All posts by pleasurina

Just a girl who decided that zombies can be beautiful and have insatiable adventures too. My "XXXombies" is up on http://Amazon.com/author/pleasurina - please enjoy!

Work on Sequel

Word Conjurer

My gosh, I have visitors. Am sorry I haven’t updated the blog in a long while, but I’m back now, working on the XXXombies sequel. Using NaNoWriMo as an informal deadline to finish my first draft. I have to re-outline and rewrite my old draft because it was going nowhere.

What would you like to see my mutant zombies do? Besides lots of men…

I want them to have adventures beyond just running from the law. This is going to be fun.

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Writing Tips: How Hemingway Starts A New Story

This is from Quora, which is turning out to be a source of inspiration for writing, even.

http://www.quora.com/Whats-the-best-way-to-start-writing-a-great-short-story/answer/Graeme-Shimmin

I wanted to keep a record of it here, in case I ever lose this.


There’s a trick that I can share with you that I got from Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway – there’s a guy who could write a story.

Start Writing like Hemingway
Hemingway! But Hemingway was a genius! He won the Nobel prize for Literature for good­ness’ sake!

True, but even he used to find it dif­fi­cult to get star­ted on a story.

What chance have we got, when Hemingway struggled?  Well, some, because we can learn from the master.

This is what Hemingway said he did:

Sometimes when I was star­ted on a new story and I could not get going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sput­ter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always writ­ten before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sen­tence. Write the truest sen­tence you know.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

One True Sentence

The idea that what you need to do to get started is write One True Sentence is one that lots of authors and story the­or­ists have used and found to work:

  • Ernest Hemingway called it one true sentence.
  • In Story, Robert McKee calls it the con­trolling idea.
  • In The Art of Dramatic Writing , Lajos Egri calls it the premise.

But they’re all talk­ing about the same thing. What they’re talk­ing about it is:

What you are try­ing to say.

Call it the truth, call it the con­trolling idea, call it the premise, what we need to do is think about what we want the reader to come away from the story believing.

We want to change their mind.

That’s the ques­tion, you see: what do you pas­sion­ately believe? What makes you want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them until they agree with you? That’s One True Sentence.

No idea and no situ­ation was ever strong enough to carry you through to its logical con­clu­sion without a clear-cut premise.

Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing

And because it’s your story, you can meta­phor­ic­ally grab the reader by the shoulders and shake them until they listen.

Storytelling is the cre­at­ive demon­stra­tion of truth. A story is the liv­ing proof of an idea, the con­ver­sion of idea to action. A story’s event struc­ture is the means by which you first express, then prove your idea… without explanation.

Robert McKee, Story

So that’s the thing to think about. Don’t worry about char­ac­ters yet, don’t worry about set­ting, don’t even worry about plot. Think about some­thing that you think is true. Write it down. Make it the truest thing in the world.

Write One True Sentence

You think you have problems writing? Imagine trying to write on this.

A Problem (and an Opportunity)

I know what you’re think­ing: grabbing people, and shak­ing them? They will hate me if I just go on a rant about ‘the truth’ like some crazy per­son. That’s true. If we write a story that just expresses our One True Sentence the story will be what we call ‘preachy’. Preachy is not fun because it aban­dons the core of storytelling – con­flict. That’s the problem.

But we aren’t done yet. There’s also an opportunity.

The Sentence of Doom

Now we have our One True Sentence, it should be easy to write down the exact oppos­ite. Write the most evil thing you can think of. Write some­thing False. Write a Sentence of Doom.

Now we are get­ting some­where, because if our story shows One True Sentence in oppos­i­tion to a Sentence of Doom then it will have con­flict — and con­flict is what stor­ies are all about.

Personification

Robert McKee makes a good point at the end of the quote above — “prove your idea… without explan­a­tion”. That’s sim­ilar to the clas­sic writ­ing advice — show don’t tell.

The One True Sentence doesn’t go in the story, and neither does the Sentence of Doom.  They’re some­thing we write down and refer to. What we need to do is per­son­ify the con­flict by intro­du­cing some characters.

We can use the archetypal char­ac­ters from Archetypes that Make Your Story Resonate to per­son­ify our story. Probably the Protagonist is on the side of Truth and the Antagonist is on the side of Falsehood. Or per­haps the story is more com­plic­ated? It’s up to you, but start think­ing about how the characters can per­son­ify the conflict.

