It’s almost Halloween, and of course that means the annual costume debate. If you’ve got kids, it’s what do they want to be for Halloween. Then there’s the endless changing of minds even after they’ve decided – and you’ve bought (or even worse, spent hours making) the darned costume. If you’ve been invited to a costume party, then you’ve got to figure out what you – and your significant other, if you’ve got one – will be. Which can be almost – if not more – traumatic than dealing with the kiddos.
My husband and I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in a few years, and our daughter’s a teenager now and hasn’t either. But this year I volunteered to play Professor McGonagall from the popular Harry Potter books at our local library’s Hogwarts Halloween fundraiser, which was this past weekend. So I got to don a robe and hat and carry a wand.
The library volunteers did an amazing job of transforming the space into Hogwarts. The kids had classes in charms, divination, quidditch and potions, where they made boo bubbles, ghost eggs and troll boogies. They were fitted for their wands at Ollivander’s Wand Shop, read tea leaves in divination, stupefied prefects in charms and even simulated flying in quidditch, thanks to a large screen and aerial video footage taken by a flying drone.
It was really amazing seeing these kids, ranging in age from six to around thirteen, get so absorbed in everything. Some of them really took it seriously! I had to be careful to sort them into the houses they specified on their student information cards or tears would be shed (which, of course, resulted in an inordinate number of Gryffindors). And my friend who was playing Mr. Ollivander had to make sure to tell the children that their wands would not work outside of Hogwarts, so they wouldn’t be disappointed when they got home and couldn’t stupefy their family and friends.
The adults who came to the gala at night, where we did abbreviated versions of the classes, were just as into it. They made potions, played quidditch and had their tarot cards read with as much enthusiasm as the kids did during the day. The whole thing was really a testament to the power one book (or series of books) can have. As well as a heck of a lot of fun. I really enjoyed dressing up, and I hope the library does the fundraiser next year so I can have the chance to do it again.
It got me thinking about what costumes my hero and heroine in Triple Threat, Nick and Holly, would wear for Halloween. Nick’s an uber-alpha male, tall, dark and devastatingly handsome, an action film star with muscles on his muscles. But he’s also got a more serious, sensitive side, coming from a home with an abusive father. I can see him as a swashbuckling pirate, complete with eye patch and sword. Or a gladiator, with one of those Roman kilts, leg straps and wrist cuffs (and a bare chest, of course). Sexy, for sure, but always ready to fight to protect what’s his.
Holly’s a little more challenging. A playwright, she’s the girl next door, sweet, smart and a little on the shy side. Not one to flaunt her wares, you wouldn’t catch her dressing as a naughty nurse or sexy kitten. I see her more as a classic fairy tale character, like Snow White or Alice in Wonderland. Beautiful, but pure and innocent.
The Theater of Temptation presents Sabotage…and Seduction!
The Playwright: It’s emerging playwright Holly Nelson’s big break. Broadway. Having survived her traumatic marriage and divorce, Holly is now aiming for success, not love. And any naughty dreams about Nick Damone—the gorgeously dishy star who was her crush back in high school—must remain a fantasy.
The Star: For Nick, Broadway is a chance to go from big-screen-eye-candy to serious actor, and to explore the lust blazing between him and Holly. But life-threatening accidents will force a chain of events that could bring down the curtain on the whole production…or give Nick and Holly a chance to finish the sexy something that started fifteen years ago!
Here’s a short excerpt:
A knock at the door, followed by her mother’s voice, made both of them startle. “Are you up, Niccolò? I thought I heard voices.”
Damn. So much for whispering. Her stomach clenched like a guilty teenager, caught with her pants down. Or open. Not that she’d been the kind of kid to sneak a guy over. That was Noelle’s territory. Holly was what her sister would call a late bloomer.
She prodded Nick, mutely urging him to respond. “Uh, yeah, I’m up, Mrs. Nelson.” He scrambled for his jeans, lying in a heap on the floor, while Holly cowered near the most convenient hiding place—the closet—refastening her own pants and straightening her shirt. “Just, um, talking to my agent on the phone.”
“Isn’t it a little early for a business call?”
“You haven’t met Garrett. The man doesn’t sleep.”
“As long as you’re up you might as well come downstairs and have some breakfast. I made pancakes and sausage.”
“That sounds great. I’ll be right down.”
“Oh, and have you seen Holly? Her father could use some help outside.”
Double damn. She shot Nick a panicked look. He appeared equally dumbstruck, and she said a silent prayer for him to call on his acting chops to deliver a convincing lie.
“Um, no, I’m, uh, still in bed. But I’d be happy to pitch in. Just give me a few minutes to get dressed.”
“That’s very sweet of you, Niccolò. Now hurry and come eat before it gets cold.”
Her mother’s footsteps retreated and Holly slumped against the dresser, breathing a sigh of relief before turning to Nick. “Seriously? Twenty million a picture and that’s the best you could come up with?”
He shrugged on a Van Halen T-shirt. “What can I say? Improvisation was never one of my strengths. But I more than make up for it in…other areas.”
Holly blushed at the reminder that barely seconds ago he was giving her one of the best orgasms of her life, while she was almost fully clothed. One heated glance from Nick and her look-don’t-touch rule, along with her ability to form coherent thought, had flown out the window.
Not again. If she was going to survive this whole experience with her heart intact, she needed to set some boundaries. And the best way to do that was to stay as far away from Nick as possible until the theater reopened and they could get back to business. It wouldn’t be easy when they were sharing the same house, but it was necessary, seeing as she had the willpower of a vampire in a blood bank when it came to him.
“I’ve got to get downstairs before my father sends out a search party.” She smoothed her hair and crossed to the door, hoping her swollen lips and flushed cheeks wouldn’t give her away to her parents. “Are you coming?”
Too late, she realized the huge opening she’d given him. “Not this morning, apparently.” With a wolfish grin, he adjusted himself and zipped up his jeans, following her out of the room. “But I’ll take a rain check.”
* * * * *
Regina Kyle knew she was destined to be an author when she won a writing contest at age ten with a touching tale about a squirrel and a nut pie. By day, she writes dry legal briefs, representing the state in criminal appeals. At night, she writes steamy romance with heart and humor.
A lover of all things theatrical, Regina lives on the Connecticut coast with her husband, teenaged daughter and two melodramatic cats. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely singing, reading, cooking or watching bad reality television. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and treasurer of her local RWA chapter. Her debut novel, Triple Threat, is available now.