Sookie & the Three Musketeers

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead

There’s only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with (at least voluntarily) and that’s Bill. But recently he’s been a little distant–in another state distant. His sinister and sexy boss, Eric, has an idea where to find him. Next thing Sookie knows, she is off to Jackson, Mississippi, to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. It’s a dangerous little haunt where the elitist vampire society can go to chill out and suck down some type O. But when Sookie finally finds Bill–caught in an act of serious betrayal–she’s not sure whether to save him…or sharpen some stakes.

We once again find Sookie and Bill in a not so great situation. Bill has been slaving over his computer on a program that is secret even to Sookie. Sookie feels neglected and they argue (again); Sookie leaves Bill’s house but before she leaves, Bill tells her he’ll be going out of town and should anything to happen to him, his computer and all his files will be hidden in his hidey-hole at her house. If its not there, she should come to his house to retrieve them. Seriously, she’s okay with being neglected and then being told to look out for his interests, seriously Bill?

“Okay let me get this straight,” I said in a reasonably level tone. I sat back on the floor, cross-legged, and rested my hands on my knees. “You work for Eric, who is the boss of Area 5, but there is also a queen? Of Louisiana?”

On the way to work the following day, Sookie makes a detour she knows will put her in a bad mood. So I ask, why do it? Sookie drives down the street the Bellefluer’s house is located. While the house is undergoing extensive repairs thanks to an unnamed family benefactor, Bill, Sookie struggles and works overtime. Seems Bill’s heart is in the right place to want to take care of his family and Sookie did say she didn’t want to be a kept woman, what’s a vampire to do? Bill meet Rock and Hard-place, I hope you’ll like each other; you’ll be spending a lot of time together.

After Bill’s departure, Eric sends Bubba to watch over Sookie with strict orders that she is not to be out of his sight. Good thing too, since the night of Bubba’s arrival, Sookie is attacked while talking to Sam outside his office. Bubba to the rescue!!! Sam and Sookie figure the attacker to have some association with werewolves based on the emblem on his motorcycle jacket.

“I’ve kilt him,” Bubba said proudly. “I saved you, Miss Sookie.”

Pam arrives at Merlotte’s later the same evening and informs Sookie that Bill is missing. Sookie also learns that Bill was lying to her. He’d said he was going to Seattle but he was in Mississippi. Pam also tells Sookie that Bill was supposed to return the previous evening to meet with Eric and that he had “bad news” to tell Sookie. Poor pathetic Sookie was wounded and angry as she’s ever been, yet she returns home that night to wallow and yearn for Bill’s return. Truly pathetic.

The next afternoon, Sookie performs the task Bill asked of her; his computer and files are all hidden in his hidey-hole in her closet. Sookie goes about arranging the closet with her summer clothes and then crawls back into bed when her missing Bill becomes too much. She awakes to Eric in bed with her.

“It’s me,” said a familiar voice.
“Eric, what are you doing here?”
“Snuggling.”

Okay so in her sleep haze she thought it was Bill so she was a little upset, but really it was bound to happen. Pam and Chow are with Eric and Sookie invites them in. Sookie learns more about the vampire hierarchy and the terms of how Bill went missing. When Eric asks Sookie if she knew anything about Bill’s project, she lies, but Eric doesn’t believe her. Eric confesses that he can’t tell if she’s lying, which he finds remarkable, he says he could torture her but it sounds like an empty threat. It’s not until Eric says it doesn’t matter if she knew about Bill’s working behind their back that Sookie finally reacts, but its not the reaction Eric was expecting. Sookie is seriously scared of Eric and the gang at this point. Eric instructs Chow and Pam to wait outside while Eric talks to Sookie. Sookie’s not feeling too hot and Eric moves closer for their conversation. Eric doesn’t want Sookie to be afraid of him; he professes that he’s not going to torture her because he hopes to see her perfect skin in its entirety in the future, but Sookie still does not relax. Sookie also learns that Bill was going to leave her for his maker. Sookie believes Eric is only feigning reluctance to tell her about Bill’s indiscretion. Sookie is humiliated by the news and cannot meet Eric in the eyes instead she focuses on their joined hands in her lap (they’ve been joined since he moved closer). Eric didn’t want to tell Sookie any of this but Pam forced his hand with her slip-up. Eric tells Sookie that his “hide” is on the line also, not just hers; Sookie is surprised by the news. Eric fills Sookie in on the plan, although she’s not pleased by the news of Bill’s betrayal, she agrees to help find and return him.

