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ARRIVING AT THE address we found a car park and hurried inside. Poor Kassie shivered when we started up the stairs but by the second floor she'd warmed up.

'It's not often you're the scantily clad one,' I teased. Her costume looked great, the red dress fit her like a glove. I'd only had to make minor adjustments. I reached out and tugged a curl. 'The red rinse looks fantastic, Kass.'

She flushed. 'Thanks.'

I wish my hair would hold like that, I thought enviously. My red mane tended to do its own thing no matter how much work went into it. Kassie had naturally curly hair and with Sian's help she'd coaxed it into large curls, very Jessica Rabbit like.

I glanced at Loi's hair. Whew, the ringlets still held, I thought the rain might have ruined them. My own hair began to ping back into unruly waves. Darn it.

We arrived at the door and smiled at the host when Loi introduced us.

'Brad, this is Sian, Kassandra and Catherine.'

A tall, lanky guy with dark auburn hair grinned at us. 'Welcome! I love your costumes. You've made one heck of an effort.'

'We never do anything by half,' purred Kassie, fluttering her lashes.

Brad laughed. 'My girlfriend, Fi, would love your costume. Jessica Rabbit?'

'Well done.' Kassie smiled and sauntered into the room, turning heads with her sultry walk. We followed.

The room pulsed with music and people clustered about in groups. The others ducked off to say hello to friends while I wandered to the drinks table and grabbed a juice. A work friend and her fiancé brushed past me, calling out hello before spinning off.

I flashed a smile. 'Love the costumes.'

Raggedy Ann and Andy, I shook my head in amusement. Must get a photo, I thought, turning to look for Loi who had the camera. Hmmm, can't see her. Hold on, who's that in the middle of that group?

LOI LAUGHED WHEN another admirer attempted to flatter her. The crowd of boys wore openly appreciative expressions. Pity none of them are of any interest, she thought. Oh well, fingers crossed Sian's love spell works. Loi turned and caught sight of Cat making her way over, so she pushed through the group of guys.

'Cat, what's up?'

I BEAMED AT Loi. 'Having fun?' I teased.

She flushed. 'What's so important?'

'Can I have the camera? I want to take some photos. And it seems you're a little busy,' I grinned wickedly.

Loi smirked, 'What's wrong, Cat? Jealous much?'

I wrinkled my nose at her. 'Nope. I just want the camera.'

It took her ages to locate it in the small clutch bag she carried. That teensy purse could put Mary Poppins carpet bag to shame. Eventually it emerged and I spun off to look for good shots. An hour later I'd amassed all of ten photos. Finding a seat, I scrolled through them. Loi's friend Shelley had come dressed like the Green Fairy from Moulin Rouge and next to the four of us had to have the best costume.

Most of the other costumes looked like okay attempts by local costume shops and I picked them apart in my mind, deciding how I'd improve on them. Sian and I often daydreamed about owning a costume shop together and I loved to get new ideas.

Speak of the devil.

I glanced up and noticed Sian sauntering my way. There seemed an almost audible pause in the room as people watched her walk by. She'd done an amazing job with her costume, the corset looked incredible.

The Arrival, Book one of the Birthright TrilogyRead this story for FREE!