Chapter 1: First Impressions
Abigail swirled her wine glass as she observed yet another suited-to-booted man leave the poker table. He was the latest player to leave a table that had housed ten poker players and now there were only two left with this latest departure. The man was absolutely fuming; he had just lost his last chips to the woman smiling behind his back.
"Who is that?" Raelle asked, taking in the lean and toned body that fit in the snug yellow silk dress.
Abigail turned away from the poker table and touched her ear piece, asking the hidden voice for information.
Once she got what she wanted she shared, "Apparently that is one Miss Tally Craven, out-of-towner, has never come to the Fort Salem before. At least not under that name. She's staying in a standard room."
"You think she is a con artist?" Raelle asked, eyeing the plentiful pile of chips that Tally was rearranging in front of her
"Come on she is holding her own with the boss at the table and don't tell me it's beginner's luck. Tally Craven clearly knows how to play poker."
Raelle nodded apathetically, the brunette looked innocent enough and the nervous joy at each winning hand showed that the money meant something. It had a purpose other than to be fritted away. The girl was playing for something, not just fun.
Raelle took a sip of her Jack Daniels and coke, "She is doing well but there is no second place in poker."
"You don't think she stands a chance against the boss?" Abigail asked, sneaking a glance at their employer who was as still as a statue, calculating her next move dressed in a stylish silk black pantsuit that accentuated her greatest features, her sharp jaw line and piercing blue eyes.
"Does anyone?" Raelle grumbled back, knowing she'd learnt the hard way not to stand in Sarah Alder's way.
"We'll see, won't we?" said Abigail as she watched Alder peek at her cards.
The words "All in," cut through the air, silencing the mindless chattering and clinking of glasses in the room as everyone's attention fixated on the poker table, and the two competitors sitting across from one another.
Alder flexed her fingers on the table beside her cards, "Excuse me?"
"All in," Tally repeated, giving Alder a shy smile as she pushed all her remaining chips into the pot.
Alder's eyes scrutinised Tally's face, searching for her tell but only finding her endearing dimples, at first anyway.
Tally's tongue darted out and rested between her lips for a second. Alder almost grinned. That was her tell. She had done that exact movement a few times when folding. She was bluffing.
What a shame, Alder thought. Another punter that would go home with nothing but her clothes on her back. At least she'd still have the beautiful smile. That was priceless.
There was a collective gasp in the room as Alder tossed all her chips into the middle, matching Tally's earlier brash move. The pot now totalled two million pounds.
"Shall we?" Alder asked gesturing to the dealer but looking at Tally.
Tally gave a firm nod, not trusting her voice at this tense moment.
The dealer started to flip the last two cards. A ten of spades and a seven of diamonds joined the seven of hearts, the Queen of clubs, and the four of hearts.
"Boss?" the dealer asked.
Alder revealed her cards. A ten of diamonds and a seven of clubs. Three of a kind and a pair.
Abigail shook her head; it was a strong hand.
"You should know by now; Alder doesn't lose," Raelle whispered bitterly, downing the rest of her drink.
"Mmm," Abigail murmured sipping her wine before refocusing on the poker table.
Tally pushed her two cards towards the middle of the table before slowly turning them over. The Queen of Hearts and the Queen of Spades. Three of a kind.
Abigail's eyes went wide and the wine in her mouth nearly spluttered out. Three queens beat three sevens. Sarah Alder had lost in her favourite game, in her own casino; and she had lost everything. Abigail couldn't believe what she was seeing and neither could the entire room that had remained silent, waiting for the reaction from the so-called 'General of Las Vegas'.
Alder's eyes moved from the cards to the woman who had just beat her. She had faked her tell. It seemed that there was more to this woman than first meets the eyes. Alder had underestimated her. A mistake she wasn't going to do again.
Alder licked her lips, "Well played, Mrs?"
"Craven. Tally Craven. And it's just Miss."
"Enjoy your winnings and the rest of the time you spend here at Fort Salem, Miss Craven."
Tally inclined her head as her defeated opponent rose from the table, "Thank you. I'm sure I will. You have a pleasant evening as well Miss … sorry I didn't catch your name?"
