Authors: Nikki Jefford
Tags: #vampire, #urban fantasy, #paranormal romance, #short story, #science fiction, #action adventure, #vampire hunter, #novella, #alaska, #alaska adventure, #new adult, #mature young adult, #new adult fantasy, #aurora sky, #valerie ward
Vol. 2.6, Evil Red
By Nikki Jefford
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the
author has used them fictitiously.
Copyright © 2014 Nikki Jefford
All rights reserved
Cover designed by © Najla Qamber Designs
FOR THE GINGER PIMPS
The trouble with sharing a double-wide trailer with
four sisters and a drunk mother was everyone always got into
’d found a scuff mark on her black heels. Tonight, her
favorite tube of red lipstick disappeared from her oversized makeup
If those skanks wanted to wear nice stuff, they
should steal their own shit.
Valerie decided to blame Laura even though her
younger sister had never shown interest in boys, fashion, or
makeup. Obviously the girl had been switched at birth or her father
was an even bigger loser than Valerie’s. Still, Laura was seen with
red lips the shade of Catfight at the beginning of the week. At the
time, Valerie assumed she’d finished sucking a lollypop.
Valerie set her makeup bag on top of the toilet and
leaned into the mirror with her angry face. Damn, she looked
fierce. She practiced a variety of expressions every day for when
her time came to audition for the silver screen.
First she had to graduate from high school. Next stop,
Now to make better use of her death glare by
directing it at Laura. Valerie had to take deliberate steps down
the cramped hallway in her micro-mini skirt. If it had been any
tighter, she would be hopping down the hall rather than
Valerie threw open the door of their shared bedroom.
Laura gave a start from her corner, where she sat on top of her
quilted bedspread with a magazine and pen. Probably taking a
Am I a
A. Most definitely yes.
“Where is my lipstick?” Valerie demanded.
Laura scowled. “What lipstick?”
“Catfight from Urban Decay. I saw you wearing it
earlier in the week.”
“No I didn’t.”
Their eyes locked.
Laura waved a hand in the air. “
Look, I don
’t know where your stupid
lipstick is. You have like a gazillion. Why don’t you wear
“Because, I want Catfight,” Valerie said, advancing
on her sister with each word. She made it to the edge of Laura’s
bed and snatched her sister’s magazine from her lap.
“Hey!” Laura cried, reaching for her latest issue of
Valerie held it up high. Even without heels, she was
three inches taller than Laura. She took a step back and lowered
the magazine to see what her sister had been reading. A quiz. How
“Does your crush know you exist?” Valerie read aloud.
“So that’s why you stole my lipstick.”
“I didn’t steal it, I borrowed it, and put it right
back. Ask Janice. She’s the one always getting into your things.
How come you never harass her?”
There was no fighting with Janice. Because she’d been
born first, she had it in her head that she knew better than
anyone. Janice didn’t even bother lying. She’d end up telling
Valerie that she’d buy her a new one… then never do it.
Chances were much better with Laura.
“You owe me a tube of lipstick.”
Laura’s lip folded over. “I only used it once.”
“You used it, you owe me. I better see twenty-four
dollars on my nightstand by the end of the weekend.”
“You’re such a bitch,” Laura grumbled. “I want my
Valerie glanced at the open page before shooting her
sister a wicked grin. “Don’t bother with the quiz. I already have
the answer for you and it’s ‘no’. Whatever guy you’re all hot for
doesn’t know you exist and never will.”
Laura’s face contorted in rage right before she
screamed. “Get out!”
“Twenty-four dollars by Sunday,” Valerie said before
tossing the magazine at her.
Valerie inched her way back to the bathroom and dug
around her makeup bag until she found an acceptable substitute. As
she puckered her lips, she caught her youngest sister, Ali,
watching from the hallway.
Okay, so that one was sweet.
Valerie fluffed out her thick ginger locks and
smiled. “Thank you, Ali Bear. Come here, I have something for
Ali stepped into the bathroom as Valerie dug around
her bag until finding what she was looking for—pink lip shine still
in the box. Valerie watched her sister out of the corner of her
eyes as she took the lip shine out. She crouched down to unscrew
the top and pull out the lip brush, showing Ali it was like nail
polish for the lips.
“This stuff stays on all day,”
Ali held both hands out. “Thank you, Valerie!”
As Ali retreated into the hall with her gift, Valerie
called out, “That’s just for you. No sharing with your
A car horn blasted through the trailer’s shell,
followed by an audible sigh from the adjacent
“Val, your flavor of the month’s here,” Lyndsey
called from the living room.
Valerie checked her lips in the mirror. What they
needed was some extra shine. Valerie dipped into her bag.
The horn blasted again.
Valerie took a closer look at her cheekbones and
decided to add a dab more rouge. Todd was going to have to learn
that the more times he honked, the longer he waited. The only
reason he’d passed his first screening was because he looked like a
young Vin Diesel and owned a Volkswagen Eos with a retractable
hardtop. It wasn’t a Jag, but Valerie always had her eyes open.
She grabbed her oversized canary yellow purse and
proceeded down the hallway to the closed-in living space. Mom was
passed out on the faded green recliner, a cigarette still
smoldering in the ashtray at her side. With the way her head
drooped back at a crooked angle, her mouth hanging open, she looked
Janice, the oldest, sat strategically on top of her
boyfriend’s lap. He massaged her shoulders gently. They were saving
up for their own place, as Janice was fond of reminding everyone.
