Welcome back to our site to keep the celbration going on for Halloween Character Booktacular. OUaT day to post is every Weds. You can follow the full schedule HERE. This event is hosted by A Book Lovers Review and Good Choice Reading.
Today we our featuring a special scene for Halloween for Beth Fantaskey's Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.
Mindy and Raniero’s Halloween
“Raniero, what do you think you are doing?” I asked my former-vampire-assassin, still-bloodsucking Italian boyfriend, because he’d arrived at the crazy Halloween beach party he’d talked me into attending dressed as – get this – a vampire. Like, a traditional one. Honestly, as he came trudging across the sand, he looked like Count Dracula – only way more muscular and tan, because Raniero Vladescu Lovato was a near-champion surfer. Dark, gloomy castles kind of freaked him out.
“Seriously, do you think this is a good idea?” I whispered, when he got close enough for me to see his smile by the light of a huge bonfire. Because while his cheap tux might’ve come from a costume shop, the FANGS he was flashing were the real deal. “Ronnie,” I sort of snapped, grabbing his arm and tugging on it. “Put those things away!”
“Hush, Melinda Sue,” he said, grinning and taking my hand off his arm, so he could lace our fingers together. Which was nice, but didn’t make me any less worried for him. He bent down to speak softly in my ear, sort of nipping it – and laughing. “It is a costume party, yes? No one will ever guess at what I really am. It is a private joke, and amuses me.”
I wasn’t so “amused.” My best friend Princess Jessica Packwood Vladescu’s vampire husband, Lucius, had once shown his fangs to some American high school students and ended up with a stake practically through his heart. “Ronnie...”
Then I unhooked our hands and held up one finger, like “hold that thought,” because the phone I’d tucked into the pocket of my not-very-original hobo-costume jeans – sadly, I could rig “hobo” out of clothes we actually wore – was ringing with the special tone I’d set for Jess, so I’d never miss a call from her big “estate” in Romania.
“Hello?” I held the phone up to one ear and plugged the other with my free hand, because the beach was always windy at night. I didn’t get why everybody in California partied there after dark. Why not go inside or something? “HELLO?” I said louder. “You there, Jess?”
“Yeah,” I heard her say, pretty clear, thank goodness. Sometimes – between West Coast beach wind and the lack of towers in middle-of-nowhere Romania – we could barely communicate. “I’m just calling to wish you happy Halloween.” I could tell she was smiling, which made me happy. As I knew all too well, royal life – even with the world’s hottest vampire prince – wasn’t always easy. “I was thinking about the year we made a dragon costume out of a big cardboard box – then ended up fighting over who got stuck being the rear end...”
All of the sudden, before I could even start laughing, I heard a much deeper, accented voice on the phone, so I knew it had been snatched away from Jess. “Please, Melinda Sue. Tell me that my wife – my princess – was never the ‘tail end’ of any creature. Even a mythical one.”
“Hey, Lucius,” I greeted the prince who’d hijacked the conversation. “You know I got stuck being the butt. Jess was always the brains of our little operation.”
I was joking, but Lukey sounded serious when he said, softer, “You underestimate yourself, Melinda. Never do that.”
He was talking about how I’d figured out that Jess was being poisoned by her hideous relatives, and how I helped save her and Lucius from both getting killed. I was distracted, though, because a few feet away from me, some girl in a skimpy cat costume was pointing at my boyfriend’s teeth and saying, “Those look amazingly real!”
I didn’t care that cat girl was obviously flirting with my vampire – well, I kind of cared. But, when push came to shove, Raniero would never cheat on me. I was mainly worried about that thing she’d said about his fangs. I kept watching as sexy cat waved to some of her friends, telling them to come check out Ronnie’s mouth, and said into my cell, “Hey, Lucius...?”
I was going to ask Lukey to talk some sense into Raniero – they were cousins, but like brothers – but apparently Lucius had handed the phone back to Jess. “Sorry, Min,” she said. “It’s me again.”
“Don’t sound so disappointed!”
I turned my back on the gaggle of girls – all of whom were wearing next to nothing, while I was freezing in jeans and a flannel shirt – so I could talk to Jess more privately. “I’m just worried because we’re at this costume party...”
“Oh, sorry,” Jess said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“Nah, it’s okay.” I turned a little to see that Raniero was completely circled by curvy cats and what looked like maids from Jess’s castle – if she dressed her staff in fishnets. He met my eyes and gave me this grin, like, “You see that your boyfriend is desirable, no? You should maybe get off the phone and claim him, yes?”
I held up one finger again, telling him, “Just a sec, Drac.” Then I stepped to the very edge of the party and asked Jess, “Do you think I’m weird to worry that Raniero came dressed as a vampire?” I lowered my voice. “Without the plastic teeth.”
I could tell, by the silence, that Jess was concerned, too. “He’s not showing his fangs, is he?” she finally asked. “Because those things... The guys don’t know how powerful they are. Even when I refused to believe that Lucius’s were real, I sort of... did. And I liked them.”
I knew exactly what she meant. There was something about those teeth... Even if you didn’t really believe they were legit, they had this certain allure. You could just tell how they’d feel as they brushed your throat...
I kept watching Raniero mingling with his admirers, his white teeth gleaming by the firelight and that cheap costume somehow managing to make him look like the heir-to-the-Vladescu-vampire throne that he really was, and I got almost hypnotized and forgot I was in the middle of a call.
I love you so much, you stupid, undead, Buddhist, slacker assassin.
What are you waiting for, Mindy...?
“Min, I really think you should get Raniero out of there,” Jess suggested, snapping me back to reality. “Even on Halloween, I think he’s playing with fire.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” I agreed, still without taking my eyes off my boyfriend, who was suddenly not smiling or talking to other girls. He was ignoring them and watching me, very serious, like even from a distance, he sensed that something had just changed between us. Or was about to change. “I’ll call you tomorrow,” I promised Jess. “Talk to you then.”
Because I’ll have big news. MEGA, MASSIVE news about a serious change in my life. My “existence.”
“Bye, Min.” I heard Jess sign off, as I ended the call and tucked the phone away.
Then me and Raniero... We walked to each other like we were both magnetized. He just left those other girls in a confused, disappointed huddle, never taking his eyes off me, even though I was dressed as a different kind of tramp. The pathetic kind. And when we finally met up, just inside the reach of the firelight, he took my chin in his strong hand and tilted my face up, so he could see my eyes very clear – so I couldn’t look away – when he asked me, “You are sure, yes?”
Sometimes I did still get tripped up, trying to decide whether the right answer was “yes” or “no,” when Raniero phrased stuff that way. But I knew the correct response to that question.
“Yes,” I told him, nodding, so I felt the pressure of his fingers against my jaw. I stared up into his unusual, gray-green eyes, which drew me as much – even more – than those fangs. Eyes that I wanted to look into forever. I nodded again and promised, “Yes.”
Then me and Raniero Vladescu Lovato re-laced our hands together and left the party without another word to anybody. I wasn’t dragging him away because I was jealous of other girls making a big fuss over him – or because I was afraid he’d get exposed as a real vampire, anymore.
I was taking him back to the perfect little shack we shared on the beach to join him – join with him – for eternity. And even though it was Halloween, and what I was about to do... share blood, for the first time, with an honest-to-gosh vampire... I wasn’t the least bit scared.
In fact, as Raniero’s fingers tightened around mine, and we walked into the dark, I’d never felt so safe in my life.
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Released: February 1st 2009
Summary: (from goodreads) The undead can really screw up your senior year ...
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.
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