“Adelaide, dear, do let Eliza do something with your hair,” demanded Alma. “And why don’t you put on one of your new dresses?”
The young brunette sat down in front of the vanity reluctantly, allowing the maidservant to curl and pin her hair. It was a tiresome process for both women, and Adelaide felt like her cousin’s insistence on her looking presentable so late in the evening was a waste of time, especially if it was meant to impress a man.
“Alma, is someone calling tonight? I told you I was not interested in meeting potential suitors right now.”
“Oh, Adelaide, you will never marry with that attitude! Tonight, we are going to get you one of the newest fashion items – a handbag.”
Adelaide turned around to face her cousin, causing Eliza to painfully pull a strand of her hair. “What on Earth do I need a handbag for? I don’t travel.”
“Handbags are meant to be carried with you daily. It is quite a statement of wealth and status.”
“But I don’t need to make a statement! I can simply talk to a suitor and get to know them.” Adelaide really had no intention of getting to know any suitor and was content living out her days tending to her cousin’s children, but Alma was insistent on her marrying.
Alma eyed her homely cousin. “Trust me, dear, you need men to see you make a statement. They don’t want to hear you. Samuel and I barely talk.”
Adelaide felt sorry for her cousin and the loneliness she endured in her marriage. She was sure she didn’t want to spend her life alone with someone when she was perfectly capable of being alone by herself.
There was a knock on the door, and another maidservant summoned the women to the drawing-room.
Eliza helped Adelaide into a teal silk dress, and Adelaide couldn’t help but feel flustered. She didn’t want a handbag and she didn’t want a husband.
While walking down the hall, Adelaide fantasized about how she could feign ill to get out of the evening’s shopping event. But when she entered the drawing-room, she self-consciously touched her curls, thankful that Alma made such a fuss about her appearance.
Adelaide smoothed the front of the dress and smiled shyly at the alluring figure before her.
The unknown woman wore a wine-red dress that accentuated her black hair, dark features, and pale skin beautifully. A red handbag with black lace accents sat next to her on the loveseat.
Adelaide found herself staring, but the woman did not seem to mind.
“Good evening, Mrs. Edwards,” said a masculine voice.
Adelaide had been so captivated with the woman she hadn’t noticed the other guest. She turned to him as he spoke.
“I am Jasper Whitten, a representative of H. J. Cave, and I have quite the selection for you.”
Jasper had two large trunks full of silk handbags. As he showed each one off, Alma gasped with glee and made comments that barely registered with Adelaide – her attention was on the woman in red.
“Adelaide, did you hear me? This one would be beautiful with your pink dress, don’t you think?”
Adelaide nodded but remained focused on the woman. “What do you think, Mrs. –?”
“Miss Whitten. I’m Jasper’s sister. You can call me Isadora.” She looked at the handbag with disinterest. “I don’t think much of any of these handbags if I’m being honest. I don’t understand the trend.”
Jasper laughed, a little too forcefully. “My sister jests. These handbags are the talk of London. Every woman of class needs one!”
All too fast, the evening came to a close. As Alma made her purchases, Isadora excused herself and exited the front door, leaving her own handbag behind.
Adelaide picked it up and followed, feeling pulled by an invisible string.
“Isadora!” She called as she walked out the front door. Adelaide saw a shadow turn down the alley next to their home, and she followed suit.
But the alley was empty.
Disappointed, Adelaide turned to make her way back, her head down.
“Looking for me?” purred Isadora. “You might want to think twice about that.”
Adelaide had never known such enthrallment. “You are beautiful,” she stammered.
“Beautifully frightening.” Isadora stepped close to Adelaide and began moving her lips dangerously close to Adelaide’s skin.
Adelaide felt her heart beat fast as Isadora began kissing her neck.
And then, Adelaide felt the sharp pain of Isadora’s bite.
About The Author
Kayla E. Green is an English teacher, published poet, and writer. Her favorite color is pink, and her favorite holiday is Halloween. She enjoys reading a variety of genres, and enjoys writing fantasy, thrillers, and occasionally horror. When she isn’t reading or writing, she is working on her blog or taking photos for her bookstagram account. Kayla also enjoys spending time with her husband and their four furbabies.
If you’d like to see what else Kayla is up to , you can find her at the following: