A Night of Masked Intrigue and Hidden Danger: Hot Ice, Cold Blood

Hot Ice, Cold Blood-A Novel Written by Holly Spofford


Available Now on Amazon

Senator Boyd threw the annual Christmas party at the renowned American Hotel, once known as The Old Post Office. After its postal heyday, a wealthy woman—a real estate developer—bought it. People feared for the stately, dignified building and what she planned to do to their landmark. Their concerns were quieted when she announced she was going to use the existing structure to create one of the most luxurious hotels in the DC area.

Victor secured two rooms on the eighth floor for Zeke and Rubi Lee. He instructed them to check in by four o’clock because the party started at six. “You will shower and change in your rooms. Paula will text you any information you need. I think you will enjoy this little taste of luxury. Merry Christmas,” he told them.

“Holy crap, this place is unbelievable,” Zeke commented, staring up at the soaring atrium.

“You’re not kidding. They have running fountains in here. Must be nice to be this rich,” Rubi Lee said.

“We can see everything from up here, just like Uncle Vic
said,” Rubi Lee said when they stepped out of the elevator. “Yep. We can watch their every move,” Zeke answered. “I’m ready for a fun night, right little bro?” Rubi Lee asked. “Oh, Paula just texted. She says we need to be downstairs by seven and to hang there.”

“You know it.” Zeke sounded like a little kid excited
about a new toy. “Time to get ready!”

Outside, the air held an icy bite—a perfect complement to the seasonal merriment drifting through the air. Carols wafted from the speakers and welcomed the guests as they descended steps that were adorned with colorfully lit dwarf Christmas trees. Attendees spun through the giant glass revolving door into the opulent and stunning lobby. Four multi-tiered crystal chandeliers the size of small cumulus clouds hung in the soaring atrium. A tastefully decorated Christmas tree stood twenty feet high. Partygoers waited patiently at the two busy bars at both ends of the lobby. A sitting area the size of an Olympic pool commanded attention where countless royal blue and cream plaid couches sat upon enormous colorful rugs. Soft jazz floated from a baby grand piano. Elegantly dressed guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and sipped a variety of drinks.

Nick and Winston arrived at the party a few minutes after it started.

“Wow, this place is amazing,” Nick said as he gaped at the magnificence of the building. “Do you see Daisy or Jaida anywhere?”

They both scanned the crowd. “Not yet. I texted her when we left and she said they were running a little late. She’ll text when they get here. Let’s get a drink,” Winston replied.
They strolled around, munched on delicious hors d’oeuvres, and absorbed the scene.

“Man, the bigwigs go all out!” Nick remarked.

“They have the cash for it. Or shall I say, the taxpayers do!”

“I agree. Cheers!”

A few minutes later, Winston’s phone buzzed. “They’re here.”

At the front door, more guests were arriving, Jaida and Daisy among them. Jaida was a stunner in a gold sheath floor-length dress. Her mocha skin glowed like the dress. Her dark curls were a fusion of braids and loose tendrils twisted into a relaxed updo. Sparkling sapphire earrings were a subtle and classic touch to her ensemble.

Daisy wore a strapless, black satin dress with thin silver threading patterned throughout the bodice. Her hair flowed in soft waves past her shoulders. A thin, silver jeweled headband was a perfect balance to her dress. Exquisite radiance emanated from her.

I knew she was beautiful, but wow. Nick ran his eyes up and down Daisy several times.

“You guys look great,” Nick said, “like really great.”

Daisy basked in his overt ogling. “Thank you. You do too,” Daisy responded and hugged him. A spark made them jump. “Static electricity I guess?” Daisy tried. They both knew better.

“Well, don’t you guys clean up nicely!” Jaida said and kissed Winston. “Not too bad for rented tuxedos!”

“Would you ladies like a drink?” Winston asked.

“Absolutely!” Daisy said.

Nick held his arm out for Daisy and zigzagged through the crowd.
At the bar, Daisy scanned the crowd. “Seems like all of
DC is here.”

Nick sipped his drink. “I know. I heard talk in the office
that Senator Boyd’s Christmas party is epic. It looks like

everyone is here.”

“Apparently,” she answered. “Think a lot of VIPs are here?”

“Since ninety percent of the people here think they’re VIPs, the answer is yes. Besides, they aren’t going to turn down free food and drink!”

“Neither are we!”
The band opened with Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.” Soon, people filled the dance floor including Daisy, Nick, Jaida, and Winston. They stepped back and watched Henderson joyfully twirl Jackie around the dance floor.

“You kids having fun?” Henderson asked when they all returned to the table they shared.

