A frightfully good time! Dive into these Halloween novellas from bestselling authors Tijan, J. Daniels, Helena Hunting, Bella Jewel and Tara Sivec. Featuring stories set in the worlds of their popular series.
Tijan’s Fallen Crest crew are back for a weekend of mischief that takes a sinister turn; all four couples from J. Daniels’ Alabama Summer series gear up for Halloween in their own sexy ways, with a special surprise at the end; Helena Hunting’s characters from Shacking Up plan a Halloween gala that features a few ghouls and witches; Bella Jewel brings the chills and thrills in her suspenseful take on Halloween night; and Tara Sivec gathers the Holiday family together one last time as they try to make this ghostly holiday one to remember—or one they’d rather forget…
Cozy up with a mug of hot cider on a dark night and fall under the spell of this Halloween anthology!
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|Publisher:||St. Martin's Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Bella Jewel is a USA Today bestselling author of over 18 e-books, including the popular Alphas Heart eOriginal series with St. Martin's Press. She lives in North Queensland where she's working on her next novel.
Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author of the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She lives in north Minnesota.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.
Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author and the Best Indie Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards in 2014. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.
J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the Dirty Deeds series. J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.
Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author of the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She lives in north Minnesota.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.
USA Today bestselling author Bella Jewel is a fun-loving Australian who lives in sunny Queensland with her two playful daughters. She’s been writing since she was fifteen and has authored a broad range of stories with wild characters ranging from bikers to pirates. When she’s not writing, Bella can be found kicking about on dirt bikers or riding horses. Bella has many more books planned for the future. She is the author of 72 Hours and The Watcher.
Tara Sivec is a USA Today bestselling author and the Best Indie Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards in 2014. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.
Tara is the author of The Naughty Princess Club series, including At the Stroke of Midnight.
Read an Excerpt
Samantha's senior year at Cain University
The pumpkin had a penis. I was sure of it.
I angled my head to the right, and yep — there was definitely a thick root growing out of the pumpkin's bottom. I angled my head to the left — still there. I wasn't sure about touching it, but then again, it was a pumpkin. I was pretty sure no swimming seeds were going to explode from the thick root, so I used my toe to tip it onto its back, and — eureka.
The root grew out, and pointed upward.
"What are you doing?"
I jumped. Heather had come out of nowhere, and I rounded on her. "Announce your presence before you just start speaking. You could give someone a heart attack."
Heather, one of my best female friends in Fallen Crest since high school, lifted an eyebrow. Her hand went to her slim hip. She gave me an "are you serious" look, but only pursed her lips and shrugged. "There a spider or something on that thing?"
In some ways, we were opposites. Heather had dirty-blond hair, a deep-throated and sultry-sounding voice, and heavily made-up eyes, while I had black hair and dark eyes, and I was pretty sure my voice sounded normal. What we did have in common was our slender build. We were both thin, though Heather had a few more pounds than me.
"Look at it." I used my toe to point at the root. "Does that look like what I think it does?"
She snorted, then turned to check out the rest of the pumpkins in the field. "It looks well-endowed. Give it to Logan. He'll be giggling like a schoolboy who got his first dirty magazine." She thought about it. "A schoolboy who doesn't have a self-conscious bone in his body."
I grunted. Her assessment of my stepbrother was dead on. Logan had a girlfriend now, one that was his perfect fit, but before that, he'd been the biggest manwhore since he was in high school.
Logan and I were in our last year at Cain University. Heather had finished school last year at a local college, but was up visiting this weekend. It was Halloween. It was party time! Granted, Logan tended to embrace it more than the rest of us, but this weekend was going to be one big Halloween party. We were starting with a girls' night tonight, and that meant no Logan — no guys at all. There'd be pumpkin carving, costumes, and drinks: lots and lots of drinks. Logan's girlfriend Taylor was joining, and so were two of my friends from the cross-country team. It was our night, and we were even going to gossip. See — we were girly. Gossiping wasn't our usual thing to do, but we were embracing our ovaries this weekend. I was fairly certain Logan and whoever he had in tow would try and scare us, and Heather would throw a wine bottle at them. That was my guess, but I wasn't really thinking about today or tonight. I was salivating over tomorrow.
Mason was coming to town.
