Daphne Cruz, my best friend, looked in the mirror and opened up a tube of lip gloss. “Are you kidding? Absolutely not. Halloween’s one of my favorite holidays.”
I arched an eyebrow. “And why is that?”
“Because,” Daphne said, putting some pale pink gloss on her lips, “we get to dress up, get free candy, and get to stay out late. What’s not to like?”
It was a little after six, and the two of us were in my dorm room at Mythos Academy. Even though it was a school night, it was also Halloween, and Daphne was determined to drag me out trick or treating with her, even though I would have been just as happy staying in my room reading comic books the rest of the night.
Daphne had meant what she said about loving Halloween because she’d gone all out with her costume. My friend wore a gorgeous pink flapper dress covered with fringe and hundreds of tiny crystals, along with matching high heels. Several strings of real pearls hung from her neck, adding even more shine to her costume. Her blond hair was curled into flat waves against her head, and her subtle makeup made her amber skin look absolutely flawless.
Daphne dropped her lip gloss into a small beaded purse, causing princess pink sparks of magic to shoot out of her fingertips. The sparks matched the flash of the crystals on her dress before winking out a few second later. The magic sparks were one of the things that made Daphne a Valkyrie, along with her superstrength.
Finally satisfied with her appearance, Daphne turned to look at me. “Aren’t you going to change? Where’s your costume?”
“This is my costume.”
Her black eyes flicked over my sneakers, jeans, T-shirt, and gray hoodie. “That’s not a costume. That’s just what you wear every day—every single day.”
It was true. Jeans and hoodies were pretty much my outfit of choice, and I looked rather plain standing next to Daphne in her shimmering costume. I hadn’t even done anything different with my hair tonight, although the loose brown waves seemed to bring out my pale skin and violet eyes a little more than usual. Or maybe that was just my own wishful thinking.
“Seriously, Gwen, are you not going to change into something else?” Daphne asked. “Some sort of costume?”
“Ah, but this is a costume.” I held my hands out wide. “Right now, I’m just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl who touches stuff and see things.”
I walked over to my desk, picked up a black leather scabbard that held a sword, and brandished the weapon at Daphne. “But now, I’m Gwen Frost, Gypsy girl, Nike’s Champion, and warrior in training. See the difference?”
Daphne snorted. “The only thing I see is how impossible you are. Tell me again why we’re friends?”
“Because I hooked you up with your dream guy.”
“Oh, yeah. That.” Daphne’s voice was sarcastic, but a smile creased her face.
“I agree with Gwen,” a voice with an English accent piped up. “This is all utter nonsense if you ask me.”
I looked down at the sword, which was where the voice had come from. Instead of being plain and featureless, the sword’s hilt was shaped like half of a man’s face, complete with an ear, a nose, a mouth, and one round, bulging eye that wasn’t quite purple but wasn’t really gray either. The weapon had been given to me by Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, when she’d chosen me to be her Champion, the girl who helped her fight Reapers of Chaos here in the mortal realm. Vic was the sword’s name, and I’d quickly learned that he had opinions and attitude to spare, along with his cool, slightly snooty English accent.
“Halloween. It’s quite ridiculous if you ask me.” Vic sniffed. “Putting on silly costumes, asking strangers for candy, and trying to scare each other to death in the meantime. There are enough real monsters in the world, you know. You warriors don’t have to dress up like them too.”
Note: To read the rest of the story, check out Entangled, an e-anthology that is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, and Smashwords. You can also buy the book from your favorite bookseller or one of the other retailers listed in the Buy My Books box at the top of this page. All proceeds from Entangled go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.