Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
It's been several weeks since Sookie got shot by a shifter sniper and witnessed the Shreveport Packmaster Challenge. Now she's with Claude, her fairy friend, doing a romance novel cover shoot. The photographer and his assistant, Maria-Star of the Shreveport pack, are trying to get Sookie to gaze lustfully at Claude, which is tough because Claude is gay and Sookie isn't attracted to him. She thinks back on some of her other handsome love interests to try to spark some good photos, but Bill's dating someone else, Eric is too dangerous, Alcide is dating Maria-Star, and Sam is her boss... But ooh, what about sexy Quinn who recently licked her leg? That'll do.
After the photo shoot, Sookie goes to work at Merlotte's. Bill is there without his new girlfriend and asks Sookie when she's going to go to New Orleans to go through her cousin Hadley's belongings. She learned that her cousin, who had been dating the Queen of Louisiana, was killed by one of the Queen's men called Waldo when they were going to seek out Marie Laveau's ghost. Hadley, pretty much the only family Sookie has apart from Jason, hasn't been in Sookie's life for a long time. She hasn't been in her own life either since, it turns out, she was a vampire. But now she's no longer amongst the living or the undead and Sookie is the recipient of her things. Sookie doesn't know when she's going to go, but Bill offers to go with her whenever that is.
After talking to Bill, Sookie is put down by a priest who frowns upon her talking so much with a vampire, but then he asks her to talk with Debbie Pelt's parents about Debbie's "disappearance." Sookie doesn't want anything to do with Debbie, so she says no, there's nothing else to talk about and she really doesn't want to. This makes the priest even more disappointed, but fuck that guy. Then Quinn walks into the bar. And fuck that guy, but in a different, sexier way! Quinn asks if he can see Sookie at her house after work and she agrees.
Quinn follows Sookie home, which isn't quite remodeled after the fire, but it's nearly done, and asks her two things. One, can they date and two, will she work the upcoming Vampire Summit for the Queen of Louisiana. Yes, they can begin dating, and they plan to go to see a play. As for the Vampire Summit... well... She was supposed to work for Eric at that event. The Queen supersedes Eric, so it seems that she'll have to let him down. Sookie learns that Quinn is a supernatural event planner, which is a very interesting job, and he handles events such as the packmaster challenge, this upcoming summit, and smaller things like supe weddings. Quinn gives Sookie a kiss on the cheek and leaves.
The next day at Merlotte's, Sookie helps Andy Bellefleur propose to his girlfriend. Halleigh agrees but only if they can live on their own instead of in the Bellefleur mansion. Later, Pam calls Sookie on Eric's behest and summons her to Fangtasia on Friday. Too bad! That's the day she's going out with Quinn, so Eric will just have to deal. Pam doesn't think this is going to go well and Sookie worries that Eric will blackmail her with his knowledge about Debbie Pelt. Later that night, Sookie feels someone in the woods outside her house. Whoever it is is not a vampire since she can sense them and she hurriedly locks the doors and windows, then rushes to her bedroom. Soon enough, the unknown visitor leaves.
The next day, Sookie goes to Tara's shop to find something to wear on her date with Quinn and while she's there, she overhears Portia Bellefleur picking out wedding dresses. She is getting married to an accountant so is planning a double ceremony with Andy and Halleigh. Tara is pleased by this of course because the Bellefleurs are loaded thanks to great great great grandpa Bill. Sookie finds a nice outfit for her date and heads back home.
Jason goes to Sookie's later and he's terribly worried. Crystal, his werepanther girlfriend, miscarried and refuses to go to a doctor, but Jason says she won't stop bleeding and he doesn't know what else to do. He remembered that Sookie was treated by an unusual doctor when she was attacked by the maenad, so he came to her for help. Sookie finds Dr. Amy Ludwig in the phone book and gives her a call. Soon enough, Dr. Ludwig is at Sookie's, brought by one of the werewolves from the Shreveport pack, Amanda. Sookie leaves them with Jason and heads to work.
