Excerpt for My Zombie Christmas by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

My Zombie Christmas



An Excerpt from My Zombie Boyfriend



Book One of the Undead Canadian Series



by T. Strange



This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.

Excerpt from My Zombie Boyfriend Copyright 2017 T. Strange

Editor, Deelylah Mullin

Cover illustration by T. Strange

Smashwords edition

First printed by Torquere Press: April 2015

Published with permission

All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the Canadian Copyright Law.

Contents

My Zombie Christmas

My Zombie Boyfriend Links

About the Author

Also by T. Strange



Merry Christmas, Kit.

What if Im not a Christian? Maybe Im Jewish.

I could checkI mean…”

Kit just laughed and waved it off dismissively with one elegant, manicured hand. Oh, you.

We had, completely independently, gotten each other rubber ducks. The one I had bought for Kit was an ordinary, yellow duck. I had considered getting him a zombie duck, but decided that would be in poor taste. The duck Kit had gotten me was identical. Except it was wearing a nurses hat.

I gave him my best approximation of his look, only I had to raise both eyebrows.

What? he said, completely unrepentant. They didnt have any doctor ducks. This can be your nurse. Nurse Ducky. He smiled to himself and kept unwrapping.

Mariel had gotten him a gorily illustrated book about zombies. I had winced when he unwrapped it, but, being his unpredictable self, Kit immediately flipped through it and made appreciative noises.

She had gotten me socks.

A very sensible gift.

Bone had left two presents sitting on my front step, both crudely wrapped in newspaper and held together with a mixture of duct and packing tape. Some of the box showed through the wrapping.

Neither had a label, so we each took one at random. Inside the one I opened was a small photo album, hand-labeled The Zombie Kama Sutra. I had to open it and look, though I really didnt want to know.

It was pretty much what I had expectedillustrations of zombies doing...things...to one another. The pictures had clearly been printed off the internet, and Bone had crudely cut them out and glued them into the album. Some of the pages were glued shut, and I was grateful for that small mercy.

I slammed the book shut and slid it beneath the couch. I had to remember to get rid of it before Kits next cleaning.

This one is for you. Kit passed me a box, looking disgusted.

Inside was a goat skull, with the beard and some hair still attached. It was...kind of interesting, and I intended to keep it. But Kit didnt need to know that. Ew, I said, using my dismay at Bones other present to sound convincing.

Ew, Kit agreed. What was in the other box?

Nothing, I said, a little too quickly. It was empty. Typical Bone! As a distraction, I handed him a present with air holes discretely hidden in the wrapping papers design.

He moved as if to shake the box, and I flinched a little. I didnt see this one under the tree, he said, looking puzzled. He was already unwrapping it.

I sat back, waiting for him to finish. I was holding a cup of coffee, wearing my robe, and feeling a pleasant glow. When we were done opening presents here, we were going to my parents house for dinner. It was looking like a very nice Christmas. Kit had even gotten me some presents, most of which were, of course, clothes. They were nice enough, if a little Kit-ish for my taste.

Kit had already unwrapped several little presents from me, besides the rubber duck, but this was the pièce de résistance. As soon as he got the paper off, saw the air holes in the box, and heard the rustling, he shot me an extremely suspicious look. I actually saw him glance around and relax when he saw Boo. Very carefully, as though it might contain a bomb, he lifted the lid.

Inside was a very round grey kitten. He already had the beginnings of rather impressive jowls. He immediately popped his head out, looked around in a dignified way, for a kitten, and yawned.

I dont usually approve of giving pets as gifts, especially if it hadnt been discussed ahead of time, but Kit had shown no signs of wanting to find his own place to live, so I wasnt worried about him abandoning his new friend. Lately, he had actually been looking at Boo with something close to wistfulness. I thought it would be good for Kit to have something to take care of and love, especially after his plant had died, prompting a minor break down. He’d been in tears when he carried the little withered thing outto me, claiming that his touch was death and he couldnt care for anything living.

I had put down my book and looked at the plant. Where did you get this?

Your kitchen window. It needed a new home.

Since when had I had a houseplant? I had explained to him that it had almost certainly been dying when he found it, and it had been lucky enough to die well taken care of.

In any case, even if Kit didnt want the cat, I would of course take care of it.

A kitten? Kit asked, looking up at me. His eyes were huge.

For a moment, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. What had I been thinking, getting him an animal without asking him first?

Then, Kit pretty much tackled me, still balancing the kitten in one hand. I even managed to keep my coffee upright. The three of us stayed like that for a moment, the kitten purring in our ears, a perfect Christmas tableau. Of course, then Boo smelled the intruderI had kept the kitten in the garage before sneaking him under the tree this morning, to avoid exactly this sceneand gave one of his hideous warning growls. I had to leap out from under Kit to grab my cat, and I spilled my coffee, which was fortunately cool, all over the new kitten.

