Years after Luke’s sweetheart was ripped from his arms on prom night, Meri’s loss still haunts him. Searching for her everywhere, he finds her only in his dreams and on the pages of a dark comic book he created in her image. But on the anniversary of her disappearance, she shows up on his doorstep without having aged a day. What can he do but invite her in? Meri’s nights are all about surviving alone on the dark, seedy side of life. Once a year she treats herself to a night of tasty passion with her one true love. Is this the year to seal the deal and make their love eternal, or will she walk away to become just another fantasy?
A chill ran the length of his spine in spite of the warm air swirling around him. The dark, grainy picture looked overexposed where other areas seemed underexposed. But the resemblance to Meri appeared unmistakable. Her translucent skin against the dark background leapt off the screen. Her eerie red eyes, caused by a flash photo at night, haunted him, preying on what little hope remained after year upon year of heartache and disappointment. Touching the screen, he traced her features with his index finger.
Gooseflesh rose on his arms seconds before the doorbell sounded. The buzz jolted him to his senses. Anyone who knew him—really knew him—would leave him alone tonight.
Crossing the room, he opened the door, preparing to give someone a piece of his mind. Freezing instead, his extremities tingled but everything else numbed. Including his brain. Especially his mouth.
“Invite me in before you faint.”
“Meri?” Her whispered name on his lips barely registered due to his pounding heart.
“Luke.” Her tone mocked him. She peeked around the door and held out a bouquet of blood red roses like the ones he’d given her for Valentine’s Day way back in the day. “I guess we know who we both are.” Her eyebrows arched up. “Invite. Me. In.”
“I….” Teetering on wobbly legs, he staggered backward a few steps. Spots danced in his peripheral vision and a flash of heat swept through his trembling body.
“Don’t you dare pass out, Luke.” Her blurry finger waved as blackness closed in. “Invite me in, damn it! Can I come in, please?”
“That’ll have to do.”