Yes — him. My soulmate. Logan's brother. My other half. At the mere thought of him, I was already throbbing between my legs. Goddamn, I loved him. He'd been by my side since I moved into his and Logan's house my junior year in high school. My mom had cheated on my dad with their dad, and there was this whole family drama that ensued. So to say I wasn't happy would've been an understatement. I went a little mental that year, running for hours on end, throwing fireworks into my dad's car, realizing how much I hated my mom. I hadn't been the happiest at the thought of living with Mason and Logan Kade, either. I'd pegged them as wealthy and privileged pricks, since they were treated like gods in Fallen Crest. Guys either wanted to be their friends, wanted to be them, or hated them with a passion. The girls — well, I'm sure that's obvious. Mason was gorgeous. Tall, broad shoulders, slim waist, a body that was sculpted to perfection ... and it wasn't even from trying. It was just from him being mouth-wateringly gorgeous, and from training for football.
They kind of adopted me as their family, and I became Mason's lover. I was his in every sense of the word, and Logan became just as protective of me. For a few years, it was the three of us against the world. There were others, like Mason's best friend Nate Monson, and then Heather, but it was always the three of us. And to an extent, it still was. No one could touch what we had, and tomorrow we were all going to be together once again.
Mason was in Los Angeles for a football game. He was playing tonight, and then he'd travel to Cain on Friday. We'd have a full weekend together.
I almost groaned. It'd been two weeks since I had last seen him, and I wanted him here now, but ... one more day. I kept telling myself that, trying not to count the hours on the clock. One more day. Actually, half a day. Maybe I could get super drunk tonight and that'd make the time go faster? No. Even as I half-entertained the thought, I knew I couldn't.
There'd be booze, Heather, Taylor, Courtney, Grace, and me. Plus pumpkins and carving tools, and I knew Logan would show up somehow. It wasn't a recipe to get blitzed out of my mind. I'd need to stay alert tonight.
I looked back, realizing that Heather had moved on without me. "Yeah?"
She waved to the wheelbarrow she was holding, filled with pumpkins. "I got enough of these things for tonight and the party tomorrow. Come on, let's head out."
We had been tasked with collecting them not just for carving tonight, but also for a party that Logan was throwing on Friday night. He was partially doing it in Mason's honor, but also because it was Halloween and it was our last year of college. Logan was finding any excuse to throw a party this year. If I sneezed and the snot came out gold, he would throw a party to celebrate it.
I shook my head, making my way down the row to where Heather was paying for all the pumpkins. The penis one was on top.
"Really?" I looked at it. The thick root was sticking straight up. It had been pointing toward the air before, but now it was curved back against the pumpkin.
She grinned. "He's happy to see you. I wanted to make you feel special."
"A pumpkin has a boner for me. Special doesn't describe how I feel." But I was grinning too.
After the clerk handed her the receipt, we made our way back to her truck. Heather had offered to drive. My little Corolla had bit the dust that summer, and Mason had been letting me drive his black Escalade. He'd gotten a brand-new one as a present from his manager, and he was driving that in Massachusetts, where he was playing for the New England Patriots. For the weekend, he'd left his new one back there, and I'd cleaned his old one this week for him.
He kept asking how it was doing. I wasn't the only one he was missing.
She set down the wheelbarrow, then opened the truck's bed.
I grabbed that thick root and used it to put the pumpkin into the back of the truck. Moving to grab the next one, I asked, "What's the plan tonight?"
Heather was helping, grabbing for her second one too. "Logan's party is at the other house, right?"
I nodded. "He's renting it. He didn't want to do damage to ours."
"Okay. So, yes. We drop the pumpkins we want at your house, then drop the rest off at the one he's renting. I figure we can keep six for us. Five girls. Maybe an extra for Logan to carve tomorrow, or tonight if he crashes girls' night." She shrugged. "Or hell, we can just have one on hand for him to smash if he wants."
That was good thinking.
"Is Channing coming up tomorrow night?" I grabbed for my eighth pumpkin. We were halfway done.
She grabbed two at a time, placing them gently in the truck. She grunted from the effort, then repeated the process. "Yeah. He's coming up, but more to see Mason than me."
