Three Burning Red Runaway Brides
Chapter 1 – Perfect Body Double
There was a time when Sabrina London lived for this—the loud, thumping music, the bright, pulsating lights, the scent of perfume mixed with sweat—but that was then, not now. Crazy, just how much could change in six months—seemingly everything.
This was her first time back in civilization. Fitting that it was the hottest spot in Los Angeles on one of, if not the biggest, nights to party: Club Afterlife on New Year’s Eve.
Every year, the club hosted one of their famous masquerade balls. This year’s theme was Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Sabrina blended in, just another partygoer draped in a loose, crimson robe, with a stark white, full facemask on. The disguise allowed her to witness the events of the night anonymously.
She may have been there in secret, but she was not there alone.
Her partner had circumnavigated the long lines and gained entrance to the club with ease, then singled out her target and made her move. After months and months of development, the plan was finally in motion.
Sabrina watched from across the crowded club. Her double had done a good job, maybe even too good a job. Jackson had been easily seduced.
Her double had commandeered a VIP booth and then slyly fucked a man Sabrina had feelings for. Sabrina had not realized until then, when her nails cut into her sweaty palms, that she had made two tight fists—one for each of them.
Skipper sauntered back, although clearly uncertain on her heels and clumsy in her billowing, Victorian-style dress. Sabrina had nicknamed her body double Skipper for many reasons. One was to remind her of her place—Skipper was always Barbie’s lesser and Sabrina hoped the name reminded the girl of just that.
Just as Sabrina felt her blood heat, Jackson called out her name; the ruse had worked.
Sabrina waved to Skipper from where she hid around a tall marble pillar. When the girl got there, Sabrina could hear her panting—she was almost out of breath.
“I didn’t tell you to fuck him. Here. In front of everyone,” Sabrina snapped. “What the hell were you thinking?”
“You told me to seduce him,” Skipper said over the loud dance music. “I did, and it worked.” She smiled as she fixed her lace Venetian masquerade mask. “You heard him, right? He just shouted out your name.”
Sabrina settled herself quickly. She could see Jackson approaching through the dense crowd. “Fine. Time to take this to the next step. He needs to see you. All of you.”
“He’s coming,” Sabrina’s guard interrupted.
“Already did,” Skipper said under her breath.
“Remember the plan. Get him to take you home,” Sabrina repeated for what felt like the thousandth time. “Do whatever it takes to convince him you are Sabrina London. He needs to…one hundred percent…believe the lie.”
“And if he doesn’t believe me?”
“You know that answer. Don’t make me say it again.”
“Good. Go. Run out the door. He’ll follow you.”
“Will you be okay here?”
Sabrina made a sour face as she glanced about, like it all—the music, the lights, the crowds—disgusted her. “Me? I’m leaving.”
“Okay. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck, Skipper.”
With that, Sabrina’s double stepped into the crowd, caught Jackson’s attention and then dashed for the door. Sabrina stared longingly at her former lover as he passed her by, but he didn’t even glance her way. Even if he had, all he would have seen was another person dressed as Red Death.
“We should get you to the roof,” Sabrina’s guard urged. “Dunyasha will be waiting for us.”
Sabrina gazed at the ceiling, as if she could see the vampire through it. “She’s pacing. For someone with so much time at her disposal, she’s incredibly impatient.”
“My queen?” her guard prompted again.
“Yes, Voss, let’s go home. I’ve had enough of this place.”