Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series)
by Cara Bertoia
About Casino Queen
Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series)
1st in Series
Setting – California
Wild Rose Press (March 16, 2022)
Paperback : 260 pages
ISBN-10 : 1509240918
ISBN-13 : 978-1509240913
Digital ASIN : B09PJWMG9Z
Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino where she is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.
Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert of Southern California. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of often unique guests, and growing revenue while rooting out corruption.
In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. Because it often does.
A few days after a surprise rainstorm, the landscape erupted in wildflowers. Indian paintbrush, ocotillo, and purple mat along with a score of other blooms painted the desert floor in all shades of the rainbow. Caroline gazed out the window, admiring the countryside as she drove down the hill past the gun range, around the corner, and onto the road leading to the casino. Her car meandered down the nearly empty highway of the High Desert, on her way to work, slowly enough to enjoy the glorious day. Stopping at the locally owned donut shop, she took her time choosing a wide variety of tasty treats for the staff. Small gestures like bringing donuts were always a big hit in the employee lounge.
Back on the road, her eyes followed the arc of a bald eagle flying across the brilliant blue sky. The eagle landed on the far-left corner of the Night Hawk billboard, which stood above the road, fourteen feet high and forty-eight feet wide, enticing travelers to eat, play, win!
Glancing upward she did a double take. A new message painted across the front read, ‘Caroline Popov must die!’ in red paint, ten feet high. In disbelief she slammed on her brakes, pulled over to the curb shifting the car in park. She wanted to make sure she had read it right.
About Cara Bertoia
Growing up in a strait-laced Southern family, I was always fascinated with casinos. In my twenties on a summer hiatus from teaching in North Carolina, I drove to California and became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. Well, I can tell you that after teaching high school, handling an unruly gambler was a piece of cake. My mother highly disapproved of my working in a casino, “a place so bad it has ‘sin’ in the middle.”
Eventually, I succumbed to pressure from the family and returned east to take a high-tech job in Boston. I also began working on my MFA in writing at Emerson. I wanted to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. I am always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position, maybe my novel will.
While in Boston I was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, I spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. I was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in Leningrad.
I returned from ships with a very special souvenir, my Scottish husband Ray. We went to work at the Spa Casino in Palm Springs. We now live in Hollywood, Florida, where I write about my casino years while wistfully gazing out at the ocean.
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