Sookie is upset to learn that Debbie Pelt's parents and sister are in Sam's office waiting for her with the priest. NO MEANS NO, but apparently not in this case. Sookie learns that Debbie's sister, Sandra, the one their parents prefer, is a werewolf. Well that's odd. Turns out, the Pelts can't have children of their own and decided to adopt shifters and Weres. Sookie tells them she has told the police everything she knows and is sorry, but then she leaves the office when a commotion arises in the bar. Holly, Sookie's witch coworker, is very upset. Her son has disappeared from school. Sookie realizes she has the unique ability to help in this situation, so she heads to the school to listen in on people's thoughts. Sam calls in a new girl, Tanya, some kind of shifter, to help.
When she arrives at the school, Sookie finds Andy who sends her to a hidden area in the cafeteria where she can listen to all the teachers and staff that were around when the kid disappeared. One of those teachers, Halleigh, Andy's fiance, was on duty when the boy disappeared, but she didn't have anything to do with anything and is heartbroken. Sookie listens in on everyone's thoughts and finally hears something terrible. The custodian, an older woman who was working at the school when Sookie was a kid, has the boy in her trash can. Luckily he's still alive and, other than trying to hide the body, the custodian didn't do anything wrong. The kid slipped and cracked his head on the floor and she didn't know what to do, so into the trash can he went. Sookie leaves the school shortly after this revelation, telling Andy she's not going to help him like this again and that he needs to do his own detective work.
Calvin is waiting for Sookie at her house when she gets back home to thank her for helping Crystal. He assumes that Crystal and Jason will get married now, which he's not too happy about because he doesn't care for Jason, but at least he'll be new blood added to the pack. Sookie finally tells Calvin that she's not interested in marrying him or having anything romantic to do with him, thank goodness, and he leaves. Sookie spends some time after Calvin leaves thinking about all the random babies he's had with all the women of Hot Shot and cries when she thinks Alcide was interested in her for the same reason.
Sookie gets ready for her date with Quinn, cleaning up her bedroom and bathroom specifically, not that she's planning on having sex with Quinn, but you know, maybe she might. She also goes to Walmart to buy some sexy underwear, but still, not planning on having sex with him. No. Unfortunately before he arrives, Eric shows up. He wants to know why Sookie didn't come to Shreveport when he summoned her and he also wants to know why she's not going to the Vampire Summit with him. She says that she has a date and then, luckily, Quinn shows up and also tells Eric about the Queen wanting Sookie to go with her to the summit, so, tough shit I guess.
Sookie and Quinn leave for their date after this. They go to see a play in Shreveport and have a lovely time, but after, they're ambushed by two bitten wolfmen, or boys, really, who are definitely on drugs. Quinn flings them away before the police arrive, but then they do and they're wary of Quinn. They take Quinn and Sookie to the station to get their statements. There, Sookie sees the werewolf that helped Patrick, the new packmaster, cheat during the silver bar challenge. He's a police officer! He obviously knows something about the attack, and he's very menacing to Sookie. She warns his partner to watch out for him, and then she and Quinn make out a lot in the parking lot, but then they leave.
Quinn takes Sookie to a werewolf bar owned by Amanda after they leave the police station. Alcide is there with his new girlfriend, Maria-Star, and when he finds out what happened, he wants to fight the wolves that attacked Sookie. She says out loud that she was under the impression that she was a friend of the pack, which is a good move. Either the wolves will hold to the former packmaster's decree or openly go against it. They go with it, of course, because these are the good guys and not shitty Patrick's bunch. As they leave the bar, Sookie asks what will happen to the new wolves and Quinn says they probably won't survive the night. He's right. There's an article in the newspaper the next day that they were mysteriously killed. Oh well! In the parking lot, Quinn and Sookie make out a lot, but don't go back to her clean bedroom and bathroom to have sex.
The next day at Merlotte's, Sookie is pretty snappy to everyone. She doesn't like the new girl, Tanya, for no real reason other than the fact that she's some sort of shifter who seems to have ulterior motives in being there. Bill comes in with his girlfriend, Selah, who Sookie listens in on and hears that she thinks Sookie is trashy because she didn't go to college, she works in a bar and her grandmother was murdered. She slams beers down for a table of regulars and one guy jokingly asks if it's her time of the month. Ughhhhhh… yes. When she realizes, she notices that Bill is nostril-flaringly smelling her menstrual blood from across the bar. Gross, Bill, stop it.