She never got an answer as Alder strode through the room past all the onlookers and out of sight.
Only the full moon and a few stars broke up the pitch-black canvas of the evenings sky. Tally stood next to a high circular table and leaned on the golden railings of the balcony. Behind her was the indoor area of the casino's exclusive bar for high rollers. She was the only one willing to brace the cold night's air for the beautiful sight of stary moonlight illuminated sky. In truth that was the main reason she had come outside. A winner was always popular with people wanting to ride on their coat tails and suckle on their generosity. But Tally was a firm believer in generosity being earnt, not handed out, and none of the vultures inside deserved or needed help of the financial nature. No, she had come to this casino and won to help those back home. To help her community. Her farm.
She heard the door behind her swing and she was about to send the latest cocky punter back inside with their tale between their legs when she turned to stand face to face with the woman, she had taken two million dollars off but an hour ago.
She had two whiskey tumblers in her hand and offered one as well as a name, "Sarah Alder."
Tally straightened from the railings and accepted the drink, "Lovely to meet you."
Tally took a deep sip, letting the oaky tones and burning sensation that accompanied the amber liquid down her throat warm her up. She closed her eyes and tried to stifle a cough. Whiskey had never been her drink of choice but she had been brought up to not refuse gifts.
"You play poker better than you drink whiskey. That was quite the performance you put on," Alder finally said after admiring the moon for a moment, "You fooled me."
"That doesn't happen to you a great deal, does it?"
"It never happens."
"I feel honoured to be the first to have achieved such a feat then," Tally said playfully, while shivering from the cold night air.
In the next moment Tally found Alder's light jacket surrounding her bare shoulders and back.
Alder gave an amused huff at Tally's surprise at her action, "I am many things, Miss Craven, but a sore loser isn't one of them."
"Thank you," Tally responded digging out her light-brown hair from under the jacket's collar so it once again fell down her back.
"What are you going to spend my money on?"
Tally returned her smirking gaze to the moon; she had already thought long and hard on where her winnings would go.
"I come from a farming community. Our harvests have been poor lately and the banks have come calling."
Whatever answer Alder had been anticipating it hadn't been that. She hesitated and she never hesitated. Tally continued to fill the silence.
"Two million I think will be enough for my community to keep the bankers at bay and set us up for a few more harvests."
"You aren't going to keep the money for yourself?" Tally shook her head and Alder's eyebrows rose ever so slightly, "How noble of you."
"I know it must seem silly to a person like you."
"A person like me?"
"Um …" Tally's cheeks reddened at Alder's pointed tone, "I heard the dealer call you 'Boss' you own this hotel?"
"Yes, I own Fort Salem."
"Well, it must seem odd to you then that I wouldn't keep my winnings for myself when the entire concept of this place is winning money off other people."
Alder murmured in contemplation. It was odd. To find a sheep amongst the wolves and one that came back unscathed. Alder's mind was working fast to rectify that scenario and restore a little bit of her pride.
"True. I am," Alder paused to find the right word but also to not so subtly look Tally up and down, "intrigued."
Tally blushed into her drink, "I'm an open book really. You just don't know me very well."
"A mistake I want to remedy as soon as possible."
"You seem to be a woman that gets everything she wants."
"I want my money back."
"Almost everything," Tally's eyes shone as she leaned over the railings with the whiskey tumbler clasped between both hands. She was getting more confident in Alder's presence or the whiskey was making her bolder; either way she was having the time of her life.
Alder placed her empty tumbler down a bit too forcefully on the circular table and came up behind Tally moving her head so it was next to Tally's.
"Don't stare at the moon for too long; I'm not a patient person and as you pointed out, I'm used to getting what I want," she whispered into Tally's ear as a plastic white card was slid onto the circular table.
Tally flicked her eyes to the card; it was a room key card with the words Penthouse Suit engraved onto it in black ink.
What do I do, what do I say?! Tally panicked internally but she couldn't deny feeling the allure of the implication, quite literally put on the table, was having on her.
She watched over her shoulder as Alder returned to the indoor bar area without so much as a second glance back at her.
