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Love And Darker Passions
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-982-2
Genre: Supernatural/Horror/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 231 Pages
Published: June 2012

From inside the flap

Love and Darker Passions is a collection of provocative short stories by today’s up-and-coming authors of dark, urban and Gothic fantasy. One man falls in love with an ancient monster, another becomes enchanted by a voice that drives him to a frenzy of self-punishment, and another can’t understand three very odd days he’s spending with his girlfriend. Award-winning author Karen Duvall sends a Millennial Alice through a very different looking glass, and acclaimed author Lee Barwood sends the Sighted bard of her upcoming series into the passionate world of faerie to find a child and a special destiny. Bestseller C.E. Murphy makes her twisted fairytale tell what drives a lover into the arms of her questionable beloved, and Tenea D. Johnson works a soul-stealing spell of magic. In Love and Darker Passions, edgy and cult fantasy authors combine their talents to make us question what inspires love, why we crave revenge against those who’ve stolen love from us, and why we despair when love’s pain is lost.

Love And Darker Passions (Excerpt)

Table of Contents

Prologue- Alexis Brooks de Vita

"The Man Who Loved Medusa"-A.J. Maguire

"Sirens"-Desmond Warzel

"Keys"-C.E. Murphy

"The Argument"-Ceschino

"Rainsong"-Lee Barwood

"Lullaby of a Hated Person"-Joseph Michael

"Through the Looking Glass"-Karen Duvall

"In the Closet"-Natalie L. R. Baker

"I Am a Smart Maid"-Matthew K. Bird

"Ice Cream"-Christina St. Clair

"Noisnam Edicius"-Joel Owusu

"Cacie’s Prism"-Novella Serena

"Long Knives, Sharp Tongues"-Max Balkan

"Only Then Can I Sleep"-Tenea D. Johnson

"The Vengeance"-Tedd Hawks

"Blood Doll"-Ezekiel M. Zachs

"The Wakings"-Alexis Brooks de Vita



Do you remember that psychological study that demonstrates that, without dream-image sleep, sane people become psychotic?

Keep that in mind as I tell you that Love and Darker Passions is an anthology of dark fantasy relationship stories. Not stories of romance; or, at least, not romantic.

Here are stories about how love feels. What love needs. What love makes us yearn for and dread.

These are stories of love like black holes: devouring, cleansing and creating anew in ways we don’t quite want to understand.

Love like religion: dragging up from the depths of our unspeakable fears a blind insensate faith.

Love like birth: a bloody tide that exiles us onto arid sand where we stumble and fall, ignorant of the customs and the language, gesturing and grunting, trying to get someone to teach us how to belong.

This unspeakably visceral, frighteningly insistent love is probably vital to existence, like volcanoes firing up the ink of the midnight ocean where no one will see.

The following tales of primal want question our need to bond at a subatomic level and the ruptures from love that cost us self-obliteration.

A.J. Maguire’s "The Man Who Loved Medusa" and Desmond Warzel’s "Sirens" present the sublimity of a man’s desiring what has as its nature to destroy him, while C.E. Murphy’s "Keys" and Ceschino’s "The Argument" show how love seduces the true lover into . . . but I will let you discover that for yourself.

Lee Barwood’s "Rainsong" and Joseph Michael’s "Lullaby of a Hated Person" let love take us on a quest through what is perilous, drawing ever nearer to what we both fear and crave.

But Karen Duvall shatters our self-reflective illusion, for in her tale "Through the Looking Glass," love and grudge are intertwined; "Yes," says Natalie L. R. Baker in her tale "In the Closet," for without selfless love of the nameless, hidden other-than-ourselves, love recognizes neither its object nor itself.

Matthew K. Bird’s "I Am a Smart Maid" further queries how it is that we choose whom we will love and how we cope when that gift of love is thwarted. Christina St. Clair and Joel Owusu answer with love of self-annihilation, the ultimate immersion in what claims us. Novella Serena’s "Cacie’s Prism" and Max Balkan’s "Long Knives, Sharp Tongues" suggest that this all-consuming power is as it is because love kills what it cannot heal.

Tenea D. Johnson’s "Only Then Can I Sleep" and Tedd Hawks’s "The Vengeance" surrender us to love’s spiritual cannibalism; the lover seeks to devour what is beloved. But if love destroys its object and its enemy, then neither is safe; just so, agrees Ezekiel M. Zachs in his unforgettable story of multilayered love triangles in "The Blood Doll." But love makes such self-sacrificing seduction sweet.

So what if we could be forced to love selflessly, blindly, strangers more than ourselves, taking nothing away except the knowledge that we have given all?

What, indeed.

Here’s hoping we may close this volume able to say that we’ve learned what these painstakingly penned stories have to teach us. For in this collection love proves to be that bloody splatter across the eons that moves at the edges of our lives, in our silences and secrets, drawing yearning hearts to hear what they were always listening for, in its indecipherable whispers in the dark.

I can safely promise that you’ll love these stories.

-Alexis Brooks de Vita*

* Editor’s note: Readers will see that, in the interests of preserving the atmosphere of individual stories, formatting conventions have bowed to author, and editor, preferences.