Message from Management: This report of a date with Maelstrom's bass player, Bo Valentino, was submitted by Thomma Lyn, who appears to have suffered no ill effects or divorce threats due to winning this "date." Landon Talent Management does not in any way encourage the practice of humans dating incubi and did not endorse this contest. ~ Ricky Landon
Thomma and her hubby were on their way to the mountains for a Valentine's Day hike. It was an unseasonably warm day, so they were going on a Waterfall Quest: locals had told Thomma and her hubby that there was, beyond the end of a small trail, a forty-foot-high waterfall and that if they pushed through the brush far enough, they'd find it.
As Thomma and her hubby walked up the road to the trailhead, she racked her mind. There was something important about this day, something she'd forgotten.
When they got to the trailhead, a tall blond man was leaning against a tree, waiting for them. "I thought you two would never get here," he said.
"Who are you?" Thomma's hubby said.
And Thomma remembered. The man leaning against the tree wasn't a man at all. He was an incubus. Thomma had won her friend Ann's contest, and the prize was a date with Bo, Maelstrom's bass player.
Thomma's hubby stared at Bo, then at Thomma. "You told me about winning that contest. But I didn't think the guy would be real."
"Apparently he is," Thomma said. This was far-out stuff. She remembered from Ann's novel that Ricky, Maelstrom's band manager, had only to think about one of the band members, then he or she would appear. But Thomma had forgotten about winning the date with Bo. How had he appeared, if she wasn't thinking about him?
Bo answered her unspoken question while arranging himself more sensuously against the tree. "You thought about me when you won the contest. And I never stand up a date. Incubi need to eat, and I've been looking forward to Valentine's Day dinner."
Thomma's hubby gave Bo a hard look. "My wife isn't going to be your dinner."
"There are two of you, aren't there?" Into Bo's eyes crept a come-hither glow.
"We're not into that," Thomma said. "How about if you just come with us on our hike?"
"This isn't fair." Bo stood up and looked around. "Are there any other hikers in these woods?"
"Not very often," Thomma said. "You're more likely to run across riders."
"People riding horses."
"Oh." Bo nodded. "A horse would be nice. Humans make better meals, but an incubus has to take what he can get."
"For Pete's sake," Thomma's hubby said. "You can come along on our hike, but only if you keep your hands off both of us. And you can bet no rider will let you molest their horse."
Bo shot Thomma a plaintive look. "But it's Valentine's Day. There's got to be somebody around I can--"
"There isn't," she said. "But look at it this way. The hike will be something new for you. We're looking for a big waterfall that's supposed to be around here. We might find it today."
"Sounds more like Nevin's speed," Bo said. "You two should have won a date with the fairy, not with me."
Thomma shrugged, then she and her hubby proceeded up the trail. She cast a glance back and saw Bo slouching along behind them, scowling.
Bo's scowl deepened when the trail ended and they had to make their way through the brush. Thomma and her hubby were used to rocks, roots, and tangly laurel thickets, but Bo wasn't. With every step he took, he stumbled and cursed. "This sucks. You two really enjoy this kind of thing?"
"Yeah," Thomma said. "We love it."
"You're crazy. I could be back home, on the prowl, having the best Valentine's Day ever. Instead, I'm..." His feet tangled in the thick brush and he fell, yowling as a twig poked him in the cheek.
Thomma and her hubby backtracked to help Bo up, but by the time they reached him, he'd already got to his feet. "This blows. And we haven't even run into any horses."
"We won't, since we're off the trail," Thomma said. "Sorry."
She and her hubby hiked carefully alongside the stream. Then they climbed an embankment. Pulling themselves up by roots and large, embedded rocks, they made it to a level spot, and Thomma gazed out from her new vantage point.
And there was the waterfall. It was gorgeous: at least forty feet high, perhaps fifty. Excitedly, Thomma pulled out her camera and began taking pictures. She exchanged a smile with her hubby, then she looked for Bo. He had stayed down by the stream. His attention was fixed on a young black bear who had emerged from her den to check out the warm day. She picked her way along the rocks, her back to him.
In Bo's eyes shone an unmistakable gleam.
"Valentine's Day dinner," he said triumphantly. "And she's a female, too!"
Hearing Bo's voice, the bear became alarmed and ran for the nearest big tree. She scrambled up it to get away from Bo, but Bo, in his determination, easily shimmied up the tree after the bear. But while Bo was still climbing up, the bear scooted down on the opposite side. Bo grabbed for her, but she was too quick for him. The bear jumped to the ground and ran away, back to her den.
Bo clung to branches near the top of the tree. "I can't get down."
"Why can't you come down the same way you got up?" Thomma asked.
"I don't know how I got up. All I could think about was... eating." He gazed longingly at Thomma and her husband. "Maybe you two could help me get down."
"Forget about it," Thomma's hubby said. "We're not going to be your Valentine's Day dinner."
"Then it's back to the city for me," Bo said. "An incubus just can't find a decent meal in the country." Then he disappeared from the high limbs of the tree, and it was as though he'd never been there at all.