She bit off her sentence, and I frowned. I reached for another two, but I was a wimp. She was grunting from grabbing the bigger pumpkins. I grabbed two small ones. "That bad? Something going on with you two?" Mason, Logan, and I had grown up in Fallen Crest, a small town on the northern coast of California. Heather still lived in Fallen Crest, which was a full three-hour drive from Cain University. In high school she'd always managed her father's bar and grill, Manny's, and now she was running it full-time. Her boyfriend, or on-and-off-again boyfriend, Channing, lived there too. Well, he lived close by in Roussou, Fallen Crest's rival, a neighboring town that was further inland.
Fallen Crest was filled with middle- to upper-class families, with a huge proportion of millionaires and billionaires. Roussou was mostly blue-collar families, and for some reason, the people from that town were rough and tough. Mason and Logan had tangled with some of them on more than one occasion, and most times the end result was spilled blood — if they were lucky. I suppressed a shiver. There'd been a couple of times I felt like I'd gotten out of Roussou with my life barely intact. But Channing ran his own bar in the town, and he'd become friendly with Mason and Logan because of my friendship with Heather.
He was the sunrise-and-sunset type of love for her, which, seeing that she still hadn't answered my questions, spoke volumes.
We had three pumpkins left, and I stilled. "I'm sorry."
She swallowed, looking pained, and shrugged a shoulder. "It's ... whatever." She grabbed the last three and tossed them roughly onto the pile. As she took the wheelbarrow away, I ran a hand over the three pumpkins. All were still intact, but I cast a worried glance at my friend.
She was the toughest girl I knew. She rarely showed when she was angry, and my stomach sank.
This wasn't good. Not at all.
She bypassed me, her long legs keeping a brisk pace. "Come on. The quicker we get to drinking, the better."
I hopped in the passenger seat, threw my seat belt on, and sat back. She peeled out of the parking lot, and I had a feeling tonight was going to be worse than I had imagined.
Heather was just as brisk when we pulled up to Logan's party house. He and his friends were turning it into a haunted house. Word had already spread around campus, and I knew half the school would be attending. It was going to be huge. A Logan Kade party, plus the fact that Mason Kade was going to be there, meant only a social recluse would want to miss out.
I wasn't going to let Mason out of my sight the whole time he was here. He'd moved to Massachusetts in June. It was now the end of October. I'd spent most of the summer there, but cross-country had taken every weekend from me. I flew out there on random overnight trips, but it wasn't enough. It never was. I didn't care if Logan was hoping for some brotherly bonding time, or if the guys wanted to do something just for the guys. It wasn't happening.
Logan came out of the front door, down the steps, and over to the truck. His hair was messy, but he ran a hand through it, shaking it out, and I knew he'd left it that way on purpose. It suited him. His dark eyes were almost gleaming from whatever he'd been planning, but the look waned when Heather ignored his greeting and started unloading the pumpkins on the front lawn.
He slowed to a stop, his eyes finding mine with an unspoken question in them.
I shrugged. I knew what was wrong with Heather, but I didn't have to say anything. Logan was smart. He'd figure it out as soon as he saw Channing tomorrow night, if not before. With Heather in this mood, and knowing Logan was generally an in-your-face kind of guy, I was more worried the two would get into a fight tonight. I saw all the tequila she had stored in the back seat for later.
"Hey." I gestured to the house. "It looks great already. Good spot for a haunted house party."
He glanced back, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I thought so too." I heard the pride in his voice. "Saw this place driving around one night, and got a realtor to look into it. The owners were thinking of renovating it, but I twisted their arm." He grinned at me. "Everything's sound, so no one will be falling through the floors or anything."
I considered the three-story house. It was old. So much of the white paint was scraped off that it looked like it had been intended to be a black house, and the front walkway was so cracked, only a few of the slabs were still there. The rest was grass that had grown out and over the remaining rocks. As long as it was safe, I guessed I didn't care. "No cockroaches?"
He shook his head. "They had it inspected. No mold either."
Heather stopped for a second and looked at the house too. "Just spiders ... and a few rats, I'm sure." Her gaze swept to Logan at the last word and she lingered a moment before turning back for more pumpkins.
Logan's eyes narrowed. His mouth firmed in a line. "What's your problem? I haven't done shit to you." His hands came out, and he crossed his arms over his chest.
