Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance

BOOK: Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
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Hungry For Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance

A Ravenous Romance™ Original Publication

Edited by Lori Perkins

1

A Ravenous Romance™ Original Publication

www.ravenousromance.com

Copyright © 2009 by Ravenous Romance

Ravenous Romance™

100 Cummings Center

Suite 123A

Beverly, MA 01915

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher, except by reviewers who may quote brief excerpts in connection with a review.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60777-308-5

This book is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

2

Dedication

For the boy and girl zombies of Camp Necon

who said it couldn’t be done

And double dog dared me

3

Table of Contents

Introduction
by Lori Perkins

Romance Ain’t Dead
by Jeremy Wagner

Revanants
Anonymous
by Francesca Lia Block
I Heart Brains
by Jaime Saare

Everyone I Love is Dead
by Elizabeth Coldwell
Through Death to Love
by S.M. Cross

Eye of the Beholder
by Stacey Graham

First Love Never Dies
by Jan Kozlowski

My Partner the Zombie
by R.G. Hart

Undying Love
by Regina Riley

Captive Hearts
by Brian Keene

Apocalypse as Foreplay
by Gina McQueen

Julia Brainchild
by Lois Gresh

Kicking the Habit
by Steven Saus

Zombified
by Isabel Roman

White Knight, Black Horse
by Mercy Loomis

Inhuman Resources
by Jeanine McAdam

The Magician’s Apprentice
by Stacy Brown

Last Times at Ridgemont High
by Kilt Kilpatrick
Some New Blood
by Vanessa Vaugh

First Date
by Dana Fredsti

Later
by Michael Marshall Smith

4

Introduction

They said it couldn’t be done.

And like the undead, I rose to the challenge.

This anthology was born in July 2009 at the 29th Northeastern Writer’s Conference, affectionately known by its regular participants as “Camp Necon.” Every year since its inception, Necon has what we also affectionately call “that damn vampire panel.” But this year, we had a zombie panel instead. The revolution had begun.

As soon as the panel opened, someone brought up the question of whether or not the zombie mythos could possibly have the staying power of the vampire appeal in American pop culture.

And I said yes.

As soon as the words had left my mouth, the audience responded, “but you can’t have zombie romance.”

And I said yes, you could.

As soon as I got back to the Ravenous Romance office, I informed my colleagues that we would be doing a zombie romance anthology. They were emphatically skeptical.

We posted the thesis on Facebook and hundreds of readers said they couldn’t imagine romance with rotting corpses.

Oh, ye of little faith.

The zombie mythos is the perfect metaphor for the end of an era, for a society beset with change it doesn’t understand but knows is here.

Vampires were the cultural embodiment of the end of the millennium: seductive immortals with (literally) cutthroat greed. Then came the recession and the end of the 5

Bush boom, and with it came the realization that we were all worker drones paying off our bloated mortgages, bloodsucking corporations and even each other.

We are the dead.

So, in these pages you will find zombie tales that span the possibilities and boggle the brain. Jeremy Wagner’s
Love Ain’t Dead
and Michael Marshall Smith’s
Later
are two of the most romantic stories of lost love you will ever read. Dating the undead? Try
I
Heart Brains
by Jaime Saare and Elizabeth Coldwell’s zombie threesome in
Everyone I
Love is Dead
. Love among the dead? Take notes from Francesca Lia Block’s
Revenants
Anonymous
or S.M. Cross’s
Through Death to Love.

And what about undead exes? Gina McQueen’s
Apocalypse as Foreplay
gives you one take you’ll never forget; then there’s Jan Kozlowski’s
First Love Never Dies.

And leave it to zombie master Brian Keene to show us how we can find love and revenge in the time of the zombie apocalypse in
Captive Hearts.

But it’s not all George Romero’s zombie hordes in these pages. Old-fashioned voodoo zombies make their presence known in Isabel Roman’s
Zombified
and Mercy Loomis’s
White Knight, Black Horse.

There’s even a tale of zombie noir in R.G. Hart’s
My Partner the Zombie,
and some classic paranormal romance in Regina Riley’s
Undying Love.
And if Lois Gresh’s
Julia Brainchild
doesn’t make you laugh, well, then you
are
a zombie.

And just because this is a Ravenous Romance title, we have some zombie smut for you from two of our favorite RR authors. Dana Fredsti lets you know just how hot and bothered you can get from zombie hunting in
First Date
and Kilt Kilpatrick gives us the unforgettable erotic zombie escapades of a high school senior in
Las Times at
6

Ridgemont High.

There’s something for everyone.

Enjoy.

Lori Perkins

October 2009

7

Romance Ain’t Dead

by Jeremy Wagner

I love my dead wife. Wait, let me re-phrase that. I love my
zombie
wife. She’s not dead or alive. She’s
reanimated,
brought back from death after drowning in Lake Michigan this past summer.

I’d better explain.

My wife Sheri and I have been married for twenty years. We’re in our late forties and live in Winnetka on Chicago’s North Shore. We’re quite wealthy. I owe my fortune to major successes in real estate while Sheri’s fortune comes from her deceased parents’

multibillion-dollar medical supply company. Sheri’s an only child and her trust-fund releases and six-figure dividend earnings blast into our joint bank account every quarter.

Needless to say, we don’t work day jobs. We enjoy our marriage full time.

I’ve never been in such love with a woman. We met in college. By chance, Sheri happened to be at a bar my friends and I frequented. When I first saw Sheri, I was sucker-punched by Eros. She was amazing to me: short and curly blond hair, toned body with all the right curves, green eyes from another world. I’m eating my heart out just thinking about the first moment we met. When I first saw her, she stood out in vivid, living color while the world around her turned to grayscale. I’ve never seen anyone the same way.

Since then, I’ve forgotten every woman I met before her and I’ve never looked back.

