Chapter 01: (You’re the) Devil in Disguise

Story Description: Having embraced their status as a new couple, Sookie and Eric must face down the threats that have gathered around them. (Part 3 of the trilogy that began with The Trunk.)

Before you read this story, please read The Trunk and The Boot, the first two parts of The Trunk Trilogy (TTT).

I’ve seen the nations rise and fall

I’ve heard their stories, heard them all

But love’s the only engine

Of survival.

Leonard Cohen (lyrics from “The Future”)

(NOTE: The previous story in this series, The Boot, ends on the early morning of Tuesday, Dec. 21)

Chapter 01: (You’re the) Devil in Disguise

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 24 (10:00 p.m., Philippines time, near Manila)

Bill Compton had lost almost a full day as he’d traveled from New Orleans to Manila in the Philippines. Of course, during his long life, he’d traveled to Asia before, but he was still quite disoriented when arriving there due to the time difference and the fact that he’d had to spend all of his travels—including his waking hours—in a travel coffin.

Of course, part of the discomfort of his travels was alleviated by the fact that Queen Sophie-Anne had actually paid for his last-minute flight, and the ticket had been quite expensive! Bill smiled to himself as he sat back in the uncomfortable seat of the rickety taxi cab, which had been—sadly enough—the best vehicle available for hire when he’d exited the airport.

Thanks to Andre, the queen thought that sending Bill to Asia to work on the database was her idea—a way to get Bill out of everyone’s hair for a while. Obviously, Andre knew exactly why Bill had decided to travel to the Philippines: finding and then using Appius Livius Ocella could very well be the only way to keep Eric Northman in check!

Bill placed a handkerchief over his nose and inhaled deeply, trying to counteract the unpleasant scents of the car he’d found himself in. He closed his eyes as he took in the sweet scent of the magnolia oil with which he’d tempered the piece of cloth. His father had planted some of the fragrant trees in order to please his mother.

Bill scoffed. In his estimation, his father had not been good enough at showing appreciation for the woman who, Bill felt, had been forced to put up with too much of her husband’s ill temper. Thomas Compton had been a hard man, fashioned mostly by his father, William—Bill’s namesake and grandfather. While Thomas could be mentally cruel, William had been physically brutal. Bill recalled enough about his harsh grandfather to know that. Hell—he’d been at the wrong end of many switches held in William’s hand! And sometimes there had been no reason for the beatings. And what William Compton had done to the slaves with whips and chains was the stuff of nightmares.

Of course, the times during which William lived had been as hard as the man himself. Having been given land in the New World and having ambition that went beyond what he could fulfill in England—given the fact that he was the youngest son of a Duke who had too many sons altogether—William Compton brought his wife Elizabeth to Louisiana and set about producing crops and children. While most planters around him focused solely on growing cotton, William diversified and grew both cotton and sugar cane. Because of that, he was able to rotate his crops to keep his soil stronger—his crops bigger. William was also a genius when it came to irrigation. His plantation grew—and fast. Soon, he was competing with the Bellefleurs to be the most prominent man in the Northern Louisiana, and every year saw the Compton plantation house become grander and the slave count grow larger.

However, William was not a happy man during his life, and he made sure those around him were not happy either. He blamed his wife for giving him only one son, though she’d birthed ten children. When yellow fever managed to find its way to rural Louisiana in the 1830s, William packed up Thomas and traveled up-river to St. Louis for a time. While the two male Comptons were safe, eight of Thomas’s sisters and his mother died because of the epidemic. Most of the children of the slaves who worked the plantation perished too, along with several adults. When the outbreak was finally over, William returned with new slaves, including a woman whom he took as his lover for a while—not that William had been shy about using his female slaves in such ways up until that point.

With such a role model, it was surprising that Thomas had grown to have any positive attributes at all, but—of course—by then the Comptons were an important family in the state, and “polite” appearances had to be kept up. Thomas was given the best education and was taught the best manners. And—at a New Orleans ball when he was nineteen years old—he won the heart of Eloise Croft—Ellie. She was the only daughter of an extremely wealthy investor who was focused on marrying his daughter off as soon as possible to someone he deemed worthy. Old Mr. Croft had been very ill at the time, and William was like a shark in the water. Thomas and Ellie “helped” the situation by being truly enamored with each other.

