My boyfriend doesn’t get it.
"What’s up with women and vampires?” He genuinely wants to know while I peck away at my laptop long past our bedtime (again). I’m writing my current WIP, “Blood Mates: How to Blackmail a Vampire.” It’s my latest story for The Naughty Literati’s upcoming spring boxed-set, “Naughty Flings," releasing May 15th.
The story is also the first installment in my planned “Blood Mates” vampire series. Because he’s pretty smart, the BF guesses correctly that a “vampire series” probably means I’m going to be writing about vampires quite a lot in the foreseeable future.
"What’s so hot about these cold, pulseless, fang-happy blood-suckers that makes you go all weak in the neck?” He tilts his head, honestly mystified. “Vampires suck.”
“Well, yes,” I say, deciding to take him literally. “That’s the whole point, or they wouldn’t be vampires, now would they?”
Fan(g)girls, don’t be too hard on him just yet. The BF is an ex-Marine and deeply romantic in a tough, Alpha, “I can build you a split-level hut and keep you fed on roasted wild game if we’re ever lost in a jungle” kind of way. In short, he’s the sort of guy who wants to feed me. Not feed on me. See the difference?
So, naturally, the BF questions vampires as a smart woman’s choice of dating material. Statistically speaking, most men are just plain in-the-dark about why women feel an allure for an undead lover who “vants to suck your blooood" for all eternity.
I have to own some responsibility for the BF’s consternation in this matter. It probably doesn’t help that I have been running an eclectic, random array of vampire films and TV shows in deep background as subliminal fang-genre inspiration in a non-stop loop for the past week on our big screen.
Here’s just a small sampling of what my man has endured seeing parade across our TV since I commenced writing this story: Night Gallery, Moonlight, Dark Shadows (the classic TV series and the Johnny Depp film re-boot), Love At First Bite, Night Stalker, Lost Boys. Fright Night (the 80s original film, not the re-make), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the original film), Angel (but only the first season, because they killed off Doyle and I’m still mad about it), From Dusk Till Dawn, Underworld, Dracula (the quintessential Frank Langella version), Bram Stoker’s (by way of Francis Ford Coppola’s) Dracula (sorry, but Wynona Ryder, Gary Oldman, and Sir Anthony Hopkins put together couldn’t rescue that didactic script in spite of the scenic eye candy), Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice was right, totally miscast), the Twilight trilogy (somehow crammed into four films instead of three books so they can call it a “saga”), The Vampire Diaries, and seasons 1- 7 of True Blood (Team Eric not Team Bill).
Since the BF has to live up close and personal with my literary career decisions for weeks or months on end, I guess I really can’t blame him for being concerned that I plan to write a whole series about vampires and their human “Blood Mates.”
“Okay, you don’t get vampires,” I say. “Fair enough. I don’t get that you want a six jillion dollar Apple watch when our iPhones already tell us the time just fine.” My attempt at tech-levity slash misdirection falls on deaf ears.
The BF points to the screen. “I mean, how can you possibly want to make that your hero?”
I glance up at the screen. He’s pointing with disgust at this:
|Not exactly man-candy...|
Nosferatu (1922) is currently on my vamp-loop. Oops.
“No, no, no,” I object hastily. “See, that’s an early incarnation of a cinematic vampire. Back when they were monsters of yore with angry, torch carrying, pitchfork-wielding mobs forcing them to skulk around dark castles while hypnotizing women into volunteering their necks like so much veal de jour. Hollywood vampires today have much better personal hygiene and manicures than did, say, Bella Lugosi or Christopher Lee.” I sound lame even to my own ears.
“Vampires are so much better groomed today. I mean they're really buff,” I promise. “Virtually indestructible alpha males, in fact. The very top of the alpha food chain, so to speak,” I finish impressively. “Women and the public at large love them today thanks to a massive image makeover they've had ever since the 80s.”
“Why?” He wants to know.
“Not sure. Maybe they have better publicists nowadays.” I shrug.
“Uh-huh. Admit it, you’re a sucker for vampires. Sure, they are into a lot of necking,” he quips, slaying me with that anatomical and metaphorical double entendre. “But what makes vampires romantic in a woman’s eyes when they just see you a juicy piece of filet mignon?”
I go back to proofreading the last section of my story on the computer screen. “Aside from the fact that now I really want you to take me to Morton’s Steakhouse for filet mignon, let me point out that vampires are immune from disease or death. They live for eternity with rock hard abs, perfect hair, and large estates filled with lovely antiques. They are virtually indestructible, unless a nasty patch of sunlight takes them unawares." I sigh dreamily. “They are basically lonely and tortured, wealthy hunks who are searching for their eternal partners. That’s pretty hot to a whole lot of women, honey.”
“Eternity can seem like forever if you’re with the wrong vampire,” he warns.
I close my laptop and pause the film on the screen in order to give him my full attention. The BF reads all my stories. He gives me the male perspective on what a real guy would and would not actually say, do, or think in a given scenario with a woman with whom he wants a sexual relationship. This comes in mighty handy considering, no matter the sub-genre, I write romances about men and woman inside of hot sexual, HEA-style relationships. So the BFF is research gold. He’s also one of my biggest fans (just one of many reasons I love him). He’s never taken issue with any of my heroes. Until now.
“Come on. Are you telling me that if a hot female vamp wanted to neck with you, you’d turn her down?” I raise a dubious eyebrow.
“Yeah, if she was only dating me to get close to my jugular vein. Why would a woman be cool with that?”
“Well, not to go all Freudian on you but… Oral fixations. Dangerous primal lust that both thrills and terrifies due to the inherent threat. The Beauty and the Beast syndrome. Longevity of a passion that never wanes. Biting as sexual penetration and shedding of virginal blood. Food orgy as carnality and sex as a literal la petite mort.” I pause to draw in breath. “I mean, seriously, all of that could turn a woman’s head.”
He waits for a bit. “That’s it? That’s the best you’ve got? That's silly."
I shrug. "Zombies."
He cutely wrinkles his brow at me in that way I love. “What about them?”
“You like zombies the way I like vampires,” I point out. “And I kind of get it, even though, ugh, rotting, stinking, shambling zombies with body parts falling off. Ugh.”
“Uh, hi, I don’t fantasize about making out with zombies,” he defends.
I wipe pretend sweat of my brow. “Thank goodness for that. But you have to admit you like zombie stories because you’re a guy and you like to fantasize about being all manly while saving your tribe with a few well-placed head-shots during a Z-pocalypse that throws civilization back to a pandemic, epidemic stone age. In that fantasy world, the Fortune 500 CEO is suddenly a disadvantaged loser compared to the Everyman Hero who can wield a mean crowbar straight into lots of soft zombie brains. Thus ensuring any human babe that said Z-slayer fantasizes about would want to be with him because he has the prowess to mow down the zombie hordes. That's not a burning fantasy of mine, per se, but I sort of get why a guy would be into zombies. Admit it. My reasons for liking vampires are every bit as valid as your reasons for liking zombies.”
He folds his arms across his chest and tilts his head in thought.
There is some silence.
“Okay... You may have a point,” he admitted slowly, “about the Apple watch.”
Enjoy an excerpt of “Blood Mate: How to Blackmail a Vampire” here
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