Enter Alcide Herveaux, surveyor by day, werewolf by full moon. Alcide arrives at Sookie’s to pick her up the next day; Sookie learns about why Alcide is helping her and she finds out about the attacker at Merlotte’s.

“So, what good is a little human gal going to do against the vampires of Jackson? You a martial artist? You a great shot? You been in the Army?
I had to smile. “No. You never heard my name?”
“You’re famous?”
“Guess not.” I was pleased that he didn’t have any preconceptions about me. “I think I’ll just let you find out about me.”

After calling Sam and Sam talking to Alcide, Sookie and Alcide leave for Jackson, MS. On the way, Sookie learns about Weres (the only shape-shifter to earn this distinction is Werewolves) and how they mate. They tell stories about themselves the whole ride down until they arrive at Alcide’s apartment in Jackson. It’s here that Sookie’s hyper-active libido strikes again while Alcide tries to console her over her missing Bill. Yea, she really misses him when the first warm body to come along and show her attention she’s ready to jump.

Later the same day, while Alcide is out doing business, Sookie decides to go to his sister’s beauty salon. Sookie has never been to a beauty salon, so Alcide’s sister, Janice, pampers her. Janice won’t take any of Sookie’s money and is so please Alcide has a “new girlfriend” after his horrible relationship with his ex. Janice sends Sookie off looking like a million bucks. Sookie returns to Alcide’s apartment and gets ready for their first fact finding mission. Seems more like a date to me with dinner and a night club, but who am I to judge. After dinner, Alcide learns of Sookie’s “disability”.

“You are…what?” he asked, to make sure I understood him.
“Telepath,” I said, kind of mumbling.

After Alcide comes to terms with Sookie’s gift, they proceed to the club. Once inside, Sookie has a bad run-in with Alcide’s ex, Debbie Pelt. She’s there to announce her engagement but she’s obviously not over Alcide and seeing him there with Sookie has her seeing red. Sookie plays along well until Debbie leaves their table in a huff. While out on the dance floor, Sookie’s hears news about Bill. Sookie stirs them towards the bar and Alcide excuses himself. While Alcide is away, Sookie is accosted by a were from the same biker club as the one that attacked her at Merlotte’s. After she refuses, the biker gets angry and tries to force her. Alcide returns and attempts to defend Sookie; in steps Russell Eddington, King of Mississippi. Russell invites Sookie and Alcide to return the following evening after the biker is extracted from the bar.

Once back at Alcide’s apartment, Alcide helps Sookie with her zipper and tries to make a move, but Sookie rebukes his first efforts stating “bad timing”. After Sookie is all snuggled into bed, she gets an unexpected visitor; Eric is knocking at her window. Alcide comes to Sookie’s room to invite Eric inside; Sookie and Alcide report what happened that night at the club. Eric appears to deeply care about Sookie’s safety, at this point it could be because he wants “in her pants” or because he’s starting to have real feelings for her, only time will tell. Eric states the obvious about Sookie “picking the brains” of the Eddington group to find information.

“Gosh, I’m glad you woke me up tonight to explain that to me.”

Sookie is not amused. Sookie awakes the next morning to find Alcide already gone “running errands” said his note. Sookie goes back to Janice’s shop and finds herself wishing to be a part of Alcide’s family.

Sookie returns from Janice’s shop to find Alcide is already in his apartment. They both smell something wrong in the apartment but instead of finding out what it is they play Scrabble. It isn’t until Sookie putting away the game that they find the body hidden in the front closet, and the source of the smell. They hatch a plan to get rid of the body and they execute it without any hiccups. Like disposing of a dead body should be so easy. After disposing of the body they stop to grab something to eat. Its here that they both come to the conclusion that they would be better off together than with the ones they’re pining for.

“What I think I’ll do,” Alcide said, “is I’ll do my best to yank Debbie out of me by the roots. And then I’ll turn up on your doorstep, one day when you least expect it, and I’ll hope by then you will have given up on your vampire.”

