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Myth: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Fact: Not when what happens in Vegas finds its way inside High Stakes, where Sin City's nightlife hits rock bottom: prostitution, drugs, human trafficking, sex slavery. It's also where you'll find Shaun, Dawn, and Felicia, three young women who gamble on the good life, but as the press release for High Stakes states, "When it comes to matters of the heart, all bets are off."

Debut author Toshia Shaw is betting that High Stakes is her entrée into the ranks of "urban fiction." She grew up in Memphis and, after serving in the military, returned to Memphis, where she participated in the "spoken-word" scene and helped to raise awareness of domestic violence. Now she's back in Las Vegas, where she is executive director of Purple Wings, a nonprofit that helps at-risk women steer clear of the sex industry. And that's where High Stakes comes in. It's from Purple Wings Publishing.

"I'd gotten out of the military 10 years ago and wrote High Stakes about the things I'd seen and stories I'd heard from women I knew in Las Vegas," Shaw says. "I don't wanna get sued, but the things friends did in Vegas were mind-boggling. Unreal! So, High Stakes is in-your-face, raw, gritty. But I want readers to go into it with an open mind, not pass judgment. The story may make you uncomfortable, but my goal is to uplift, empower, and also entertain. Las Vegas isn't all that you see on TV. I wanted to show the human side."

Toshia Shaw signing "High Stakes," Cafe Soul (492 S. Main), Friday, May 28th, 5:30 p.m.

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