Trick or Treat! Angie Robertson opens her door and finds a six-foot tall skeleton on her doorstep. Is it a trick or a treat?
Angie thought the man at her door was her neighbor. Except he wasn’t. Dressed for a charity event Tom Meyer winds up on the wrong doorstep and this just might be the best thing that ever happened to him.
What if the skeleton was a really nice guy who’d been burned by enough women that he’s lost faith in ever finding someone who could be faithful?
A Skeleton at Her Door is a sensual romance. It’s about trusting, putting the past away, and finding love when it’s least expected. It’s also about blending two households, parenting, three children, and sneaking off for some adult time.
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But the biggest story behind the story is… Let's just say, looking back at it… It's enough to make me laugh. And it's one of those moments frozen in my mind. In fact, my children don't even remember it. How could they forget? Let me transport you all back to when my girls were still young.
Halloween was approaching and the community where I lived was concerned about Halloween and the children running amuck through the neighborhood. So I did what any sane parent would do, I volunteered to organize the biggest block party for children. (Okay, ignore the sane part.) I commandeered the clubhouse and began to plan the best party I could for the children. Fortunately, a few other moms helped me.
But that left out the older kids whom really weren't into costume parades, musical chairs (pumpkin-style), etc. Plus we had a surplus of teens in the neighborhood, and by city rules, they were not allowed to trick or treat. So what would this older crowd really enjoy? How about a haunted woods? Oh yeah!
I had a handful of young men and some dads who stepped up and said they wanted to help. Suddenly I had men planning to run cables through the treetops and a zipline. What? A zipline! Oh yeah, easy. You're joking, right? Not!
Several folks were involved in a local theatre group so what I thought might be a lame attempt at scaring a few preteens and young teens became the most amazing haunted woods imaginable. (As many adults as teens attended that event.)
One of my neighbors dated a woman who did the makeup for that local theatre group and had done big theatre. She wanted to do the makeup. I wasn't turning that offer down!
So from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM the little ones had all sorts of age appropriate games and fun. Then by 7:30, we switched over to an older crowd of children that didn't want to do the haunted woods. So they had pumpkin decorating contests, etc. We fed everyone, and that was one scary menu! And what we thought would only last until 9 PM went until almost 11 PM. If anyone wants details, just contact me. The whole thing was a huge success.
But prior to that night, our makeup artist wanted to do everyone's makeup because she wouldn't have much time to even think. Her answer was to do everyone ahead of time and set up trays with peeling skin and open wounds. As folks came in Halloween afternoon, she could add the right colors and amounts of makeup to that person's tray and do that face, quickly and efficiently.
Starting about two weeks ahead of time, my doorbell started to ring and I'd open my door to the most amazing faces. From witches to zombies, I thought I'd seen everything. This gal had quite a talent in creating some very scary, sometimes gory faces.
But one night, I opened my door to a skeleton. It was one of those unseasonable cold nights. The kind of night that you cross your fingers and hope that Halloween will be much nicer! Anyway, instead of someone in jeans with half his face falling off, I had the most amazing skeleton in costume. I yanked that man into my house so fast and closed the door to the freezing cold temperature.
The black and white outfit was unlike anything I'd ever seen. Probably ordered from one of those catalog stores that specialize in costumes. Skin tight, it looked like something an Olympic speed skater would wear. The only bit of flesh visible was the face and that was covered in white and black makeup. The man wearing it was of average height. And there was no question that he was a man - broad shoulders, small waist and hips, nicely ripped… He was hot! And being an old married lady with an almost teen and one slightly younger, I knew not to drool over my single male neighbor!
So what did I do? I called my daughters to come see this wonderful creature standing in my living room. My oldest was just shy of her thirteenth birthday by a few days. She came downstairs first, and with wide-eyes, she circled the young man. This was mom's reality check that my little girl was no longer a little innocent girl. It was the way she said, "Oh, yeah!"
I fussed and finally the younger of the two girls came partially down the stairs and sat on the step. She looked at the skeleton silently standing there and then at me. I said something inane such as, "Doesn't Mike look super?"
I'll be honest, I'd never even seen my young neighbor in a pair of swim trunks, and he usually dressed in suits for work. I knew he was part of the haunted woods, but not what. And I assumed that if he were stripped of that suit, he'd cut a fine figure. Never assume!
My little one frowned and said, "That's not Mike. Mike has blue eyes and this guy has brown."
"You're not Mike?"
The skeleton shook his head.
"Are you part of the haunted woods?"
Again the skeleton shook his head.
"You're not talking because of the makeup?"
The skeleton nodded.
"Do I know you?"
He shook his head.
Panic, like Nordic ice water, ran through my system "Would you like a piece of paper?"
