Sierra Tibbets hates Halloween. So, when she's coerced into signing up for the local radio show's Halloween "Fright to the End," she is less than thrilled. Especially when she sees that her competition is none other than the reason she hates the holiday. She needs the money for her sister and refuses to let him scare her away this time.
Nate Andrews loves Halloween. He's been playing jokes on kids since kindergarten, including Sierra. However, once he realized he loved her, it was impossible to lose his reputation as a prankster. Being King of Halloween had its perks, but when he couldn't convince Sierra to be his queen, he began using his talents to help her. Could this night be enough to change her mind and see him as the man he's become? Or, is he destined to rule Halloween alone.
"Our second contestant has arrived!"
Sierra saw the DJ set up in a sitting room/parlor with his turntables, mics, and a sign with all those zeros which reminded her why she had chosen to be in a haunted house on Halloween night. He flashed a quick smile at her, but Sierra refused to smile back. She didn't have to look happy about being there, she only had to sound happy. No one would see her. It was radio, after all.
"Hi." She noticed the ON AIR sign was lit, so she mouthed her next words. "Where's my competition?"
"Sierra Tibbets," the DJ said into his mic, "it's so good to see you on this frightful Halloween night. Thanks to all our listeners who've tuned in as WRSK 103.5 presents A Fright To The End." He pushed a button and a few bars of eerie music began playing. "Sierra, you and Nate Andrews will spend all night in this house built in the 1800's. Every hour, we'll challenge you, tempt you, and scare you. The previous owner took his own life right over there by the fireplace—we had nothing to do with that."
He laughed at his own joke. Sierra smiled weakly before looking over at the fireplace, but she wasn't really listening anymore. She refused to believe her competition could be the same Nate Andrews she knew. She scanned the rooms visible from where she was, and she saw a man standing in the corner of the dining room, leaning against the doorjamb with his arms and legs crossed, giving the impression of confidence. Could she take him?
She didn't recognize the muscles, the height, or the scruff on his face, but when he smiled at her and tipped his head in greeting, her stomach dropped. She'd thought the Nate she knew was out of state and she hadn't expected to ever see him again. And definitely not on Halloween.
Nate Andrews was the reason she hated Halloween. The boy had never known when enough was enough where Halloween pranks were concerned. Dropping her chin to her chest, Sierra shook her head in his direction.
"Nate," the DJ said, "come meet your housemate for the night."
"Well, Bo," Nate said, striding into the room, "it turns out that I'm already familiar with my housemate." He stopped in front of Sierra. "Hi, Sierra. Looking good."
She groaned and rolled her eyes. "What're you doing here?"
"Same as you," he said. "I'm here for the money."
To his credit, he didn't try to reach out to her or touch her. She wasn't sure what she would've done if he'd treated her as if they were old friends and tried to hug her, but it wouldn't have been pleasant. He might have been her neighbor, but what she remembered most was the way he'd always taken such pride in freaking her out. In her memory, any nice things he might have done in high school were overshadowed by the pranks he'd played on her every October 31 st.
"I don't believe you," she said. "You've never been interested in money."
The DJ crept toward them carrying a portable microphone. Sierra glared at him.
"I still don't care about money," Nate said, "but you must remember how much I love Halloween. How could I pass up the chance to do what I love on the holiday I love?"