Bill closed his eyes more tightly so that he could better remember his beautiful, genteel mother. She’d been a petite woman, soft-spoken and with what he heard called a “delicate constitution.” Bill recalled, most of all, her kindness—the love she so freely offered to Bill and his father. Sadly, however, Bill could not quite remember the specific color of her eyes. If he’d been able to know her as a vampire, he would, of course, recall all of her features perfectly. But she’d died when he was twelve years old—after having given birth to a still-born child, a brother that the young Bill glimpsed only once before he was wrapped up with his mother and put into a wooden coffin.

After that, the little bit of kindness that Thomas had occasionally shown had been mostly eclipsed by the kind of anger and bitterness that Bill now recognized as having grown from intense pain and grief. However, while Ellie had been alive, Bill saw what a loving relationship could be like—at least in the rare times when Thomas would outwardly show his affection, like when he made a special trip to New Orleans just to arrange for mature magnolia trees to be brought to the Compton plantation. Thomas hadn’t wanted for Ellie to have to wait for the saplings he planted to grow large enough to produce the lush blooms.

From the flowers of those carefully tended-to trees, Ellie had made oil, and she’d used it to scent things such as the handkerchief in Bill’s hand. She’d taught Thomas’s one remaining sister, Emma, the process for making the oil. Thomas had insisted it continue to be produced even after his wife’s death—as a remembrance.

Bill had carried a bottle of that oil with him when he’d gone off to fight for the Confederacy. Occasionally, he’d allowed himself to pour a little of it onto the handkerchief that also accompanied him through the war. No matter how soiled or ragged that piece of cloth got, the oil would make it seem fresh again—at least, when he closed his eyes and let himself sink into his memories of home.

Now, as he gripped the cloth in his hand, he lamented a little that the scent of the oils he purchased could never quite capture the purity of the oil his mother and aunt had made. Still—using the oil was a habit he’d kept from his humanity, one of the few that even Lorena had no problems with since she enjoyed maintaining the pretense of gentility.

As Bill took one last inhalation of the handkerchief, he was reminded of his belief that, for him, Sookie was everything that his mother had been for his father. Ellie had been able to curb Thomas’s baser qualities, though she had never insisted that he change any of himself for her. She had understood and accepted his rough edges, just as Bill was certain that Sookie had once understood and accepted his own. All he had to do was to get her out of Eric Northman’s grips—so that she could be reminded (as gently as possible) of what she and he had meant to one another. Sookie had given him everything, including her virtue, and Bill knew that such a gesture meant a great deal to his beloved. Looking back, Bill could appreciate just how suited they’d been for each other; indeed, she was just as well-suited for him as his human wife, Caroline, had been. He’d lost his human wife—due to war and then Lorena.

“I will not lose Sookie! She just needs to remember us—remember how good we were—are—together,” Bill said passionately, though so softly the driver could not hear him. Though he didn’t continue to verbalize his thoughts, Bill knew in his heart that Sookie also needed to “remember”—or perhaps simply “embrace”—what his father would have called her “place.” Bill couldn’t help but to recall how flawlessly his mother had provided Thomas Compton with exactly what he needed. Ellie Compton had truly understood how to behave as the ideal wife and partner to her husband; Bill knew that Sookie had equal potential to do the same.

The vampire smiled to himself as he put away the handkerchief. He had more confidence than ever that Sookie would soon remember everything good about their relationship—thanks to Hallow.

Bill found himself ambivalent about his short tryst with the witch. She’d been on her best behavior, not attempting to take his blood from him without his permission, though he’d ultimately given her a couple of vials voluntarily.

Hallow was not a V addict—at least, not exactly. But she did use the blood for the occasional high. Mostly, however, she used it, along with magic, to strengthen herself. Thankfully, like him, Hallow had seen their association as a business one—first and foremost. They were helpful to each other—and could be even more helpful. Thus, Bill encouraged the fixation she’d somehow developed for Eric Northman, especially since Eric’s being with Hallow would most certainly mean that Sookie would dismiss the Viking from her life.

Yes—that was the outcome Bill needed to happen.

And that outcome was becoming more and more probable as all of his plans had been coming together—easily coming together, in fact.

“Because it is destiny,” he said in a confident whisper.

