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Seven Deadly Sinners
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Welcome to Sin, Incorporated.
Her father sold her to us to clear his debt.
An angel of virtue. And seven brothers of sin.
She’s ours to do with as we please.
We share our conquest of her. As she captures our hearts.
We can train her.
But we have enemies. And so does she.
Will we survive to protect her?
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Christmas Day isn’t supposed to be like this.
I’m at my father’s mansion in Westchester County, about an hour outside of New York City. I hate it here now. It’s a cold and brooding place with lots of fireplaces, but not a lot of warmth.
At least not since my father divorced my mom and kicked her out.
Out of the dozens of rooms, I’ve picked one little guest room at the end that’s far removed from my father and his new wife Mary.
I’m curled up in the window seat of my room reading an Alexis Angel book, but I take a reprieve to stare out at the snow gently falling upon the tree-lined driveway and the expansive grounds. It’s beautiful here, sure, but there’s not a lot of cheer.
“Caroline! Dinner’s being served.” The shrill voice of my stepmother, Mary, cuts into the peace I’m trying to find. I sigh and give up my little sanctum to go deal with my father and his new wife.
I step into my Louboutins, which match my gauzy white designer dress, and head down for the Christmas Eve feast.
I pull my sweater tightly around my body and attempt to perk up despite sitting down to a table with just my dad and stepmom. He’s an overwhelming bully who kicked my mom to the curb the moment she started to age.
Mary’s the younger model who married my dad for the cash and not much else. She’s a gold-digger for sure, and—get this—she’s the exact same age as I am. Gross, right?
“So, Dad, who cooked this nice dinner?” I ask, trying to make conversation, even though I’m sure I’ll regret it.
My father, Edwin, looks up from his plate as though he’s just now noticing that I’m here. Nothing new there. “What? Oh, um, the chef, Carl. You remember him, right?”
“No, honey,” Mary says. “Carl is new. Caroline’s been away at Vassar. She’s been relying on college food. But you wouldn’t know good food anyway, would you now, Caroline?”
Her remarks are always laced with an underlying insult or criticism. She hates me as much as I hate her, like she thinks I’m a threat or something.
“Well, I grew up with private chefs, you know,” I reply, my voice dripping with insincerity. “But at school, the last thing on my mind is what I eat. I’m just so into my studies.”
“Oh, that’s great, sweetie.” My dad is barely listening as he pours himself more scotch. He turns right back to Mary and gives her a salacious look that makes me nauseous.
Right over Christmas Eve dinner.
This depresses me. Nothing is the same without my mother here. This is the first Christmas I’ve ever spent away from her.
I feel like my father’s trying to etch her out of my mind and heart, but it will never happen. He hardly even notices me these days, so I don’t understand why it’s so important for me to be here for Christmas Eve dinner.
I push the food around on my plate, my appetite gone. I can’t wait until I’m twenty-five, and I can get my hands on my trust fund and live the way I want to live. Then I won’t have to come here or be under my dad’s control ever again.
He’s got me under his thumb by keeping me away from my mom. Being here on such a special night like this makes me miss her more than ever. It’s like part of my soul’s been taken away.
It’s just not Christmas without Mom.
Mary’s serving herself more wine and they’re both getting drunk like usual. I wonder when I can make my escape to my room and get back to my book. It was a hell of a lot more interesting than this farce of a holiday celebration.
I’m silently plotting a way out, but before I can do anything, a pounding, shredding noise slices through the Christmas music piping through the hidden sound system. The sound is coming from the foyer.
Mary and I both scream as we look around. That sound…oh my, God. An axe is chopping through the front door!
Then someone kicks the door in. My breath catches in my throat.
Three hulking beasts of men come striding through, and I sink back into my chair in horror.
Somebody get me outta here!
They must be six foot five, all of them, and made of pure stone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen men that ripped in my life. I shiver in fear at the sight of them and wish more than anything that I wasn’t here.
Why couldn’t I have just spent Christmas with Mom?
Holy shit. These guys are wearing black safety vests and they’re carrying huge guns. It’s a lot to take in. I find that I’m shaking all over.
What’s going on here? Is this the kind of business my dad’s into? I’m horrified, and I wonder if these are my last moments on earth.