Sheri’s my proof of love at first sight. Also, we’ve proven love ain’t dead, even if my better half is considered dearly departed.

8

Sheri’s demise and return to the world of the living started when we went to the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park. We hunkered down on the grass on a beautiful summer evening with a basket full of cheeses and prosciutto paired with bottles of Laeticia Pinot. We became tipsy while watching and dancing to Tony Bennett. It was a blast.

We returned home at midnight and Sheri wanted to stroll down to the sand of our beachfront property. When we reached the beach, she got the idea to go skinny-dipping. I declined because Lake Michigan is ice-cold year round. Even on the hottest days, this Great Lake is freezing.

Sheri said, “You’re a freaking wimp, Bruce.” She kicked off her heels and her blue Escada dress and undergarments. I laughed and sat on the sand with another bottle of red wine, admiring her sweet backside running toward the water. She squealed and dove under. She came up wet and smiling in the moonlight. She said the chilly dip sobered her up. I waved the bottle of wine at her.

I watched Sheri backstroke farther away from the beach. Then I heard the sound of an engine. Sheri asked me what the sound was and I wasn’t sure.

Minutes later, the sound grew louder and I made out the shape of a yellow speedboat with its lights off, hauling ass in the moonlight. Before I could yell and summon Sheri back toward shore, the boat roared past our beach and nailed my wife in the head. The boat never stopped.

I dropped the wine bottle and ran to the water. I dove in and swam out to Sheri. I found her floating facedown in the water, bleeding from her head. I turned her over, 9

screamed her name, but she never responded. I towed her back to shore and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. She was DOA.

Sheri looked calm and restful in my arms. She didn’t breathe and I couldn’t hear her heartbeat. I assumed the boat killed her on impact or she drowned. Maybe a combo of both did it. Moments later, I rose and picked Sheri up in my arms. I carried her back to our mansion, remembering how I once carried her into our honeymoon suite. The memory was enough to break my heart to pieces.

Inside the dark house, I set Sheri down on a large Westchester leather sofa and covered her with a blanket. The room filled with moonlight. I walked in shock to retrieve my cell phone from the kitchen. I was about to call the cops when I heard the doorbell ring. I glanced at my watch and wondered who was at my front door at this hour. Soaking wet and shaking with cold and loss, I went to the door and flicked on the outside house lights.

To my surprise, I found my next-door neighbor, Doctor Wyclef Moliare, waiting for me. “Wyclef, what’s going on? It’s late.”

“I heard screaming from your beach, Mister Bruce. Everything okay here, mon?”

I studied Wyclef. He wore khaki cargo pants with a bright white T-shirt emblazoned with artwork for a Chicago 5K Run, and no shoes. I always considered him a cool guy. A tall, mahogany-colored man with short dreads and about my age, Wyclef was a purebred Haitian. I remembered him as a real success story, coming to Illinois straight from Port-au-Prince as a teenager, later going to college and becoming a leading brain surgeon.

10

“Sheri’s dead.” I began crying. I hung my head, helpless to aid my beloved Sheri and helpless to stop sobbing.

“Take it easy, mon.” Wyclef gave me a comforting hug before moving farther into my house with no regard to invite. Without looking at me, he said, “Where’s your wife?”

I sniffled and wiped strings of snot from my cold nose. “She’s...she’s in the living room. On the sofa.”

I watched Wyclef dash for the living room. His speed and attitude alarmed me and I ran after him. In the living room, I found him kneeling next to my wife’s body, checking her pulse and vitals. I felt an odd prickle when he threw the blanket off of her naked corpse. “Hey, Doc. Now, wait—”

“What happened?” Wyclef continued his appraisal of Sheri’s body.

“She got hit by a boat. She was taking a midnight dip and some fucker in a speedboat nailed her.”

“You get the numbers, make of da boat?”

“No.” The thought of the asshole getting away made me crazy. “Whoever it was, was driving fast with lights off and just kept on truckin’. Probably didn’t realize...”

I started crying again, releasing big lost-love sobs as the weight of my soulmate’s death crushed me. Through my tears, I saw Doctor Wyclef nodding and studying Sheri without looking at me. His physical inspection of my dead and nude wife unnerved me. I was thankful when he put the blanket back over her, tucking it around Sheri with a caring touch.

11

He got to his feet and looked at me. “How long ago this happen? When I hear the screams?”

I nodded and after a minute of wrestling with my overwhelming grief, I mustered coherent words. “Yeah. That was me screaming out there. Tried mouth-to-mouth, but she was gone.”

“You call the police? Ambulance comin’?”

“No. You rang the doorbell before I got to my cell phone.”

Wyclef looked down at me and grabbed my shoulders with his large hands giving me a tight squeeze. His dark brown eyes were wide and serious. “You love your wife, mon?”

“Of course. Christ, Wyclef. What kinda question is that?”

“Forget da hospital and police. They ain’t gonna help this one. You want her back?”

I looked into those fierce Haitian eyes and wondered what the hell he was getting at. “I want her back more than anything. What are you saying?”

“I’m saying, my friend, I got ways to bring your loving wife back from da other side.”

Losing Sheri and hearing my neighbor talk of reviving her from the grave was too much. I felt my legs weaken and Wyclef grabbed me and helped me to a leather chair. I hunched over and put my hands to my face. I breathed deep and regained control. “What in the name of Johnny Freaking Appleseed are you telling me? You sound like a goddamn nut.”

12

Wyclef stood over me and laughed. It wasn’t a malicious laugh, but it boomed and sounded scary even though the tone was lighthearted. He spoke in an assuring and baritone voice. “I can get her back. But we have to act quick and you got to believe. You believe in
Vodou
? You know, you call it Voodoo.”

BOOK: Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance
9.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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