Immortally Ever After (Monster Mash) Online - Angie Fox

chapter one

I rearranged the best poker hand I’d had all night and stared at the grinning sphinx across the table.

Frank Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady” had a tinny sound on the ancient record player behind him.

Jeffe squirmed his muscular lion’s body, his tail whipping up a decent breeze.

I fingered a pair of sixes and fought back a smirk. The sphinx couldn’t bluff to save his life. His tail always gave him away.

And my cocksure attitude had cost me the last two hands. I straightened in my camp chair and fought the urge to fiddle with my nose.

The army-issue lantern flickered above us, casting uneven light.

“Would you like to bet more?” he asked, practically bouncing. He shook out the thick, tawny hair that framed his sharp, humanlike facial features. “I would be most interested in your stash of Junior Mint candies.” He turned to the preening vampire on my left. “And your collection of Justin Bieber albums.”

Marius went red. “I do not—”

Jeffe nodded in approval. “It is glorious music. Very bouncy. Whenever you play it or sing it, all the sphinxes gather.”

The pale, hook-nosed vampire stood, toppling his chair, his eyes blazing red, fangs out. “I do not listen to Justin Bieber!”

The sphinx stared at him. “Okeydokey. Too bad you will not bet. You would not beat me with that hand.”

Marius had left his cards facing up on the table. He sank down, a shock of hair falling stylishly over one eye, his arms crossed over his chest. “I fold,” he snarled.

I glanced at the only other player in the game—Marc, my boyfriend. He winked at me before tossing his cards on the table. “I know when to quit.”

Yeah, right. Maybe at cards.

I focused on Jeffe. “It’s just you and me, cowboy.” I blew out a breath and rearranged a two of spades that was doing me no good.

Marc ducked behind me to take a look. “You’ve already bet all your ice cubes for the next month.”

“Don’t remind me.” Ice was hard to come by where we were stationed. The mess hall issued three a day. Three. To think, I’d been an ice-cube whore before I’d been sent to this godforsaken desert.

Marc leaned close. I could feel the heat rolling off him. He was a shape-shifting dragon and they always tended to run a few degrees warmer than most.

His warm breath tickled my ear. “I don’t think the sphinx can lie.”

“He’s got to get a bad hand eventually.” I hadn’t seen anyone pick up the game so fast.

Jeffe tossed his mane over his shoulders. “I was born under a lucky star, and the cracks on the pads of my feet mean good fortune. Would you like me to show you?”

“No,” I grumbled, trying to concentrate.

“Full house!” The sphinx laid his cards out on the table, clearly unable to stand the suspense for a second longer.

I groaned and tossed him my two pair, glad I at least kept my Junior Mints. Jeffe had already won a back rub, half my Tootsie Rolls and my I’m Not Really a Waitress nail polish. Maybe there was something to this lucky-star business.

Since we’d taught him how to play Five Card Stud, favors and loot had piled up in Jeffe’s tent like spoils of war. Case in point, right next to him he had a box of hot chocolate packets, three lemons, werewolf hair conditioner, a bicycle, and a brand-new pair of loafers. Jeffe didn’t even wear shoes.

Good thing we didn’t have any money to blow. Well, we did, but it was useless. There was nothing to spend it on where we were.

Marc stretched, sliding his hands through his spiky blond hair that was forever in need of a cut. He gave me a quick peck on the head. “I’m going to look in on my bypass patient.”

I glanced after him as he grabbed his cup and headed out the door, glad he hadn’t made a big production of kissing me. I couldn’t say the same for the way he’d laid one on me in the mess hall this morning. Or yesterday morning when he caught me coming back from rounds.

It was strangely embarrassing. Or it could be that I was just bad at relationships.

Maybe it would be different if Marc and I actually had a real conversation from time to time. Talk, laughter, it used to come easy back in Louisiana before the war, but now, it was like we had nothing left to say.

The only thing we ever talked about was work. Half the time,