ComingTogetherInVein

There’s a new anthology out, one I’m very proud to be a part of. Let’s face it. Vampires are sexy. Something about the undead stirs up our juices. Perhaps it’s their irresistible power. Even when we know the danger, we’re so very tempted to surrender to their all-consuming lust. Maybe we want to comfort them, to save them a lonely, bloody eternity. Maybe we secretly crave immortality ourselves.

Vampires are frequently portrayed as evil or at least amoral, viewing humanity from the jaded perspective of centuries. Now, though, vampires are doing their part to save the world.

Coming Together: In Vein is a brand new collection of vampire-themed erotica and erotic romance edited by Lisabet Sarai. All sales of this novel-length volume support Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). MSF works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Right now, despite being barred from the country, MSF doctors and nurses are in Syria, working with patients from both sides of the civil war. They’re performing surgery in caves and sneaking into refugee camps to distribute desperately needed medications.

You can help MSF in its life-saving mission, simply by indulging your passion for vampires. Buy a copy of Coming Together: In Vein in ebook, Kindle format, or print. Enjoy! Then help spread the word! Every copy we sell has the potential to save someone’s life.

The list of contributors includes many names you’ll recognize. Every one of these authors has provided his or her work free of charge, to support the charitable aims of the project. Furthermore, the editor is giving away a free copy of her short story collection Body Electric to everyone who buys a copy of Coming Together: In Vein. (For details of this offer, click here.)

Here’s an excerpt from my story “The Taste of B Negative”:

I saw a shadow melding with the pooled darkness in the corners, where the dim nighttime lighting didn’t reach. I saw a dark more opaque and complete than the shifting patterns of gray. I knew enough to look away, to fix my gaze on the blip of the ECG, and on the patient’s chart in my hand.
There are some things it’s better not to acknowledge.

I leave Constance in bed in the morning, the drapes pulled tight against the day. Her russet hair spreads over the pillow, her skin albescent in the dim light. There’s a translucence about her today, and she seems to fade into the sheets, each soft exhalation pulling her down, spreading her thinly over the world.
I have to see my mother and buy my groceries–a gourmet selection of TV dinners for one. The car needs gas, and is overdue for its emissions test. I seldom go out in the mornings anymore, and these things get pushed aside. Instead, I spend my time on the bed, curled around Constance, listening to her breathe.

“You’re looking pale, Amelia,” says my mother, her bony fingers caressing her morning martini. “Are you eating properly?”
The lettuce on her plate seems to wilt under my gaze. Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks and low-fat Ranch–my mother’s daily diet.
“Better than you.” I take a bite of my rare-cooked burger for emphasis. It nearly chokes me, even as the hot coppery taste of scant-cooked beef makes me salivate.
Do cows have blood groups? O negative tastes stale; the universal donor has all the individuality sucked out of it. AB positive bursts with life and freshness. B negative is tangy, like gin and tonic with a slice of lime. It’s her favorite.
These are the things that Constance tells me when the nights are long.

Intensive Care is never still. It pulsates quietly with a muted throb. Life forces draining, some with a sigh, passing quietly, some with the cacophony of the cardiac arrest team. Crash call on ICU. They occur more frequently than average here, and questions are being asked. The hospital board taps its silver pen and wonders why.
I’m a qualified anesthetic nurse. It means I can intubate patients, passing the plastic tube down their trachea, inflating their lungs with a steady rhythm. The muscles on my hands between thumb and first finger bulge like golf balls from the repetition. And I’m the one who sets up the intravenous, a central venous line whether they need it or not. It never hurts to be safe. And it’s second nature for me to slide the cannula into the vein and cover the puncture marks with tape.

Constance tells me tales of her childhood. She’s old; it was long ago in the weave of time. In the telling, her eyes shift away from mine. I wonder if she’s lying. The tiny inconsistencies niggle in my mind, and I open my mouth to clarify a point.
She sees, and covers my lips with a kiss. It’s slow, and her tongue slides over mine, hot, wet, and wicked. She tastes of the night and all things dark. My question is lost in the curtained room.