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MaryJanice Davidson



  MaryJanice Davidson

  Text copyright @2017 MaryJanice Davidson

  All Rights Reserved

  Titles by MaryJanice Davidson

  The Undead Series:

  Undead and Unwed

  Undead and Unemployed

  Undead and Unappreciated

  Undead and Unreturnable

  Undead and Unpopular

  Undead and Uneasy

  Undead and Unworthy

  Undead and Unwelcome

  Undead and Unfinished

  Undead and Undermined

  Undead and Unstable

  Undead and Unsure

  Undead and Unwary

  Undead and Unforgiven

  Undead and Done

  The Sweetheart Series

  Danger, Sweetheart

  The BOFFO/FBI Trilogy

  Me, Myself and Why

  Yours, Mine, and Ours

  You and I; Me and You

  The Wyndham Werewolves

  Love’s Prisoner (Secrets, Vol. 6)

  Jared’s Wolf (Secrets, Vol. 8)

  Derik’s Bane

  Wolf at the Door

  The Undersea Folk (mermaids)

  Sleeping With the Fishes

  Swimming Without a Net

  Fish Out of Water

  The Déjà Series (reincarnation)

  Déjà Who

  Déjà New

  The Alaskan Royals Trilogy

  The Royal Treatment

  The Royal Pain

  The Royal Mess

  The Gorgeous Books

  Hello, Gorgeous!

  Drop Dead, Gorgeous!


  Dying for You


  (with Laurell K. Hamilton, Rebecca York, Eileen Wilks)


  (with Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, Angela Knight, Vickie Taylor)

  Faeries Gone Wild

  (with Lois Greiman, Michele Hauf, Leandra Logan

  No Rest for the Witches

  (with Lori Handeland, Cheyenne McCray, Christine Warren)

  Kick Ass

  (with Maggie Shayne, Angela Knight, Jacey Ford)

  Men at Work

  (with Janelle Denison, Nina Bangs)

  Dead and Loving It

  (with Janelle Denison, Nina Bangs)

  Surf’s up

  (with Janelle Denison, Nina Bangs)


  (with P. C. Cast, Gena Showalter, Susan Grant)

  Over the Moon

  (with Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra, Sunny)

  Demon’s Delight

  (with Emma Holly, Vickie Taylor, Catherine Spangler)

  Dead Over Heels

  (with P. C. Cast, Gena Showalter, Susan Grant)

  Mysteria Lane

  (with P. C. Cast, Gena Showalter, Susan Grant)

  Perfect for the Beach

  (with Lori Foster, Kayla Perrin, Janelle Denison, Erin McCarthy)

  Short Stories

  Dead But Not Forgotten: Short Stories From The World of Sookie Stackhouse

  My Angel, My Devil

  Titles by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi

  The Jennifer Scales series

  Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace

  Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light

  The Silver Moon Elm

  Seraph of Sorrow

  Rise of the Poison Moon


  “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2

  “Hell is empty. All the devils are here.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest

  “I hate Shakespeare. I think Shakespeare is rubbish.” Allan Carr

  “What’s the point of these quotes at the beginning of a story, anyway?” Random reader

  This story takes place a few months after the events of Undead and Done.

  New to the Undead series? No problem. (Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz.)

  Long story short (unlike every other time someone says ‘long story short’, this long story will actually be short), Betsy Taylor, whose love for designer shoes is an all-encompassing hunger, gets fatally smashed by a Pontiac Aztec while looking for her cat.

  She wakes up dead, escapes the morgue, keeps all her old friends, makes new friends, repeatedly cheats death, and comes to realize she’s the long-foretold vampire queen. Violence happens. Also sex. Then more violence. And even more sex. Along the way, Betsy gets into a prolonged catfight with Satan (who looks like Lena Olin in a gray designer suit). The end result? Betsy takes over the care and feeding of Hell and its billions of denizens. (Nametag: “Hello, My Name Is Satan 2.0”) Then more sex.