Bill instinctively knew that Appius would be somehow necessary for his plans, and Hallow had been able to use the little bit of Eric’s blood on the silver Sookie had drawn from his body in order to find the elder vampire. Andre had quickly offered to arrange for Bill’s travels in a way that Queen Sophie-Anne would not understand the significance of. And, as a bonus, Hallow was currently concocting a powerful love spell that Bill planned to ensure was cast upon Sookie; the spell would make her forget all but her heart’s desire. Bill never had a doubt that he—not Eric Northman—was that desire for Sookie.

No doubt at all.


“Hey, Deb!” Charles Claussen said as he stepped out of the shadows. He looked around to make sure they were alone, his yellowish eyes seeming to absorb the sun as much as reflect it. As a wereowl, he looked strangely out of place in the sun—pensive even—though he was not harmed by its rays as vampires were.

“Charles!” Debbie enthused as she rose to her feet from the park bench where she’d been waiting. It was the first time she’d left Alcide’s house following her self-imposed detox. During the days that she’d been with him, Alcide had kept his distance when he’d been home—staying in his bedroom (with the door locked) most of the time—though he had made sure that the refrigerator and freezer were stocked with food that could be easily prepared.

He’d also hidden the small amount of alcohol he usually kept in the house—believing that Debbie should avoid all controlled substances.

Hell! She was surprised he’d not taken away the damned coffee!

Still, the werefox was grateful to Alcide, though disappointed he’d not offered her any emotional support during her ordeal. She could admit that a part of her—a very large part—had hoped that he would be drawn back to her as he watched her suffer through detox.

Indeed, a part of her had hoped that they could start a new life together—away from both Mississippi and Louisiana.

She sighed. She figured she would have about one more week until Alcide kicked her out of his home, but she could do a lot in a week. First, however, she needed a clearer head—needed the withdrawal symptoms and the cravings to go away so that she could focus on her plan to make Alcide want her again.

And also focus on planning a way to get back at Sookie Stackhouse—without getting her own hands dirty.

And that’s where Charles came in. She regarded her ex-fiancé, even as he studied her appearance.

“You look like shit, Deb,” Charles judged.

“I feel like it too,” she admitted with a laugh. “I’ve gotten off of it, Charles—the V. And as soon as I’m able, I’m gonna move up North—start a new life.”

“Then why’d you contact me?” the wereowl asked with a smirk. “And—if you’re so clean—why’d you ask me to bring you somethin’ to take the edge off?”

Debbie scoffed. “You make it sound like I asked for V, you ass. I asked for methadone—didn’t I? And that’s just to help me get through all the,” she paused and looked a little pained, “cravings.”

Charles chuckled, the sound a mixture of cruelty and credulity. “And I brought it—though I can’t believe I risked my beautiful feathers for you.” He shook his head. “You don’t know what Northman would do to me if he caught me in his territory—let alone with you!”

“Why would the Sheriff of Area 5 care about me?” Debbie asked with feigned innocence.

Charles snorted. “Don’t be coy, woman! You know how gossip is in the pack. Rumor has it that you tried to kill a woman the Sheriff’s claimed. And, because of your stunt, Russell has come down hard on all of us—forbidden us to enter Louisiana.”

“Yet here you are,” Debbie remarked with some surprise in her voice. “Why?”

Charles shrugged. “Given the way we ended things, I’ve been askin’ myself that the whole time I’ve been drivin’. Truth is—part of me wants you back, Deb.” He shook his head. “‘Course, that’s not possible since you’ve been abjured and all.”

Debbie sighed loudly. “So the pack made it official?”

Charles nodded. “They couldn’t exactly do anything else—seein’ as how Russell expelled you from the state.”

“Fuckin’ Sookie Stackhouse,” Debbie sneered, her eyes brimming with yellow for a moment.

“That’s the name of the woman you tried to kill—isn’t it?” Charles asked with a smirk.

“The name of the cunt!” Debbie corrected.

“And why did you want her dead? Oh wait! I know why!” Charles sneered sarcastically. “Sookie Stackhouse was the woman with Alcide at Club Dead. Did you try to kill her ’cause your ex was fuckin’ her?” He scoffed and moved to turn away from her. “I’m outta here! It was a mistake to come—a mistake to even pick up your damned phone call! You clearly never got over Herveaux!” he spit.

Debbie grunted. “You’ve got no room to talk, Chuck!” she yelled, using the nickname she knew he hated.