Later, with Boo shut in my bedroom and very displeased about it, I helped Kit give his kitten a bath. He was a very obliging little fellowthe kitten, of course, not Kitand he purred throughout. I always have plenty of pet shampoo.

Boo is messy.

Lets leave it at that.

How did you know I wanted a British Shorthair? Kit asked, toweling the little grey bundle.

Oh, just one of those happy coincidences. A British Shorthair? I had just gone to the animal shelter and picked a cute kitten. I love cats, I really do. But the whole concept of cat breeds, besides some extreme exceptions like Siamese and Persians, has always seemed a little absurd to me. The differences between different breeds of cats, as opposed to, say, dogs, are negligible. When you get right down to it, a cat is basically a cat, no matter what sort of fancy name you give it.

I peered more closely at the damp kitten. He did have an exceptionally round little head. More importantly, he was adorable, and he made Kit happy.

His name is Winston, Kit announced, kissing the top of his cats damp head.

I laughed. The kitten did look a lot like the former British Prime Minister, actually. Because hes a British Shorthair?

Kit gave me a look. No. Because its his name.

Of course.

Silly me.



* * *



I basically needed to pry Kit away from Winston, reminding him that the little guy needed a chance to settle in. It probably wasnt true in Winstons casethat cat was definitely an old soul or something. He even took Boo in stride. He just sat there and blinked as Boo went through his hissing, growling, groaning, rumbling routine. Kit, of course, had wanted to swoop in and save his kitten. While we were out, Boo was shut in my bedroom with some mice Kit had insisted on sprinkling with cloves, to make them festive, and Winston was in Kits room on a lavish nest of silk sweaters, until we could go to a pet store and get him a proper bed.

Winston was the only cat I had ever met who actually stayed on a bed meant for him. He might even be the first cat in history to use a cat bed, and not the box it had come in. I had bought everything for the new kitten, but Kit, of course, insisted that none of it was good enough for his Winston. I had apparently been living with my dead cat for too long. There was kitty litter made of walnut shells? And biologically appropriate food? Kits insistence on designer food dishes was much less of a surprise, though why designers created pet food dishes was beyond me. If it were any cat but Winston, I would have been worried about him becoming spoiled.

Winston still smelled a bit like coffee.

We arrived at my parents house only half an hour late, including the unscheduled cat bath.

Well, we werent actually late, but Kit had wanted to arrive early so he could help my father cook. My mother and I sat in the living room, each with our separate book. Not talking. Which was fine with meliving with Kit has meant a lot more social interaction than Im used to. Or like.

I had been a little concerned about what my parents might give Kit for Christmas. They had made it very clear to both of us that he was welcome, if not expected, to join the family for dinner, but I had spent most of December dwelling on nightmare images of Kit unwrapping a box of condoms and lube from my mom, and my dad saying, Oh, I got him the same thing! But my condoms are colorful and my lube is flavored!

There were no Christmas condoms.

My dad had given Kit a gift certificate to a trendy home design store, and mom had given him duck-shaped slippers, which was a very whimsical gift, coming from her.

I had accidentally called them duck-scented, and theyd all had a good laugh at my expense.

While the rest of us had turkey and stuffing, Kit ate raw Kobe beef, lightly marinated in my dads homemade teriyaki sauce. I had told my dad about the sushi when hed called to ask for ideas about Kits Christmas dinner. I almost thought Kit had gotten the better end of the deal. Turkey is great, but it doesnt really compare to Kobe beef.

Edwards been looking so much healthier since you moved in, Kit. You must be doing something right. My dad grinned, heavy with innuendo.

Were not—” I interjected.

Indeed. Hes less pale. I believe he may have been mildly anemic before you entered his life. In her own way, my mom was implying a sexual relationship between Kit and me, just as much as my dad.

Really, we arent—” I tried again.

Well, all he ever ate was ramen. Youd think a medical student would know better.

My parents nodded, shooting me eerily similar expressions.

I like to cook, but I cant eat it. At least my food can keep Edward alive.



* * *



Mom? Dad? How did you two know you were...? I hadto phrase this carefully. If it had just been my dad, I would have said meant for each other. If it were my mom, I might have said, compatible, or even gone as far as potential mates. When talking to both of them, it was a little more complicated. That you wanted to marry each other. My parents were experts on relationships between very different people. Maybe I could learn something that would help me with Kit.

