Home > G-RING : A Bad Boy College Romance

G-RING : A Bad Boy College Romance
Author: Diana Gardin


One

 

 

ACE

 

 

“Buy-in’s two G’s.” I rake a hand through my hair as I stare down the yuppie-looking dude standing in the doorway.

He nods and pulls a black leather wallet out of his jacket’s breast pocket. Like two grand is nothing. A spoiled rich college kid just like the rest of ‘them.

Then he has the nerve to slide out a black credit card.

I glower at the card, and then snap my gaze back to him. “This ain’t Barney’s. Give me cash or get the hell out.”

The kid shrugs, putting the card back in his wallet. And then he counts out twenty crisp hundred-dollar bills. I grab them from his outstretched hand, and then my associate, Borg, moves aside to let the client inside.

Borg’s actual name is Brian, but we call him Borg because, well, he’s huge. Like a Cyborg.

I turn and scan the dark, smoky room we use for the games. I do a quick count. My limit is thirty players a night. I’m getting close.

Turning back to the door, Borg’s stocky frame is blocking the entrance of a face I’ve never seen before. Most of the guys who play here are regulars—them, and the girls they bring along.

They’re also almost always college-aged. The G-Ring’s clients are rich boys who want to play in the big leagues, but don’t want their daddy’s friends and business partners to catch them playing in the bigger rings. That’s my market, and I’ve studied it well.

But the dude standing at the door now doesn’t ring a single bell of familiarity. Tall, clean-cut, and tucked-in, he fits the description of a lot of guys in here. His hair is short and blonde, wavy across the top and falling over his forehead. But he’s not giving off college vibes. His appearance comes off as someone who’s worked in an office all day. There’s a desperate glint to his expression that screams trouble.

I don’t need trouble in my ring.

“We’re full.” My words are clipped, final.

The blond man’s mouth curves into a grin that’s supposed to set me at ease. “For real? You turning away cash at the door?”

He slides a stack of Benjamins out of the interior pocket of his blazer. Despite his shady expression, the dude is dressed nice. Not in the polos and khakis that most of my clientele wear, but in a dark suit.

My eyes narrow into slits. “You a cop?”

The question is pointless; I already know cops don’t wear shoes that expensive. The dude’s a suit. I’m just not sure if he’s the kind of suit who works in an office all day, or the kind who does his business at night in dark alleys. Either way, he’s too big league for my ring.

I glance at Borg and shake my head.

“Closed.” Borg’s deep, gravelly voice says he’s not playing around. The step he takes closer to our uninvited guest should shoot the point across in a way our words don’t.

I turn my back, ready to spread myself around the room.

“I’ll pay double your buy-in.”

Pausing mid-step, I turn around slowly, schooling my shocked features as I study him for the slightest sign of bullshit. I can’t find any.

Curious, I tilt my head to one side. “You want in on the game bets, or you want to play at the tables?”

He nods toward the row of TVs lining one wall of my basic warehouse space.

Rent is cheap in the warehouse, and the owner doesn’t ask any questions when I pay him in cash each week.

“Games.” His response is short, his eyes on the rows of leather chairs set up in front of the TVs.

Someone who bets on games is confident his knowledge of the sport is superior to the odds. They don’t feel there’s as much risk involved, contrary to the tables where the skills of the other players mix with the odds of the house.

I hold out my hand, and against every ounce of better judgment I have, I close my fist around his cash. “You’re in.”

Borg bolts the door behind us, and I enter the room, scanning to make sure my staff are all in palace. Every single one of us packs heat, but we’ve never had to use a weapon. The threat is there. Between Borg, my friend Kevin, an old buddy whose technology skills are unrivaled, and X, a man who doubles as a bouncer at my uncle’s bar, security at the G-Ring is covered.

Whoops and hollers break out in the seating area in front of the flat-screens, and I smile, knowing that bets have been waged and the football games are in full swing for the night. The air is heavy with anticipation. I’m not the one buying in, but my blood sings with the thrill, the adrenaline, that comes with betting. The element of danger sends a thrill racing through me. It always does, every single time the Ring opens for business.

But everyone doesn’t win at the G-Ring. That’s the nature of the beast.

They bet against the house…and that’s me. I almost always win, in the end. It’s the lack of desperation. I want to succeed, but most of my clients have their daddies’ money on the line. They need to win.

On the off chance that I do lose? I have the overhead to pay out the winnings. Saved up from four years of running this ring. At twenty-four, I have more money to my name than most men my age can claim, especially for someone without a college degree.

Cash that I made myself, not money at the other end of my Daddy’s credit card.

Yeah, the Ring is my baby. I’ve loved it, nurtured it, raised it up right. Glancing around this room, I’m filled with a sense of pride that comes from something you’ve built on your own.

Borg catches my eye from his post against the wall beside the tables. It’s time for me to make my rounds.

I’ll check in on the poker tables, set my sights on the games for a while. Borg strolls through the room with me as I observe my ring in action. As we walk toward the table, something catches my eye, an expression on one of the player’s faces that sends warning bells to my brain.

“Borg— ”

One of the jade-green poker tables upends as the player stands with a roar, scattering the contents of the game table like ashes in a gust of wind.

“You fucking cheater!” His voice is a loud bellow, his face a deep purple. The man’s chest heaves with fury as his hands ball into fists.

In a second, every eye in the room is laser-focused on the scuffle. Throwing himself over the fallen table, the aggressor lunges for another player, grabbing him around the throat.

They both go crashing to the floor. A clumsy cluster of thrashing arms and legs.

Every muscle in my body tightens; my fingers flex as I ready my hands. The only thing I want to do right now is launch myself into the fray.

Fighting comes naturally to me. It’s how I grew up, the way I was raised. When I was in school, I fought all the time until I found another outlet to channel my aggression. Once I figured out that I had a head for math and economy, I turned all my attention toward my classes. I could excel academically, something I’d never realized before.

I used to be pissed at the world for the cards I’d been dealt. Until I figured out that I could change them.

With a hand pressed hard against my chest, X blows past me toward the fight.

“Stay put,” he mutters, pushing me backward.

Yeah. It’s a part of the deal. If I’m gonna run a profitable business, I can’t exactly engage with the Neanderthals who occupy my games. I clench my hands into fists, rolling my head around to release some of the tension building there.

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