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Bitten

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Word on the street is that Bitten: Dark Erotic Stories (Chronicle Books) has arrived in stores near you! This hard-back collection of fifteen gothic erotic stories features writers like Francesca Lia Block, Sera Gamble, and my very own self. My story, “Smoke and Ashes,” is the tale of a big campire, a dark lake, and a game of fuck, marry, kill like no other.

Here’s a bit plucked from the middle of the story:

I shiver inside my jean jacket. The boys take it to mean I’m cold. Connor stands up from the bench and unzips his red sweatshirt. Every movement as he slips the sweatshirt from his shoulders is deliberate, controlled. Unlike Patrick with his rings and tats, Connor body is bare, unadorned with silver or ink. Only a simple black choker tight around his neck. When he stands in front of me, his body is too lean to eclipse the fire, but it casts some kind of shadow over me and I shiver again.

“Here,” he says. It might be the only word he’s ever said to me. And what did I tell you? These boys, they watch out for me.

“Thank you,” I say. I take his sweatshirt, wrap the body-warmed inside of it around my jean jacket. Connor sits back down—his eyes are so blue I can see them even in the firelight. He presses his leg against mine on the bench. It might be an accident. It might be the bottle of stout they’re passing around, the joint they passed around before that. It might be just Connor’s blue-jeaned leg pressed against mine. Except that I’ve seen him move now, the way every muscles hones and chooses. And I know that he knows what he’s doing with his thigh—the tightness of it, the deliberate press.

On my left, Patrick holds out the jug of stout. His fingers glint with rings—crossbones and skulls, dragons eating their own tails. His skin is pale, see-through as starlight, and dark tattoos cross his wrists. Is he the one you’ve chosen for me, I wonder? And I almost hope not, although I’d never contradict you—he’s too easy, too eager.

I take the heavy jug from him. The stout fills my mouth with sweet and dark, like warm black honey. I lick the flavor from my teeth and lips and then take another swig, feeling the boys’ eyes on me. I am the only woman here, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a hundred, two hundred boys. Most of them are scattered around in the darkness—as hungry and ubiquitous as bats. I can hear them call across to the open spaces to each other, their voices shrilled with dark and drink. They don’t even know what they’re hunting out there, away from the firelight. Except these few, the ones who flit to my darkness like burnt-winged moths. The odds here make me both predator and prey. You know this is the way I like it.

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Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

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