After they return from disposing of the body, Sookie takes a nap only to awaken to hear voices in the living room. Alcide is speaking to the local Packmaster trying to explain, lie, about what happened the previous night and not knowing where Jerry Falcon, the were that attacked Sookie at the bar, is (which is where the lying comes in). While Sookie is listening at her bedroom door to what is happening in the living room, Eric comes tapping at her window (his invitation had been rescinded by Alcide the previous night). Sookie let him know he needed to be quiet until Alcide could allow him in.

The Packmaster finally leaves and Alcide comes to Sookie’s room where she confesses to easy-dropping and Alcide allows Eric into the house.

“Are you in disguise?” I asked. I could hardly believe it.
“Yes, I am.” He looked down at himself proudly. “Don’t I look different?”
“Yes,” I admitted. “You look just like Eric, dressed up for once.”

Sookie is in awe of Eric’s disguise and her infatuation, although she’s not yet willing to admit it, grows towards Eric. Alcide jumps on Eric about leaving the body in his closet and Eric is truly speechless on the subject. Alcide and Sookie tell Eric about finding and disposing of the dead body. Eric asks Alcide to leave the room so he and Sookie can discuss business. Eric loses his head for a minute and offers to heal Sookie’s wounds, when she points out that everyone would notice, Eric snaps out of his head. Eric holds Sookie hand while he tells her, not so nicely, that Bill is most likely dead. Eric consoles Sookie but asks about Bill’s project. Sookie gets angry at Eric and proclaims she’ll find Bill.

Alcide and Sookie return to Club Dead, on the night of a full moon, as invited by the King of Mississippi. Sookie is astonished to see Tara sitting at the table with Russell and his entourage. Sookie and Tara immediately sneak off to the ladies so Sookie can inform Tara not to mention Bill. They return and tell stories about growing up together. Tara gets the great idea to re-enact a dance her and Sookie did in a school talent show that had all the tongues wagging in the school. Alcide is furious when they return to the table, but Eric has a different reaction.

A parting of the bodies crowding the little dance floor gave me a glimpse of Eric, leaning against the wall behind the small stage. His eyes were on me, and they were full of heat. There was someone who wasn’t pissed off at me, someone who had taken our little routine in the spirit in which is was offered.

Sookie starts using her ability and hears something that could turn out really bad. She makes her way to the bar and stands between a familiar man and his “friend” and a vampire. Sookie saves the vampire from being staked by the “friend” while the Weres and vamps in the bar chase the familiar man, Steve Newlin. Sookie tells Tara that Eric will help her, without mentioning his name, she looks to him with a fear that he’ll reject her. Eric stops himself from licking at Sookie’s wound because he knows everyone else will if not more. Sookie is rushed to Russell’s compound with Eric by her side the whole time.

Russell makes arrangements for Sookie to receive healing; it seems one of his vampires has an extra supply of the vampire healing chemical in his saliva. Once the vamp is ready for Sookie she is in serious pain; Eric is holding onto her while she undergoes the healing.

“Let go,” he advised me, and I loosened my grip on his hands. “No, not of me,” he said, smiling. “You can hold on to me as long as you want. Let go of the pain, Sookie. Let go. You need to drift away.”
It was the first time I had relinquished my will to someone else. As I looked at him, it became easy, and I retreated from the suffering and uncertainty of this strange place.

When Sookie comes to again, she’s again snuggled up with Eric (lucky, lucky woman). Eric is genuinely concerned for Sookie’s health (I think he was afraid he was going to lose her,). Sookie thanking Eric for sticking around turns into a fantastic make-out session that is interrupted by Bubba. Damn Bubba, we may have gotten a good sex scene had he not sneaked in the room. Oh well, moving on…

After pleasantries, Eric stays entwined with Sookie while he sends Bubba to scout the premises for Bill. Once Bubba is gone, Eric tells Sookie that she needs to heal. He wants her to drink more of his blood, she doesn’t really want to but understands she’s going to need her strength if she’s going to rescue Bill during the day. Sookie drinks from Eric while she leans up against his chest (this is the 3rd time she’s had his blood, if anyone’s been counting). Eric leaves a wet spot on Sookie’s back after the feeding (eww) and Sookie asks him not to bite her, which he doesn’t. Bubba returns and informs them that he’s found Bill and where to find him. They form a plan and Bubba and Eric leave to make arrangements for Sookie to rescue Bill the following day.

