ELEGANTLY WASTED by C. Elizabeth Vescio
On the eve of her high school graduation, proper socialite Francesca “Frankie” Fairholm rebelled against her elitist and controlling family to pursue the dark lifestyle of a contract killer for the enigmatic Osiris Corporation. Years later, with her training complete, she believes she’s doomed to the life of a sociopathic lone gun until a botched hit brings two unlikely allies, her cousins Addison and Katharine.
Using Katharine’s etiquette school, Elegance, Inc., as a front, the trio weave through Frankie’s dark underworld, carrying out contracts, drinking too much wine, and trying not to get each other killed.
Trouble follows the team home when the death of the cruel Fairholm matriarch reveals more than they ever wanted to know about their family. As the funeral preparations play out, the trio begin to realize there is much more to their employer than meets the eye and their family connections run deeper than they ever imagined.
ABOUT C. ELIZABETH VESCIO
She enjoys cynical debates, cupcakes, making her mother-in-law sew her aprons that she never wears, zombies, the Fifth Element and Tomb Raider. She gathers her life inspirations from Neil Gaiman, Julia Child and Paul Simon. When she isn’t out photographing her next project, she’s studying color, concept and design or writing stuff down in hopes it makes sense one day… or she’s on Pinterest.
She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and three dogs.
Excerpt from Elegantly Wasted
This excerpt is the introduction of Judah Cohen- one of my favorite characters to write. He’s a pillar for Frankie. He guides her and understands her sociopathic tendencies.
I squinted more into the light and could see two silhouettes. From their size I made an educated guess that they were men.
“Hello?” I found my voice. “Hey assholes! What the fuck? This is illegal, you know. Let me go!”
“She’s ready,” one man said to the other.
“I told you so,” was the response.
Oh, swell. This was going great. Wonderful idea, Frankie—really.
I could hear the men talking in hushed tones as they walked away from me. A door opened and closed; it sounded heavy, like a dungeon door. Seriously, where the fuck was I—the Sixteenth Century?
The music shut off, thank God. But now the silence was even more unsettling, and I was still wet and freezing.
“I’ll sue your asses if I catch pneumonia!” I yelled into the darkness, trying hard to make my voice sound as steady as possible. Maybe if I put up a cool exterior, it would work out for me like it did for Bruce Willis in The Last Boyscout. I could hope.
The bright light turned off, and I could finally see my surroundings.
Cozy, if you’re Ed Gein.
This place was a total dungeon—rock walls, metal doors, weak lighting hanging from the walls.
The door opened again, and a man walked in. His dark skin blended in with the even-darker rock walls. He was older—in his forties—with a serious face. I had a twinge of recognition, but I knew I didn’t know him… he just had one of those faces… pleasant. It made me relax a little.
He smiled at me and started to rip off the duct tape.
“Hello, Francesca,” he said. “Pleased to meet you.”
“Fuck off,” I spat, hoping he wasn’t a murderer. “Tell me what’s going on? This all seems highly unnecessary. This was a nice Fred Siegel shirt you just ruined.”
I was free, and I stood up quickly. He held out his hand and I jumped away from it as if it were a spider.
“My name is Judah Cohen,” he said, noting my uneasiness. “I’m sorry for the dramatic indoctrination policies around here, but given the nature of our company, you’ll understand.”
I took his hand hesitantly and shook it.
“Nature of your company? What company? Where am I?”
The smile never left his face. “Osiris, Ms. Fairholm. You’re in one of our many training facilities. You’ve been asked to join an elite group of contract killers.”
I threw him an incredulous look. “Ahh, what?”
His smile became riddled with mild frustration. “Contract,” he enunciated. “Killers. I’m here to train you to be a weapon.”
Odd that this scenario didn’t enter my mind at all. Silly me.
“Look,” I did my best to straighten myself out to my full and unimpressive five-foot-three. “I don’t know what drugs you’re giving out down here in Buffalo Bill’s basement, but I know a felony when I see one. Kidnapping is a felony.”
“You got on the plane, Ms. Fairholm,” Judah responded. “So obviously you were prepared for a worst-case scenario.”
“Yeah but I didn’t think…”
“That you could be tagged as a potential assassin right out of high school? I know,” he rolled his eyes. “But you’re here, and that’s my offer. So take it or leave it.”
“Awesome, Mr. Rogers,” I frowned. “And if I say no?”
He smiled. “I can’t guarantee a safe return to the United States, but the letter specifically said make a choice. You could have stayed home.”
The man had a point.
He gestured across the room. “Walk through that door and your life will change.”
“Hey, I know this movie,” I laughed. “Keanu Reeves takes the red pill. You must be Morpheus.”
There is no spoon, motherfucker.
“Right this way, Ms. Fairholm.”
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