He wasn’t looking for love or soul mates. He was looking for that Halloween high. Such was his justification. What comes around goes around was more like it.
When Eunice Saint Jacques meets Adrien Ascott at the Halloween party of one of New Orleans’s prestigious hotels, she thinks he’s cute. Nah, she thinks he’s the most gorgeous creature ever. Little does she know he isn’t all that he seems to be, and that this Halloween will seal her destiny forever.
While it’s Presentation Night at Club Sortilege, the renowned New Orleans BDSM club, Yvette Carlisle, the Grand Master’s slave, is worried. What happened to her friend Eunice should never have happened.
Hell, not for a long time.
Yet, here she is, talking to Adrien and uncovering an age-old curse that dates back to 1890 and makes his karma as deadly as that of Count Dracula himself. Is it true, or is he spinning just another tale of bondage and sadism in the plush lounge of Club Sortilege?
When Eunice met him, she thought he was cute.
Nah, whom was she kidding?
She thought he was the most gorgeous and perfect man in the world, but then she hadn’t met too many men, which could explain why she was as bewitched as a schoolgirl.
Which she wasn’t.
She was a full-grown woman with a job, friends, and all that jazz. The job was no more than a boring accountant’s task at an international shipping agency. The friends were two at most, Yvette Carlisle and Palomar Redondo, but who needed more?
Eunice Saint Jacques had never been a popular girl. Despite her fancy last name and illustrious heritage dating back to a once noble and wealthy French family, she’d been the wallflower of every high school party. The one other girls giggled about behind her back, the one no one bothered to speak to, not even to say hi. During those formative years as the only child of Javier and Francine, she’d been pretty much on her own, the lonely student of Crestwood High School in St. Martinville, Louisiana.
That’s where she’d been born and raised in utter misery and depression.
“Eunice, you stop that immediately!” Yvette’s shrill voice startled her. “You hear?”
“Stop what?” Playing the innocent, she gazed at her friend’s image in the mirror while studiously avoiding the reflection of herself.
“You know what.” On the opposite side of Yvette, Palomar sounded exasperated. “That daydreaming stuff you’re always so fond of.”
“Moi?” Eunice’s attempt at a joke failed to move either of her friends.
The three of them were crowded in her tiny–very tiny–flat in New Orleans. This desolate place was the refuge she’d managed to buy after ten-years’ worth of savings, so minuscule that there was scarcely enough space for the three of them. It had the bare minimum, a microscopic kitchen, a convertible sofa that became her bed at nights, a disproportionally large closet, an acceptable bathroom, and a TV set. Unfortunately, also a mirror, the same one they were all squashed against and that would determine her fate tonight.
“Come off it, Eunice,” Yvette’s voice was gentler. “Stop fooling around and concentrate on the dress. What do you think?”
“Yeah, do try to make a serious contribution here,” Palomar chimed in, less cranky as well. “Or it’ll just be Yve and me busting our ass off to make you look nice.”
“What’s the point?” Reluctantly, Eunice returned her focus on her mirror image.
She wasn’t precisely Miss America, so no way a dress could hide that simple fact, no matter how incredible it was. She was just too short and fat for anything to make her look thinner, if only for a night. Her constant dieting hadn’t helped disintegrate the extra inches in her thighs and belly or the lumps she perceived on her hips. Her round, brown eyes and limp brown hair didn’t improve her looks any, maybe because her face leaned toward the pudgy.
“I don’t think it’ll make any difference.”
She was hopeless, after all, had been all her life, so why would things change any tonight?
“Of course, it will.” Yvette stared at her with an optimism Eunice was far from feeling. “Tonight’s Halloween, and we’ve been invited to a very exclusive party in a very exclusive hotel.”
“Yeah, I can’t wait to get into La Maison del Fuego,” Palomar squealed enthusiastically. “I’ve always wanted to go to their renown Halloween event but never dated anyone with the right connections.”
“Now, we’ll all get to go thanks to this fabulous Halloween party.” Yvette giggled, twisting the fake whiskers that were part of her cat outfit.
Eunice watched her with a certain degree of envy. Yvette was everything she wasn’t. Six feet tall, graceful, long, golden auburn hair and feline green eyes, with the miles-long legs of a runner, and a quick intelligence Eunice had come to respect over the three years she’d known her.
“I know it’ll be great fun.” Palomar’s black eyes sparkled at the prospect.
She was another incredibly beautiful woman who bore her Creole ancestry with gracefulness and ease. Not too hard to do when you were five feet nine, had mysterious black eyes, luscious olive skin, regular features, and a mass of glossy black hair tumbling all over the place. Plus, her maid costume with the outrageously skimpy skirt, red stiletto heels, black fishnet stockings, and purplish feather duster strapped to her waist made Palomar look so sexy Eunice had no doubt men would be all over her. Vice versa, they wouldn’t waste a single peek on her, Eunice Saint Jacques, dressed as Queen Elizabeth, the first, not the second.
“For you, I’m sure.” Sadly, Eunice shook her head. “You look gorgeous in your costumes while I…” Wrapped inside the most cumbersome outfit of all, she gazed one more time at her mirror image. “I look more like Henry the Eighth than his daughter Elizabeth.”
True enough. What glared back at Eunice could’ve easily passed for the lost original of Hans Holbein’s famous painting rather than any of William Gaunt’s renditions of the female sovereign.
“Nonsense!” Yvette dismissed her objection with a wave of a hand. “You look stately and regal, which is what Elizabeth was.”
Yeah, anything but sexy. Eunice didn’t share this observation because Yvette and Palomar would’ve reprimanded her for it. Eunice loved them for their fiercely protective attitude and sincere friendship. They had been her anchor and the reason she’d held onto a non-descript job as much as she had.
That was where they’d met, the three of them, Yvette and Palomar being the secretaries of the General Manager and the Chief of Operations of the renowned Goldblum Freight Services. They had proved to be invaluable for Eunice’s peace of mind, but they simply couldn’t get past some things.