He turned to face her again, the anger clear on his face. “What? I can’t be pissed off that my fiancé is still hung up on another man? Hell! I bet you’ve been fucking Herveaux every day you’ve been shacked up with him!”

“I told you I’m just stayin’ with him until I’m clean!” Debbie defended. “He doesn’t want anything to do with me! And—anyway—why should it matter to you? You ain’t my fiancé anymore! Oh—and don’t think I didn’t know that you were fuckin’ other women when we were together! I’m not a fuckin’ idiot, Chuck!”

Charles shook his head. “I wouldn’t have needed to fuck anyone else if you weren’t such a frigid bitch sometimes—probably because I couldn’t live up to your precious Alcide in your eyes! Hell—even when you were affectionate with me—you were sometimes so hopped up on V that you’d pass out before I got off!”

“Don’t talk like you aren’t just as addicted as I am,” Debbie charged.

Charles laughed. “I won’t deny that I like V. But I don’t need it like you do,” he emphasized, an almost sinister smile playing upon his lips as he reached into his pocket and produced a little red vial.

Immediately, Debbie’s eyes flashed yellow, and she began to pant.

“See what I mean?” the wereowl taunted.

“You bastard!” Debbie shrieked.

Charles put the vial back into his pocket before tossing her a small bag. “Not such a bastard that I won’t give you the methadone.”

Even in her state of withdrawal, Debbie easily caught the bag of pills. Immediately, her demeanor softened and she sank down onto the bench.

“Thank you,” she whispered, clutching the bag as if it were a lifeline. She looked up at him, her eyes brimming with sincere tears. “I know I’m a bitch sometimes, Charles. But—before you go—I want you to know that I’m really grateful you brought me these. They’re gonna save my life,” she added with a deep sigh.

Charles felt his bitterness and anger at the woman in front of him ebbing. “For what it’s worth, I think it’s good that you’ve gotta plan for movin’ on with your life, Deb.”

“You wouldn’t be interested in moving on with me—would you?” Debbie asked softly.

The wereowl sighed and came to sit next to the vulnerable woman.

“I can’t leave my pack, Deb,” he responded.

She nodded, her body language making her look like she’d just lost a 10-round boxing match. “I didn’t think you would.” She laughed mirthlessly. “It seems to be my lot in life that I won’t find someone to put me first.”

Charles shook his head with frustration and roughly ran his hand through his thick red hair. “You weren’t so good at puttin’ me first either, Deb—what with Herveaux always lurking in that heart of yours and V almost always the first thing on your mind.

Debbie wiped away a tear. “You’re right. You deserve better than me.”

Charles put one of his muscled arms around Debbie’s shoulder and pulled her to rest against his side. “We had some happy times, Deb.”

“But not enough,” she sighed.

He shrugged. “Enough for a while—for the both of us.”

She looked up at him, her eyes still brimming with tears. “I do love you, Charles.”

He smiled at her and gave her the briefest of kisses. “I love you too, Deb; I’m sorry it’s not enough.”

“Me too,” she returned wearily.

“So? What’s your plan?” Charles asked, trying to move away from the emotions Debbie provoked in him.

The werefox sighed. “First, I need to get my focus,” she said, holding up the methadone. “And then I’ll make some calls. I have a friend—Tonya—that joined a pack in Idaho. I’ll start by calling her—see if her people would let me join their pack.”

“It might not be easy to get in,” the wereowl said with some regret in his voice. “I know the Jackson pack won’t be willing to give you a good referral.”

Debbie shrugged. “I’m not countin’ on one. Tonya’s pack is lookin’ to enlarge, and they need breeding females—willing to birth firstborns without fucking up the marriages of the studs. If they deem me healthy, I won’t have an issue gettin’ in.”

Charles frowned. “I don’t like the thought of you bein’ a breeder, Deb.”

She shrugged again. In truth, she didn’t really like the idea either—which was why she’d been at least a little hopeful that Charles would go with her. That no longer seemed possible, but she was still holding onto a tiny thread of hope that Alcide’s heart might soften toward her again.

But Charles didn’t need to know that.

“I don’t have a lot of options,” she whispered. “Realistically, becoming a breeder isn’t a bad outcome for me. I mean—I’d be taken care of. And Tonya said her pack actually respects breeders.”

“You’ll have to carry and raise kids from different men,” Charles said, his frown deepening. “And none of those Were daddies would put you first, Deb.”

