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.
Tom and Zach worked hard on decorating the front porch. Then they stayed at the house while Emily went off with friends in the neighborhood. A small movement detector was set by the driveway and started a recording of eerie sounds when someone stepped into the driveway.
Dressed in the skeleton costume, Tom wrapped a chain around his ankle and sat still on an old wooden box. As kids came to the door, he’d move his foot dragging the chain across the concrete and around the wood. He also had palmed a small clicker he picked up at the pet store. The little training device was perfect for making additional noise. Kids screamed when they realized the skeleton moved and he was certain that he’d probably scared more parents than kids. It was loads of fun.
At about eight thirty the majority of the traffic had slacked off and he gave up his post on the porch. “Can you hold down the fort? I’ve like to take some candy to Lissy.”
Emily nodded. “Can we make pizzas?”
“Yes. Be careful.” Emily had three friends spending the night and Zach had a buddy who had joined him. “Is Ralph spending the night?”
“Okay. I’ll be back shortly. Behave.” He picked up the small plastic container that looked like a skull with a handle and headed for Angie’s house. He pulled into the guest parking spot, and started the tiny battery operated candle before placing it inside the skull. He had filled it with fancy chocolates and other gourmet goodies. He picked up the two greeting cards from the passenger seat and grinned. Both were stuffed with gift cards. It wasn’t much, but he was certain it would be appreciated.
He rang the doorbell and waited. No answer. The neighborhood seemed quiet. He rang it again and waited some more. After a few minutes, he went back to his vehicle and called her phone number. No answer. Disappointment ran through him. Was this her way of saying no? Her car was there. Her porch lights were on, and there were lights on in the townhouse. He leaned against the front of his van.
A neighbor walked out of her door not paying any attention to her surroundings. When she looked up, her gaze caught his. He waved and she screamed. He clamped his teeth tightly together to keep from moving his lips and cheeks. Oh, yeah, he had to be a sight. The woman scurried back inside, and when she returned, two teens and obviously the woman’s husband poked their heads out of the door and looked at him. He silently waved while holding in a barrel of laughter.
“Tom!” a young voice called.
He looked in the direction of the sound. It was Lissy and Angie walking down the sidewalk, except that Lissy had broken into a run. The little girl was dressed in a princess costume, and she was carrying a bag that flashed and a wand that glowed.
“I got candy, lots of it!” She proudly showed off her haul for the night.
Her bag was stuffed. “Are you a princess or a pirate in disguise? That’s quite a booty you’ve got.”
She stepped back and smoothed her long dress. She looked a little chubby and he was certain she wore sweats underneath of it.
“Hi,” Angie said. “Sorry, we walked for quite a ways. Emily wanted to keep going and I didn’t realize how long it would take us to get back here. We didn’t leave until almost eight.”
He lifted the skull from between his feet and handed it to Angie.
He nodded. “I figured you’d share with Lissy.”
“Thanks. That was quite thoughtful of you.” She unlocked the door and they went inside.
He handed them their greeting cards. Lissy ripped hers open and half the gift cards spilled onto the floor. Her eyes grew round.
“Mommy, look what Tom gave me!” She picked up the assortment of cards and handed them to her mother.
Angie looked at the cards and then at him. “What do you say?”
“Thank you very much?”
“Yes. Now say it to him and not to me.”
Lissy turned to him. “Thank you very much.”
He wasn’t expecting the child to run and throw her arms around him, but she did. “You’re quite welcome, Princess.”
The child backed off and went into the kitchen.
“Dump your candy and inspect it. You’re not a baby,” Angie said, then smiled at him and opened her card.
He watched her eyes as she leafed through the various gift cards he’d stuffed in her envelope. He had dropped Emily and her friend at the mall with cash and gave them one hour to get the gift cards for Angie while he hit every fast food joint that he could. It was worth every penny he’d spent to watch Angie’s face and to see the excitement he had elicited from Lissy.
“Thank you, Tom. This was very thoughtful of you.”
“Has anyone ever been nice to you or given you anything?”
She shrugged. “Not really. I’ve been on my own for a long time and I’ve had to make every penny count. I make decent money, but I’m trying to save for Lissy’s college and my retirement. I don’t want to be a burden to her in my old age.”
“Sounds to me as though you’re doing all the right things.”
“I’m trying.” She swiped at her eyes.
“I can’t stay. My kids are home and they have friends spending the night. I have a houseful of teens.”
She smiled at him. “Thanks for everything. I wish I could pay you back for all your kindness.”
“Walk me to my car.”
She nodded and stepped outside with him.
“If I wasn’t wearing all this makeup, there’s something I’d love to do to you. But what do you want?”