Cami’s told me a thousand times how much she hates to be scared. The thing is, she loves scary movies. She loves to watch them through her fingers or over the edge of a blanket, so I know it’s not entirely true when she says she doesn’t like to be scared. I think she just likes to be scared a certain amount and no more. She likes to control it.
Well, not this year.
I’ve already got it all planned out and Rusty and Jenna are game. Of course. There’s very little those two won’t do. Very. Little.
Timing will be key, but I really think we can do it and it’ll work out perfectly. Without delay, I set things in motion.
“So, Rusty’s gonna come over tonight to shoot some pool while you and Jenna watch the movie. Is that okay?”
“Are you sure you’re not mad that we aren’t having a costume party?” she says, looking up at me from her spot on the couch, her violet eyes wide with concern.
I bend down and kiss her forehead. “I’m positive. I’m not feeling very Halloweeny tonight anyway. My back’s sore from moving all that hay yesterday.”
She pushes her lower lip out in a pout. “I’m sorry, baby. Want me to cancel with Jenna so I can give you a massage after a nice, long, hot bath?”
I have to think long and hard about saying no to that. But this is just too good to pass up. And maybe she’ll want some soothing herself after it’s all over. I could be in the midst of a true win-win situation. What kind of an asshole would I be to let such an opportunity pass?
A dumb one.
“Nah. That’s all right. You’ve already got your plans. Maybe tomorrow,” I say with a casual smile. Inside, I’m rubbing my hands together anxiously, dying to scare the shit out of my lovely mate. “I’m gonna go stock the fridge downstairs. Send Rusty down when he gets here.”
“Okay,” she says, tipping her head back for a kiss, which I’m all too happy to give her. When I feel her tongue hit my lips, it makes me rethink my decision. A night in the bathtub with Cami? And I’m passing it up? I must be nuts.
But I do. I manage to tear myself away from her luscious mouth and head downstairs to await Rusty and Jenna. When they arrive, I hear the heavy clomp of Rusty’s footsteps across the hardwoods upstairs, followed by the high-pitched chatter of Cami and Jenna. Within a few seconds, I hear the basement door open. The thumping gets louder as Rusty descends the steps.
“Damn, you’re loud!”
“But I can be quiet when I need to be,” he says with a wicked grin. “Muwahahahaha.”
“Shhh. I’m counting on it,” I say, offering my fist, which he bumps.
I turn on the music,and Rusty and I actually shoot some pool for a while. After about twenty minutes, Jenna comes to the top of the steps and hollers down to us.
“You boys sure you don’t want to watch ‘Halloween’ with us? It’s just now starting.”
That’s our cue.
“Nope, we’re good,” I reply. I look at my watch to mark the exact time. There’s a particular spot in the movie that I need to use and I know precisely how many minutes it is from the opening credits, which is what Jenna just alerted me to.
I glance at Rusty across the green felt table. He’s grinning. I am, too. I feel like a kid again. “Man, you’re evil. All this to scare Cami? What’s the matter with you?”
“She’ll love it. You just wait. She will.”
Exactly forty-two minutes later, Rusty and I put on our masks and he takes off out the back door and around to the kitchen window. I walk to the bottom of the steps.
“Hey, Cam. Do we have any salsa in the fridge up there?”
In my mind’s eye, I can see exactly what she’s doing. She’ll look at Jenna and roll her eyes, pick up the remote and pause the movie. She’ll get up and trudge to the kitchen and open the refrigerator to look for the salsa she knows we have, because she just bought it the other day.
Only I took it out and brought it down here.
Moving as quietly as I can, I tiptoe up the steps and through the door, which Jenna left open per instruction. In my sock feet, I ease silently through and slide down the hall to the kitchen doorway, which comes up right beside the fridge.
As I suspected, the door is open and Cami’s bent over looking inside. For salsa. She can’t see me where I’m hiding behind the door.
Right on cue, Jenna comes into the kitchen. She asks Cami what she’s looking for, gets Cami to look in her direction. When she does, she can see the window just past Jenna’s shoulder.
I know the instant she sees Rusty, who is standing outside the kitchen window wearing a Michael Myers mask. Cami screams her head off. A few seconds later, Jenna does, too. Just for effect. Cami backs up just enough the she can see me standing behind the refrigerator door, wearing my own Michael Myers mask.
The look on her face is priceless. I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone get that scared and not pass out. She jumps back and slams right into Jenna, then screams and jumps in the other direction.
At just that moment, Rusty bursts through the front door and yells, making Cami scream yet again. He walks toward her, as if he’s gonna grab her.
I expect him to start laughing, like he usually does. But before he can, Cami picks up a knife from the counter and stabs him right in the center of the chest.
I feel the world drop out from under me.
Holy shit! Holy shit! She just stabbed Rusty. Oh my God!
I jerk off my mask when I see Cami bring her arm back to stab him again.
“Cami, no! It’s Rusty!”
She turns to me, looking confused, and stares at me for a few seconds before she drops the knife onto the floor. It clatters loudly as she covers her mouth with her hands, obviously shocked. Rusty crumbles to the ground and lies in a motionless heap in front of the dishwasher.
Jenna runs to him and falls to her knees beside him, crying and screaming and touching him all over, like she doesn’t know what to do, where to touch or how to help.
“Oh my God! What have you done?”
My head is spinning as I rush to Rusty to see how bad the damage is. When I bend over to check him out, I hear laughter coming from behind me. Cami’s laughter.
Rusty, very much alive, awake and unharmed, sits up and points to her. “Dude, that girl’s meaner than you are!”
I turn to look at Cami, who’s standing behind me, holding what I can now see is a prank knife. She’s grinning like a hungry man who just ate a steak dinner.
“Go on,” she crows. “Admit it. I just made you my Halloween bitch.”
I’m dumbstruck for a few seconds while I digest what just happened. Then, slowly, I rise to my feet. “You are evil and you must be punished. You’ve got a three-second head start. One. Two.”
Before I get to three, Cami takes off down the hall, squealing and laughing at the top of her lungs. Another thing she says she hates but actually loves? Being chased.
And I’m happy to chase her. Every day, for the rest of my life.
Title: The Wild Ones
Author: M. Leighton
Publisher: M. Leighton Books, 330 Pages (August 1st, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: **MATURE CONTENT ADVISORY: May not be suitable for younger readers**
Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.
Camille “Cami” Hines is the darling daughter of the South’s champion thoroughbred breeder, Jack Hines. She has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses. Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was pretty happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future.
But that was before she met Patrick Henley.
“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her. He’s considered the “help,” which is forbidden fruit as far as her father is concerned, not to mention that Trick would be fired if he ever laid a hand on her. And Trick needs his job. Desperately. His family depends on him.
The heart wants what the heart wants, though, and Trick and Cami are drawn to each other despite the obstacles. At least the ones they know of.
When Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome. It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, secrets that could tear them apart.
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Michelle, you know how much I adore you, yet you know I'll keep telling you for years to come my friend! You are just way to awesome and fantastic for words. Thank you SO much for squeezing this in for our Halloween event. I know you are super busy with your writing, so this means a lot to me that you'd carve out some time in your schedule. Also, thank you for donating the eBook copy of The Wild Ones. At least more people will get a chance to meet the amazing characters that you've written about in this great short story.
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