Once the sun begins to rise, Sookie begins her search for Bill. She finds him in a room off the garage. While she’s releasing him from his restraints Lorena enters the room and interrupts her.

“You must be his little human bitch whore,” she said. “He was fucking me, all this time, you understand. The minute he saw me, he forgot about you, except for pity.”

In a seriously quick fight, I mean blink and it’s over quick fight, Sookie kills Lorena. Good thing she’d had her V1000 (get it?) and the foresight to bring along the stake that staked her. Sookie gets Bill out of the room and into the waiting vehicle that Eric got for her the previous evening. She makes it back to Alcide’s parking garage, cons the attendant into a pass and parks in a dark corner. While she’s checking on Bill she’s pushed into the trunk with him and locked inside. She can sense who pushed her in and believes it to be Debbie, Alcide’s ex.

While Sookie concedes herself to being stuck in the trunk with Bill, she relaxes. Maybe relaxes a little too much as she’s aroused to find Bill moving. Although she tries to make him realize it’s her in the trunk with him, he’s been starved for a few days and he strikes. Next comes the unthinkable, sex and feeding go together like peas and carrots, Bill has sex with an un-aroused Sookie. Bill finally realizes it’s Sookie with him and as she’s slipping away she lets him know they’re locked in a trunk. Eric rescues them from the trunk and they rush Sookie up to Alcide’s apartment.

When Sookie finally comes to, after being forced to drink the synthetic blood, she finds the three men, The Three Musketeers, standing over her. They quickly dive into the explanation of her rescue mission. Eric learns of Sookie killing Lorena.

Eric began to grin. “You offed Lorena?” He had a good grasp of the vernacular, for a very old vampire.
It was hard to interpret Bill’s expression. “Sookie staked her,” he said. “It was a fair kill.”
“She killed Lorena in a fight?” Eric’s grin grew even broader. He was as proud as if he’d heard his firstborn reciting Shakespeare.
“Very short fight,” I said, not wanting to take any credit that was not due me. If you could term it credit.

After all that, they realize who was to be the main event of the night at Russell’s compound. Sookie puts in a call to Betty Joe Pickard, Russell’s second, and informs her they’re about to crucify Elvis…erm Bubba. Sookie saves Bubba and is rushed out of Alcide’s house after he receives a phone call. Bill, Eric and Sookie break into the apartment next to Alcide’s and listen in on his conversation with Debbie. While in a heated argument with Debbie, Alcide blurts out about Sookie being good in bed.

Sookie and Bill get into yet another argument over Alcide’s proclamation. Sookie tries to hurt Bill for all the hurt he’s done her. She tells him about her adventures in Jackson while trying to find him. He tells her about his project and what it entails. Bill’s making a database of all the vampires in America. Sookie has had enough with Bill and leaves with Eric before Alcide is finished with Debbie.

Eric leaves Bill instructions to clean up his mess, then catches up to Sookie at the Lincoln. While driving out of Jackson, Eric makes a very bold statement.

“Had it occurred to you,” he said, after we’d rolled out of the city’s center, “that you tend to walk away when things between you and Bill become rocky? Not that I mind, necessarily, since I would be glad for you two to sever your association. But if this is the pattern you follow in your romantic attachments, I want to know now.”

Sookie doesn’t like this at all and after arguing the point of it being none of Eric’s business, she confesses that she has no pattern with romantic attachments, Bill was her first. They finally stop for gas along the highway leading back to Bon Temps; Sookie goes in to use the restroom while Eric pumps gas. When Sookie comes out of the restroom she’s met with a robbery in progress, but this isn’t no ordinary robbery. These robbers are looking for her and the attendant is lying to protect her. Sookie sneaks out the back of the station and makes her way around to the front to look for Eric. Eric finds her instead and she’s got the attendants shotgun out of his truck. They barge into the station to save the attendant. The two robbers tell Eric who sent them and Eric and Sookie get out of there before the cops arrive. Eric and Sookie arrive back at Sookie house; Eric makes a flippant statement about her driveway and Sookie flips out. Sookie gets angry about Bill spending all his money on the Bellefluer’s while she works extra hours and she’s always being dragged off to do something for the vamps, she quits. As she storms up to the house she tells Eric there’s someone in her house then opens the door to mayhem.