Tally rolled her body so her back was now resting on the golden railings of the balcony and sipped at the last inch of amber liquid at the bottom of her glass. She supressed the urge to make funny faces as the harsh alcohol seared through her. Her mind was racing. She didn't belong in a casino, with the glamor and deceit. She belonged on her farm, driving a tractor or feeding the chickens. The problem was she was good at the former, to her surprise, no matter how much she loved the latter and only one was paying the bills currently.
With that thought whirling around her mind she followed suit. The risky play it was. She picked up the card key and walked away from the balcony, leaving the moon and the stars to dance in the sky without anyone to watch them.
Chapter 2: Spilled Whiskey and Shattered Glass
Chapter 2 and the final one, please enjoy ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The doors of the elevator slid open and Tally stepped into one of the most opulent rooms she had ever seen. There were marble statues placed all over the open room, mirrors and paintings adorned the walls. There was a glistening diamond chandelier above her head and two staircases that met to lead to another level. Gold was everywhere; on the stairs bannister, the paintings' frames and there was even a grand piano in the corner of the room with gold patterns covering the glossy wood. She made her way further into the room towards the fireplace that was surrounded by recliners and plush looking couches. This was where she found her host.
Sarah Alder was sitting on one of the couches with a book in her hand. As soon as she heard the clicking of Tally's heels, she placed it on the glass table in front of her.
"Testing my patience, I see."
"Just came to return your jacket," Tally said, pushing the folded piece of clothing out in front of her, like a shield.
Alder rose with a smug look on her face, the lie was an unconvincing one and every step she took towards Tally dented it further.
"Considering the ease at which you beat me at poker I thought you'd be a better liar."
Tally flung the jacket over the back of the couch, "I can be when I know what I want."
"You don't know what you want right now?"
"I'm undecided. I got what I came to Las Vegas for, getting more that that seems greedy."
Alder grinned at the unconscious confirmation that she was something Tally would want, "Be greedy at my expense darling, I insist."
Tally still seemed to be wrestling with the decision before her so Alder did what she did best. She took control.
"Drink?" Alder asked, walking to the drinks trolley beside the piano. She poured out a glass of whiskey and one of rum before Tally had even replied.
Tally's fingers grasped the offered glass but her face held a look of surprise, "How do you know I drink rum?"
"I know everything that goes on in my casino," Alder winked.
Tally nodded slightly as she sipped her favourite spiced rum. It was warm and smooth with a little bit of a kick.
Alder closely watched Tally's face. She didn't want to miss a thing when her next words hit, "I had the dealer for this evening's game interviewed."
The rim of the glass froze on Tally's lips as the tone in which Alder had said interviewed implied something much more sinister had happened. Her eyes flicked to the closed elevator doors, "I didn't cheat."
The words were spoken with forced calm and Alder's intense scrutiny was not lost on Tally. She could hear her heart beat thudding in her chest. A sense of danger was creeping up Tally's spine and her mind was screaming to retreat to what she knew. The safety of her community. She didn't belong in this room; with this woman she didn't know.
"I believe you," Alder replied, sipping her drink, enjoying playing with Tally, finally having the upper hand she always craved, "Which is ironic considering you have a two-million-dollar cheque to prove how effective a liar you really are."
"You didn't hurt the dealer, did you?" Tally questioned, worry evident in her wavering brown eyes.
Alder flicked her fingers, "No bones broken and no bruises to see."
Something in Alder's movement, her casual disregard irked Tally and before she knew what she was doing she had squared up to Alder, "You can't treat people like that!"
"I think you'll find I can," Alder returned with slight amusement twinkling in her eyes. This girl was proving to not only be capable of surprising her but challenging her as well. This night truly was turning into a special one and it wasn't finished yet.
Tally grabbed the drink out of Alder's hand, her survival instincts not having caught up to her righteous indignation on behalf of a stranger she would never meet again, "You invited me to your room and I had a choice whether to come. The dealer I imagine was just taken into a dingy room and interrogated."
A darkness fell over Alder's face, "I don't like to lose. I like being cheated even less."
Tally backed away from Alder, suddenly remember who she was speaking to and perched on the edge of the piano stool.