  See? Easy. But you’ll be okay either way, you can read this story without having so much as peeked at an Undead book. Though you really should. It’s a pretty fun series, if I do say so myself.


  Or shoes?

  In what twisted world would I have to choose?

  Ha! I was a poet and I didn’t know it. I have layers, y’know. There’s more to me than a pretty face and an eternally 30 year-old body and a magnificent closet and the whole queen thing and the ruling Hell gig.

  (What? There is!)

  “Oh my God, Elizabeth Frankenstein Taylor!”

  “What? What?” I straightened up in such a hurry, I almost fell off the kitchen stool. “Are you okay? Are we under attack?” I looked wildly around the kitchen. “Did you lose your phone again?”

  “I have been talking to you for five minutes about tonight and you’ve been gaping at me with your mouth open muttering ‘sex’ and ‘shoes’ for almost that long.”

  “Okay, Marc, but...don’t call me Elizabeth.” What had my mother been thinking? Who stares down at a newborn and says, ‘welp, no need to think about this one second longer, let’s go with Elizabeth Taylor because no one will ever tease her’? “And we’ve been over this—my middle name isn’t Frankenstein.”

  The zombie’s (chilly) hands settled on my shoulders and yeah. It was a little alarming. He bent in close. Dentist close. Or doctor close, which made sense—Marc was an M.D. “When my face is pointed at you and sounds are coming out of my mouth hole, that’s usually an indication that I’m talking to you and would like your attention.”

  I wriggled free from his clammy grip. “Usually?”

  “Sometimes I’m just bitching,” he allowed. “Under the right circumstances, it’s better than Valium.”

  “Right. Look, I’d love to hang and chat about whatever it is—“

  “Lying!” he declared. “You are looking me in the face and telling bald-faced falsehoods and would be dead to me if you weren’t already.”

  “—but today is a special day. It’s—“ I broke off and listened. “Ooh!”

  “You look like Petey the dog when you cock your head like that.”

  The kitchen door swung open, revealing my tall, dark, handsome husband. Eric Sinclair, king of the vampires and ruler of my cold, sporadically beating, undead heart.

  “Oooh, ooh!” It was downright embarrassing how just the sight of my husband reduced me to things like “oooh!” It’s also possible I might have jumped up and down a little.

  Sinclair beamed. “My own.”

  Marc let out an inelegant snort. Which is probably redundant. (I don’t think it’s possible to elegantly snort.) “I think you should’ve waited until the sun was at your back, Eric, it would have been way more dramatic. Go out and try again.”

  “Don’t listen to Marc,” I said. “He’s grumpy about...uh...” What had it been? Something about pads. Or heat? Did he want potholders? Or some of those big puffy oven-safe mittens? I’d buy him a thousand. Just...later.

  “I’m sorry t
o hear that, Marc,” Sinclair murmured. The kitchen door was swinging shut behind him as he advanced on me like a big cat. A lion, maybe. Or a sexy ocelot.

  “I haven’t actually told you my problem,” was the aggrieved reply. “And Betsy didn’t, either. Which, in itself, is kind of the problem.”

  “I have every confidence the situation will be resolved to your satisfaction,” Sinclair continued, and it wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t. Tall and gorgeous and brilliant and sexy and dynamite in bed (literally! we did it next to a pile of sparklers last 4th of July). He was an embarrassment of riches.

  But the strangest thing about my husband? Besides his predilection for baking homemade dog treats for our puppies, Fur and Burr? He thought I was irresistible, too. Which made no sense, but I sure wasn’t going to argue.

  “I hate you,” someone—Marc, I wanted to say?—was whining, “almost as much as I hate your wife.”

  Then Sinclair was right in front of me, sliding his big hands past my waist, down the backs of my thighs, and then he lifted me to him like I weighed as much as a damp handkerchief. Take it from a gal who has been six feet tall since the eighth grade: when a guy effortlessly picks you up, it’s so. Fucking. Hot.