“Maybe not. But the breeders in Tonya’s pack are all real close, so I’d have friends—people I could count on. What’s more—her pack lets the breeders actually raise their kids—with the support of the pack—instead of forcing them to give up the kid to the father and his wife.”

“Well—that’s something,” Charles conceded.

“And I’ve always wanted to be a mom,” Debbie added.

Charles nodded in recognition. “I know. But—I wish there was another way for you to be one.”

She held in her credulity. There was, after all, another way, but neither of them voiced that Charles could have picked her over his pack.

And Debbie certainly didn’t voice her true preference—that she would ultimately be traveling north with Alcide, rather than alone. With him, she wouldn’t need a pack. Ideally, they could build a life as lone wolves somewhere. Maybe she’d even convince him to change his mind about having a family someday, though she wouldn’t push it. No—she’d pretty much reconciled herself to the fact that she would get to become either a wife or a mother.

Not both.

“Of course, I can’t go anywhere until Sookie Stackhouse is taken care of,” Debbie remarked bitterly as she put her possible futures to the side for the moment.

“What do you mean?” Charles asked.

Debbie looked up at him like he was crazy for missing the obvious. “As long as she’s alive, I’m in danger!”

Charles shook his head. “No, Deb. I don’t think that’s true. I mean—Russell just banished you; he didn’t kill you. And you know that if Sookie Stackhouse or Sheriff Northman had wanted you dead, they’d have had Russell do it. Deb,” he said, gripping her shoulders and looking at her intently, “leave the Stackhouse woman alone!”

Debbie shook her head. “You just don’t get it, Charles. That cunt’s the reason for all the bad that’s been happenin’ to me lately. And—as long as she’s alive—I’ll always have to look over my shoulder. No matter where I go!”

Charles shook his head. “Deb, you’ve been givin’ a get outta jail free card here, and from what I can tell, no one’s gonna fuck with you as long as you don’t fuck with them!”

Debbie frowned, her expression full of skepticism. “You’re naïve if you think that, Charles.”

The wereowl looked at Debbie with exasperation as he stood up quickly. “If you’re gonna go down that path, Debbie, I want nothin’ more to do with it. And I wouldn’t bother makin’ arrangements with your friend, Tonya, either! If you make a move against Northman’s woman, you’ll be dead before you can cross outta Louisiana.”

Debbie sneered. “Thanks for all the faith, Charles. You know I’m known for my stealth; I’ll be able to handle killin’ a human, and I’ll make sure no one suspects I’m involved.”

The wereowl shook his head at his ex-fiancé again. “If you’re set on plottin’ against Northman’s woman, don’t even think about callin’ me again, Deb—not ever.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it!” she cried, wiping away a few errant angry tears.

Charles turned to stomp away, but then paused.

“I did love you, Deb. And I hope you get out of all this clean.” He turned briefly to look over his shoulder. “Goodbye,” he said with finality, before moving away.

“Goodbye,” Debbie sighed.

In truth, she’d been hoping for more from Charles, but she’d gotten what she’d needed most. She got up to walk away in the opposite direction from her once fiancé—towards a small city pool at the edge of the park she’d met Charles in. She looked around to ensure that no one was near before lithely climbing over the chain-link fence. She wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that she’d gone out from Alcide; indeed, she planned to tell him that she was walking around the park. However, she needed to hide Charles’s scent.

Thinking ahead, she’d pre-set what she would need, and the public pool—shut down, of course, during the winter months—was an ideal location. Before she got to the small locker room, she stripped, and—after palming what Charles had so helpfully provided—she placed her clothing into a trash bag. She’d leave the bag in the locker room just in case she needed it, but she couldn’t risk taking the clothing back to Alcide’s to wash.

After stowing the clothing bag into one of the empty lockers, she went into a shower stall. There was the other trash bag she’d pre-set, this one with fresh clothing. Next to it were two small Ziplock bags: one with a small piece of the soap she’d been using at Alcide’s and the other filled with a few teaspoons of her shampoo. She’d also brought along an old towel that she knew Alcide wouldn’t miss. She placed the trash bag of clothing as well as the little bag of methadone just outside of the shower stall so that they wouldn’t get wet. Still in her hand, however, was the vial of V that she’d “lifted” from Charles’s pocket when she’d leaned into his comforting embrace.

