Halloween Week

When the boys were littler, they looked forward to Halloween in the fall, maybe it made up for having to go back to school at the end of summer, I’m not sure. But they spent some time figuring out their costumes beforehand, and then on trick or treat night, admiring their haul. There were a couple of years hubs set up scary things here at the house for trick or treat night so he could have some fun while I walked the boys up and down our street. Last year, we opted for safety and didn’t hand out candy, and with the new case numbers here in our county holding steady at a pretty high number every day, we’re doing the same. I was actually surprised by how many trick or treaters made their way around the neighborhood last year.

I was never a big costume person for Halloween when I was a kid, but we lived in the boonies. Seriously, our closest neighbor was about a half mile or so up the road, which meant my mom had to put us in the car and drive us, plus there really weren’t many places for us to go in the middle of nowhere. As an adult, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve dressed up for something. No, maybe two hands, counting Romantic Times conventions, and even those were pretty quick things–a medieval dress I found in a catalog and a cute off-the-shoulder top and matching gauzy tiered skirt for a gypsy with ankle bells. When I worked at Waldenbooks, we had a few release parties that we dressed up for–Harry Potter parties, I got a witch hat and a shawl, and for another series I don’t remember, I did tarot readings, so the gypsy outfit made another appearance.

It’s family dinner day today, the last day of my four-day weekend (during which I got not nearly enough accomplished), so before I go pull lasagna from the oven, I have a snippet for you from Protecting Medusa.

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Ryder took a drink, though she couldn’t understand how, with that miserable grin still spread over his face. “You, Mena, are afraid to be in a relationship with a man stronger than you are.”

She blinked at him, her heart pounding faster. “What?” How could a man she’d managed to avoid for so long know so much about the way her brain worked?

“I’ve seen your ‘dates’. Bunch of pansies, without a spine in the whole lot. You pick men who won’t argue when you decide you’re done with them.” He lifted his fork. “It’s a tactic I’m immune to.” He scooped up more eggs.

Her mouth was dry, but she refused to lift her glass and let him know he’d hit the mark with his assessment of her. “How long have you been spying on me?” she asked instead.

He shook his head, swallowing his eggs. “Just trying to make sure you were safe. Can’t have you bringing danger home to Jason.”

That was low, and she shot him a fierce glare. “I have never dated anyone who was a danger to Jason,” she ground out.

“I know.” His grin remained smug, and she wanted to smack it off his face. “You’ve never dated anyone who was a threat to your remaining single either.”

She shoved away from the table, her chair screeching with the sudden movement. “My dating is none of your business.” She jolted to her feet and spun away.

“You haven’t dated anyone who would present any sort of challenge to you,” he continued from behind her as she walked the few steps to the sink. “Is it because you’re really that afraid, or because you were just waiting for the right man to come along?”

She shook her head, anger and fear clogging her throat, and gripped the edge of the sink so hard her knuckles turned white. There was no ‘right man’ for her. Not for the Medusa.

Behind her, his chair scraped over the floor. “I’m not a spineless wonder like any of those guys,” he said, his booted footsteps drawing nearer. “And I’ve been waiting a very long time, so I’m not going away quietly.”

Philomena shut her eyes.

His big hands settled on her shoulders. “But I promise I’ll never hurt you, Mena,” he whispered, too close to her ear.

She jabbed her elbow into his ribs, hard, surprising him into releasing her. She slid away along the counter. “But I might hurt you.” She patted the hilt of her dagger through her skirt as she faced him. “You know I’m armed, right?”

He rubbed his side where she’d elbowed him, still grinning. “Bring it, baby.”

Her jaw dropped, and he laughed. Suddenly, his smile vanished.

“Get down.”

“What?” She frowned.

He pushed her to a crouch, then moved the the doorway of the guest room, grabbing his gun from the open bag on the bed.

Her heart jumped into her throat at the sight of it.

“We have company,” he breathed, peering through the narrow space she’d made when she parted the living room curtains earlier to let some morning light in.

She fumbled her skirt out of her way and unsheathed her dagger, wrapping her fingers tight around the hilt. It felt good against her palm, but her hand shook. Two days in a row was a little much.

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So…do you enjoy dressing up in costume for Halloween? Do you still? Do you have other traditions, not related to costumes and candy for this holiday? I’d love to hear about it.

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