  Then—whoosh! The kitchen door was swinging again. And we were on the right side this time.

  “Wait! You never told me where annnnnnd they’re gone.”

  “Marc required your assistance?”

  By now I was resting my head on Sinclair’s chest so I could feel his deep voice rumble out. “I don’t know, how should I know? Faster, please. We have to go faster because our stupid bedroom is two floors and at least a thousand feet away so faster, right now—faster!”

  “That’s not what you urged last night,” he teased.

  “Really? You’re trying a ‘that’s what she said’ thing? Stick to 20th century humor, pal.”

  “I suppose such things are...ah...better left to experts.” The ‘ah’ because I’d worked open some of the buttons on his deep blue Royal Oxford shirt and was licking the exposed skin. (This was Sinclair at his most casual: dress shirt, slacks, belt, socks—but no jacket or tie, the hedonist.) He set me carefully on my feet and leaned against the bannister to give me some wiggle room. So I did what any right-thinking horny vampire would do: pounced on him. If he was a sexy ocelot, I was a sensual bobcat!

  “Too many buttons,” I whined.

  “The three words I treasure most from your lips, darling.”

  “I’ll give you three words,” I muttered, losing patience and jerking his shirt free of his pants.

  “There you are!”

  I spun and beheld my friend Jessica holding the Ultimate Mood BreakersTM: her cute weird babies.

  “What now?” I snapped.

  “Excuse me?”

  “Sorry. I meant ‘oh look who stopped by and brought us her weird cute babies without calling first’.”

  “I haven’t called before coming over for fifteen years! On your instructions, after the Miss Congeniality debacle.”

  Ugh. Don’t remind me. Sullying that pageant was my worst act before I died. Or my finest, depending on where you land on the “are pageants great or terrible” spectrum.

  “And they have names, y’know.” Jessica sounded the way she usually did when we got into it: exasperated-yet-fond. Or maybe it was the other way around. We’d been friends since junior high and she was one of those terrible women who didn’t age. She still had the same dark, perfect complexion, the same big beautiful eyes, the same perpetually surprised expression (she liked pulling her hair back—way back—which made her eyebrows arch). And mere months after popping out the twins, she was back to her scrawny-skinny frame. So aggravating. “And you’d better not be calling them weird babies when they’re in high school, Betsy.”

  She was in full Aggravated Mom mode (far more terrifying than Irritated Roommate mode), pacing back and forth (she only ever paced three feet forward and three feet back, so it was like watching a wind-up toy with a great manicure) with a beautiful bright-eyed baby on each hip watching us with interest. “Your mom asked me to swing by and grab some of BabyJon’s toys so he could play with the twins. And what thanks do I get, coming here out of my way?”

  “No thanks?” I guessed (seemed safest).

  “No thanks!” Jessica was wearing her usual collection of comfortable faded clothing (long-sleeved red t-shirt, black jeans, sandals and argh, the state of her toenails!), all liberally decorated with baby formula. (How do you even get baby formula on your feet?) The good news was, the formula set off her dark skin in a really superb way. Except for the only four hours of sleep a night thing, motherhood had been great for my oldest and best friend.

  “But don’t worry,” she was continuing, because even if she suspected I’d tuned her out, she figured Sinclair, at least, would be paying attention. Foolish woman! Sinclair was only thinking about my pants, specifically: how to divest me of them. “We won’t be here long, so you two horny toads can get back to humping on the stairs and good God, man!” Jessica had stopped in mid-pace. The babies were also goggling at Sinclair. “What happened to your shirt?”

  Sinclair looked down and seemed surprised to behold that his shirt below the second button was shredded. He looked part man, part carwash mop. “To begin,” he said with convincing dignity, “the queen and I never ‘hump’. We—“

  “Spare me the perv details.”

  “It is,” he continued, a neat trick with the shreds of his shirt fluttering around his knees, “a special day for us.”

