Samhain Masquerade at the Wicked Muse Tavern

Glancing at the calendar I realize I haven’t seen Lucien for a couple of days. Come to think of it I haven’t seen any of my mischievous characters either.

This can’t be good.

Thinking back I remember him mentioning something about needing a couple of my Rift Hunters to help with something for his masquerade ball. A quick look at the clock. Damn I really need to get some work done. Unfortunately it looks like I’ll be making a trip to the Tavern to find out what he’s up to and demand Tiaki, Mateo and Kiana return to the dungeon with me so I can get their story finished.

***

I shove the door of the tavern open determined to drag my infuriating character back so they can finish telling me their story. Not an easy feat with it being made of what I’m sure is solid oak. Once again I freeze at the sight that greets me.

Instead of the old tavern setting I’d been expecting, the interior now resembles a ballroom straight out of my Lords of Sin series which is set in the Regency Era. With the exception of colors.

The deep smoky grey columns were carved with a pattern of dragons spiraling around them. Potted plants and trees were grouped throughout the length of the room. Roses in shades of orange-red roses, strung in garlands along the walls gave off the most enticing scent.

What the hell had happened to the Tavern? I thought.

“No, no, no. Tell me that isn’t what you’re going to wear tonight, Shay.”

At the sound of Seraphina’s sultry voice, I turn around to find her decked out like a concubine from some sultan’s harem. The blood red of her outfit contrasted sharply with her olive complexion and black hair. A scarf of the same color draped across the bridge of her nose emphasizing the exotic green of her eyes.

“Um…I was trying to figure out where everyone had gone to.” I glance around and find myself a little stunned to see most of the members of the Lords of Sin standing around talking with people from my Branded Series. Oh no. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. There’s no telling what those very Dominant men will tell the Lords about the BDSM lifestyle. Turning back to Seraphina I ask, “What happened to the Tavern?” I gesture to the ballroom.

Seraphina takes my arm and leads me toward the stairs. “Come let’s find you something more appropriate to wear for a masquerade. I’ll try and explain as much as I understand about this place.”

“Just let me get the Lords to stop talking to Nikolai. There’s no telling what he’ll—”

“Don’t worry about your heroes. I’m sure everything will be fine.”

Before I can utter a stronger protest she pulls me up the stairs. I have a bad feeling about what I’ll find when I come back down.

After what seems like hours, I descend the steps of the living space I hadn’t realized was above the Tavern. I smooth a nervous hand over the thin fabric of the Grecian style dress Seraphina had insisted I put on. I really needed to put an end to this madness and get my stuborn ass heroes and heroine back to the dungeon. Tomorrow was the beginning of National Novel Writing Month and I seriously need to achieve that coveted goal of reaching 50k by midnight November 30.

I spot Lucien attired in full Highland regalia complete with a claymore strapped to his hip in the center of the room directing Tiaki to do something.

Oh, hell. What is he telling him to do? I take the last step into the ballroom but I’m too late to stop what is happening.

Tiaki closed his eyes and whispered words I couldn’t hear from this distance.

It’s only a few seconds before I see Tiaki’s magic shimmer around his hands and then streak through the air and scatter along the vaulted ceiling where it hung like a million stars in the sky.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Mistress Kimiko demonstrating some of her Shibari knots to everyone and a brooding Eric St. James drinking at the bar his eyes completely focused on her and Anthony, who is only too happy to assist his Mistress in her instruction. Oh crap! I turn on my heel and head in her direction intent on preventing her from continuing her lesson before the thundercloud I sense hovering over Eric breaks.

Just as I reach her side there’s a commotion behind me. Spinning around I see Tiaki and Mateo nose to nose their hands glowing with the light of their magic.

“That’s it. I’ve had enough of your shenanigans. All of you go back to the dungeon and await your turn to impart your story to me. I’m determined to get at least a couple of you your happy endings soon.” They all stand there watching me for several moments. Stunned at my outburst I’m sure especially since I can feel the irritation vibrating though me. “Now.” Something in my tone must have convinced them they had broken the last straw because they all began filing out of the Tavern. Though most of them were glaring at one another.

“Ye really dinnae have to send them all away, lass.”

At the sound of Lucien’s thick brogue, I turn to look at him. “You,” I poke him in the chest, “have caused enough mischief this week. I suggest you put everything back to the way it was and behave the rest of the week. I will deal with them.” I point to everyone whose leaving.

Lucien grins then turns to Seraphina. “I told ye it would work.”

I narrow my eyes. “What would work?”

“Smart ass here, thought it would—”

I hold up a hand to quiet Seraphina. “I want to hear this from him.” Raising an eyebrow I repeat my earlier question. “What would work?”

“It’s quite simple, lass. Ye’ve been struggling to get the words to flow lately. And since I completely agree with yer husband about getting more of yer books out there, I decided to push you to be the strong forceful author I ken ye are.” He grinned. “What better way than to put all of yer heroes and heroines in the same room where they are sure to create fires that only ye ken how to fix.”

I throw my hands up in the air. “Ugh!! You are a menace. Stay out of trouble and out of my hair.” I look at Seraphina. “Do you think you can keep him on a short leash for a while? I’m starting National Novel Writing Month tomorrow and I need as few headaches as possible.”

Seraphina’s lips tipped up at the corners. “If course I can.” She glances at Lucien. “If all else fails, I’ll have The Bruce keep an eye on him.”

“Good. I’ll be back to check in with you on Friday next week.” I head for the door.

“Like hell ye will have that rat watch me.”

Seraphina’s laughter and soft barks from The Bruce are the last thing I hear as the door closes behind me. I feel a small grin spread across my face. Yes I do believe she will keep Lucien in line and out of my hair for a couple of days at least.

Or would she?

The memory of having a full blown plot come to me after just a couple of hours of sleep two nights ago flashes in my mind.  Was there really any way to reign in my wicked muse?

***

If you had to manage someone who has a mischievous side a mile wide, how would you deal with them? I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween/Samhain.

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