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Deadlocked: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

Deadlocked: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

Titel: Deadlocked: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
Autoren: Charlaine Harris
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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 © 2012 by Charlaine Harris, Inc.
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Text design by Kristin del Rosario.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Harris, Charlaine.
Deadlocked / Charlaine Harris.—First edition.
pages cm.—(A Sookie Stackhouse novel)
ISBN: 978-1-101-58071-4
1. Stackhouse, Sookie (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Vampires—Fiction. 3. Werewolves—Fiction. 4. Magic—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3558.A6427D45 2012
10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Julia, this is for you.
    I love you, honey.

    I appreciate the advice and encouragement given by my friends Dana Cameron and Toni L. P. Kelner. I couldn’t do any of this without my husband, Hal. Paula Woldan (bffpaula) has made my life a cakewalk rather than an obstacle course. And heartfelt thanks to my agent, Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky, who guards the entrance to my cave.
    My sincere gratitude to Stefan Diamante of Body Roxx for his Male Strippers 101 course.

Chapter 1
    It was hot as the six shades of Hell even this late in the evening, and I’d had a busy day at work. The last thing I wanted to do was to sit in a crowded bar to watch my cousin get naked. But it was Ladies Only night at Hooligans, we’d planned this excursion for days, and the bar was full of hooting and hollering women determined to have a good time.
    My very pregnant friend Tara sat to my right, and Holly, who worked at Sam Merlotte’s bar like me and Kennedy Keyes, sat on my left. Kennedy and Michele, my brother’s girlfriend, sat on the other side of the table.
    “The Sook -ee,” Kennedy called, and grinned at me. Kennedy had been first runner-up to Miss Louisiana a few years ago, and despite her stint in prison she’d retained her spectacular looks and grooming, including teeth that could blind an oncoming bus.
    “I’m glad you decided to come, Kennedy,” I said. “Danny doesn’t mind?” She’d been waffling the very afternoon before. I’d been sure she’d stay at home.
    “Hey, I want to see some cute guys naked, don’t you?” Kennedy said.
    I glanced around at the other women. “Unless I missed a page, we all get to see guys naked, on a regular basis,” I said. Though I hadn’t been trying to be funny, my friends shrieked with laughter. They were just that giddy.
    I’d only spoken the truth: I’d been dating Eric Northman for a while; Kennedy and Danny Prideaux had gotten pretty intense; Michele and Jason were practically living together; Tara was married and pregnant , for gosh sakes; and Holly was engaged to Hoyt Fortenberry, who barely stopped in at his own apartment any longer.
    “You gotta at least be curious,” Michele said, raising her voice to be heard over the clamor. “Even if you get to see Claude around the house all the time. With his clothes on, but still …”
    “Yeah, when’s his place gonna be ready for him to move back?” Tara asked. “How long can it take to put in new plumbing?”
    Claude’s Monroe house’s plumbing was in fine shape as far as I knew. The
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