Should never have gotten on the damned elevator, she blasphemed to herself. She took a large gulp of whiskey to help calm her racing mind then a mouthful of her rum to dispel the taste of Alder's drink. A single line of inquiry captured her attention and she just had to know the answer. Her mum always said she never did know when to leave things well alone.
"What would you have done if I had cheated?"
What a bold question. Alder closed the gap between them in a few graceful steps. Tally flinched when Alder's voice emanated from directly behind her.
"There have been a few that have tried in the past and it didn't end well for them."
The ominous tone of her answer encouraged Tally to try to take another gulp of whiskey but Alder reclaimed both drinks in her hands and placed them on top of the piano.
"Can you play?"
"I learnt as a child but why-"
Tally wanted to snap at the demand but something was telling her just to do as she was asked. Her fingers glided over the keys until she decided on what song to play.
She pressed the keys down and the sound of the piano filled the air, after a few seconds she felt a hot breath by her neck.
"Beautiful, "Alder purred, and Tally didn't know if she was complimenting the music or her but she continued regardless, even when she felt legs surround her own and a chest at her back.
"Keep playing," Alder nuzzled at her neck, settling on the piano stool, resting one hand on her upper thigh as her other pulled Tally's midriff taut against her own.
"You asked what I would've done if you had cheated," Alder said, watching Tally's fingers work over her shoulder. "I would have had one of my employees break every bone in that dealer's body and had him dumped in the trash."
Tally's spine shivered at the thought and Alder's hand on her thigh tightened, causing her dress to ride up slightly.
"As for you," Alder murmured, planting a firm kiss on the side of Tally's neck, "You would have vanished without a trace. I would have ensured your winnings were distributed among your community as per your final wish."
Tally's concentration on the rhythm of the music was waning as Alder peppered her neck with more sensual kisses but the notes continued to flow, albeit just at a slower pace, "Not very subtle."
"Subtlety would ruin the warning to others," Alder said, adding her tongue to the ministrations at Tally's neck.
Tally's shoulders tensed as the final note of the song echoed around the room and seemed to linger in the air, "You think you are above the law."
"I am above the law," Alder hissed as her hand pulled at the hem of Tally's dress before slipping below her lacey pants to cup her intimately while the other brushed her side to gently rest at her chin, turning Tally's face to her.
Before Tally could utter a rebuke of Alder's grand statement, she was caught in a kiss. It was demanding and brutal. The whiskey taste was still strong on their lips, drowning out any residual rum flavour. She tried to match Alder's forcefulness on instinct but the black-haired beauty quickly took control pressing two fingers between Tally's folds causing her to gasp, allowing a tongue to slip into her mouth.
Tally released some tension as her hands dug into the thighs that caged her against the piano. Alder broke the rough kiss and let her hand trail from Tally's chin to one of her covered breasts while her fingers methodically rubbed the trapped girl's core below.
"If you don't want to continue, now is the time to make that clear," Alder drawled before adding in a raspy voice, "If you ask, I'll let you go."
Tally considered leaving, she really did; Sarah Alder was clearly a dangerous person with the means to make people vanish and the inclination to do so but the reasonable part of her brain had long been overridden by the little bolts of pleasure she was receiving from Alder's fingers thrusting into her clit and the general thrill of the situation she was in.
She didn't hesitate. She knew what she wanted.
Alder felt a twinge of disappointment when Tally disengaged from her lap and stood, she knew how wet she was from her fingers alone, but the feeling was soon replaced with genuine surprise when Tally turned around. Her hand shot out and grabbed Alder firmly by the throat. Tally took advantage of her momentary stunned mind and circled Alder's midriff with her legs, then assaulted her mouth in the same way Alder had done to her moments earlier.
Alder quickly got over her initial shock and roared as she lifted Tally and placed her on the surface of the piano, returning her passionate kisses with her own. Alder's hands pulled Tally's dress up so it bunched around her hips.
She greedily demanded the touch of Tally's skin as her hands roamed between the captured woman's thighs, dragging her pants down so they slipped to the floor over her dangling legs. Alder's fingers didn't wait for permission to thrust deep into Tally. Tally bucked in time with Alder's thrusts and was rewarded with a low moan from the woman hanging over her which she felt through her fingers still curled around Alder's throat but it wasn't enough.