Plotting

So we have our One True Sentence, our Sentence of Doom, and our Archetypal Characters to per­son­ify both sides of the story. Now we can start to think about illus­trat­ing the con­flict. To do that:

Something Happens

The something that happens is the plot.

Plot is a huge sub­ject. Writing Spy Fiction with an Unputdownable Plot starts to help us think of a plot.

Examples

Here are some examples of One True Sentence in spy fiction:

There’s no moral high-ground in espionage.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, John le Carré

Wake up Britain! Germany is becom­ing a threat!

The Riddle of the Sands , Erskine Childers

Spying is a ridicu­lous thing.

Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene

Note two things:

  • The One True Sentence is never expli­citly stated in those books (althoughThe Riddle of the Sands comes pretty close). Their truth is shown, not told .
  • You might not agree with any of those book’s One True Sentences, but that’s not the point. The authors believed them and set out to prove them.

Start Your Writing with One True Sentence

So next time you’re star­ing at a blank screen, or the wall, or out of the win­dow, don’t despair.

  • Think of some­thing true.
  • Write down that One True Sentence.
  • Then start to think about how you can use storytelling tech­niques to illus­trate that truth. How can you prove that truth to the world?

Now you are think­ing about how to write the story, not what to write about.

And that’s bet­ter than just star­ing at a blank screen, isn’t it?

BTW: If you’re just starting writing your story, you’ll want to know what software you really need – so here’s a list of the tools I use: Published authors: What software do you use to write your books?

And for related tips on how to write the end of your story see Graeme Shimmin’s answer to What are the best endings in fiction and why?

Originally published as ‘How to Start Writing a Story‘ on Graeme Shimmin: alternate history and spy thriller writer

Women Reveal What They Want In Bed

Do you know what your lady wants in bed?

I read this on a Facebook friend’s wall, and thought it was worth reposting. I don’t know the source of the research, but the findings make sense, and are worth a read, even if you already know it all! 😉

Cute smiling woman posing.

 WOMEN REVEAL WHAT THEY WANT IN BED

Men try to figure it out, but many don’t get it. Does she want candles lit for romantic lighting, or candle wax dripped on her nipples? Does she want to be made love to softly with feeling, or f*cked from behind with mad passion? I asked 1,000 women what they really wanted from men in the bedroom. They got real. They got raw. And they got honest.

10. Undress her… slowly.

“I want to be slowly unwrapped and revealed, like a present.” — Debbie B.

“He needs to take his time with me until I can’t handle it. And I want to see him want me. It drives me crazy.” — Michelle S.

Too often, couples get down to business. And while that really works on many occasions, because that’s raw passion. Seduction can — and should — also be slower, and not rushed. Reveal her body slowly and let your eyes and hands hover, brush, caress and grip places your tongue will soon follow.

Bottom line: Anticipation and appreciation go a long way.

9. Sex in public.

“The possibility of being caught or seen is a huge turn-on for me. We don’t have to have full penetration, but getting close works great. I’ve started going out without panties on so he can start things wherever we are.” — Erika D.

She might not want to actually have sex in public (getting arrested isn’t good), but the thrill of being observed is a huge turn-on for many women. After all, part of the excitement when you’re a teenager is not getting caught doing… whatever. Why would that change in adulthood?

To the guy who thinks his girl “wouldn’t be like that”: Yes, your girl is indeed very much like that.

8. Let her take control.

“I really like being in control. Not every time, but sometimes. And I don’t want to hurt him; I just want to do things to him. Things that please him, but also things that let him know he is not in control; I am.” — Karen W.

Power can be a big aphrodisiac for many people, men and women alike. And just like their male counterparts, many women want to not be on the receiving end of control. While most respondents weren’t looking for a BDSM lifestyle, over half (53%) were just as clear that they wanted their man to experience some level of submission, at least one time — tie him up, spank him, have access to all parts of him. And others (9%) were looking to have the same power as a man where it wasn’t enough for her to be on top… she wanted him on the bottom.

Bottom line: She has just as much desire as he does… and she wants the opportunity to show him.

7. Role-play.

“I love when he dresses up in his old Navy uniform. I didn’t know him then, so it makes things different, and men-in-uniform really turn me on.” —Jessie L.

