[BOOK BLITZ] Dark Musicals Trilogy by Laura DeLuca

Title: Phantom
Author: Laura DeLuca
Series: Dark Musicals #1
Publisher: Pagan Writers Press
Date of Release: March 30th 2012
Pages: 262


The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.


The orchestra tuned for its virtuoso, and Justyn stood ready. But no one else was ready for the magical performance he began. Beside her, Carmen was rambling on about something mundane. Rebecca elbowed her to silence so she could listen to the perfectly thrilling tenor. As she listened to the song unfold, the world around her started to slip away. Gone was the high school auditorium. Gone were the rowdy teenagers. The Gothic stranger on the stage had become the embodiment of Erik, and Rebecca watched him in all his dark glory, belting out his tormented love through the words of his song. And she was as breathless with wonder as Christine herself must have been when the masked stranger serenaded her in the candlelit labyrinth of the opera house. In that moment, Justyn wasn’t just portraying the phantom. Justyn was the phantom.

                                               “Let the music touch your soul.
                                                 Let the darkness make you whole.
                                                 Do not fear what is unknown.
                                                 Your true path has now been shown.
                                                 Listen to the words I sing.
                                                 Embrace the peace that night will bring.”

     As he continued to sing in his deep but somehow angelic voice, Rebecca found that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from him. With every line, her heart began to beat faster.  She truly felt the arms of night wrapping her in a warm embrace. She could almost feel the hands of the phantom glide along her body as the words poured forth. The music caressed her. It possessed her—mind, body and soul. Each word left her longing, yearning for more.

     She was gawking so obviously, it was hardly surprising when Justyn felt her eyes on him and steadily met her gaze. She realized her mouth was hanging open in stunned awe, and she quickly snapped it shut. His lips moved into just a small hint of a smile. He never took his eyes off her while he sang the final verse, making her cheeks flush to the point that she felt almost feverish. But it wasn’t embarrassment but excitement, arousal even, which was sending her mind spinning in so many directions.

      When the song was over, and Rebecca had recovered just a hint of her composure, she couldn’t help but burst into a healthy round of applause. A few scattered people joined in, including Debbie and Carmen after she nudged them in the ribs. But only Miss King seemed to truly appreciate the brilliance of his talent as much as Rebecca did.

      “That was amazing, Justyn!” the teacher gushed.

      “Lord Justyn,” he corrected as he stepped down from the stage.

      A few others complimented him as well, but he took in all in stride. In fact, his serious expression never faltered as he stepped down from the stage. He seemed almost bored, like it was all he could do to hold back a yawn, despite the smiles and words of encouragement.

     But not everyone in the crowd was pleased as Justyn glided down the aisle, so ethereal in his dark garments that he still resonated the spirit of the Opera Ghost. Miss King might have been excited about the newest male addition to her cast after being limited for many years, but Tom and his group of boisterous companions glared at him as he passed them by.  Jay sneered and tossed a balled up piece of paper in Justyn’s direction, but the Goth was quick, and caught it in his hand without missing a beat.

    “I think you dropped something,” he said.

    His speaking voice was no less melodic than his singing voice, but something about his tone made Rebecca shiver. He tossed the paper back at Jay, who was nowhere near as coordinated as Justyn. He practically fell off his seat in his efforts to catch it.

     “Hey vampire,” Tom called when Justyn went to walk away. “Are you sure you can handle the competition?”

     Justyn smiled, a cool, sarcastic half-smile, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you?”

     Miss King didn’t notice the short confrontation, and Justyn vanished from the auditorium as quickly and mysteriously as he had appeared. Only Rebecca had noticed the very real tension between the two boys. She wondered if it was a bad omen for them to start off the production with hard feelings and envy. That could only lead to trouble. The kind of trouble that could end with someone getting hurt.  The kind of trouble that Rebecca would do whatever it took to avoid.
Hyde Excerpt:
The act ended with Hyde grabbing hold of a scantily dressed Lucy and pulling her into his arms. Then the lights on the stage were extinguished, and the silent crowd suddenly burst into thunderous applause—even some of the cast was clapping. Rebecca couldn’t help but notice Steve was watching the fanfare with a frown, especially when Fernando, dressed for the next scene as the butler, clapped Justyn on the back with undisguised approval and pride. Rebecca had the distinct feeling Steve was plotting something sinister and definitely Hyde-worthy.
From that point on, Justyn scarcely had a moment out of the spotlight. Rebecca didn’t even get a chance to tell him how fabulous he was. It felt as though the show had only begun when Rebecca found herself decked out in the splendid Victorian wedding gown signaling the final act was about to begin. The dress came complete with realistic bell sleeves, an excessive bustle, and a long, flowing trail embroidered with delicate lace. The elaborate wardrobes and happy wedding guests gave the audience the illusion that it might be a happy ending after all, but for Dr. Jekyll and Emma, that wasn’t meant to be. As soon as the reverend began to recite the vows, Hyde made his final deadly appearance. 
At the beginning of the scene, it was sweet and romantic. Justyn started out holding her hand, looking happy, almost ecstatic to be with his true love. Then he suddenly started to sway. Tom, in his role of John, the best man, tried to steady him, but there wasn’t anything he could do to stop the transformation. Dr. Jekyll doubles over in agony and tries to run before Emma can see him change into a monster. Justyn was supposed to head toward the back of the stage where Rebecca would pursue him and eventually become Hyde’s captive. But they should have known no opening night could ever go exactly as planned, especially when it was obvious at least half the cast was out to get them.
Just as Justyn stumbled across the stage, Steve, who was blending in with the other guests on the sidelines, stuck out his foot. It was doubtful anyone else observed the sabotage, aside from Petya, who was smirking at her husband’s side. But Rebecca was at the perfect vantage point to see the intentional attack. Unfortunately, Justyn was so wrapped up in the role he didn’t notice the danger, especially since his loose hair was dangling in front of his eyes. Before Rebecca could cry out a warning, Justyn’s foot was caught in the snare. With a grunt, he tumbled off the side of the stage. Even over the background music and the gasps from the audience, Rebecca heard the loud thump as he hit the ground. She raised her hands to her mouth and couldn’t help but scream.

Laura "Luna" DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and three children. She has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Old high school friends would tell you she was always scratching in her notebook instead of paying attention in class and the children she used to babysit for always loved to hear her scary stories at bedtime. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.



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