Arlene comes over and tells Sookie that there's another vampire there to see her but that she should stop hanging out with vamps and hang out with living people. Turns out, she's been going to the new Fellowship of the Sun church in a nearby town. (That's going to be fine, surely.) The vampire is Felicia, the new bartender at Fangtasia, who has come to meet Sookie on Pam's orders. Pam said Sookie likes to kill the Fangtasia bartenders, but was just joking… even though Sookie has kind of, in one way or another, caused the deaths of the past three bartenders they've hired. Anyway, Felicia is from Arkansas. She's glad to be away from the King there because he's a dick, but now he's married to Sophie-Anne, the Queen of Louisiana. It's not a love match, clearly, because Sophie-Anne was dating Hadley, but more of a power move.
The next day, Tanya comes over to Sookie's house unannounced and is quickly dismissed because Sookie is still sure she's up to something and plus she really doesn't like her. This visit puts a cramp in her Sunday, but soon Quinn calls and they make plans to have a dinner date the next day. These plans are squashed because then Mr. Cataliades, the Queen's lawyer, comes by expecting Sookie to be ready to go clean out her cousin's apartment in New Orleans. Sookie has no idea what he's talking about. It turns out that his niece and messenger, Gladiola, a part demon, was cut in half in Sookie's woods. She came on the day that Sookie heard something outside. Diantha, Gladiola's sister who came along with Mr. Cataliades, finds her body. They have to burn it in Sookie's driveway because demons don't decompose.
While Mr. Cataliades and Diantha get to work burning the corpse, Sookie goes to Sam's to ask for a few days off. She tells him that he can fire her if he needs to, but he's like, no way! Sookie also leaves a voicemail for Quinn to cancel their date. He's busy in Dallas dealing with one of his employees who seems to have disappeared. Sookie also calls Bill to tell him she's going to New Orleans since he told her he wants to accompany her whenever she goes. On the way, they try to figure out who would have ordered the werewolf attack on her and Quinn and also who would have cut Gladiola in half, but don't really come to any conclusions.
Sookie gets dropped off at Hadley's apartment. It's oddly stale but not smelly when she gets there, which is weird because it's been shut up for several months. Sookie looks around a little bit and goes to bed. The next morning, the owner of the apartment and downstairs neighbor, Amelia, is there, like, inside the bedroom, staring at Sookie. Yikes! Amelia is a witch and she put a stasis spell on the apartment to keep it fresh, which was pretty clever. She also spelled it to keep others' out, which is also good.
After getting to know her a little, Sookie learns that Amelia is quirky and nice and then she tries to do a reading on Sookie, but then she realizes Sookie is special and feels really stupid. Sookie dismisses this and then they make plans to get to work on boxing up things and cleaning up the apartment. As Sookie and Amelia look through a closet, they find a body. Amelia recognizes the body as a werewolf named Jake Purifoy who escorted Hadley to a ceremony for the newly coupled Queen and King. So why is he dead and naked in the closet?
Oh wait, he's not dead. He's a new vampire rising! But he's also a werewolf? How will that work out? No time to think about that now because Jake's on the attack. Amelia calls for help but before the vampire police can get there, he bites into Amelia's leg and into Sookie's arm. The vampire police arrive shortly and get everything calmed down, then they take Jake away to learn how to be a vampire and call paramedics to take Sookie and Amelia to the hospital.
While there, Eric comes to visit. He really wants Sookie to be part of his entourage during the upcoming Vampire Summit, but did he really have to come *in person* to talk to Queen Sophie-Anne about that? Bill also comes and tells Eric he should leave Sookie alone, but then Eric begins to reveal some devastating news about Bill, then Bill takes over.
The Queen, who was dating Sookie's cousin, learned about Sookie's telepathy from Hadley and she wanted her because Stan from Texas has a telepath in his group, so she sent Bill, who she knew was from Bon Temps, to seduce her and pretend to love her and later bring her to New Orleans. He claims that he really did fall in love with her, but Sookie's had enough. She tells Bill she never wants to see him again. Eric gives her a pat and the vampires leave. Sookie, devastated, decides to walk back to Hadley's apartment. She shambles, barefoot and crying, all the way back to the apartment, breaks in because she doesn't have a key, and goes to sleep.
