What’s your favorite color?
Black, of course.
What type of vehicle do you drive?
A 1976 Volvo, but I’d rather be riding my bike.
Describe yourself to me.
I’m an artist, a pagan, and I like to wear black. If you want to know more, just ask.
How would your mate describe you?
I don’t officially have a girlfriend yet, but I’m working on it. I think most girls would describe me as creepy in a dashing sort of way.
What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?
Theatre. Poetry. Music. Anything that has to do with the arts.
What's the one thing you have always wanted to do but couldn't?
What would happen if you did do it? If there’s something I want to do, whether it’s get a tattoo or get the girl of my dreams, I always find a way to do it. There’s nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it, and no one better try and stop me…
Describe your ideal mate.
Sweet, beautiful, talented…in a word…Becca.
What are you most afraid of?
I’m afraid people will make judgments about me based outward appearances and things they don’t even try to understand.
What's the most important thing in your life?
My family and my art have always been my number one priorities.
What do you consider your special talent?
I’m a pretty good singer, and I make a great Phantom.
How did you meet the hero/heroine?
The first time I saw Becca, she was one the stage singing her heart out.
Was it love at first sight or did it develop slowly?
Definitely love at first sight for me. How could you not love that voice? For her, well, I’m still working on that…
What did you like/dislike about him/her when you first met?
Well, it sort of bothers me that she thinks I might be a serial killer, but then again, she may have some good reasons to think that…. I also don’t like it that she keeps letting Tom get between us. That guy us a jerk, and he deserves whatever he gets.
If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
- For Becca to feel the same way about me that I feel about her
- For people to stop being so damn judgmental
- For Tom Rittenhouse to move to another town.
When her high school drama club decides to produce the musical phenomenon, “Phantom”,, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker.
Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva. She finds herself torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer, who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.
Almost immediately after casting, strange things happen both on and off the stage as people are hurt in true phantom style. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as opening night draws closer. To reveal the identity of the real-life Phantom, Rebecca must strip away his mask—and in doing so, risk her own life
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.
It sounded more like a question than an audition call. Miss King looked slightly baffled as she scanned her paperwork and read the last name on her list of male candidates. Once she was certain she had read the name correctly, she called it out once more with a little more confidence. When she received no immediate response, she seemed ready to dismiss the whole thing as a joke. But then a strange black clad figure seemed to materialize in the corner of the stage, and with practiced grace, he moved towards the center of the platform and the waiting microphone.
“That’s Justyn Patko,” Carmen informed Rebecca matter-of-factly. Luckily her best friend was the queen of gossip. “He just moved here this year. From Vegas, I think. He’s in my Calculus class.”
“He’s a little creepy if you ask me,” Debbie whispered.
Creepy he might have been to some, with his black clothes trimmed with silver chains, black hair, and black fingernails. He was obviously Gothic to the core, a fashion statement Rebecca had always thought was secretly a cry for attention. But for Justyn, there seemed no other possibility. She couldn’t imagine the darkly mysterious figure dressed in earth tones or preppy, button-down shirts. They would have clashed with his dark eyes and pale skin. She had seen him in the hallway a few times, but they didn’t share any classes together, so Rebecca had never really taken the time to study him before. Despite his odd style, there was something strangely appealing about Justyn. In his own way, he was just as handsome as Tom.
The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out his tormented love through the words of his song. And she was as breathless with wonder as Christine herself must have been when the masked stranger serenaded her in the candlelit labyrinth of the opera house. In that moment, Justyn wasn’t just portraying the phantom. Justyn was the phantom.
“Let the music touch your soul.
Let the darkness make you whole.
Do not fear what is unknown.
Your true path has now been shown.
Listen to the words I sing.
Embrace the peace that night will bring.”
As he continued to sing in his deep but somehow angelic voice, Rebecca found that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. With every line, her heart began to beat faster. She truly felt the arms of night wrapping her in a warm embrace. She could almost feel the hands of the phantom glide along her body as the words poured forth. The music caressed her. It possessed her—mind, body and soul. Each word left her longing, yearning for more.
She was gawking so obviously, it was hardly surprising when Justyn felt her eyes on him and steadily met her gaze. She realized her mouth was hanging open in stunned awe, and she quickly snapped it shut. His lips moved into just a small hint of a smile. He never took his eyes off her while he sang the final verse, making her cheeks flush to the point that she felt almost feverish. But it wasn’t embarrassment but excitement, arousal even, which was sending her mind spinning in so many directions.
When the song was over, and Rebecca had recovered just a hint of her composure, she couldn’t help but burst into a healthy round of applause. A few scattered people joined in, including Debbie and Carmen after she nudged them in the ribs. But only Miss King seemed to truly appreciate the brilliance of his talent as much as Rebecca did.
“That was amazing, Justyn!” the teacher gushed.
“Lord Justyn,” he corrected as he stepped down from the stage.
A few others complimented him as well, but he took in all in stride. In fact, his serious expression never faltered as he stepped down from the stage. He seemed almost bored, like it was all he could do to hold back a yawn, despite the smiles and words of encouragement.
But not everyone in the crowd was pleased as Justyn glided down the aisle, so ethereal in his dark garments that he still resonated the spirit of the Opera Ghost. Miss King might have been excited about the newest male addition to her cast after being limited for many years, but Tom and his group of boisterous companions glared at him as he passed them by. Jay sneered and tossed a balled up piece of paper in Justyn’s direction, but the Goth was quick, and caught it in his hand without missing a beat.
“I think you dropped something,” he said.
His speaking voice was no less melodic than his singing voice, but something about his tone made Rebecca shiver. He tossed the paper back at Jay, who was nowhere near as coordinated as Justyn. He practically fell off his seat in his efforts to catch it.
“Hey vampire,” Tom called when Justyn went to walk away. “Are you sure you can handle the competition?”
Justyn smiled, a cool, sarcastic half-smile, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you?”
Miss King didn’t notice the short confrontation, and Justyn vanished from the auditorium as quickly and mysteriously as he had appeared. Only Rebecca had noticed the very real tension between the two boys. She wondered if it was a bad omen for them to start off the production with hard feelings and envy. That could only lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that could end with someone getting hurt. The kind of trouble that Rebecca would do whatever it took to avoid.