“Absolutely! How about you?” Nick said.

“Certainly. I spun Jackie around the dance floor, and she was most impressed with my moves,” Henderson said.

“Oh, that was you? I thought I was dancing with Fred Astaire!” Jackie teased.

“Darn close!”
After Senator Boyd wished all the guests a wonderful holiday season, Henderson stood from the table and announced he was off in search of surf and turf. “Come on Jackie, time to eat! You all need to get some food too. Don’t miss out!”

“We wouldn’t dream of it, Henderson,” Nick said. He took Daisy’s hand and stood. “I’m starving. Are you ready to eat?”

“Oh yes. I didn’t eat much today on purpose.”
Nick asked Jaida and Winston if they wanted to join.

“Sure. The food looks spectacular,” Jaida commented,
eyeing the three sumptuous buffets loaded with food from

all corners of the earth.

“I’m ready,” Winston said and rubbed his stomach. “I can’t remember if I even ate today!”

“Typical,” Jaida teased him as they followed Nick and Daisy.

Fifty feet away, Victor, Rubi Lee, and Zeke watched Daisy and her friends return to their table with dinner.

Bitterness and loathing simmered in Rubi Lee. I hate her and her dipshit friends. None of them’ll ever know what it’s like to live hand to mouth, not go to college, not be better. She threw down the last sip of her drink. “Don’t worry Uncle Vic, we’ll take care of her and her friends.”

“Good. You have no choice.” Victor disappeared into the
sea of partygoers.

* * *

Toward the end of the night, Daisy reached over and squeezed Nick’s hand. “This was really fun. I need to use the ladies’ room. I’ll be back.”

“Sure thing,” Nick said.

“Girls, I’m headed to the bathroom. Anyone else need to go?” Daisy looked at Jaida and Jackie.

“Not me, thanks,” Jackie said. “I’ll go,” Jaida said.
When they left the table, Jackie shot Rubi Lee a text telling her Daisy and Jaida were headed to the restroom.

“Zeke, Paula just texted. Daisy and her friend are headed
our way.”

Rubi Lee and Zeke hustled down the stairs to the bathrooms at the end of the hallway. She told Zeke to wait in the men’s room adjacent to the women’s restroom. Tucked in the shadows, Rubi Lee watched Daisy and Jaida meander down the long marble hallway toward her. Suddenly Jaida stopped; Rubi Lee saw her say something to Daisy then walk back toward the party. Rubi Lee dashed across the hall, entered the bathroom, and waited in a stall. Daisy entered the opulent bathroom and placed her drink on the sink before entering the stall. She pumped out the gardenia-scented hand soap and washed her hands. Behind her, a stall door swung open. Daisy glanced up from the sink and saw a petite dark-haired woman in the mirror. Daisy offered a smile as the woman extended a thin, tattooed arm to turn on the water. Her sleeveless evening dress did nothing to hide the rainbow of images twirling up
her arms.

“Your tattoos are pretty,” Daisy remarked as she dried her hands. Something about her awakened Daisy’s memory. “Oh, thanks. Kind of been collecting them,” Rubi Lee
responded, but gave Daisy no eye contact.

“I can tell.” Daisy looked at her harder. “I feel like I’ve
seen you around. Maybe at the Black LaSalle?” “I don’t think so.”
Daisy finished up quickly. “Just a guess. Anyway, have a good night.” She turned and started to walk toward the door.

“Yeah, I will.”
Daisy did not get far. A hand grabbed her by the hair and violently snapped Daisy’s head back. “You’re not going anywhere!” The tattooed woman wrapped her forearm around Daisy’s neck in a surprisingly powerful grip.

“Get off me!” Daisy yelled and slammed her elbow into the woman’s ribcage. A sharp exhale was music to Daisy’s ears. She twisted around and slammed the woman into the marble sink. “Motherfucker!” The woman’s eyes rolled back in pain.

Daisy fumbled for her phone and called Jaida. She was only steps from the door when her attacker shoved Daisy with such force her phone flew from her hand and clacked across the floor.

“Bitch! I’m gonna kill you!” The woman grabbed Daisy’s head and headbutted her. Daisy’s head snapped back into a large mirror. Glass shards exploded from the mirror. Blood ran from the back of Daisy’s head. Stars flashed in front of her.

Daisy snatched a decorative vase from a table. She screamed and swung it at the woman—a split second too late. She only nicked the side of her neck. Infuriated, the woman cracked Daisy’s jaw with a perfectly placed uppercut.

Daisy crumpled to the floor, out cold. Rubi Lee spat on
her. “Bitch.”

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