The Elixir Maidens, a well known drag queen band reminiscent of the girl groups of the 1950s and 60s, buzzed around a hotel room in the New York vampire haven called Burgundy Peak. Known all over the immortal community as one of the safest, most entertaining places to work and play in, Burgundy Peak was owned by the husband of the Maidens' good friend Mel. With their latest gig in Las Vegas over, the group longed to visit the east again. Playing at a small club with a great reputation was just the sort of break they needed after a year of hustle and bustle.
If we get the gig, of course, thought Ruby, staring at his reflection in the vanity table mirror. Strange that he was more nervous auditioning at Burgundy Peak than performing in a major concert hall. Actually, his anxiety was understandable, considering the club's owner.
"Damn. My hands are shaking so much I can't get this eyeliner on straight," Ruby muttered, for the third time wiping away a streak of black marking the porcelain flesh beneath one of his slanted brown eyes.
His band mate, Crimson, curled his lip while adjusting his falsies beneath his red beaded dress. "Just cool it, Ru. You're getting your shorts in a twist over a stinking audition? Besides, we're pretty much guaranteed this gig because of Mel. Not that we need any help. We're the best. Don't ever forget that."
"Honey, I know we're the best. And it ain't Mel I'm worried about," Ruby continued. "Her husband, not Mel, runs Burgundy Peak, and everyone knows that man's reputation. I mean, this is Zigor. The Zigor. He's a killer in every sense of the word."
"Not to mention the most gorgeous piece of vampflesh this side of the Mississippi," said Scarlet, the third member of their group, his enviably high--naturally high--voice sounding a bit strange since he was carefully applying bright red gloss to his chiseled lips.
"It's not like we're desperate for this gig." Crimson grunted, tugging at his crotch. "Fuck, this tape is killing me. Why the hell did the airline have to lose the suitcase with my gaffs?"
A smile tugged at Ruby's lips. He and Crimson strongly preferred to restrain their male anatomy with an undergarment far more comfortable than tape, so for hours Crimson had been complaining about his missing luggage.
"Oh, poor baby," Scarlet teased, batting his lashes in Crimson's direction. "After the show I can help you peel it off. I swear I'll be really gentle."
Crimson snorted. "Save it, hot stuff."
"Pity a creature as lovely as you only likes girls." Scarlet shook his head, then turned to Ruby. "Whatever possessed us to let a straight guy into our group?"
"He's an absolutely awesome musician," Ruby said, tossing the eyeliner on the vanity. "Forget it. I can't do it."
With a loud sigh, Crimson grasped the eyeliner in one hand and Ruby's chin in the other. "Shut up and hold still. You're acting like a fucking amateur."
Ruby bit back a retort, if only to get his eyeliner applied properly.
A sharp tap on the door was followed by a stern male voice. "The Master will see you now."
Ruby recognized the voice and the exotic, virile scent as belonging to Onan, the club's chief of security. Onan was another delightfully handsome hunk of man. Unfortunately what he possessed in looks he lacked in personality. It had been literally ages since Ruby had met a person with such a sour disposition. As much as Ruby appreciated good looks, he considered charm far more impressive.
"On our way," Scarlet called, then glanced at his companions. "This is it, ladies."
"Let's go," Crimson said, his usually masculine tone now sounding distinctly feminine. In either gender, his rich voice was sexy enough to melt an iceberg.
Moments later, The Elixir Maidens found themselves in the club section of Burgundy Peak bumping and grinding their way through a medley of disco tunes. The club wouldn't open for another hour, so their audience consisted of Mel, Zigor, and several members of the staff who had paused in their work, almost instantly swept away in the Maidens' performance.
Throughout the show, Ruby couldn't keep from glancing in Zigor's direction. Mel had certainly hooked herself up with a stud. The man oozed sex appeal out of every pore, yet he had the look of a cobra about to strike. If Ruby was the squeamish type he'd have shuddered.
When the music ended, Mel and the staff broke into applause. The Maidens even garnered several cat calls. Zigor merely stood, walked to the back of the club, and disappeared through a door.
Crimson held his hands open, his large gray eyes blinking in confusion. "Are we hired or what?"
"I, for one, no longer care if we are hired," Scarlet said in his softest, most deadly voice. "I have had more than enough of the Master."
Ruby grasped Scarlet's arm before he could stalk off. "Hold it. I'm going to talk to Mel."
"What for? I --"
They paused in conversation as Mel approached, a smile on her lips. "You guys were great."
"Of course we were," Crimson said. "So you can tell the Master that no matter what he thinks --"
"He wants you to start on Friday. Have your agent contact him to make the arrangements."
Ruby wrinkled his nose. "But he just walked off. Didn't say a thing."
"With Zigor that can be good," Mel said, then hugged each of them. "It's so great to see you guys again. We have a lot to catch up on. It's going to be terrific having you here for the holidays."
For several moments they talked with Mel before excusing themselves to change out of their costumes.
Back in the room, Ruby peeled off his slinky red dress and pulled on baggy jeans, black spike-heeled boots, and a tank top that accentuated his slender waist made even slimmer by the D cups he preferred. He brushed his long auburn hair until it gleamed.
"Oh man, I'm glad that's over," Crimson grunted, tearing off his dress, wig, and padded bra. He straddled the chair in front of the vanity mirror and began swiping off his make-up in his typical rough manner that nearly made Ruby cringe. If the man didn't learn how to pat instead of scrub, his pretty complexion wasn't going to last another two centuries. "Shit, I gotta get laid."
"Crimson, baby, that's a little detail we just don't need to hear," Scarlet said.
Ruby smirked. "Of course. It's been like a whole two days since you've lured some poor girl into your bed."
"I make them happy."
"Says you," Scarlet muttered.
"If you weren't the wrong shape, baby, I'd show you how happy I make 'em."
Scarlet held up a slender hand. "Please. I gave up horny, self-centered bastards centuries ago."
Ruby slung his duffel bag over his shoulder and opened the door just as Onan was about to knock. Though fairly tall, especially with his boots on, Ruby still had to tilt his head to meet Onan's dark brown gaze.
"Master Zigor wishes you to have the keys to these rooms." Onan extended a large hand adorned with several gold rings, three keys resting in his palm. "They are among Burgundy Peak's finest suites. You may move in immediately."
"Great." Ruby took the keys, tossed one to Crimson, the other to Scarlet, then turned back to Onan. "Anything else we can do for you?"
"No," Onan stated, his expression unreadable. He turned and walked silently down the hall.
A grin tugging at his lips, Ruby shook his head. "Guys, I have a lunch date with a friend. Talk to you later. Crimson, try to stay out of trouble."
"I'm already in trouble," came the strained reply followed by the sound of tape ripping away from flesh, then a string of curses foul enough to make Ruby blush even after fifteen hundred years of living.