When she wakes, Claudine is there! And so is Amelia! Claudine kind of explains what she is, a fairy in training to become an angel, and says that after a long time of being a good citizen, she was finally given someone to protect: Sookie. She's really doing a bang up job… She also explains why Sookie is so sad about Bill, but both Amelia and Claudine are like, fuck that guy. Amelia tells Sookie that she and some of her witch friends can do an Ectoplasmic Reconstruction of the events leading up to Jake's death, but the Queen will need to pay for it. Claudine then takes Sookie shopping to get a nice outfit to wear to meet with the Queen where she'll ask about the ectoplasm.
When Sookie is dressed and ready, she goes to the Queen's place where she's paparazzied by a member of the Fellowship of the Sun. One of the vampire guards, Rasul, takes to Sookie immediately and they talk about killing that guy or breaking his cameras. Sookie suggests maybe Amelia could spell his photos to be overexposed. Before swapping Sookie off to another guard, Rasul comments on Sookie smelling like a fairy. Melanie, the other guard, also likes the way Sookie smells. Claudine must have really rubbed off on her on their shopping trip. She swaps Sookie off with another guard who happens to be standing with Bubba! Finally Sookie is escorted to the Queen's office.
Standing outside are two hulking pre-Anglo-Saxon vampires, both nicknamed Bert, Sigebert and Wybert. While Sookie waits for her meeting with the Queen, the Berts tell Sookie their history, that the young Sophie-Anne bedded them with the promise that they'd be the strongest fighters, but she didn't tell them what all that entailed. They've been with her ever since, and that's a really, really long time. Finally Sookie is welcomed into the Queen's room.
Sophie-Anne and her husband, Peter, the King of Arkansas, are there, as well as their bodyguards. Sophie-Anne has Andre and Peter has Jade Flower. Everyone in this room looks like a fancy child in some way, all young and elegant and well-dressed, except for Jade Flower who is dressed all in red with an ugly haircut and a giant sword on her back. Sookie tells everyone about Jake Purifoy and how her new witch friend Amelia can do an Ectoplasmic Reconstruction to discover what happened to Jake the night before Hadley died. Sophie-Anne is excited to watch and so, with Andre, Rasul, Jade Flower and the Berts, they go back to Hadley's apartment. King Peter does not attend even though he sent his bodyguard. He says he'll be safe with all Sophie-Anne's guards and his loyal vampires he brought with him from Arkansas. Uh… aren't they all loyal? That seems suspicious.
Back at the apartment, Amelia has gathered some witch friends, Bob, Terry and Patsy, and everyone spreads out to perform or watch the reconstruction. The witches will be showing everyone what happened in and around the apartment before Jake was turned and hopefully it will show who was responsible for that and why they did it. They decide to begin two hours before Amelia saw Jake arrive that night. It's interesting to watch and everyone is enthralled, especially Sophie-Anne, who dearly misses her girlfriend. Now she can see her again, even if she's kind of wavery and watery-looking. Sookie thinks of a brilliant plan as this is happening… she's going to invite Amelia to come back with her to Bon Temps to see who killed Gladiola in her yard!
Things start out dully in the reconstruction, Hadley's just sitting and watching TV, but then Waldo, one of the Queen's former favorites, comes to Hadley's door. Sookie learned earlier that Waldo was the one who killed Hadley in some elaborate plan to get himself back in the Queen's favor, and it seems that this is where that plan took root. Hadley seems to reluctantly agree to go to the cemetery where Marie Laveau is buried, where Waldo kills her, and then she makes him leave.
She gets dressed for the party she's going to attend with Jake to celebrate the Queen and King's wedding, and then the reconstruction fast-forwards. When they get back to the apartment, we see Jake make a phone call to his boss, who turns out to be Quinn!, explaining that the wedding isn't going to go well because Hadley's too upset about losing her relationship with Sophie-Anne. Hadley says she's done something terrible, but Jake sends her to bed. As he's leaving, he's bitten by an unseen vampire. Hadley rushes out, gives him her blood, then drags him up and hides him in her closet, apologizing all the while. She calls Waldo and makes an appointment to go see Marie Laveau the following night and then the witches end the reconstruction. Sookie can't help but wonder, since Jake called Quinn right before he was bitten, was it her hot hunky tiger boyfriend that had Hadley killed?
