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Wagers of Gold Mountain

Steve Berman

Published by Lethe Press at Smashwords

Copyright 2011 by Steve Berman.

All rights reserved.


A spinning coin danced across the polished wooden desk top. Two pairs of green eyes—one a shade of the brightest jade, the other cloudy like tarnished copper—stared at one another.

“Come now, m’dear, you do owe me another attempt to court favor.” The man drew deeply on a cigar which leaked smoke worthy of the finest incense.

The woman caught the coin, tapping the edge with a lacquered nail. “The stakes?”

“Perhaps love?”

“Always love,” she said with a bored sigh. “Whatever happened to the old days, when all you cared for was wealth?”

“That was before I saw you in all your varied forms, before you taught me some new tricks.”

“So by your own country’s adage, you must be a new dog, Buren.”

The man showed a wolfish grin and barked a laugh. “All native-born are, m’dear. We all are.”

“Not love. You’re never satisfied with the outcome anyway.” She spun the coin once more between them, its face shifting between a gold dollar and bronze with a square hole in the middle. “I know what you truly want.” She allowed the sleeve of her silk robe to slide up, exposing the creamy skin of her forearm.

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