Charlaine Harris: Death's Excellent Vacation

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Charlaine Harris Death's Excellent Vacation
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    Death's Excellent Vacation
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Death's Excellent Vacation: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The editors of and deliver a new collection—including a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story. New York Times Wolfsbane and Mistletoe Many Bloody Returns With an all-new Sookie Stackhouse story and twelve other original tales, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner bring together a stellar collection of tour guides who offer vacations that are frightening, funny, and touching for the fanged, the furry, the demonic, and the grotesque. Learn why it really can be an endless summer—for immortals.

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Death's Excellent Vacation


An anthology of stories edited by

Charlaine Harris and Toni L P Kelner

This book is dedicated to Alan Ball, who has given the supernatural world a huge boost by bringing it to the screen in a gloriously sexy and bloody hour of entertainment.


AFTER we’d done as much damage to birthdays (Many Bloody Returns) and to the Christmas holidays (Wolfsbane and Mistletoe) as we could, we started brainstorming about our next anthology’s theme. What hadn’t we covered? We’re sort of saving Arbor Day, and so many paranormals don’t celebrate the Fourth of July.

Toni brought up the summer holidays. Since we’re both moms with kids in school (albeit kids of very different ages), the idea made us gleeful. But we decided to broaden it a bit to include all vacations, because we didn’t want to leave out the possibility of a really good vampire skiing story. Unfortunately, as it happened, none was turned in to us by our stellar list of authors.

But we got some great stories, with settings as varied as a hotel in California, a family reunion in Ireland, the headquarters of a mysterious sect in Paris, and other interesting locales ranging from the exotic to the ridiculous . . . and we love them all.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve lined up house sitters, and we’ve packed our sunscreen and paperbacks. We’re officially on vacation. We’ll send you a postcard!

Charlaine Harris

Toni L. P. Kelner

Two Blondes


Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author, has been writing for twenty-seven years. Her body of work includes many novels, a few novellas, and a growing body of short stories in genres such as mystery, science fiction, and romance. Married and the mother of three, Charlaine lives in rural Arkansas with her family, three dogs, and a Canada goose. She pretty much works all the time. The HBO series True Blood is based on Charlaine’s Sookie Stackhouse novels.

* * *

“SO why are we going to Tunica?” I asked Pam. “And what are we supposed to do when we get there?”

“We’re going to see the sights and gamble,” Pam said. The headlights of a passing car glinted on Pam’s pale, straight hair. Pam was paler than her hair and approximately a hundred and sixty years old, give or take a decade. She’d become a vampire when Victoria was still a young queen.

“It’s hard to believe you’d want to go to Mississippi. For that matter, it’s hard to believe you’d want to take me along.”

“Are we not friends, Sookie?”

“Yes,” I said, after a little hesitation. Though it didn’t seem polite to say so, I was closer to being a friend of Pam’s than I was of any other vampire. “Somehow, I got the feeling you really didn’t think enough of humans to want to claim one as a friend.”

“You’re not as intolerable as most,” Pam said lightly.

“Thanks for the glowing testimony.”

“Oh, you’re quite welcome.” She grinned, flashing just a bit of fang.

“I hope this is fun, considering I’m using my two days off to make this little trip.” I sounded a little grumpy, with good reason.

“It’s a vacation! A chance to get out of your rut. Don’t you get tired of Bon Temps? Don’t you get tired of hustling drinks at Sam’s bar?”

Truthfully, no. I love my little Louisiana town. I feel as comfortable as a telepath can be among the people I know so well (better than most of them will ever understand). And I love working for Sam at Merlotte’s. I’m a very good waitress and barmaid. My life brings me enough excitement without me having to leave town to get more.

“Something always goes wrong when I go out of town,” I said, trying not to sound whiny.

“Such as?”

“Remember when I went to Dallas? All those people got shot? When I went to Jackson, I got staked.” Which was pretty ironic, since I’m human. “And when I flew up to Rhodes with you-all, the hotel got blown up.”

“And you saved my life,” Pam said, suddenly serious.

“Well,” I said, and then could think of nothing more to add. I started to say, You would have done the same for me, but I was by no means sure that was true. Then I started to say, You would have been okay, anyway, but that wasn’t true, either. I shrugged, at a loss. Even in the darkness, Pam saw me.

“I won’t forget,” she said.

“So, we’re really just going to see the casinos and gamble? Can we go see a show?” I wanted to change the subject.

“Of course we’ll do all those things. Oh, we do have one tiny errand to perform for Eric.”

Eric and I are—I’m not sure what we are. We’re lovers, and in an unofficial vampire way, we’re married. Not that I had anything to do with that; Eric maneuvered me into it. He had good intentions. I think. Anyway, it’s not a straightforward situation, me and Eric. Pam is gung-ho Eric, because she’s his right hand. “So what do we have to do? And why do I need to come along?”

“A human is involved,” Pam said. “You can let me know if he’s sincere or not.”

“All right,” I said, not caring one little bit that I sounded reluctant. “As long as I get to see all the casinos and a good show that I pick.”

“It’s a promise,” Pam said.

As we went up Highway 61, we started to see casino billboards flashing by in the night. Pam had been driving since darkness had fallen . . . That had been at five thirty, since it was February. Though I remembered February as being the coldest month when I was a child, now it was an eerie sixty degrees. Pam had picked me up in Bon Temps, then we’d gone through Vicksburg to turn north on Highway 61. There were a few casinos in Vicksburg and a few more in Greenville, but we kept driving up the western side of Mississippi. It was flat, flat, flat. Even in the dark, I could tell that.

“Nowhere to hide, here,” I said brightly.

“Even for a vampire,” Pam said. “Unless one found a bayou and crouched down to bury oneself in the mud.”

“With the crawdaddies.” I was full of cheerful thoughts.

“What do people do here?” Pam asked.

“Farm,” I said. “Cotton, soybeans.”

Pam’s upper lip curled. Pam was a city girl. She’d grown up in London. England. See? We couldn’t be more different. City girl, country girl. Experienced and well traveled, inexperienced and stay-at-home. Bisexual, heterosexual. She’s dead, I’m alive.

Then she turned on the CD player in her Nissan Murano, and the Dixie Chicks began singing.

We did have something in common, after all.

We saw the first turnoff to the casinos at two in the morning.

“There’s a second turnoff, and that’s where we’re staying,” Pam said. “At Harrah’s.”

“Okay,” I said, peering at the signs. To find these street lights, this traffic, and all the neon in the distance in the middle of the Mississippi Delta was like finding out Mrs. Butterworth had pierced her navel. “There!” I said. “We turn there.”

Pam put on her blinker (she was an excellent driver) and following the signs, we pulled up in front of the casino/hotel where we had a reservation. It was large and new, as everything in the casino complex seemed to be. Since there wasn’t a whole lot going on at that hour, several jacketed young men made a beeline for the Murano.

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