“My husband has a foot fetish. When I wear stockings and heels, he loses his mind.” — Erica M.

“Maybe I’m all screwed up, but I like playing the naughty school girl (with pigtails!), and he’s the teacher who punishes me for getting my homework wrong.” — Hanna R.

Taking on a different persona can be freeing and allow for actions and thoughts to play out that in reality, you wouldn’t be able to follow-through on. By putting on a costume or assuming a different role, you can kill off inhibitions and self-conscious insecurities that prevent pleasure.

Bottom line: Assuming a new role can not only be fun, it can eliminate relationship dynamics that might stifle sexual freedom.

6. Variety of motion and movement.

“There are times I want him to go slowly, with love and affection. And other times I want it fast, hard, deep, and with aggression! I mean, just F*CK ME!” — Paula B.

“I want a combination of in-and-out with a clockwise rotation. It accesses all of me, and the top of his pelvis brushes my clit on the upward motion.” — Shanna E.

“I want his hands moving. I want him to stay touching and feeling me as he is inside me.” — Penni J.

Over 80% of respondents said that they experienced many men as oftentimes having one speed — fast — with several mentions of “BAM-BAM-BAM-BAMBAMBAM!” (Yes, seriously.) Women are looking for variety in the motions as well as the types of caresses/touches (both where it happens and the amount of pressure initiated). They want you to keep your hands, tongue and mouth engaged, and to be more adventurous with body position.

Bottom line: Women’s bodies are fun to explore. Experiment and try things as she allows. She’ll thank you later.

5. Make it all about her.

“Nothing better than a massage with slow circles on my back, and baby oil down my legs.” — Yolanda K.

“I love when he will do anything to make me come. I’m not difficult, but that he wants it so bad is awesome!” — Fran U.

“Listening to what works and what doesn’t is so great. I’m kinda complicated. He is patient and takes his time.” — Donna J.

“I want him to look at me, directly into my eyes, especially as he puts it in. OMG.” — Samantha D.

She wants to feel special. She wants to feel desired. And she might want to be spoiled, too. But let’s remember that she is also allowing another human being inside her body, and that comes with a combination of comfort, submission, and trust.

Bottom line: Take the time to make things about her, and she will more than willingly reciprocate. A little extra goes a long way.

4. Go down… now and always.

“I love when he goes down on me. Seriously. And if I get it first, it relaxes me SOOOO much and I come SOOOO hard. Then he can pretty much have his way with me.” — Joanne S.

“Going down is a really personal act. If I let him, he is really ‘in’ with me.” — Kat H.

“I like when he does it, but I like knowing that he wants to. That he wants to taste me is such a turn-on.” — Anna G.

“I want his tongue on me, in me, circling me. Hang on. I have to go lol” — Consuela H.

According to various studies, approximately 75 percent of all women never reach orgasm from intercourse alone. That means if he’s not going down, there’s a good chance she’s not getting all she can out of the situation. If she allows him to put his tongue in the Holiest of Holies, he better not only value it, he needs to know what he’s doing, which actually means: How does she like it, when and how often.

Oral sex is a special level of intimacy. It creates a trust when you allow someone to experience your body so closely. And, that trust and allowance can provide for incredible physical and mental release and pleasure.

Bottom line: Go down. (What else is there to say?)

3. Take control.

“Stop waiting for me to always take control. You want me? Come take me!” — Lona T.

“I need him to manhandle me a little bit. I want to feel him want me. Put me against the wall and pull my clothes off.” — Gina D.

“I like [my boyfriend] forceful. I want my hands pinned back with him taking me.” — Shawn E.

“I like my hair pulled A LOT. I want to know he has control.” — Kris R.

Once they let their guards down, a full 91% of respondents said it clearly: They wanted a man to take charge in the bedroom. This answer came from women in all walks of life: stay-at-home moms, power attorneys, women in their 20s, women in their 40s, emo girls, executives… it didn’t matter. And the reason is simple: It’s primal. Heterosexual women want to be afforded pleasure at the hands of a man who is confident, capable, and passionate. In essence, she wants to just let go. She wants to trust, release and just be a woman who is sexual, sensual, and feminine. She wants to trust and hand control over to a man who will not use his power against her.