She stared at the vampire blood for a few moments, truly hating it in that moment. She didn’t want it and contemplated pouring it down the shower drain. But she couldn’t do that. She would need that V for when she went after Sookie Stackhouse. The boost of strength she would get from it might make the difference between life and death.

And Debbie would always choose survival—at least, her own.

As she placed the vial on top of a little ledge in the shower stall so that she could keep it safely in her line of sight, the werefox promised herself that taking the little dose of V to help her kill Sookie Stackhouse would be the very last time she touched the stuff.

“Poison,” she said a bit unconvincingly as she turned on the shower.

The water was cold, but that could not be helped since the electricity didn’t seem to be on at the pool. It was enough that the water was still on. Plus—being two-natured—Debbie was used to being in harsh elements, especially on the nights of full moons. As she showered and washed her hair, she thought about Charles. Yes—a part of her had hoped for much more from him. It was the part that wanted him to offer to flee the region with her—especially when he heard of her plan to join a pack as a breeder. She worked to scrub Charles’s scent off of her, even as she continued to wonder what might have been. Together, she and Charles could have joined a pack; as a strong male, he would have been accepted quickly, and they would have had high status as a married couple. Though neither of them were Were, Tonya’s pack welcomed all members of the two-natured variety because of their expansionist mindset. Indeed, Tonya was also a werefox and had assured Debbie that there was no prejudice from the Weres of the group.

Debbie thought about her friend Tonya for a moment; like Debbie, Tonya had been raised by adoptive parents, and—like her—she had suffered from a drug problem before she cleaned herself up and moved North. Tonya had been with her new pack for three years and was working on child number two. Her first child—a son—was fathered by the packmaster. Of course, the packmaster already had a wife; together, he and his wife had three children, though only the first would shift. The packmaster had also fathered three other children with other breeders. Tonya was now carrying the child of the packmaster’s second-in-command. According to Tonya’s latest ultrasound, the child would be a girl.

In exchange for being a breeder, Tonya had been given a nice home. Her bills were paid and she received a monthly “allowance” that more than covered her needs and modest wants. For work, she was pretty much a stay-at-home mother, though she and the other breeders rotated a kind of daycare service so that they all got time to themselves. Tonya’s pack seemed to have avoided many of the petty jealousies that so often broke out between breeders and spouses.

Still, Debbie cringed at the idea of being a “kept woman.”

Charles hadn’t given her another option, however.

And—so far—neither had Alcide.

She closed her eyes and resolved herself before turning off the water. She would be fine as a breeder. Indeed, after four children, a breeder was offered support for life and could even marry if she chose. And Idaho seemed like a “safe” place. Tonya’s pack had very little interaction with vampires, and V wasn’t an issue in it (Debbie had already made sure of that). Yes—she could be a breeder, and being a mother without having the complications of a spousal relationship might be just what she needed.

She put her hands on her flat tummy for a moment, imagining herself pregnant and promising that she’d be the best mother she could. Her adoptive mother had given her a wonderful example to follow, after all.

She grabbed the towel and rethought her plan to try to regain Alcide’s affections. On the one hand, she loved him and wanted so badly to be with him. On the other, she wondered if she could ever be happy with him, given the fact that he would keep her from motherhood—simply because he refused to father a two-natured child.

Maybe she’d be better off just cutting her losses and joining Tonya’s pack without doubts or regrets.

After she was dry, she took a comb to her hair, knowing that she’d need to stay outside in the park for about an hour so that it could dry enough to make her story of a “walk in the park” feasible. In truth, she had no idea when Alcide would get home from work, but she wasn’t about to take any chances.

Debbie felt herself shaking due to withdrawals as she got dressed. The distraction of meeting with Charles and cleaning up the evidence of that meeting had clearly pushed away her withdrawal symptoms for a while, but they seemed to be back with a vengeance as she had trouble lacing up her shoes. She grabbed the baggie of methadone tablets and counted thirty. She figured she’d take them as sparingly as possible, knowing that she’d have a set-back as soon as she took the V that would help her kill Sookie Stackhouse.

But—after that—she could count on the rest of the methadone to help her get through the withdrawal that would come with her planned short “relapse.”

For just a moment, Debbie heard Charles’s words echo in her head. Was he right? Would it be better to forget all about Sookie Stackhouse and just travel North as soon as possible? With the methadone helping to curb her cravings, she knew that she’d be able to make it on her own now.