  “Oh, because you’re about to do a hallway bang?” She giggled and one of the babies did, too. The other was focused on devouring its hand. Not part of the hand. The whole hand. I didn’t know if I should discourage or cheer. I also didn’t know which one was the boy or the girl since Jessica refused to slap a Hello My Name Is sticker on their tiny shirts. (Because she was an unreasonable harridan.) “You guys have a lot of special days.”

  “Yep, it’s all special all the time around here so we’d better get back to it.”

  “Nice to see you, Jessica!” Jessica yelled, because that was her idea of subtle.

  “Well, it was.”

  “We miss you around here, Jessica!”

  “Well, we do.”

  “Jerks.” This in a tone of restrained affection, and, formalities finished, she was bustling past us and up the stairs toward my brother/son’s room. (Long story short, my father and stepmother had a baby together. They’re gone now. The baby remains. We’re the real modern family, what with brother/sons and zombies and vampires and puppies and the occasional ghost all under one roof.) Sinclair turned to follow (we had to; our room was up those same stairs) and I hopped on his back, because he’s super strong and I’m nimble like that.

  But I forgot about physics. Sinclair clutched for the banister, missed, and we both tumbled backward and fell.

  (Fuck you, physics.)


  “Argh, I’m squashed like a bug.” I groaned and elbowed him off me. He obliged and I heard him swallow a snort of laughter as he rolled to his feet and beheld my flattened form. “Not funny.”

  “No, of course not.” He bent, took my hand, helped me to my feet. “It was churlish to laugh.”

  “The churlishest,” I agreed. “Let’s totter up the stairs like the geezers we’ll eventually be, then bang like bunnies once we’re on the right side of a closed bedroom door.”

  Ah, my own, you read my mind.

  That’s literal, by the way. It wasn’t a guess, or a threat, or something he said because lots of couples say it. We could actually read each other’s minds. It took a while to get used to, and I still got some unwelcome pictures in my head—

  (“Why are you mulling over cobbling together a tractor/combine/BMW hybrid? So you can get the harvesting done really, really fast?”)

  --but Sinclair had it worse.

  (“Please. Please stop thinking that not knowing Burberry made rain boots for toddlers means
you’re a terrible godmother.”)

  We clasped hands like mature adults and sedately mounted the stairs, and our reward for behaving ourselves was—

  “—like oversexed moles again—“

  “Yes, but it’s a very special day.”

  —to overhear more bitching. I’d be annoyed at overhearing someone running me down behind my back, except everyone in the mansion says exactly what they think right to my face. All. The. Time. And now here came Jessica, loaded with babies, and our friend/major domo, Tina, loaded with baby gear. She was small (she barely came up to my collarbone), petite (her little wrists were barely an inch across!), and soft-spoken: she’d been a Southern belle before she died just after the Civil War. Or during the war. I don’t know; I’m not her biographer.

  Anyway, her slight frame looked all the more hilarious since Jessica had basically loaded Tina like a pack mule. She had the port-a-crib, two diaper bags, a mesh bag full of toys...and that was just what was in her right hand and slung over her right shoulder. I wondered if I should warn her about physics. Naw. She probably knew about physics. They had physics during the Civil War.

  “Majesties,” she murmured, sidling past us to get to the stairs.

  “Hope you got splinters,” Jessica added cheerfully.

  Sinclair’s thought was like an arrow: Friends. The ultimate mixed blessing.

  “Yep.” Then I was hurrying down the hall, the absurdly long hall—okay, let me back up, because living in a mansion is amazing. As oblivious as I can be, even I wasn’t so laden with privilege that I’d dare complain that my new job(s) required a three story 6,000+ square foot mansion. There were a lot of us, that was one thing. We did a lot of entertaining, that was another. You never knew when random vampires would swing by to give us blood oranges and swear to never try to burn us alive, that was a third. Or when random werewolves would swing by to give us venison and swear to never try to hunt us down and slaughter us. Or when random mermaids would swing by and bitch about the state of the Mississippi River. Or when we’d host a pot luck.