Bottom line: A woman wanting a man to take charge in the bedroom is the ultimate gift. It says that she trusts him with her. She is allowing him to take her. She wants a man who is confident, charming, alluring, captivating, mysterious and bad — all the while caring deeply for her integrity and self-respect by not thinking that the submission and control in the bedroom translates to “She’s my bitch” in the real world.

Disclaimer: “Control” and “forceful” does not mean angry or violent. Before trying anything new/rough/forceful, discuss boundaries and limits with your partner.

2. Foreplay begins outside the bedroom.

“He just starts. We walk in the bedroom, and he expects me to just flip on my back, automatically be wet, and ready for him to start thrusting.” —Monica F.

“I’m not an outlet that can just be PLUGGED INTO.” — Deb G.

“Make me want you!” — Fran T.

“A man’s intelligence is a HUGE turn-on for me.” — Juanita G.

For some men, there are two types of foreplay: being touched and the anticipation of being touched. What these guys don’t seem to realize is that their version of foreplay is in direct opposition to a woman’s largest erogenous zone: her mind. There’s no substitute for mental stimulation and intelligent discussion as foreplay.

Arousal for a woman often starts long before she is consciously aware it is happening. She is turned on by a look, by a statement, by his wit and even his willingness to listen without judgment. Seduction is an art form, and requires effort. It demands focus on her. She wants to feel important. She wants to matter. She wants to feel desired.

Bottom line: A woman’s largest erogenous zone is her mind, and a guy’s words and actions are the ultimate tools for effective foreplay.

1. Kiss her. Really kiss her.

“I want him to kiss me deeply. Slowly. I want to feel him love me and want me.” — Marta L.

“Sometimes I need a nibble with my kisses. He needs to let me know he’s into me.” — Faith V.

“Kiss my lips! Kiss the inside of my thighs! Kiss my neck! Kiss my hand! And please… kiss me as you enter me when we are making love.” — Michelle N.

“I like when he kisses me in public. I’m not one for PDA, but to show everyone that he cares is really special.” — Betty C.

Kissing is very intimate. It’s a closeness that is personal, passionate, and communicates a variety of things from the first kiss onward.

A simple kiss is often the initial gauge by which one might judge the success of a relationship. According to scientists who make their careers studying kissing (they are called osculologists), there’s an enormous amount of neurotransmitters, evolutionary biology and instant assessments of potential life-mates.

What she wants in a kiss: Start gently. Let your mouth wander as she allows, but pay attention to her responses. Light strokes on cheeks, neck, and back get extra points, as these areas are usually ignored (at least initially). At the beginning, a light caress is definitely recommended, and should give way to a harder touch and grip as kissing continues. Timing is everything. Start slowly, and stay slow enough to watch for signs that encourage more rapid movement and advances. Kiss her lips, cheeks, eyelids, and neck slowly until she makes it clear she can’t handle another second without… more.

Let it build. Kiss her against the wall, kiss her leaning across the front seat of the car, kiss her in the shower… just kiss her. And be sure to kiss something besides her mouth: the nape of her neck, her ankles, her wrists. Do it slowly and sensually and you will unlock her passion.

XXXombies gets “Best Erotica” award and four 5-star reviews on Amazon

IndieFanAward
I am both humbled and honored for my book XXXombies to be awarded “Best Erotica” in the Indie Author Fan Connect Awards! Much thanks to a reader Tom J Leeland Jr for nominating me. I hadn’t expected to win, because my book is so new.

But I’m encouraged by the comments I have gotten.

“This isn’t porn. Your book has so much more in it than great sex.”

“Intense…”

“Your imagination is bottomless…”

“I love the delicious sex scenes, so vibrant, so descriptive….taste, texture and feeling. You are a descriptive writer.”

“I love the strong independent female lead…”

And yesterday I received my fourth review on Amazon. All four have been five stars so far, so fingers crossed for this to continue.

4AmazonReviews

I don’t know who has bought my book, but if you are one of them, I would be so grateful if you could post a review. I would love to hear what you think, even if you don’t quite like aspects of my book! Feedback can only help me improve, or maybe understand a little better the wide and varied world out there. Thanks!

Excerpt from XXXombies: Chapter Two

Attractive beauty posing.

