Anita's next move is to call Edward.
Edward is probably the only character to make it through this series without getting totally lobotomized. He's not unscathed by any means, but he still has flashes of his old self now and then. Anyhoo, Edward is the only person Anita respects. Because he is a very, very, VERY bad human being. Not shitty. BAD. The only person I can compare Edward to is Richard Kuklinski. Good Anita had moral restrictions on what she'd do. Current Anita spends too much time trying to prove that she's a badass to actually, you know, be a badass. Edward DOES. NOT. GIVE. A. FUCK. He's acquired a family the way most of us acquire a housecat--it just kind of happened--and I have yet to figure out if he actually cares about them, if he thinks he actually cares about them, or if he just needs a cover and they're it. That said, you do NOT fuck with Edward's family. Even if he doesn't actually care about them, he'll read it as disrespect and you'll be dead. Probably instantaneously. There are a lot of dangerous people Anita will hang with. Edward is the only dude that she is consistantly scared shitless of. His character kind of fades, in my opinion, not because he gets lobotomized, but because Anita forgets to be scared of him. Which, if a good writer were behind this, would be how Anita dies.
In other words: Edward's been one of my favorite characters from the start. Will he get ruined? Yeah, but not completely. It's kind of hard to ruin a character whose defining trait is "Kill it hard."
And because Edward always upstages Anita, when she calls him, she gets one of "his" kids. Peter. She promptly fucks up by using Edward's name instead of calling him "Ted" which is the name "his" family knows him by. Anita monologues about how she's been calling Donna's house instead of Edward's because Edward sleeps over there most nights, which makes me wonder when you know your kill-buddy is under cover WHY DO YOU USE HIS REAL NAME ON THE PHONE. Yes, Anita admits it's a mistake, but it's a pretty fucking basic one.
Peter then reveals that he knows Edward's secret identity (meaning, he knows Ted ain't Ted) he knows that Edward goes out and kills things, and he's just waiting for his chance to go kill things with Edward, but sadly Ed won't take him hunting humans until he's old enough to graduate, smoke and vote.
...that is one fucked up kid.
Also, Anita keeps zoning out during the phone conversation so she can infodump shit she already knows to the reader. There is no reason to have your main character zone out while infodumping. We readers kind of assume that the character is capable of remembering shit and having a conversation at the same time. It's like walking and chewing gum. If you need help, you've got issues.
Peter figures out that Anita is pants-shitting scared of something other than his murdering stepfather and starts asking Anita what's wrong instead of getting Edward. It goes on for pages. LKH must have needed major padding. Finally Anita threatens to hang up if he doesn't go get Edward and the kid does it. End of chapter.
Next chapter: Anita realizes that getting Edward killed will devastate his family and she decides not to tell Ed what's going on. Ed picks up the phone.
The next to pages are basically:
Ed: "What's going on?"
Anita: "It's too dangerous"
Ed: Tell me
Ed: Tell me
Ed: Tell me
Repeat ad nauseum.
They take a break to discuss how Peter's started listening in on phone conversations and what's up with that?
Anita finally explains what's going on and then she zones out again. Edward tells her that's not like her, he'll be there fast as he can but she might want to camp out in a bank vault till he gets there, seeing as how she can't focus on a phone conversation. Suddenly, she realizes what's wrong: SHE HAS A FAMILY TO PROTECT TOO AND IT SCARES HER.
WOW. It took you HOW LONG to figure out that protecting loved ones is a thing, Anita?
He laughed then. “Which of your lovers is cannon fodder, Anita? Who are you really the most worried about?”
I took a deep breath, let it out slow, and said, “Nathaniel.”
NATE IS A MOTHERFUCKING WERELEOPARD. HE CAN EAT YOU. STOP DOWNGRADING HIM TO CANNON FODDER JUST BECAUSE HE LIKES BOTTOM SEX.
To her credit, Anita then remembers that Nate can shoot a gun, that he's already killed at least one person defending her. She realizes she never helped Nate deal with the aftermath of killing people, and she might want to do that. Edward tells her now is not the time.
And then Edward tells her that Donna wants kids with him, and he's not sure that's a good idea. And Anita, who spent ALL of the last book going either "I DON'T WANNA BE PREGGERS" or "I'M NOT PREGNANT YAY" gets all choked up and teary-eyed because BABIES BABIES BABIES.
Then Anita goes wool-gathering about how Edward, in his Ted persona, is also a Marshal.
But too many of the vampire hunters had failed the firearms test; for the newer ones, too many hadn’t made it through the more detailed training.
I still cannot get over the whole "WE MADE THESE PEOPLE FEDERAL MARSHALS BECAUSE THEY CAN SHOOT FUCKING GUNS" thing. That's probably the single worst idea in this book. NOBODY would let that fly. NOBODY is that stupid.
Edward then starts asking which rumors about Anita's life are true, so he knows what he's dealing with. They recap everything that's already been recapped in the book and Edward points out that Anita and company are basically loose supernatural nuclear warheads, of course the Harlequin wants to fuck with them. He'll be in St. Louis tomorrow. End of chapter.