After the reconstruction, everyone is on edge postulating what could have happened and who is responsible for turning Jake and why. Was it someone who wanted Hadley to be imprisoned for turning someone against their will? Or maybe someone who wanted the new vampire-were to kill Hadley? Sookie thinks it's about to get bad but luckily, at that exact moment, Quinn drives up and the tension breaks. He asks about who burned a demon in her driveway and Sookie explains that someone killed the Queen's messenger Gladiola but she doesn't know why. She also explains about his employee Jake being turned into a vampire. Quinn gets pretty angry here but then Amelia awkwardly excuses herself and the rest of the witches and the tension breaks again. Sookie tries to leave with them, but oh no, Sophie-Anne needs to talk to her privately.
Sookie, Sophie-Anne and Andre go up to the apartment and the Queen tells Sookie her life story, about how she was abused as a young girl in France over a thousand years ago, how she was turned, how she found and saved others who were abused, which is how she came to turn Hadley. The disgusting uncle that hurt Sookie when she was a kid got to Hadley, too, which Sookie didn't know about. Talk then changes to a bracelet that was given to Sophie-Anne from her new husband that Hadley must have stolen to be petty about Sophie-Anne's wedding. It's a grave offense to lose a gift like that when you're joining two royal houses, so she has to have the bracelet back before their spring ball in two days. Sookie will give it back to her if she can find it.
To disguise from Jade Flower that they were looking for the bracelet, Sophie-Anne suggests to Sookie that they pretend to have had sex, but, even though Sookie is fine with other homosexual relationships, that's not for her, so the Queen suggests that Sookie pretend to have had sex with Andre instead. As they loosen their clothing and smear lipstick around, Andre comments on the fact that Sookie smells like a fairy and reveals to her that she has fairy blood. What?! No way! Oh yes way. That's why so many supernatural beings find her so attractive. Sookie thinks Eric will be relieved to find out that he only has feelings for her because of her fairy blood.
As everyone leaves, Quinn is upset with Sookie for having had stranger sex, but she says that she didn't have sex with anyone but had to let everyone there think she did. Quinn asks if she'd like to have sex with someone and they start making out, but then Jake Purifoy calls him and he has to leave. Damn it. The next day, Sophie-Anne sends a helper over to assist Sookie with packing up Hadley's things, which is what Sookie asked for when Sophie-Anne asked if there was any way she could repay her for watching the Ectoplasmic Reconstruction. They get to work boxing things up and then Quinn comes to help. He comes in another way a little bit later on when they dry hump on the kitchen counter. And then they're attacked and kidnapped by a pack of werewolves, too many for Quinn to take them all on, even partially changed.
They're taped up and thrown into the back of a van and driven to a remote location in the Louisiana swamps. They manage to get a call in to the Queen's residence and to break out of their restraints just as the van slows nearing its destination. They spring out of the back of the van and run straight into the swamp. The Weres can't really track them through the water, so they're safe enough, unless you count the fact that they're literally swimming in the swamp, but then Quinn shifts into his tiger form for added protection. Soon they come upon a house, the same one that they were being taken to because the van is sitting outside. They sneak up to the house and discover the Pelt family inside. Quinn takes out a few of the remaining kidnappers and then they subdue the Pelts inside. Eric, having previously had Sookie's blood and being at the Queen's when they called, arrives shortly thereafter and helps them interrogate.
Sookie ends up telling the Pelts what happened with Debbie, that she broke into Sookie's house and tried to shoot her, so she shot her instead and Eric hid the body but doesn't remember where since the witches took his memory, and the Pelt parents are fine with it. Sandra, their other adopted were daughter isn't, but fuck her, she's the worst. She bit the two Weres who attacked Sookie and Quinn on their date and sent Tanya to work at Merlotte's. The father tells her if she comes after Sookie again that he's going to challenge her at the full moon and it's not going to go well for her, so she backs down. With surprisingly little fuss, this storyline wraps up.