Sookie is beat up again, but it’s unclear whether it was over Eric, Bill, or Jerry Falcon (the Were Sookie helped dispose of the body). Eric and Bill save her and drain all the Weres in and around the house, eight by Eric’s count. Eric tells Bill they were probably there because of Sookie disposing of Jerry Falcon’s corpse with Alcide’s help. Bill is shocked.

“My Sookie hid a corpse?”
“I don’t think you can be too sure about that possessive pronoun.”
“Where did you learn that term, Northman?”
“I took ‘English as a Second Language’ at a community college in the seventies.”
Bill said, “She is mine.”

Oh Bill, will you never learn? Sookie flips Bill the bird (Go Sookie!!!). They discuss Alcide’s involvement and before Sookie falls asleep again she checks to make sure Eric is okay. He brushes off her concerns simply stating he will heal.

Sookie awakes and after some time elapses, she calls her brother to bring her mail. Jason arrives with her mail and asks about her cuts and bruises. Sookie tells Jason interaction with Alcide and Jason compliments her on the new gravel in her driveway. She’s shocked when she looks out to see the top-of-the-line gravel that is now in her driveway. Jason hands her the receipt for the gravel and Sookie learns Eric provided her with the new gravel.

Jason leaves and after Sookie does some mundane things around the house, Alcide arrives with her suitcase. Sookie tells him about everything that happened the previous night and Alcide tells her about why he rushed them out of his apartment before Debbie arrived. He was protecting Sookie from Russell, awww. They talked about who might have actually killed Jerry Falcon then Alcide prepares to leave. An innocent peck goodbye turns into a steamy kiss before Sookie ruins it by making noises of pain. Alcide gives Sookie all his contact information and Sookie gives him hers before he leaves.

Sookie is visited by Arlene, who takes care of her, Pam, who was sent by Eric to be her hand-maid, and Bubba who confesses to killing Jerry Falcon because he saw him breaking into Alcide’s apartment after they’d gone to bed. Not having any idea how to dispose of the body, Bubba shoved Jerry into the closet and left. Bill and Eric are next to arrive on scene. Bubba left and Sookie told the rest what happened to Jerry. Bill didn’t care, Eric didn’t seem too upset and Pam found it funny.

“It would have been much better if he’d told Sookie what he’d done and why he’d done it,” Eric observed.
“Yes, a not would have been nice,” I said sarcastically. “Anything would have been better than opening that closet and finding the body stuffed in there.”

Sookie says she wished she’d known when Alcide was there earlier, Eric and Bill do not like this but Pam pushes the envelope. Pam tells Sookie she unpacked her suitcase for her and asked to borrow the shawl Alcide bought for her. Before Pam leaves, after stirring the pot, she tells Bill about the queen calling for him. Bill and Eric argue, Sookie has had enough of the both of them and rescinds their invitations to her house. Sookie is alone when she remembers the computer program is still in her house and she has the last laugh.

Club Dead Questions for Discussion

1. Why does Sookie seem obsessed with Alcide’s family and becoming a part of his family? Why is she not opposed to Alcide’s advances like she is with Eric’s?

2. Do you think Eric is lying to himself or Sookie when he said he would only protect her if he could guarantee his own life?

3. Did Eric glamour Sookie while she was recovering from being staked?

4. Why do you think Eric doesn’t like having feelings?

5. Why does Eric call Sookie his ‘future lover’? Is Eric so confident in his advances towards Sookie because of his self-confidence or other knowledge…i.e., psychic? (Eric mentions that he’s been with a psychic in Dead Until Dark)?

6. The attackers in Sookie’s home ask, “Where is he?” Sookie replies, “Who?” attacker says, “Where is the vampire?” Do you think they were talking about Eric or Bill? One of the attackers had already said he’d shot Eric and Eric ran off into the woods. When Eric and Bill are discussing why Sookie was attacked, Eric says because of Jerry Falcon, do you think he was right? Or were they coming after Sookie because of Bill?

7. Do you think Bill really understands how he ‘almost lost everything’?

8. Do you think there is significance to Sookie rescinding Bill’s invitation before Eric’s?

9. Any other thoughts on Club Dead? What’s your favorite quote, scene or event? What’s your least favorite?

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