Home > Spark (The Hellfire Quartet Book 1)

Spark (The Hellfire Quartet Book 1)
Author: Cynthia Dane




Chapter 1




Nobody in Hellfire knew Bree’s last name, and she liked it that way.

Of course, the people who needed to know could look at her and say her last name, but they never would. That would break every privacy rule in the club’s manifesto. One of the reasons Bree decided to make a weekly home out of downtown LA’s foremost club for the erotically minded was because the owners of Hellfire took privacy seriously. She had been to clubs all over southern California that left a bitter taste in her mouth. If anyone has anything to hide, it’s me. Yet, I don’t. Have anything to hide, that was. Bree simply appreciated her privacy, and keeping her identity a secret was paramount.

She wasn’t a celebrity. Not even adjacent to the Hollywood A-listers who occasionally prowled through Hellfire on a rowdy Saturday night. During the day, Bree was a boring businesswoman who co-ran a successful startup that had absolutely nothing to do with her nighttime predilections. Her sister was her partner. My younger sister, in case I need it to feel grosser to bring her to a place like this. Never in a million years. Bree and her sister kept their personal life to the Sunday night family dinner table and Christmas morning. Beyond that, they stayed out of each other’s business.

Just as well, because Bree wasn’t forthcoming about her desires. Not even to her closest friends, who were as vanilla as they came. Sure, she had friends in the BDSM circuit, but it was difficult for a single gal to find much camaraderie without the horns of jealousy sprouting from her head. Bree’s last relationship of any merit had been a year and a half ago, and she would never forget the taste of defeat when her ex-girlfriend expressed a need for a different kind of domination in her life.

Bree pulled up to the center bar in the front of the club. She caught a confident man in a three-piece suit sharing a martini with a lovely lady he barely knew. I can tell, because he’s using any excuse to brush his hand against her and make her laugh. Those were Bree’s favorite tricks to seduce a woman, not that she always had luck. Not even on the LGBT nights, when a woman like her should have her pick of lovely ladies looking for fun.

The woman laughed so hard that she almost choked on her sip of martini. The man solicited a handkerchief from the bartender and offered it to the woman who soon said, “Here’s hoping you get my key tonight, stranger.” She slipped off her stool and walked away with her hand lingering on his shoulder. The look on his face was pure lust.

“Been like that all night.” Kyle, the bartender, came over to Bree’s side of the bar and leaned down before her. “Weirdest thing watching straight people toy with each other at the monthly key party.”

Bree snorted. “Sorry you don’t get as many tips as you do on gay nights.”

“Heeey, the tips here are insane, no matter how you look at it.” Bree believed him. They were friends even before he started working at Hellfire and she started patronizing it, but she still left him fifty dollar tips on top of the three or so drinks she usually ordered. When each drink costs about twelve bucks, that’s still over a hundred percent in tips. Bree would give him more if she could, but she was far from the richest bitch to frequent Hellfire, which commanded thousands of dollars in yearly membership fees. Participating in big events like the monthly key party or the bi-annual auctions cost more on top of that, although her membership gave her one free party a year.

It was already June, and she hadn’t found a reason to cash in her free chip yet.

“Gay nights get me more, for sure. Even lezzies tip me better than straight people do.”

“It’s because you help us out.” Bree nodded when Kyle pointed to her usual bottle of rum. While he went to work mixing her drink, she continued, “Speaking of, any cute unicorns?”

“Cute? Yes. Unicorns? A few.” Ice rattled in the glass before the lid popped off the bottle. Kyle always put on a good show whenever he made a drink, but he didn’t have to in front of Bree, who would tip him well no matter what. “The ones who intersect those two words are honestly more trouble than they’re worth, though.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, you know.” Kyle pulled a can of Coke from the mini-fridge beneath the bar. “Women who say their partners know they’re here playing, but you’re never too sure. Women who were in here last week saying they were in love and now can’t remember who they slept with.” The drink appeared before Bree, who snatched it with a greedy hand. “Women.”

Scoffing, Bree sipped her rum and coke. “My favorite kind.”

Kyle’s smirk of acknowledgment was what Bree fished for, but he had a mouth on him, too. “Are you here for the key party? Or are you fishing for new blood the old-fashioned way?”

“Depends.” Bree dabbed the corners of her mouth with a branded napkin. “If there are cute single women in the mix, I might be inclined to make their nights a little less lonely. I do love a good key party. Not knowing who you’ll end up with is half the excitement.”

“Yeah, I hear you like mixing it up.” Kyle’s laughter aroused suspicion from the other end of the bar, but nobody cared what a butch woman and her gay bartender friend talked about in a sex club. “Surprised I don’t see you here on orgy night more often.”

“It’s really not as much fun without a partner of your own to go home with.”

Kyle stopped laughing. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Bree knew he was being his usual charming self, but what she said was true. Bree was up for many things. While she had tried poly relationships and found them wanting outside of the club and bedroom, there was something to be said for the thrill of swinging. Kinda hard to swing, though, if you don’t have a significant other who’s into it, too. Bree had lived with such women before, but those relationships never lasted more than three or four years. They never ended because of the kind of sex they liked to have, though. It was always something else. One wanted kids, and I don’t. Another got the job opportunity of a lifetime on the other side of the world, and I have my own thing here. Bree knew when to end her relationships if needed, but that didn’t mean it felt good.

“I’m sure the lady of your dreams is waiting for you out there,” Kyle said. A small group of three gossiping women sat a few stools away. “See ya in a bit, Bree.”

Bree saw him back to work with a wave of her hand. After nursing her drink for a few minutes, she would slink off her stool and check out the emerging crowd behind her.

One day, I’ll admit to myself that this is a fool’s game I play. Bree played a lot of stupid games when it came to her relationships, but the past few months had been a special level of desperate. No longer was she twenty-one and too stupid to know when to stop drinking. Nor was she twenty-five and trying her hand at serious, long-term relationships. She was thirty, for fuck’s sake. That monumental birthday had come and gone without much fanfare, since Bree was still nursing her wounds from her last big breakup. I met her on that couch over there. Bree could still remember coming upon the woman she called the “lily of my valley.” The poor dear was a first-timer and had no friends to chat with while waiting for her female prince charming to come whisk her away. So, Bree had to fill both roles.

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