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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 © 2006 by Charlaine Harris Schulz.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
eISBN : 978-1-101-05282-2
1. Waitresses—Fiction. 2. Telepathy—Fiction. 3. Louisiana—Fiction. 4. Vampires—Fiction. I. Title.
Obviously, this book was finished months before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Since much of the plot is set in New Orleans, I struggled with whether I would leave Definitely Dead as it was, or include the catastrophe of August and September. After much thought, since Sookie’s visit takes place in the early spring of the year, I decided to let the book remain as it was originally written.
My heart goes out to the people of the beautiful city of New Orleans and to all the people of the coastal areas of Mississippi, my home state. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you rebuild your homes and your lives.
My thanks to so many people: Jerrilyn Farmer’s son’s Latin teacher; Toni L.P. Kelner and Steve Kelner, friends and sounding boards; Ivan Van Laningham, who has both knowledge and opinions about many, many subjects; Dr. Stacy Clanton, about whom I can say the same; Alexandre Dumas, author of the fabulous The Three Musketeers , which everyone ought to read; Anne Rice, for vampirizing New Orleans; and to the reader at Uncle Hugo’s who guessed the plot of this book in advance . . . hats off to you all!
I WAS DRAPED OVER THE ARM OF ONE OF THE MOST beautiful men I’d ever seen, and he was staring into my eyes. “Think . . . Brad Pitt,” I whispered. The dark brown eyes still regarded me with remote interest.
Okay, I was on the wrong track.
I pictured Claude’s last lover, a bouncer at a strip joint.
“Think about Charles Bronson,” I suggested. “Or, um, Edward James Olmos.” I was rewarded by the beginnings of a hot glow in those long-lashed eyes.
In a jiffy, you would’ve thought Claude was going to hike up my long rustling skirt and yank down my low-cut push-up bodice and ravish me until I begged for mercy. Unfortunately for me—and all the other women of Louisiana—Claude batted for another team. Bosomy and blond was not Claude’s ideal; tough, rough, and brooding, with maybe a little whisker stubble, was what lit his fire.
“Maria-Star, reach in there and pull that lock of hair back,” Alfred Cumberland directed from behind the camera. The photographer was a heavyset black man with graying hair and mustache. Maria-Star Cooper took a quick step in front of the camera
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