I posted Chapter 1 of XXXombies here, which many of you liked. Here’s Chapter 2, where you’ll discover there’s not just one luscious XXXombie but four living together. The ebook is priced to please: just 99 cents on Amazon – http://amzn.com/B00R34KZFQ – read it on your Kindle, smartphone, iPad, tablet, or any web browser with Amazon Cloud Reader!

2. Meet the XXXombies

“Hi sweetie, good hunting?” said a sultry girl’s voice, as Kirsten entered the apartment.

Her roommate Petra was lounging on the chaise, reading a fitness magazine. She had lilac yoga pants draped dreamily around her long, toned legs and a matching workout bra top that hugged her breasts together above her firm midriff. The lanky Latina smiled, with a gleam in her eye that lit up her face. She sprang up to give Kirsten a hug. Kirsten was glad to see her. Petra always made her feel safe. They had been best friends since high school; she knew Kirsten better than anyone else. It felt good to have someone you could trust all your secrets to. Especially when you’re undead.

Petra was the consummate picture of loyalty. She would always go all out for her friends, and she was the queen of sociability. Everyone knew her and loved her forthright, gregarious nature. But she was also the wise, practical and street smart one, even as a young schoolgirl. “Every human being will disappoint you somehow,” she would frequently tell Kirsten. “In one way or another, their flaws and selfishness will catch up with them. You and me, we are cursed. We love giving and being there for others, but some people will just take and take. I can spot them early on, but you? You give everybody too much credit.”

Petra was effectively big sister to Kirsten. In appearance though, she was a total departure from Kirsten’s Swedish blonde looks. Her light olive skin and dark chestnut hair set off her naturally red lips. She was three quarters Mexican, but had German and Romanian genes in her mixed parentage giving her exquisitely exotic looks. 

Two other women were in the small but tastefully decorated brick apartment. Their housemates Shalini and Eva were sprawled on the large cushy L-shaped sofa, with glazed eyes on the TV but not really processing what was on the screen.

“Hi Kirsty,” they piped up, casting a brief look at Kirsten lingering in Petra’s embrace. It was just longer than usual.

“You seem relieved to be back. Shitty day at work?” said Shalini, in her deep breathy voice, thick with sardonic overtones without even trying. The voluptuous Indian girl had on thick disco make up, a turquoise sequined minidress that hugged every inch of her body, and giant gold loop earrings. It wasn’t clear whether she had just come home or was going out. Quite possibly both.

Shalini enjoyed flaunting her sexuality. It was always over the top, and always gaudy, exuding confidence so thick it was like a force field challenging you to penetrate it. There was also a certain desperation about it, like a girl at 30 who had partied too much and was trying to fend off what the next decade would bring. Tonight she looked a little disheveled but nonetheless pleased with herself. Her thick black wavy hair was in sexy disarray, and she was toying with her own curls with some self-satisfaction. It was the just-fucked look.

Sitting next to her, the Korean girl Eva looked severely prim and proper in her monochrome business suit and her geeky dark-rimmed glasses. But the girls knew what was underneath that conservative attire — her favorite red patent leather bra and thong. With metal studs. There was probably a small riding crop stashed in her skirt too.

“Tsk, you want to see shitty days, come work at my firm,” said Eva with a cynical snarl.

Eva had a thing for painfully demanding jobs. She worked as an M&A lawyer in a mid-sized firm, one that always had to try harder. She liked it because it wasn’t as high profile as the other prestigious firms, where she wouldn’t draw too much attention. And she liked that they weren’t beneath using her as a bribe for clients. The kinky, twisted clients who loved her brand of pain.

Eva was older than all the rest, somewhere in her mid 30s, but her Asian genes gave her that perennially youthful beauty which always had you unable to place her age.

They were all the same kind. Beautiful zombies, or perhaps more accurately “xxxombies” — undead with an immortal hunger, kept alive by the miracle of sexual “qi”. Bound together by the same secret, they helped look after one another in a world that had zero tolerance for their kind.

Or at least that was the idea. They didn’t always get along, but at least they understood each other.

“Hi girls, I had a good day actually,” said Kirsten, turning to look at them but still not releasing the hug.

“You do look much better than you did this morning,” said Petra with a cheeky smile. 

