and Holt #2
Crime, Suspense Thriller
Las Vegas, secrets are deadly.
Laura Baxter and Jack Holt are
members of the elite: Las Vegas Metro PD, one of the toughest and
most respected law enforcement agencies in the United States. In the
middle of a city with two million residents and 43 million annual
visitors, they’re hunting for a killer.
girl is killed in the high-roller Pleasure Pit of the exclusive Scala
Casino, the news reverberates for hours among the ritzy clientele.
Before taking the stage where she found her death, Crystal was last
seen boarding an unmarked helicopter for a late-night flight to an
the roulette table, and the players are hot-blooded. Among them, a
stone-cold killer watches, waits, and kills without leaving a single
trace of evidence. Rien ne va
plus but death.
murder, and it doesn’t stop with Crystal’s demise. Anyone who
threatens to expose the killer’s identity will soon find they’re
Vegas, secrets can kill.
mavericks make an intriguing team. Baxter
and Holt trust each other with their lives, only not with their
Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of
traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong
women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up
by extensive background research in technology and psychology.
released the first novel, Executive,
in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from
Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed
growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s
most notable works, The Watson Girl
(2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of
a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his
actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at
They don’t really bare it all, like real strippers do behind the darkened glass doors of
specialty adult clubs, but they aren’t exactly fully dressed either while they perform.
Crystal preferred the term exotic dancer. Five nights a week she took the small stage at
the center of the high-limit blackjack tables, in the glamorous Scala Casino. Five nights a week
she danced and smiled and undulated her perfect body to the rhythm of sultry songs, carefully
chosen to lure the gamblers’ attention away from the cards and the ever-diminishing stacks of
their chips. In the background, nothing is more Vegas than the Scala Casino floor, filled with a
million noises, dazzling lights, and excess adrenaline. Nothing is more alive.
That’s where she belonged, among the glitter and the gold, the glitzy and the rich.
She wore strappy lingerie with black and gold lace accents on beige silk, designed to trick
the mind’s eye into believing she was naked. Black, knee-high stiletto boots completed her attire,
her black, garter-belt straps attached to them, sexy and kinky and fun. The appreciative looks she
basked in that night told her she’d chosen her ensemble well. It was going to be a profitable
The familiar music seemed a bit too loud, making her wince, a little dizzy. She grabbed
the pole tighter, aware she was dancing out of rhythm, but knowing the customers were too far
gone to notice. It was almost four in the morning, and by that time, most of them were pleasantly
inebriated, high on their own excitement and maybe more, living the Vegas dream.
The only danger was that asshole, Farley, a fat, lewd pig who liked to scream at the girls,
giving them a hard time for everything they did, right or wrong regardless. Two minutes of being
late or changing clothes mid-shift and she’d get pulled inside the pit manager’s office for another
scolding session.But she held her head up during those moments, aware they were going to pass and even
more aware they were meant to intimidate her into offering sexual favors in return for a
privileged work atmosphere.
Oh, hell, no.
Not ever. Not even if the prick turned blue in the face from too much screaming, or his
waiting-to-happen stroke knocked him dead right before her eyes.
But even Stan Farley was looking away that moment, focused on a newly arrived high
roller who’d taken a seat at one of the blackjack tables with a view of the stage. She didn’t know
that one, but judging by the way Farley fawned over him, he must’ve been someone important.
Someone who didn’t care that the odds at his blackjack table were stacked higher against
him, just because the table came with a view of full inviting cleavage and tight little buns.
She felt beads of sweat bursting at the roots of her hair and forced some stale air into her
lungs. Maybe the air conditioning was off, or something. The cigar smoke made it almost
unbreathable, but it was an acceptable tradeoff for being allowed to work the high roller pit, not
some fifty-cents-minimum roulette floor, where the tips were always Washingtons, never a
Franklin and rarely a Lincoln, and not a whole lot of them to count at the end of a shift anyway.
No, she’d been lucky, and her luck had started to play in her favor about a month after
she’d been hired. For that she probably had Devine to thank.
Her sweaty palms made it difficult for her to get a good grip on the shiny, chrome pole,
but she managed a back hook spin and landed facing Devine. Her best friend danced some 30
feet away, on a small, elevated stage set among four, high-limit, roulette tables.
She waited until she could make eye contact with Devine and waved discreetly at her best
friend. Just seeing her smile back made her feel less lonely, less vulnerable. Maybe she was
going to be okay. Maybe things would work out after all.
Without realizing, she put her palm on her belly in a soft, caressing gesture, aimed to
comfort the tiny sparkle of life growing inside her. She wasn’t showing a baby bump yet, but
soon that would change, and with it, her entire life as she knew it.
She skipped out of rhythm again, but soon snapped out of her trance, motivated by
Farley’s mean glare. She focused on her customers for a while and, within a few minutes ofsmiling provocatively and wiggling her rear, a crisp fifty-dollar bill landed under the thin strap of
her thong, delivered by long, hairy fingers that reached lower and lingered longer than was
Sometimes she was happy the payout was 6:5 instead of 3:2 on a blackjack at the tables
facing her; those jerks deserved to pay.
But she smiled at the man who’d delivered the tip and mocked a reverence without letting
go of the pole. Then she let herself fall into a back bend and frowned when she saw Farley was
“What the hell is wrong with you, huh?” he snapped, after grabbing her arm and pulling
her close. The music was loud, and no one could hear his words; not that anyone would care if
they did. “Could you be bothered to do your job tonight? A deaf penguin has more rhythm than
“I’m working it, Stan, what the hell? I haven’t taken a break in two hours.”