She shook her head. “No!” she said aloud.

Sookie Stackhouse needed to die. Debbie was certain that Sookie would never let her live in peace. Indeed, the werefox was even more sure that Sookie wanted Alcide, and that meant that she’d eventually see Debbie as a threat. And then the cunt would use one of her vampire lovers to kill Debbie. And—even if Sookie never gave Debbie another thought—the werefox was confident that she needed to die. If for no other reason—she needed to be eliminated as even a possibility for Alcide. He was too good for her!

It was very true that Debbie felt that no one should have Alcide but herself; however, if the man she loved more than anyone else had to end up with another, she wasn’t about to allow that person to be Sookie Stackhouse—a fangbanging whore!

“I’ll kill that cunt before I let that happen. I swear it!” she said as she grabbed the V from its perch in the shower stall.

A/N: Well? I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of The Engine—not that it’s easy to read from the perspectives of the “bad guys.” I promise that next week’s chapter will get you caught up on what’s been going on with Sookie and Eric. In the meantime, have a great week!

Please leave a review if you have the time and the inclination.



As I begin posting a new story, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a special thanks to kleannhouse, who continues to put up with me and beta my work, as well as Sephrenia, who–despite not always feelings great–continues to make beautiful banners for my stories–to bring them to life!
Thank you, ladies!


18 thoughts on “Chapter 01: (You’re the) Devil in Disguise

    13 thoughts on “Chapter 01 Preview”
    duckbutt60 says:
    October 27, 2018 at 5:56 pm Edit
    1 0 Rate This
    Love this preview and an insight into Bill’s mind. You can almost…..aaaallllllmmmmooooostttt have some sympathy; but then, you know you’re dealing with a vamppsychotic……
    Can’t wait to read the first installment. I HOPE your health is good!

    californiakat1564 says:
    October 27, 2018 at 6:04 pm Edit
    2 0 Rate This
    Thank you. Today, I had a little headache, so I’ve put grading essays to the side for the moment. But overall, much better than I was for that bad spell a couple of months ago.
    Thanks for asking!

    valady1 says:
    October 27, 2018 at 6:23 pm Edit
    1 0 Rate This
    Insight into the twisted logic of Bill’s mind..he did genuinely love both his mother and his wife, but his idea of their place in life was certainly tainted by what he experienced with his father and grandfather. But any empathy that might cause is more than off-set by his scheming to get control of Sookie, and grief to Eric….very enticing look into the next story in this trilogy..

    jfozz13 says:
    October 27, 2018 at 7:21 pm Edit
    1 0 Rate This
    I don’t even want to think about what appius is doing in that part of the world, but with a bit of luck Bill could be his next victim🤞I’m very much looking forward to more of this.
    Blessings ♥

    rmklein105 says:
    October 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm Edit
    1 0 Rate This
    As always, can’t wait for more! I’m afraid to posit what malevolence will come with the addition of Appius. This could be a bumpy ride for our favorite couple. Oh my!

    kleannhouse says:
    October 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm Edit
    0 0 Rate This
    well Beehl is a delusional asshat, but we now see where he gets his better than thou attitude from. Eric should have staked his ass long ago, until the complete post, rest my friend. KY

    ericluver says:
    October 27, 2018 at 11:24 pm Edit
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    Well I can see how that “hearts desire” spell will work out. Hehe! Bill’s in for a bit of a shock with that! 😈 Still really anxious about Appius though *chewing fingernails* 🤭

    sbinez says:
    October 28, 2018 at 1:17 am Edit
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    Bill you poor deluded fool, I can’t wait for the spell to be cast for you to realize who her hearts desire really is…

    cari1973 says:
    October 28, 2018 at 4:36 am Edit
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    Todos sabemos cómo funcionan los hechizos en los cuentos de hadas y cómo se rompen esos hechizos con un beso de amor verdadero. A mí me preocupa más lo que Hallow haga por su cuenta con Eric porque dudo mucho que haya utilizado lo poco de sangre que tiene de él para sólo localizarle. Va a ser un auténtico suplicio si Sookie y Eric pierden la memoria al mismo tiempo. Y ¿cómo es que nadie está siguiendo a Bill Compton para saber cuáles son sus planes? Espero que al saber su localización y cercanía con Ocella, Eric pueda adelantarse a sus nefarios planes.

    addicted2love7 says:
    October 28, 2018 at 5:22 am Edit
    0 0 Rate This
    Already loving this…..
    Can’t wait for Sunday !
    Be well Kat and have yourself a spooky Halloween!

    switbo says:
    October 28, 2018 at 7:23 am Edit
    0 0 Rate This
    Kleannouse – “delusional asshat”. Chuckle, snort. I love it!