“Yes, I’m sure you can tell I just fed,” said Kirsten, kissing her best friend briefly on the cheek, leaving a faint stain of semen. Petra’s cheek glowed as it absorbed the residual qi. The Latina let out a small “oooh” as she felt the enervating buzz. She jumped about in mock joy. Yes, once they were xxxombies, their skin could absorb the goodness of cum as well. But oral feedings were the most beneficial.

“Mmmm. Bet he was hot,” said Eva, licking her lips.

“Oh, he wasn’t too shabby actually, except that he tried to mug me when I took the darker shortcut home…” said Kirsten, kicking off her shoes.

The girls laughed, picturing the folly of the wannabe mugger. Kirsten knew how to take care of herself. Even without resorting to aikido and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the luscious blonde could freeze men in their steps with just one look. She could strike icy fear into them just long enough to have the upper hand. Even the toughest of ruffians had no chance.

“Men,” said Kirsten, rolling her eyes. “He shouldn’t have, but just as well. My hair was starting to fall out!”

“Sweetie, you need to get your head out of that R&D lab more often,” said Petra, referring to Kirsten’s work place. “All the work and no play…plus male colleagues whose libidos have chemically disintegrated…maybe one day yours will too!”

Kirsten stuck her tongue out in defiance. She joined Shalini and Eva on the sofa. There was a late night detective drama on TV with a plot that had too much talking and no destination. No doubt they were watching it just for the male eye candy.

“Well, I suppose you had a good day at the library today?” Kirsten asked. Petra was a librarian. The hottest one the county library ever hired.

“Mmmmh! Yes! Twins!”

Petra sank in next to her giggling.

“Oh?” Kirsten raised her eyebrows with interest, awaiting more details.

“Twins?” Shalini sat bolted up, her frosty blue eyeshadow clashing with her huge brown eyes. She had had many men, but yet to score twins, her elusive fantasy.

“Yes, it was like seeing a double miracle! They were so awesomely buff and cute…at first I thought geez, they had to be gay. But they gave me ‘that look’,” said Petra, her eyebrows dancing with knowing emphasis. “So I put on my librarian glasses and showed them the rare books collection. Nobody ever goes there, as you know…”

“Darn, and I thought I got lucky,” said Kirsten. “No wonder you look extra languid and satisfied!”

“Yes, I had both my mouth and pussy well-filled. Repeatedly,” said Petra. “I’m good for a few days, I think!”

Petra leaned over backwards and did a handstand, her long legs crossing above her and coming down the other side like a gymnast. She sure was rubbing it in.

Kirsten rose up too, taking her shirt and thigh-high stockings off. She tossed them into a nearby linen-lined wicker basket, her skin glowing smooth in the incandescent lighting. She liked being naked at home, and the girls were used to it. Some days they all lounged around in the nude, giving each other oil massages — essential for keeping their skin supple.

“Ugh, but I can’t stand the library,” said Shalini, wrinkling her nose as though the library was a refuse center.

Kirsten flung her bra playfully at Shalini. “Why, no pickings at the hospital today?”

Shalini worked at the district hospital as a nurse. Her exotic Indian looks always made her stand out. That curvy hourglass body was top-heavy with bouncy tits threatening to spill forth from her tight uniform. Shalini pretty much showed up just for sex. If it wasn’t with the hospital management or interns, it was with the visitors, and sometimes a VIP patient in the private suites. When she wasn’t having sex, she was constantly teasing patients on her routines, bending over to reveal her cleavage or rubbing her ass across their hands. Those who groped her would find she was not wearing panties. She kept a few hearts pumping well; blood circulation was healthy in her ward.

“Well, I called in sick…then the landlord showed up, so that was all I had today,” she whined, her Indian accent and melodrama unmistakable. “You know I’m the reason he keeps our rent low, right?”

Eva jumped in, “And I’ve told you repeatedly, you don’t need to do that fat ass Italian. We can afford this address just fine.”

Shalini ignored her. She took Kirsten’s bra, lifted it to her face and inhaled the lightly perfumed scent. “Another Jo Malone fragrance? You should really try Dior. I’m forever a Poison girl.”

“Oh please. Poison is so ’80s!” said Kirsten, shuddering. “What kind of men would you get with that? Old geezers still reminiscing about their youth?”

