Mr. Tony sat alone at the back table. He might have been in his late thirties, early forties, his thick shock of dark brown hair spiked on top but trimmed neat around the sides. A day's growth gave his sharp-edged face a wan look against the red and black pinstripe shirt he wore. An audacious diamond ring flashed on one slender hand. He stood at their approach, as tall as Ray, and watched them from behind transparent amber glasses. Grace saw his eyes move from her to Ray, then back to her.
"Why are you interrupting my evening?"
"I'm here for a game," Grace said.
Mr. Tony regarded her. "Why should I take your money?"
"It's not my money. It's yours." Grace decided at a glance the dumb tourist ploy wouldn't work on this man. "I've got fifty grand that Johnny says belongs to you."
"His debt is twice that."
Grace sucked her teeth. "Indeed it is. I intend to double the fifty and pay back his debt, plus interest."
"Why does Johnny's debt matter to you?"
"This isn't about Johnny." It's about me and my papa. It's about two boys from Ohio and all they done for me. It's about I don't approve of the way you like scarin' people. "I'm just looking for a game," she told him.
"And if you lose?"
Mr. Tony sighed. "They all say that. Unfortunately, it's often untrue. You lose and I'm still out a hundred grand. I need more or there's no game."
Ray stepped forward. "I've got a Harley Softail with sidecar – "
"I dislike motorcycles."
"That's right, Johnny said you're into classic muscle cars."
Grace didn't remember Johnny saying anything of the sort. Had that been part of their conversation in the desert? Or was Ray doing a little gambling of his own? Either way, she could tell where he was headed and tried to stop him. "Ray, don't."
"I've got a '69 Olds 442," he said, ignoring her. "Burgundy mist, white accents, W-30 package, one owner...worth more than what that Harley'd go for."
"Where is it?"
Mr. Tony waved a dismissive hand. "You're wasting my time, both of you."
Ray tensed and made as though to move closer. Grace cut him off, pressing in to rest her purse on the table. "Sugar, what have you got to lose? You don't play me, you're still out the money. You and I both know Johnny can't come up with another fifty grand by midnight. He's not that good."
"But you think you are." The man broke eye contact to glance at her purse.
Grace resisted a smile. "'Put money in thy purse,'" she challenged, quoting the villainous Iago from Shakespeare's Othello.
Mr. Tony's eyes lifted. "You've studied the Bard?"
"Enough to know poor Othello didn't have a chance. 'I am not what I am.'"
"'And what mighty magic.'"
He stared at her for long seconds, then without turning to look at Moon said, "Bring the lady her chips."
Ray leaned close and whispered, "What the hell was that all about?"
Grace patted his arm. "Don't you never mind. I got chips to purchase." She opened her purse and withdrew several bundles of bills, made sure her fingers brushed Moon's as she handed each one over to him, and said, "Thank you, dear."
The big man blushed.
Mr. Tony cleared his throat. "'Trust no agent, for beauty is a witch.'"
Much Ado About Nothing this time. "'Against whose charms faith melteth..."
She pasted a brazen smile on her face. "Let's hope it don't come to that."
Mr. Tony's tight laugh sent a chill across the table. Much as she enjoyed the Shakespeare banter, and was pleased with her recall, that tight laugh cautioned her to remember Johnny's fear of the man.
He motioned her to sit. "What's your name and what's your game?"
"My name is Grace." She sat and tucked her purse – now fifty grand lighter – in her lap. "I hear Texas Hold'em is popular."
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