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Blood and Lipstick

Anthology

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Since Carmilla in 1872 (25 years before Stoker's Dracula!) lesbian vampires have been a literary staple. The twining of female sexual desire with danger and deviance has been a common theme for a century or more. We're continuing that tradition with this anthology featuring those other ladies of the night. Sensuous but deadly, like velvet draped over razor wire, these literal femme fatales will draw you in, have their way with you, and leave you gasping for more.

First, in 27 Days, when Sarah meets Mary at an otherwise boring dinner party, she's determined to have her for more than a one-drink-stand. Too bad Sarah's maker is the jealous type and wants to have Sarah to herself for eternity! Then, in Bloody Flowers, vampire lovers Merigold and Helene share their bed—and their bodies—with the lovely Diana after picking her up at a club. But Diana knows more than she lets on, and the pair are very quickly drawn into a power struggle that, for Helene at least, stretches back centuries.

You and the Moon brings us Julie, a scientist working on the secrets of longevity who is desperate to contact the reclusive Cassandra, a pioneer in the field and Julie's idol. When she discovers the true secret behind Cassandra's success, Julie offers to assist in working out a way to reduce the side effects, but Cassandra has a different goal—she wants to find a way to die. In Love's Horizon, yacht captain Jayne moonlights as a paranormal researcher, so she isn't surprised when her newest client, Eleni, turns out to be a vampire. What does surprise her is that after making Eleni promise that she was permanently off the menu, she becomes increasingly frustrated when Eleni keeps it. Finally, Business Makes Strange Bedfellows steps into the past and introduces us to Gertrude, a Victorian woman wealthy enough to never need a husband, headstrong enough to make a career among men as a university researcher, and intelligent enough to prove to even the most stalwart critic that she deserves it. An unexplainable incident in her lab one night, though, leads Gertrude to purchase the services of a special detective named Vi, but the price Vi names is Gertrude's blood—and her body!

More demanding than either hunger or anger, I could feel the call of sleep. The pull of that little death was an irresistible and inescapable draw toward insensibility. It was a compulsion that exceeded even the need to feed, and yet on a normal day, I wouldn't even think about it. On a normal day, I would be wrapped up all tight and safe in my coffin, or sprawled out in my bed ready to welcome that cease of thought, of life, and all earthly concerns without worry. Except that this was not a normal day. My coffin was a stinking and sodden mess. Water. Smelly, stinking, dirty water was everywhere, leaking from my coffin all over my floor and staining the oak boards with its putrid essences. Personally, I wasn't much better, but that didn't mean that I'd sleep in that stinking heap.

I left my sodden clothes in a pile, raced for the shower, and rinsed myself off in freezing water and soap. I was almost asleep on my feet, but I was fast and still managed to scrub every inch of my skin and hair. When I was done, when the stench no longer clung to my skin, I wrapped myself in a huge, fluffy bathrobe and collapsed on my own soft, dry bed. I was immensely grateful that my home is fortified because I had neither the energy nor the inclination to check the security. Not as I could feel my eyelids close.

"Bitch," I whispered as sleep pulled me to its depths. But no one could hear me, least of all the bitch in question. She would know my anger when it was dark once more, and I left the safety of my refuge, my fortress, my cage, my home. I would visit upon her—and the Earth—the fullness of my rage. All right, I was irritated; so sue me. As far as I was concerned, my anger was justified. Just because I wanted to take it out on everyone and everything in my path didn't make it unreasonable, given the pain and discomfort I had endured. Someone had to pay.

I should explain, I suppose, and for this there was only one answer: a woman, of course. The love of my life and the bane of my existence. She was the one who chained and padlocked me inside my own coffin and left me to rot. Because of her, I spent twenty-seven days at the bottom of an inner city canal so polluted even the germs don't go there. Twenty-seven days without food, unable to move, not even to stretch. Twenty-seven days of thinking and waiting for something to happen. Twenty-seven days to consider the fullness of my embarrassment at being so easily bested. For embarrassment read anger, and twenty-seven days of anger had not helped my disposition. I am furious. Bitch!

On the brighter side, it could have been worse. I could have had one of those cheap, leaky, poorly-made pine things. That would have been a laugh. Do you know what happens to a vampire when they're submerged for any length of time? The skin slippage would have been so great that I'd have had to bring it home in a bucket. Is that what she wanted? What a bitch!

Thankfully, I didn't have a cheap coffin. Mine was a state of the art casket that looked like a seamless metal torpedo. It was high tech, something more in keeping with NASA than an undertaker. It was airtight, but as we breathe by habit rather than necessity, that wasn't a problem. It was lightproof, an essential consideration for daylight transportation, and for those times when other defenses are compromised. It was also shockproof and nigh on indestructible: a special design for the security conscious vamp looking for a little extra in household defenses. As an added bonus, there were no external locks. There was a very fine fifteen-point locking mechanism, but it was operated from the inside. Excruciatingly expensive, but worth every penny and then some; after all, I wanted to stop people getting inside when I was at my most disadvantaged, not when I was awake and could take care of myself. The important thing was that no one wanted to have their sleep disturbed by a stake to the heart. I think that we all have lockable caskets these days. Except for the cheapskates who get pine coffins; they might not bother, but that's their problem.

-- from "27 Days" by Encarnita Round

4.5 - Sean at World of Diversity Fiction
"What a fun read! I love vampire and this book didn’t disappoint me. Not all stories I like, though, but most of them I really enjoyed. Overall rate: 4.4 stars rounding up to 4.5. Highly recommended to fan of vampires and that enjoyed explicit scenes between two women."

3.5 - Meri at Meri's Corner
"Definitely worth the read, and worth watching to see what this author will produce next. I’d love to read more, both from this author but from this world and these two characters. The writing is well done, the plot is most definitely an interesting one, and the ending leaves you wanting more. **Note: this rating applies to the anthology as a whole, individual ratings are available on the reviewer's website,"

Series

Blood and Lipstick

Length

75,000 words

Release Date

Book Type

Anthology

Categories

Lesbian

ISBN

978-1-62757-000-8

Cover Art

Nathie Block

Keywords

F/F, paranormal, urban fantasy, vampire

Contributors

E.E. Ottoman
Encarnita Round
Leigh Campbell
Robert Hanley
Victoria Oldham