Shalini threw all the cushions on the sofa at Kirsten. It was fast becoming a pillow fight with peals of laughter.

Eva got up and decided she had had enough of puerile banter. She threw her hands in the air, saying, “You girls are just a gaggle of sluts!”

They were all a little high and drunk on life’s essence. Sex was just nourishment, something they needed every day in place of real food, ideally three times a day. They did feel trashy sometimes, but even that was decidedly enjoyable.

“Well, I haven’t had my night feed yet,” said Eva, checking her reflection in the large wall mirror behind the sofa and smoothening her outfit. She released three buttons on her white shirt to let her red bra peep out. “I’m going out. Maybe I’ll get lucky at Willie’s Bar. Damn, I love that name.”

“Willie’s Bar!” Shalini also shot up from the sofa. “Oh it’s awesome! Can I come with you, Eva? Pleeeease? Please, please, pretty please?” She started doing a little belly dance around Eva. It was annoying and Eva pursed her lips tightly.

“No, silly girl. I hunt alone. You know that,” Eva said. She didn’t need a loud, attention-seeking girl around to hinder her efforts. Their styles were poles apart, and frankly, Eva didn’t like the men that Shalini drew.

“Eva, you’re a rotten sport,” said Shalini, sticking her tongue out at her. “You’re just afraid I’ll get your men! Can’t handle some competition?”

Eva’s face turned dark, her eyes burning angrily. Without warning, she swiped a fork from the nearby breakfast counter, and stabbed it into Shalini’s cheek. She tore the flesh out as she dragged the fork along the jaw.

Shalini gave a shriek. She quickly backed off before Eva could make another lunge at her. But Eva merely sat down at the breakfast counter, placed the stained fork calmly down on a plate, and trained her eyes on Shalini’s cheek intently.

The cheek wound, with bloody shreds gaping open seconds ago, was no longer there. Shalini’s tissues had regenerated quickly, the new skin a pale patch where too much blusher used to be.

“See, Shalini? Your healing power is at maximum. You’ve fed more than well enough today,” Eva said, with nonchalant objectivity, resting her elbow on the counter. “This isn’t about competition. Our styles are just too different, and so are the men we aim for. The main point is, you’ve already had enough for the day. You know you can’t stockpile this energy.”

“You’re always bullying me!” Shalini pouted and stormed off to her room. Eva fished out her lipstick from her bag on the living room table and put on her warpaint.

Petra and Kirsten had watched the whole scene in surprise, but neither were too perturbed about bodily harm. Eva shredding Shalini’s cheek was as inconsequential as tearing her outfit.

“You know, after all these years, it still spooks me that we feel no pain,” said Petra wistfully, lifting her hand up to her gaze, studying it like a strange object. “I can barely remember what pain feels like.”

Kirsten smiled. “Do you miss that? I don’t.”

Petra laughed, casting a glance back at Eva. “Our hotshot lawyer might, though. S&M just isn’t quite the same anymore without pain.”

“Well,” said Eva, “I find my joy in other ways. Torturing my bosses and clients. Trumping a deathly difficult negotiation. Making scads of money and throwing it away. I make do. Plenty of ways.”

“Pleasure from pain. Well, I’m squeamish. Pain, blood, cuts. Thank god we regenerate quickly,” said Petra.

“Yes, but we must never show it,” said Kirsten. “So far we’ve been lucky. We’d have to skip town if anyone saw us. Then again, I suspect we have to do that anyway, every ten years or so. People get so suspicious when they notice that we never age. There’s only so much you can blame expensive skincare!”

“Speaking of skincare, I’m in need of a nice facial and a stiff drink,” Eva laughed, her spiky Louboutin heels already clicking impatiently as she headed towards the door. “See you girls later.”

Eva stepped out into the cold night air. She paused to light a cigarette. She had never smoked before she was a zombie. Afterwards, however, it became a game, like playing with fire, zombies’ biggest fear. Fire that she had full control over.

Eva looked at her mobile phone. There was a message from Jarrett, again asking to meet. He was a vet that she met when she brought an injured stray cat in. She liked him. Very much. He was sweeter than most men she had dated when she had been alive. But tonight she was going to bed a stranger, not him.

They could not have relationships with humans. It was far too risky. For both sides.

She flung the cigarette butt on the pavement and stubbed it out.

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