Ah, Halloween, the time of year when you settle down with a collection of hot, horrifying zombie erotica... Wait, that's not what you usually do? How about giving it a shot this year by checking out Sommer Marsden's Hungry for Love, which includes a story by yours truly.
If this amazing premise doesn't convince you, here's an excerpt from my contribution, "Screen Siren," which describes a rather unusual casting call. B-movie director Sam Raymond sorts through a collection of zombie leading ladies, in search of his ideal woman:
How many times has he dreamt of being face to face with her? How many times has he had the shameful, clichéd fantasy about her and the casting couch? How many times has he envisioned her sharp and delicate face upturned and eager to please? He once went to see her in a play and spent the entire two hours staring at a bruise on the inside of her right elbow, wishing he too could mark her flesh, even if only for a day.
Deborah, his assistant director, is beside him again. "That one looks live, doesn't she? I'll give Tommy the signal."
"No!" Sam nearly shouts. "I want her for my lead." Jessica Savage. For a feverish four-year period, Sam had written a screenplay for her once every three months — though no one ever saw them. More recently, he has pounded away at a single effort, revising ad nauseam, hoping he can find some way to make it less awful and more worthy of her.
"Are you sure?" Deborah's voice is skeptical. "She has that look, don't you think? Her eyes seem too aware. I think we should shoot her."
Deborah is probably right. She is more than competent as an assistant director. If the world were fair, Sam would be working for her. And Jessica's pale, rigid face does seem a little sly. If this weren't Jessica, he would shoot her rather than take the
risk. Zombies, after all, are the ultimate disposables.
Sam cannot bring himself to pass up what will certainly be his last chance to work with Jessica, even if she appears now in this much changed form. "Let me get a closer look," he murmurs to Deborah. "Have someone hold the others back, will you?"
He steps closer. The allure of his mental image of her is so strong that he forgets the stench and takes a deep breath. He expects the cayenne chocolate smell she has in his fantasies — particularly in the one where he takes her to his mother's house and they all cook molé together before Sam and Jessica have wild, chocolate-smeared sex in his childhood bedroom.
She does not smell like molé or any food Sam would like to eat. He gags a little, but Hollywood has taught him to swallow his disappointments. He takes her hand in the gentlemanly way he always imagined. She surrenders it to him nervelessly. Flipping over her forearm, he checks her, finding the thick, perfectly round hole through her veins that is typical of a broker deal. She died for this casting call, for this moment with Sam here and now. The idea warms him. She chose him, even if she did not know exactly what she would get.
Sam peers into her dark, empty eyes. He agrees with Deborah that there is more to them than there ought to be. Jessica Savage might be in there somewhere. His hand tightens around hers.
The rational part of Sam's mind knows this means he ought to step away and signal Tommy and Dave to riddle her with bullets. But the likelihood that she is somehow still Jessica — even if this version of Jessica would tear him limb from limb with her molars if given the chance — appeals deeply to the part of Sam that has longed for Jessica Savage since he came to Hollywood, the part that made an obscure aspiring actress into a private obsession and deeply held fantasy.
Hollywood has taught Sam one thing: You can't have what you want, so you take as much as you can. "She's fine," he calls in a steady voice. "She's our lead."
Read the rest, as well as the other authors' stories, by picking up a copy at your preferred Internet vendor:
COMING TOGETHER: HUNGRY FOR LOVE
All proceeds from the anthology go to the American Diabetes Association