susan Plunkett, Dee Holmes, and Claire Cross)

Out of This World

(with Laurell K. Hamilton, Susan Krinard, and Maggie Shayne)

Bump in the Night

(with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

Dead of Night

(with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

Three in Death

Suite 606

(with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

In Death

The Lost

(with Patricia Gaffney, Mary Blayney, and Ruth Ryan Langan)

The Other Side

(with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

The Unquiet

(with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

Also available…

The Official Nora Roberts Companion

(edited by Denise Little and Laura Hayden)

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada

(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia

(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand

(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have control over and does not have any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

THE WINNING HAND

An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Harlequin Books edition / September 1998

InterMix eBook edition / April 2012

Copyright © 1998 by Nora Roberts.

Excerpt from
The Witness
copyright © 2012 by Nora Roberts.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-56937-5

INTERMIX

InterMix Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

INTERMIX and the “IM” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To the Vegas Queens, with thanks.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Special Excerpt

About the Author

Chapter 1

When her car sputtered and died a mile outside of Las Vegas, Darcy Wallace seriously considered staying where she was and baking to death under the brutal desert sun. She had $9.37 left in her pocket and a long stretch of road behind her that led to nowhere.

She was lucky to have even that pitiful amount of cash on her, as her purse had been stolen outside a diner in Utah the night before. The rubbery chicken sandwich was the last meal she’d had, and she figured the stray ten she’d found in her pocket was the last miracle she could expect.

Both her job and her home in Kansas were gone. She had no family and no one to go back to. She felt she’d had every reason for tossing her clothes into a suitcase and driving away from what had been, and what would have been, had she remained.

She’d driven west simply because her car had been pointing in that direction and she’d taken it as a sign. She’d promised herself an adventure, a personal odyssey and a new, improved life.

Reading about plucky young women who braved the world, carved a path, took risks and blithely accepted challenges was no longer enough. Or so she’d told herself as the miles had clicked away on the odometer of her ancient and sickly sedan. It was time to take something for herself, or at least to try.

If she had stayed, she would have fallen in line. Again. Done what she was told. Again. And spent her life haunted by dreams and regrets.

But now, one long week after sneaking out of town in the middle of the night like a thief, she wondered if she was destined for the ordinary. Perhaps she’d been born to follow all the rules. Maybe she should have been content with what life offered and kept her eyes cast down, instead of constantly
trying to peek around the next corner.

Gerald would have given her a good life, a life she knew many women would envy. With him, she could have had a lovely home tidily kept by a loyal staff, closets bursting with conventionally stylish wife-of-the-executive clothes, a summer place in Bar Harbor, winter getaways to tropical climes. She would never be hungry, never do without.

All it required was for her to do exactly as she was told, exactly when she was told. All it required was for her to keep buried every dream, every longing, every private wish.

It shouldn’t have been hard. She’d been doing it all of her life.

But it was.

Closing her eyes, she rested her forehead on the steering wheel. Why did Gerald want her so much? she wondered. There was nothing special about her. She had a good mind and an average face. Her own mother had described her just that way often enough. She didn’t believe it was so much a physical attraction on Gerald’s side, though she suspected he liked the fact she was a small woman of slight build. Easily dominated.

BOOK: The Winning Hand
10.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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