    Kat – As much as insight into Beehl’s mind makes me feel like I need a shower, I still loved it. It doesn’t surprise me that he slept with Hallow. They’re both equally deluded and obsessed with someone who doesn’t want them. They deserve each other. I’m guessing that “heart’s desire” spell is NOT going to work out the way he’s hoping, but I love the twist of it being meant for Sookie. I’m dreading Appius showing up – maybe he can just keep Beehl as a pet instead and leave Eric alone?

    Looking forward to next Sunday! Glad you continue to feel better.

    teachert99 says:
    October 28, 2018 at 11:50 am Edit
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    I can’t wait! So, so, so, good! You are such a tease. 😉

    thevikingskittykat says:
    October 29, 2018 at 3:29 pm Edit
    0 0 Rate This
    Why couldn’t Bill have been accidentally staked while away. He’s like a cold that won’t leave!!!

  2. Wow two completely delusional individuals, both of whom have evil intentions for Sookie, Bill to break/enslave her, Debbie to kill her. Both seem to live in an alternate universe with a doppelganger of Sookie who is nothing like reality. Throw in Appius, Andre , evil fairies and others, Sookie is in for a rough ride. Looking forward to further chapters.

  3. Love the first chapter. Best to you and Kleenhouse for the start of another wonderful story! Debbie will prove to be a problem, won’t she? She had her chance but her misplaced jealously will be the end of her.

    Hope all is well with you, health-wise!

  4. Oh my, two people who have delusions.. AND Appius…. Crap, Sookie AND Eric both have targets on them, (again). Thanks for this chapter!

  5. Great first chapter! I really enjoyed the backstory to Bill, though I pray he dies very violently, of course. He is such a deluded little asshat. Looking forward to the next chapter. 🙂

  6. Oh boy! Are Bill and Debbie delusional. Sookie will never go to Bill and Sookie doesn’t want Alcide. Boy are André and Bill going to be in so much trouble for bringing Appius into the picture.Can’t wait for the next chapter.

  7. Ah, two of the most delusional folks ever! Itll be sweet when the truth hits them and they get what’s coming to them.

  8. Beehl is still a delusional asshat and i hope he gets his just desserts in the end. Oh and his co-conspirator Andre, needs a stake up his ass for his help in this . as for Deb, she is one fucked up BITCH. she will be dead soon enough , just curious and trying to figure out which one of the Were guards she will go up against and meet her end. KY

  9. Both of these two are delusional in different ways. I can almost feel bad for Bill. With addicts like Debbie, and alcoholics, it’s always someone else’s fault. At least we know who some of the enemies are.

  10. Fascinating beginning to this final segment of the trilogy. Debbie doesn’t need V to be crazy, she is already there isn’t she? Charles made a good case for her to take the high road and start her life elsewhere, but the dye is cast. Of course we know Bill is a few bricks short a full load when it comes to Sookie. And we haven’t even seen Appius yet, but his presence is lurking in the shadow, waiting to come forward and create havoc for Eric and Sookie.

  11. Bill is as delusional as ever. Even knowing his terrible family history doesn’t help me to like his character any better. We all have a choice and can try to overcome the deficiencies of our past. Bill has just created his own reality in his head and is determined to make it come true. As for Debbie, she should have listened to her ex. She’s determined to hurt Sookie but it’s only going to get her killed. Even if she was successful, Eric would never let her remain alive.

  12. Great stuff as usual! Bill and Debbie are definitely in for a surprise, but unfortunately so are Sookie and Eric with Appius and Hallow entering the picture. I can’t wait to see what evil twists they’ll bring to the story. As always I love the interesting new back stories you create. Very excited to see where it all leads.

  13. Debbie is so messed up in the head she is very damaged and unbalanced, never good. On the other hand nothing about Bill Compton ever makes me feel sorry for him. I truly am so happy to see updates when you are able to post them. Another great chapter.

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