“Does my bum look big in this?” Harper Clarke twisted her torso, casting a critical eye over her appearance in her bedroom mirror.
“You look fantastic,” said Zarya. “Stunning, in fact.”
Coming from Zarya, who had no trouble getting any man she desired with a mere flutter of her eyelashes and that haunting siren song of hers, it was indeed a compliment of great magnitude, but Harper still wasn’t convinced. “This is supposed to be my lucky black dress, but I don’t remember it being this tight the last time I wore it.”
“Lucky? That would be a first for you,” her friend jibed. Then she choked on her drink.
“Yeah, okay, so I’m not the luckiest of witches, but I can live in hope, can’t I?” She grabbed a cushion off her bed and threw it at Zarya. “I thought best friends were supposed to be supportive.”
Zarya fended off the cushion assault with her arm. “I am. I said you look stunning, and you do.”
Harper drained her glass of prosecco. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. So, who are you going on a date with? A Fae? An angel?” Her eyes widened like an excited child. “Ooh, a werewolf, maybe? I’m a sucker for an alpha male. Does he have a friend?”
“No, he’s not a werewolf; he’s a vampire.”
“A vamp? Are you mad?”
“No, I’m not mad. His paperwork says he only turned four months ago, which means he won’t be dangerous.”
“What paperwork? Wait…” It didn’t take her long to suss it out. “Oh my God, he’s a client from your dating agency, isn’t he?”
Bingo. Harper might have known she couldn’t keep a secret from her friend for long.
“No… yes. He might be.” She glanced at Zarya, noting her disapproval. “Don’t pull that face at me. I know it’s not exactly professional, but I haven’t been on a date in goodness knows how long, and he sounded so charming on the phone, and not at all ‘Vlad the Impaler’—”
“Wait, you arranged a blind date with a vampire?” she interrupted. “What if he is dangerous, or worse, ugly?”
“Vampires are never ugly, everyone knows that.”
“Yeah, in the more recent movies. This is the real world, where we supernaturals have to live surrounded by the magic veil because woe betide the humans ever find out we live amongst them. We have the movies to thank for that,” she said, setting her lips in a tight line.
Harper held up her hands, refusing to get into the same old argument.
Zarya thought the humans should know of their existence, and although some did know, and were, on the whole, accepting of most paranormal beings, Harper came from a long line of witches, ancestors who had suffered at the hands of humans who feared their kind.
No, the humans were not ready to know that things really did go bump in the night.
“Calm down, Zar, don’t get on your soapbox. Not now, when I have a date with a newbie, not-remotely-dangerous vampire. As for being ugly, there’s only one way to find out.” She held up two lipsticks. “Which one—ruby red, or pink mist?”
“With those crazy colours in your hair, I’d go with the neutral pink mist—less to clash with.”
Harper peered in the mirror; she had to admit she’d outdone herself this time with the array of pastel colours in her hair. She thought it would be fun to sprinkle fairy dust into the hair dye, going for an ‘enchanted forest nymph’ look, but she’d ended up looking more like an explosion in a toy unicorn factory. Still, it was different, and she kind of liked it.
“You definitely don’t want to wear the red lipstick,” Zarya continued. “As in, anything to remind him of the colour of blood.”