She paused, reaching back into the truck's bed, and her eyes jumped to mine. I saw regret before she grumbled out, "Nothing." Her hand closed around the pumpkin and it was soon placed in the pile with the others.
Logan opened his mouth. I knew he wasn't going to say anything nice, so I jumped forward. "Hey," I suggested to Heather, "you can take a break. We'll finish the rest."
Her eyes darkened, but I saw the relief in them even though her shoulders remained rigid. "Thank you. I think I will." She ignored Logan, digging into her pockets as she headed for the sidewalk by the road.
Logan watched her go, his jaw clenching for a moment. "What's her problem?" His eyes swung back to mine, dark and angry. "She just took a shot at me, and I haven't done anything to earn it." He lightened his tone, a crooked grin showing. "Now, if I've done something against her, then have at it. I'd apologize for being a dick."
I waved him off, leaning in for the rest of the pumpkins. "Don't worry. I don't think it was actually meant toward you."
His eyes were studying me, and a second later, he nodded. "Got it." He walked over to where Heather had been standing and took four pumpkins at once. "Her and Channing must be fighting?" He didn't wait for an answer, but took the pumpkins to the front porch and disappeared inside. A second later he hollered, "PUMPKINS ARE OUTSIDE! COME AND HELP BRING 'EM IN!"
A line of guys came out. No one questioned him. No one barked back. No one even looked like they considered not doing what he ordered. They all just came out, one by one, picked up a pumpkin from the pile in the yard, and carried them inside. I had the last two in my arms, but one of the guys moved to grab them from me. He paused when he realized he would be grabbing where he shouldn't, and flashed an apologetic grin. "Sorry. I'll take them in, if that's okay."
I nodded slowly and held them out one at a time. He scooped them up, and soon all the pumpkins were gone. Remembering our own for the night, I whirled around. Three guys were reaching for the last pile and I held my hand out. "Stop! Leave six of them for us. Those are for us."
"Oh." All of them paused, then one counted the remaining pumpkins, and pointed to the two already being held. "Just put those two back. Leave the four in the truck."
Logan had come back to stand next to me, and he waited till everyone went inside. Heather was sitting on the curb, the smoke from her cigarette wafting in the air. She was resting her hand next to her, her cigarette pointing upward, until she took a drag from it.
"She looks ready to rip into anyone with genitals."
I gave him a look.
He corrected himself. "Anyone with a dick and balls."
I nodded. "Sounds about right." I clapped him on the arm. "Looks like you've got it all taken care of. It's girls' night tonight. We're at our house. That means you're not."
"Oh yeah." He snorted, raking a hand through his hair again. "I'm staying at a friend's."
I understood his dilemma. Taylor would sleep at our house, where they usually stayed, but she didn't live fulltime with us. She might as well have, because she slept there almost every night, but her place of residence was still technically her father's. Unlike the rest of us, who had moved here for school, Taylor had moved back to Cain after a gruesome end to two years at her first college. Her father was one of the football coaches for Cain University, a D1-league school, and he was a big deal. Known for being wild and yelling at the games, her dad got the nickname Coach Broozer, but he was just "Bruce" or "Taylor's dad" to the rest of us.
I smirked. "I figured you'd sneak in tonight at some point."
"Nope." He grinned. "It's a girls' house tonight. I'm respecting it. The guys and I are going to watch Mason's game tonight anyways. We thought about driving down, but we'll see him tomorrow. It's not like we don't go to any of his games."
I knew what he meant. I hadn't been able to see that many because of my training, but I just had one more year and then I could see all the games I wanted. But that was me, not Logan. He'd been to a bunch of Mason's games, and this weekend was all about the Halloween festivities.
I remarked, "Maybe I'll see if I can put it on in the background tonight."
"Either way, you guys will have fun." He turned back to studying Heather again. "Looks like she'll need some female friends tonight."
"Channing's coming tomorrow night."
I frowned at his wry tone. "You know something I don't?"
Excerpted from "Eye Candy"
Copyright © 2017 St. Martin's Press.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Also by the Authors of Eye Candy,
FALLEN CREST NIGHTMARE,
SO MUCH MORE,
THE PUMPKIN WAS STUFFED,