The Gamble: A Novel

The Gamble: A Novel by Xavier Neal Read Free Book Online

Book: The Gamble: A Novel by Xavier Neal Read Free Book Online
Authors: Xavier Neal
she's fucking Elsa with the ice as her bitch? How the fuck does that make any sense?
    I pump my body hard to try to get ahead, pushing every muscle I can to be the first to the opposite end. The kid’s cheers and chants for the both of us grow louder as we get closer. Giving the last of my energy to propel myself forward, I try not to smirk at the small distance I've gained on her. All of sudden, Alexxa flashes past me, winning with a noticeable amount of distance.
    What the fuck just happened?!
    She glides to a stop, ice kicking up, and tosses her hands up in the air just as I arrive. With a pleased smile she states, “And that's how it's done.”
    I take a moment to catch my breath before grunting, “Just a couple days in the summer, huh?”
    “Maybe I forgot to mention I worked at the rink when I was in high school.”
    The new information cracks my jaw.
    “You're not the only one who knows how to play games, Luca.”
    Maybe this is all a game to her, not to fucking me. Not giving me a chance. Maybe it's its own fucked up bet. The idea she's toying with me while I'm toying with her only makes this entire situation hotter. Warren is right. I am pretty fucked up. Then again, if he were neglected by Andrew Larson he'd probably be similar shades of the same twisted fucked black and blue. Maybe that thought isn't so terrible. Maybe I like it because if Alexxa is fucking with me in a similar fashion, we're even more alike than I thought. Even better teammates.
    She gives me a playful wink. “You lose.”
    “That's the only time you'll ever get to say that.”
    Because Luca Larson doesn't lose. I just find other opportunities to take.

    “It's so weird to me that you can cuss people out in English and Spanish,” I sigh as I slide my hands into my back jean pockets. “I mean the guy in the BMW who stole our parking space deserved it for being a dick, but it's still weird.”
    Luca chuckles and tosses another ball into the hoop. “Why's that weird?”
    “One, because I'm fairly certain skank is your first language. Not English.” His warm laugh encourages me to continue. “And two, because I rarely hear you speak Spanish. In all the time I've known you I've heard everything from jock trash to drunk past the point of gibberish yet only hear you speak Spanish every...I don't know. Blue moon?”
    Jimmy, a student with over-sized glasses, comes around the corner whining, “Miss Alexxa, Mr. Luca, I haven't won any tickets.”
    Looks identical to the cartoon character Jimmy Neutron, except he has glasses. Yes, weird hair curl included.
    Kindly I say, “Well that happens sometimes, Jimmy. It's not a big deal.”
    “It's a huge deal,” he continues to whimper. “Everyone else won tickets and they're all buying bouncy balls and I want a bouncy ball. They glow in the dark!”
    Before I have a chance to explain calmly how life isn't always fair, Luca sinks the last shot in the hole, leans down, rips off the strand of tickets he won and offers them up. “Get the best one you can.”
    Jimmy gasps and pushes his falling glasses up. “You sure, Mr. Luca?”
    “Yeah, if there's extra get me one too.”
    “Yeah! Yeah! Okay! Yeah!” He says in a rushed voice before running off with the tickets.
    His simple gesture has me smiling wide. Another thing about Luca I like. Most people never peg him for a fan of kids. I mean come on. They're whiny. They're needy. They're clingy. They're basically like one drunk hook up you can't get rid of for at least 18 years and he loves the shit out of them. Not just the after school kids either. I've seen him coo at babies, crawl around with toddlers, race preschoolers, and there's always this pure joy in his eyes while doing it. When it comes to kids he never hesitates putting his own needs aside to make sure they're taken care. Appreciated. Loved.  
    “I usually only speak Spanish away

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