Undead and Undermined - By MaryJanice Davidson

Acknowledgments

Where, oh where to begin? For starters, book ten? Book ten? Holy Fritos, Batman. Even as I typed that I felt my jaw sag. Book ten? How’d that happen? Am I proud? Am I freaked? Am I taking a bow? Am I talking to myself, and more important, can I stop? Or am I just ducking away from a well-deserved smack?

So, ten books! Weird. This is proof that goofing off in high school and not going to college were excellent decisions on my part. Who’s laughing now, Honor Society? Huh?

Anyway, thanks for reading ’em.

Thanks also to my terrific assistant, Tracy “You Don’t Scare Me” Fritze. She knows exactly what she’s getting into (for two years now!), yet she keeps coming back. It’s baffling to me.

My folks, for telling strangers about my books and urging people they’ve never met to buy them. My sister, who travels almost as much as I do, because she always calls me from whichever airport bookstore she’s seen my books in. “Add DC to the list!” she’ll chortle into my voice mail, “and you still haven’t given back my cake pan.” Yeah, well, you can choke waiting for that cake pan. It’s awesome and I’m not giving it up.

My dear friends Cathie Carr and Stacy Sarette, who are remarkably patient with me when I disappear off their radar for months at a time. I don’t deserve them, but at least I know it.

Special thanks to my friend Austin Robinson-Coolidge, who told me a decade ago when the tea craze was starting that, to him, chai tasted like Glade air freshener. I finally got around to stealing that and making Betsy think it. Ha! Ponder that next time you’re staggering your way through a marathon, ARC.

And finally, my in-laws and husband, who had a shitty year but never flinched. I’m always amazed by their core strength. It’s like their bones are lined with titanium or something. Oooh! Like Wolverine, except not tortured and angry and berserk-ey. Usually.

“My God, your mother-in-law beat a burglar to death with her walker!” “Yeah, she doesn’t like people touching her things.” My in-laws are like superheroes, except people are scared shitless of them.

—MARYJANICE, WINTER 2010

Author’s Note

The most luxurious RV in the world, which Betsy calls the Mansion on Wheels, and which Jessica refers to as the Mystery Machine, really exists! I didn’t make any of that up. I don’t know if that’s cool or weird.

Also, I’ve never been to the Cook County Morgue, but I’m sure it’s very nice. And unfortunately, bodies have gone missing there in the past. But I’m sure they’ve got that all worked out by now.

Finally, this book is essentially a trilogy within a series, and Undermined is the second book. Undead and Unstable will follow. So if you finish this book and find you still have questions, there’ll be another Betsy book coming down the pike in about twelve months or so.

The Story So Far

Betsy “Please Don’t Call Me Elizabeth” Taylor was run over by a Pontiac Aztek about three years ago. She woke up the queen of the vampires and in dazzling succession (but no real order), bit her friend Detective Nick Berry, moved from a Minnesota suburb to a mansion in St. Paul, solved various murders, attended the funerals of her father and stepmother, became her half brother’s guardian, avoided the room housing the Book of the Dead (Book of the Dead, noun, the vampire bible written by an insane vampire on flesh, which causes madness if read too long in one sitting), cured her best friend’s cancer, visited her alcoholic grandfather (twice), solved a number of kidnappings, realized her husband/king, Eric Sinclair, could read her thoughts (she could always read his), and found out the Fiends had been up to no good (Fiend, noun, a vampire given only animal [dead] blood, a vampire who quickly goes feral).

Also, her roommate Antonia, a werewolf from Cape Cod, took a bullet in the brain for Betsy, saving her life. The stories about bullets not hurting vampires are not true; plug enough lead into brain matter and that particular denizen of the undead will never get up again. Garrett, Antonia’s lover, killed himself the instant he realized she was dead forever.

As if this wasn’t enough of a buzzkill, Betsy soon found herself summoned to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where Antonia’s Pack leaders lived. Though they were indifferent to the caustic werewolf in life, now that she was dead in service to a vampire, several thousand pissed-off werewolves had a few

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