The Invitation - Book cover

The Invitation

Teddy

Chapter 1

The lavish black envelope sat unopened on her kitchen table.

It was matte black, her name engraved on the front in silver calligraphy and with a silver wax seal, stamped with the Bane house crest.

She had received the invitation the previous day, and it had sat exactly where it was now ever since. She just couldn’t bring herself to open it. She knew exactly what went on at Bane parties.

It was full of beautiful people who had enough money to buy whatever their hearts desired, and according to her best friend, Lorie, they did just that.

Lorie had been invited last year by Luca, the oldest of the three Bane brothers.

She had accepted—as if there’d really been another option—and when she returned the next morning, she couldn’t believe what had transpired the previous night.

She’d immediately woken up Willow, unable to wait to tell her what had happened—though she was sure her friend wouldn’t believe her.

Willow had heard the most unbelievable story about wealth, beauty, and sex that she’d ever imagined.

It turned out that the Bane men knew quite a few people who shared their tastes for—it seemed to Willow—depravity.

Lorie had spoken of at least a hundred people at the party, which wasn’t surprising. Everyone knew the Banes for one reason or another.

Willow had been slightly stung that she hadn’t been invited, but this didn’t startle her. She wasn’t the type that the Banes typically invited to such events.

Lorie was tall and thin with straight blonde hair and light brown eyes. Her skin was nicely tanned, and to Willow, she always seemed put together somehow—more put together than her, anyway.

Lorie fit in well with the look that the women typically invited to the party had.

Willow, on the other hand, was barely five feet two. She had lush curves, a decently sized chest, and a mane of unruly and curly red hair that spiraled down to her mid-back.

Her skin was porcelain, with the slightest dotting of freckles across the bridge of her nose, drawing attention to the one feature she loved about herself—her bright green eyes.

“Willow, come on. You can’t tell me you don’t want to open it and see which brother invited you,” said Lorie from her spot on the couch.

“I know exactly who invited me.”

Lorie rolled her eyes. “So then you should definitely go. Hell, I’m going.”

“Beautiful, skinny women; money being thrown left and right; people fucking everywhere—What about all that sounds like a place I should be anywhere near?” snapped Willow, standing up from the kitchen table.

She needed to stop staring at the letter, or she might actually get tempted to open it.

“You’re a beautiful woman,” Lorie reminded her. “Besides, it’s not like you have to participate. Plenty of people go there just to relax.”

Willow said nothing, so Lorie continued.

“Oh, come on! We could have a great time. Get drunk, get rich guys to buy us drinks, dance… You can’t tell me it doesn’t at least sound intriguing.”

Willow sighed. Lorie was right. It did sound intriguing, but Willow didn’t want to admit that.

“Please. What did you and Luca end up doing last year? You won’t be with me for more than ten minutes, and you know it,” she said with a chuckle.

“If you go, I promise you I’ll stick with you. Unless, of course, you decide that you want to find someone fun to do,” Lorie said with a wink, both women bursting into laughter.

This was why she loved Lorie. They’d been friends for twenty years, ever since kindergarten, and knew each other better than anyone did.

Willow gave a deep sigh, looking over at the invitation on the table once again, before giving a resigned eye roll and breaking the seal.

The paper that the invitation was written on felt fancy. It was off-white, and written on it in beautiful calligraphy that matched the envelope was:

“Miss Bridges,”

“You are cordially invited to the Banes’ yearly festivities taking place at 11 p.m. on October 13th at the Heathcliff Estate downtown.”

“Drinks, food, and entertainment will be available throughout the night.”

“You will find the dress code and rules on the following pages. The Bane brothers hope to expect your attendance.”

“Damon Bane.”

Willow flipped through the dress code, still not processing that she was likely doing this.

The dress code was as she had expected from what Lorie had told her—tight, skin-baring, but formal. Heels were a must.

The dress code for men was simply a suit, but she assumed it was so that the Bane brothers didn’t have to dress up too much themselves.

The rules were simple enough:

1.) A chauffeur will pick you up at your residence at 10:30 p.m.

2.) Entrance to Heathcliff Estate will close at 12 a.m. sharp.

2.) Nobody is forced to participate in any activities they may find uncomfortable.

3.) The invitation must be presented at the gate to be permitted entrance.

4.) What happens at Heathcliff will stay at Heathcliff.

“So?” asked Lorie, bouncing on her toes.

Willow sighed, setting the letter down and looking at her, her mind made up.

“So I guess I need a dress.”

Next chapter

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