“The hell you are, bitch. You see those bozos? If they’re looking at their cards instead of
your ass, you ain’t earning your keep.”
He let go of her arm and disappeared before she could say anything. He was a two-faced
creep; with her and the other girls he showed his real charm. For all the patrons and the rest of
the Scala staff, he was a perfect gentleman, always dressed in an impeccable suit and starched,
white shirts, pleasantly smiling and accommodating.
She knew better than to let him get under her skin.
But her head was spinning, and she held on tight to the pole, not as part of her routine,
but for much-needed balance. The music changed, and she welcomed the new beat, one of her
favorites. She knew the playlist by heart; the casino had a limited supply of premixed tracks, but
the customers didn’t seem to care.
Cheers erupted at the table in front of her, and one of the players lifted his arms in the air,
beaming. The croupier pushed an impressive pile of chips in front of the man, and she quickly
flashed her megawatt smile and made lingering eye contact. He didn’t disappoint; he picked one
of the chips and sent it flying her way. She caught it gracefully, then placed it on the floor, next
to the pole. Her barely-there panties weren’t made to hold casino chips.
When she looked up, she startled.
It was him. It was Paul, and he was furious, by the angle of his eyebrows, by the deep
ridges flanking his mouth.
He stood right there, next to her stage, glaring at her with a loaded gaze filled with such
hatred that her breath caught. He beckoned her to come closer without making a single gesture.
She approached him hesitantly and crouched to bring their eyes on the same level, aware not
even Farley would dare say a word. She shot a quick glance toward Devine’s stage, but she was
gone, nowhere in sight.
His eyes drilled into hers, close enough she could see his dilated pupils. Without a word,
he shoved a purple and white chip deep inside her bra, then grabbed the thin strap, pulling her
closer to him. He said something, keeping his voice low and menacing. She couldn’t make out
his words but didn’t dare to ask. She wanted to explain herself, wanted him to understand her
motives, but she couldn’t find her words.
She didn’t want his money, and she didn’t deserve his anger.
When he finally let go of her strap and pushed her away, she almost fell. Her knees were
shaking, and she felt the urge to sit for a moment, to catch her breath. She grabbed the pole
tightly and did a clumsy back slide against the shiny surface, landing hard on her butt, then
folded her legs to the side. She let her head hang low, and her long, wavy hair covered her face,
hiding the fear in her eyes until it subsided a little.
Then she wrapped her hands around the pole again, planning to stand and do a pirouette,
but her arms and legs felt numb, listless. She tried to breathe, but air refused to enter her lungs.
Frantic, she looked around, searching for someone, anyone, who could help. Only one man was
looking at her, but her desperate and silent plea was misunderstood.
The man licked his lips, arranged his crotch with a quick gesture, then looked away at
She gasped for air a couple of times, then the bright lights of the casino seemed to dim,
inviting darkness to engulf her view of the lively floor. Silence came, heavy, palpable. Against it,
not even her own heart beats could be heard.
Defeated, she let go. Her body landed on the stage floor with a loud thump that no one
heard. Unnoticed, a white and purple casino chip fell out of her top and rolled onto the floor,
stopping under a table.
For a long moment, Farley thought the immobile pose was part of Crystal’s routine, some
new dance move that she was trying. Customers really enjoyed seeing girls crawling on the
stage; it made the viewers feel powerful, superior, in control. By the time Farley realized he’d
been wrong, she was already gone. His chubby fingers felt for a pulse and found nothing.
Now he’d have to call the cops and close the pit. His worst nightmare.
darkest secrets. Together, they investigate a young girl’s murder, not realizing they are more like
each other than they think they are.
and that we wish to keep a secret. That hidden side of us is what makes us who we are, what
makes us great at what we do.
narratives. Why is that?
attention to our surroundings, and focus on the task at hand. People interact with one another,
talk to one another, and have feelings for one another and for everything we do. That’s what I’m
focused on, rather than specifying each article of clothing someone wears, or the color of the
flower vase in an office somewhere. This technique isn’t necessarily good or bad; just somewhat
different from mainstream.
down. That’s music to my ears Like any other artist and entertainer, I thrive knowing that I
deliver that escape into the fictional world in a grasping, addictive, and memorable way.
5. You mentioned science, technology, psychology. How do you keep it real?
opportunity to learn. Additionally, sections of my books go through a process of validation at the
hands of several fantastic partners who are law enforcement officers, attorneys, scientists,
doctors in medicine. In Dawn Girl, for example, there are sections that speak about using certain
plant extracts and animal venoms to achieve certain goals. Despite the extensive research, myhands were shaking a little as I wrote them, metaphorically speaking, and I was relieved when
my research “passed scientific review.”
In Casino Girl I had the privilege to enjoy the assistance of three fantastic friends: New York’s
best criminal attorney, an expert in casino gambling who spent his entire career in Las Vegas,
and the most talented fashion director I’ve ever met. I’m grateful to all of them for lending me
6. Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances?
If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep
up with your personal contacts online?
Apart from social media and email interactions, I’m a veritable recluse. Email is the best and
quickest way to reach me, and I was fortunate to build true friendships with readers over email.
The majority of my readers ask me when’s the next book coming out, not when I’m getting out
of the house, so I get the hint and keep on writing.
7. Is Casino Girl going to be continued?
This book is the second in the Las Vegas Crime Series, and yes, a third could happen very soon.
So far, this series has been very well received by the readers, and my fans have been adamant:
they want more. Therefore yes, there’s more, and there will be even more, coming soon. It all
starts with Las Vegas Girl.
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