Tally pushed Alder lightly away from herself and when she didn't get the hint, Tally bit down on Alder's neck but not hard enough to leave a mark, well not a long-lasting one anyway. Alder growled but complied never the less, releasing Tally long enough for her to bring her dress over her head and throw her bra to the ground to join her pants.
Alder took the moment to look her up and down. Her tanned skin was glowing in the dimmed light of the room, her lean physique was sending hot pulses everywhere, and her scent was so inviting, but the thing that was drawing Alder in the most was Tally's unabashed confidence in herself that was complimenting the burning desire in her brown eyes.
Alder knew she was an intimidating person and most people withered before her and submitted out of sheer fear, and that was without the knowledge of what she was truly capable of doing to those that crossed her. But the woman frantically unburdening her of her pantsuit wasn't most people.
Alder's mouth licked and tickled Tally's nipple just as her pantsuit hit the floor. She redoubled her efforts, enjoying the panting whimpers coming from Tally despite her attempts to muffle them.
"I'm not a gentle lover," Alder murmured in warning, reluctantly leaving Tally's chest to bringing her mouth to her neck to nip a way up to Tally's jawline, the time for games was soon coming to an end. Her control only lasted as long as she wanted it to.
"I don't want gentle," Tally ground out as she pushed Alder's pants completely down so her fingers could reciprocate what Alder's were doing to her.
Alder let out a glutenous groan as Tally's fingertips found all the right places, it was utterly delectable but Alder was never one to be outdone. She grabbed Tally's wrist and pushed it away so she could guide her tongue into the deserving woman's core.
Tally moved her legs to give Alder more space to manoeuvre once she realised Alder's goal. She had been with women before, sloppy and clumsy experiences, but there was none of that with Alder, every sensual touch was perfect and every bolt of pleasure was overwhelming. She knew what she wanted in this moment and there was no doubt in her mind that Alder would give it to her.
As if on cue Alder's tongue explored her wetness, licking at her walls and moving with such rapid precision that it had Tally curling her toes. Alder held Tally flat against the piano's cold surface at her stomach and kept her squirming to a minimum while her other hand splayed near Tally's hip for balance.
Alder worked at a steady tempo, testing Tally's reactions and boundaries, demanding Tally's sweet moans in payment until Tally's back arched and her hand came forcefully down on Alder's head.
The movement triggered Alder's predatory side. She couldn't contain the raging feelings of lust underneath her hot skin. She let it take over in its fullest sense and blindly ravished the woman caught underneath her with such ferocity that the whiskey glass she had placed on the piano earlier shattered to pieces on the floor beside them, causing the amber liquid to spill across the white marble floor.
Tally's encouragement and now strangled cries of pleasure spurred Alder on to the blissful ending she sought. Tally's orgasm crashed all around Alder and she ate it all.
Tally took a few seconds to recover but when she did, she locked eyes with Alder. Both were panting heavily from the exertion. Alder licked her wet lips but her eyes still held a feral look, like the night wasn't finished and honestly Tally just felt excited.
Excited for more.
Alder slowly drew up along Tally's torso and planting her lips on Tally's warm skin as she went. It had been so long since she had fucked a partner worthy of her attentions and she didn't want it to end anytime soon.
But a minute later heavy breathing still filled the air and neither had attempted to move but Tally had to know what the next move was.
Was she taking the elevator back down to the lobby or was she staying the night?
Alder must have caught onto her thinking because she appraised Tally from above and locked her blue eyes on her light brown ones.
Tally gave a tired but not exhausted smile, "Bed."
Alder pulled Tally off the piano and guided her up the stairs to her bedroom, leaving the floor covered in shattered glass and discarded clothes.
Well, that's the end of this little story exercise.
Thanks for reading … did my smut go down well?
I wanted to try out a minimalistic writing approach to see if readers imaginations could still formulate environments and physical features etc or 'fill in the gaps' so please let me know if you noticed that there was very little environmental descriptors or adjectives (less than I normally do anyway).