The next day, Sookie has to go to the royal vampire ball, so Amelia digs through her closet and finds a skimpy lime green dress and sparkly shoes for her to wear. Sookie goes to the bank with Mr. Cataliades to check Hadley's safe deposit box, but doesn't find the Queen's bracelet, so she goes back to the apartment and finishes boxing everything up in the kitchen. She also decides to make several phone calls. Later, Quinn comes by to pick her up, unable to help her with packing because he had to help Jake again. Sookie gets into the dress, freshly wraps up her kidnapping wrist wounds and grabs a purse with her essentials: a compact, some lipstick, a handkerchief, a tampon and some super glue?
When they arrive at the ball, Sookie and Quinn notice that all of the visiting Arkansas vampires are wearing ugly white suits. They decide that it makes them easy to tell apart from everyone else which doesn't bode well for the evening. After going through security, Sookie goes to the restroom and comes out minus the tampon, the glue and the wrap on her wrist. She greets Sophie-Anne, who is conspicuously wearing a long-sleeved dress, on the dance floor and inconspicuously presses the missing bracelet onto her wrist. The Queen is delighted that Sookie was able to find it, especially when, before the next dance, King Peter suggests that Sophie-Anne show everyone his gift and is very, very surprised that she has the bracelet on.
Even though this slight has been rectified and the evening should go well now, Sookie is sure that the king is still going to try something to take over the state, and he does! One of his white-suit vampires cuts off Wybert's head with a sword and then chaos ensues. There's blood and guts and heads everywhere. Sookie tries to escape and Eric body slams her to keep her safe, then kisses her and dashes back into the fray. Sookie manages to find a door into Sophie-Anne's private rooms, but then Jade Flower, who is missing a leg, grabs Sookie's ankle. Bill jumps on Jade Flower 's back, snapping her spine and then cuts off her head with a carving knife. Sookie flees to the Queen's suite.
Inside, Sookie finds Andre and King Peter in a standoff, and then Andre shoots Peter twice in the face. Sophie-Anne says maybe they shouldn't kill him because she'll have to pay a fine, but then she decides that money isn't everything, shrug, and Andre kills the king. Sookie slips out the window and is met by Tiger Quinn. As she jumps over the wall and out into the streets of New Orleans with her boobs out, Quinn shifts back into a human. Before they decide to walk through the city with boobs and dick out, Andre pulls up in the Queen's limo and they hop in.
On the drive back to Hadley's apartment, Sookie explains how she found the missing bracelet hidden in a coffee can in Hadley's kitchen and how she broke it apart to hide it under her bandages and in the tampon wrapper then slipped into the bathroom and glued everything back together. Sophie-Anne is pleased even though a literal war just started, but for now everything's okay.
At Hadley's, Amelia asks for the story of what happened, which Sookie says she'll explain later, and then she asks if Sookie has an extra bedroom at her house in Bon Temps. She kind of turned Witch Bob into a cat and got in trouble with her witch mentor, so she's got to leave town for a while. Sookie gladly offers Amelia and her new cat a place to stay. As Sookie and Quinn get ready for bed, Bill comes to the door to profess his love for Sookie, but she resoundingly turns him away, then crawls into bed with Quinn.
On the way back to Bon Temps the next day, Sookie tells Amelia everything that happened with the Queen and the bracelet and Jade Flower cutting Gladiola in half. Even though lots of vampires had swords, Sookie figured out that it was Jade Flower who killed the Queen's messenger by calling gas stations between New Orleans and Bon Temps asking if anyone with a sword stopped for gas. They figure that the King really wanted to get Sophie-Anne in trouble, so they literally did everything they could to do that including trying to stop Sookie from coming to Hadley's apartment where she might find the bracelet when going through her things, and also framing Hadley for Jake's death, which Jade Flower was also responsible for. Then when Hadley turned him to save him, they figured he'd kill her when he rose anyway, so everything would be fine. They were wrong. Now Sookie has to prepare to be a part of the Queen's entourage during the vampire summit. How bad can that be, really?