Who did I let into my house? I never found out his name or anything about him. He wanted the townhouse one court over from mine.
It took several weeks before I discovered that the incredible skeleton was there to pick up the daughter who had returned from college and that there was a charity event that night. I figure someday someone will read this story and say, honey, remember that skeleton costume you wore the night… Okay, they will have a good laugh, but I dragged a complete stranger into my house!
A few years ago, I was chatting with my girls about past events and that one came up. They didn't remember it. How could they possibly forget? They did, but I never did.
That crazy moment in time became the first chapter in my book, A Skeleton at Her Door. What if a divorced man with teenage children was dressed for a charity event, showed up on the wrong doorstep, and what if a divorced woman who thought she was opening the door to her neighbor discovered she didn't know the skeleton? My muse took over, and I wrote the story.
Autumn is my favorite time of the year, and this is definitely an autumn romance. But tucked in the pages, are some serious issues that face many women today, and anyone who has ever been trapped in an abusive marriage will understand Angie. Plus there's a father of two teens who is trying hard to raise them by himself, and in these times, trying to keep a couple of teens walking the line, is no easy feat! Oh, and let's toss in some body image concerns. Who hasn't peered in the mirror and been concerned about the way they look? We're not eighteen anymore!
"Zach, Emily, I'm home." Tom called as he came through the door. Sounds of a video game came from the direction of his son's room. "Emily?" He knocked on his daughter's bedroom door.
He opened the door. Emily had smeared some purple goop on her face and her hair was piled high on her head." Get ready for bed."
She rolled her eyes.
"Is your homework done?"
She nodded without removing the phone from her ear.
"Field hockey tomorrow?"
"Am I picking you and Ashley up?"
She shook her head.
"Emily, please. I do need to talk to you for a few minutes. Meet me in the kitchen without the phone."
He knew it was a lonesome life, but he'd lived this way for a long time. Lonesome was better than being greeted by a wife who nagged about everything. Angie came to mind and he smiled. She seemed a lot like him. Her world was her daughter and she did everything to give the child a good life.
He sorted through the mail and trashed most of it. He opened the letter from the orthodontist and read through it quickly before tossing it. Braces were nothing new and Emily was to get a mouthful after Christmas. The other envelope was the renewal notice from his car insurance. He filed it. "Emily!"
A few minutes later, she appeared with a towel wrapped around her long hair and the purple mask was missing.
"I have a dinner date tomorrow night and you guys are going with me. I want you on your best behavior."
Emily rolled her eyes at her father. "From that charity auction?"
"No, but I met her that night when I went to Matt's." He grinned. "You did a super job with the makeup, but I wasn't sure if I'd ever get all of it off."
Emily laughed. "Yeah, you did look good. How'd you do at the Halloween auction?"
"They liked me." He grinned back.
"What did they pay for you?"
He chuckled. "Eight hundred." He rocked his hand in front of him. "I was middle of the road."
"Was she pretty?"
"Old enough to be my mother, but we had a nice evening."
"So where did you find this date?" She pulled the towel off her head and rubbed her wet hair with it.
"I thought Matt was in 128 B. Matt's in D. Angie and her daughter live in B."
"You went to the wrong house? How embarrassing! What did you do?"
"I motioned for a piece of paper and pen." He wasn't about to say more. "So Ashley's mom is picking you guys up from practice?" He watched his daughter nod. "Okay, I want you coming straight home so you can grab a shower. It's going to be casual."
"I was considering something a little nicer - a real restaurant."
"Jimmy's Joint? Then Zach and I can play games while you guys ogle each other."
"That's not a bad idea. We're not ogling, but it would give us a chance to talk. She's got a daughter a little younger than you."
Emily raised her eyebrows.
"I don't know. I think Lissy's about eight or nine."
"Whatever. We'll be nice to her."
"Give me a kiss and go to bed."
He watched as Emily walked towards her room. At least he had well-behaved kids who received good grades. Zach wasn't into team athletics, but he loved his skateboard, and he could play almost any instrument in the band. Emily loved field hockey. He was proud of them. They weren't perfect, but for growing up without a mother, they were doing well.
He cleaned up the mess they had left in the kitchen, and then went to the den to clean up behind them in there. Five glasses, two half-eaten bags of popcorn, another vampire book from the library, and four nail polish bottles, Zach's cell phone, and two skateboarding magazines, he collected the junk. He'd read that older children were supposed to be responsible for their rooms, and they were supposed to be given freedom and privacy within them. His compromise was that every two months the rooms had to be spit shined, and he inspected them. The rest of the time he left a basket outside their doors and would deposit their stray things into the appropriate basket. He emptied what he had picked up into their baskets and went back to the den to finish straightening up.
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