Dead and Gone
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2009 by Charlaine Harris, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
eISBN : 978-1-101-05067-5
1. Vampires—Fiction. 2. Werewolves—Fiction. I. Title.
There are lots of people who’ve helped me along the way, and that help has put me where I am today. I want to give thanks to just a few. The current moderators of my website (Katie, Michele, MariCarmen, Victoria, and Kerri) make my life so much easier, and the moderators emeriti (Beverly and Debi) deserve a tip of the hat, too. The readers who visit www.charlaineharris.com to offer their comments, theories, and pats on the back are always a source of encouragement.
Backed by a cast of thousands—okay, four—Toni Kelner and Dana Cameron are a constant source of support, encouragement, commiseration, and enthusiasm. I wouldn’t know what to do without them.
“Caucasian vampires should never wear white,” the television announcer intoned. “We’ve been secretly filming Devon Dawn, who’s been a vampire for only a decade, as she gets dressed for a night on the town. Look at that outfit! It’s all wrong for her!”
“What was she thinking?” said an acidic female voice. “Talk about stuck in the nineties! Look at that blouse, if that’s what you call it. Her skin just cries out for contrasting color, and what is she putting on? Ivory! It makes her skin look like a Hefty bag.”
I paused in the act of tying my shoe to watch what happened next as the two vampire fashionistas burst in on the hapless victim—oh, excuse me, the lucky vampire—who was about to get an unsolicited makeover. She’d have the additional pleasure of realizing her friends had turned her in to the fashion police.
“I don’t think this is going to end well,” Octavia Fant said. Though my housemate Amelia Broadway had sort of slid Octavia into my house—based on a casual invitation I’d issued in a weak moment—the arrangement was working out okay.
“Devon Dawn, here’s Bev Leveto from The Best Dressed Vamp , and I’m Todd Seabrook. Your friend Tessa called to tell us you needed fashion help! We’ve been secretly filming you for the past two nights, and— AAACKK! ” A white hand flashed at Todd’s throat, which vanished, leaving a gaping reddish hole. The camera lingered, fascinated, as Todd crumpled to the floor, before it rose to follow the fight between Devon Dawn and Bev.
“Gosh,” said Amelia. “Looks like Bev’s gonna win.”
“Better strategic sense,” I said. “Did you notice she let Todd go through the door
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