That was the only reason they were still graced with her
Nothing would give Valerie greater pleasure than to
leave before Janice. It was hard to tweak the queen bee, but if Val
made it out first, that would have to sting.
Valerie smiled to herself as she made for the
“You got protection?” Janice asked in her “I’m the
adult here” voice.
Valerie reached inside her purse and pulled out a
Smith and Wesson revolver. Best breakup gift ever. Not that John
had given it to her, but he taught her to use it at the firing
range. That had been a memorable date. Better than sex.
“I meant condoms,” Janice said, rolling her eyes at
the gun as though it were nothing more dangerous than a hairbrush.
“Unless you want to end up with a trailer full of brats you’ll make
him use protection.”
Nice try, Janice. Once she graduated from high
school, the only double-wide Valerie would ever step foot in would
be her personal makeup and costume trailer on a movie set. That
plan did not involve rug rats.
“I wasn’t born yesterday. No glove, no love.”
More like showing off for her boyfriend.
“Just worry about yourself, Janice,” Valerie said as
she slipped out before her sister had a chance to respond.
Outside, Todd had his music blaring, tapping his
steering wheel, rocking back and forth while jutting his chin
forward. He was Valerie’s first blonde and the tallest dude she’d
ever dated. Usually she enjoyed looking at his face, except for now
when he wore the petulant look of an over-privileged boy not used
to waiting for anything. Well, Valerie wasn’t used to being
summoned by a car horn so that made two of them with lowered
When Valerie closed the trailer door, Todd glanced
over. One look at her long naked legs put a grin back on his face.
Boys were nothing if not predictable. Still, he didn’t bother
getting out of the car to open Valerie’
s door for her.
This flavor was starting to sour.
Valerie opened the passenger door with deliberate
care before easing into the seat with all the regality of a
princess… if princesses wore miniskirts, halter tops, and three
layers of makeup.
Todd put a hand on her bare thigh and leaned over to
kiss her with tongue.
“Hey, babe. Where to?” he asked when he pulled
Valerie fluffed her hair back. “Club Hell.”
EXT. DOWNTOWN L.A. CLUB—NIGHT
Club Hell was an under twenty-one club in downtown
L.A. where Valerie met up with Babette, her BFF, on weekends. It’s
where Val had all her dates take her.
After fussing at the valet about being careful with
his car, Todd followed Valerie into Club Hell.
The music pounded against the walls with fist-like
force. Todd stopped to watch three heavy-set bouncers break up a
fight between two white guys.
Valerie looked over her shoulder. “Todd!”
“Just a minute.”
If he wanted to stand around gawking then he could
come find her when he was through. Valerie passed the booths, which
were all taken, and headed to the bar. All of the bartenders at
Club Hell were dressed like devils with little red horned
headbands. The waitresses wore sequined headbands and were dressed
as sexy She Devils. The club was wicked cool and had a killer
Valerie moved in on a tall round table with stools as
the occupants gathered their purses to leave. With a quick push,
Valerie hoisted herself onto one of the stools. She dug out her
compact mirror and checked her makeup. The club didn’t have the
best lighting, but enough to see her mascara hadn’
Valerie snapped the mirror shut after she heard a
familiar voice say, “there’s my girl.”
She grinned and turned on the stool, air kissing
Babette on the cheeks.
“Yo, baby blue,” Babette answered, using her pet name
for Valerie. Babette once dated an Australian who told her they
liked to nickname their things using opposites. For example, he’d
called his little red truck “
Babette loved the concept and had dubbed Val “baby
blue” ever since.
Valerie didn’t have an internationally inspired
nickname for her friend. She was “Babs” and always would be.
Babs was slightly overweight, but that didn’t stop
her from wearing tight dresses with plunging necklines. She had
crazy brown curls and wore flashy jewelry—the bigger the better.
Tonight, it was a braided three-tone metal necklace, chunky hooped
earrings, and a cuff bracelet as wide as a manacle.
Babette tossed her curls around. “
Todd strode over and placed a hand on Valerie’s
“Oh man, you should have seen that,” he said. “One of
the guys wouldn’t let up so the bouncer wrestled him to the
ground—had him pinned to the floor.”
Who said Valerie didn’t know how to show a guy a good
time? She wasn’t the kind of girl who walked around the mall
holding hands with her date, sharing fries in the food court. Life
was meant to be lived on the wild side.
Babette asked, ogling Todd.
“Babette, Todd. Todd, Babette.”
“Hey,” Todd said, lifting his chin.
“Hey, yourself,” Babette said in a flirtatious
“I’ll get us some drinks,” Todd said.
“I want a Red Bull,”
Valerie said, twisting her hair in her finger.
First Todd had to push his way through the dance
space between the tables and bar.
“Hurry back,” Babette called after him, giving his
butt a lingering look.
“Careful, Babs,” Valerie said, though she couldn’t
care less how long her friend stared at her date’s ass. Tonight,
that ass belonged to her. Let the other girls admire it so long as
they kept their hands off.
“He’s okay for now.”
“Uh-oh, trouble in paradise?” Babette lifted her
perfectly plucked brows up and down.