That sentence is grammatically incorrect, Edward, my mom pointed out. “‘Were that you wanted?

We were clearing the table after Christmas dinner, and Kit had once again mysteriously disappeared when it was time to do the dishes. I wondered how he managed this trick at work. Or maybe he did them, because they were glamorous Starbucks dishes.

My dad put his arm around my moms waist, pulling her close.

She shook her head and continued loading the dishwasher. She was filling the top rack, so he didnt get in her way. We met at a charity function. It was an auction to raise funds for my hospital, she began.

I had some pieces in the auction, which was the only reason I was invited, he continued.

Oh, boy. I loved when they told stories together. It was like getting the right and left brain perspective at the same time.

I wasnt interested in buying anything, of course, but I thought I should make an appearance. Mom only makes purchases after careful contemplation and comparison-shopping. Buying shoes with her is almost as bad as shopping with Kit. She would never buy something at an auction. And I turned to the man next to me and said, these paintings are quite disturbing. I have to wonder about the psychological state of the artist.

That was, most likely, exactly what she’d said. Like me, mom tends to constantly rehearse what shes going to say before she says it. The repetition makes it easier to remember what youve said.

So I said, If you come to coffee, you can pick his brain. To my surprise, he kissed her cheek as punctuation, she did.

She shrugged, looking at me as if to say, what was I thinking. Hormones are very powerful, Edward, she cautioned, for perhaps the thousandth time in my life.I knew they loved each other very much, even if theyand by they, I meant shedidnt always show it in any way that might be described as conventional.

Is this about Kit?

No. Why? I said, concentrating very hard on picking up a hand wash-only serving tray and putting it in the sink to soak. My parents exchanged knowing glances. Between the two of them, they know everything about love, from both medical and artistic points of view.

Oh, no reason. Tell us more about Winston. Dad changed the subject for me and I was very grateful.

Kit says hes not named after Churchill. Even after I showed him pictures. It was as though the British people had deliberately tried to breed a cat that looked like the man. Kit, apparently, didnt see it, or was being stubborn. Hes kind of an odd kitten.

Because Boo is such an ordinary cat. This from my mom. Completely deadpan.

I ignored her. Winston is very serious. He had one bout of running around while Kit threw a duck toy for him—”

The kitten has a duck toy?

...it came with the kitten care package. Which it had. Though I might have chosen that particular package because of it. Anyway...other than that, he just sits on Kits lap or on the armchair. And he purrs a lot.

Youd better take him to the vet, mom said, very convincingly. “‘My cat is too content and serious. There must be something wrong with him.’”

And how does he get along with Boo? Dad asked, before I could agree with her.

That was strange, too. Winston just sat there while Boo freaked out, like he knew Boo wouldnt hurt him. And Boo didnt, either. He just made a lot of noise.

I heard Kit say that Winstons a British Shorthair? Dad grinned. Kit had only said it about, oh, fifty times. An hour. Dad didnt bother waiting for anyone to reply. Theyre supposed to be very easy-going, good natured cats. Boo was a fairly high-strung cat even when he was alive.

Now that he wasnt alive...he tolerated me, and was occasionally affectionate, but mostly he was, well, odd. Having him as my prime example for cat behavior most of my life, it did make sense that I would find Winston strange. Hes not sick? I asked, needing confirmation.

Mom rolled her eyes and went back to loading the dishwasher.

Hes not sick. And if youre really worried, you can take him to the vet.

Thanks, dad.

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* * *

Edward Grey is a medical student by day, necromancer by night. He lives alone with the first zombie he ever raised, his childhood cat, Boo. Edward’s life is simple: studying medicine, training his necromantic powers with his mentor, Mariel, and having weekly dinners with his parents. When he finds a very attractive corpse in a park and brings it home to reanimate, he creates a sassy, free-willed zombie who believes Edward is the one who murdered him. 

With no memory of his former life, Edward names the zombie Kit and tries to win his trust. Kit slowly adjusts to his new un-life with Edward’s help, though he’s still suspicious of Edward’s role in his death and is convinced that Edward is hiding his former identity. Edward is very attracted to Kit, but understands why Kit doesn’t trust him. As they become closer to one another, Kit turns to Edward for comfort and love. The fragile trust they’ve built together will be tested when Kit unexpectedly regains his memory and seeks revenge on his murderers.





About T. Strange



T. Strange didn't want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn't stopped reading—or writing—since. She's been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres. T.'s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue.

Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs, and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She's very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine.





Also by T. Strange



The Undead Canadian Series

My Zombie Boyfriend

My Zombie Fiancé

My Zombie Wedding

Bits & Bones (Forthcoming)



Amber



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