This article or section contains spoilers for 2018 novel Serpentine.
Proceed with caution.
Donna Parnell is introduced in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series as Ted Forrester's fiancée. She is the mother of Peter and Becca, and she is a widow after her husband was attacked by a werewolf. She and Ted get married in Serpentine.
She is forty-two at the time of The Harlequin.
Donna is between 5' 3" and 5' 8" and petite, with brown hair. There are laugh lines at her eyes and mouth, and she tans herself darker than is healthy. There is a quiet strength in her bearing and her handshake is firm. She has a warm, chuckly mom laugh and a tendency towards casual touching and hugs. She has somewhat old-fashioned ideas about chivalry.
When we first meet Donna her hair is cut short to a flattering no-nonsense style and she wears almost no makeup. She wears jeans and a sheer white short-sleeves shirt over a spaghetti strap tank top. She has a large brown leather purse.
Donna owns a psychic paraphernalia shop and sells a variety of items such as crystals, tarot cards and anything else that "strikes her fancy". She is also a member of a amateur archaeology society that tries to preserve Native American sites in Santa Fe. Because of this she becomes the target of Riker, a local pot hunter, that threatens her and her children to scare them away from a dig site he was interested.
Donna had been dating Ted for two years in Obsidian Butterfly, and the two are engaged. She is not aware of Ted's true identity but knows he is a dangerous man.
This novel is based around Donna and Ted's wedding, which they hold in Florida on a beach. Two of her oldest friends of twenty years are her bridesmaids, at least one of which (Dixie) she has known since high school. Dixie and Donna were maids of honor at each other's first wedding, but made a pact that if they ever marry again, their other friend, Denny, should get that position. Donna has honored that decision, and it's causing friction with Dixie, who is doing more of the actual work for the wedding since Denny just isn't a wedding person and is busy being a competing athlete.
We see a lot of Donna in this novel and learn many things about her. Ted has been teaching her how to fight, and she has taken the lessons to heart, at least well enough to keep Dixie under control when she causes a scene in a bridal shop and tries to turn the fight physical against Anita. Anita finds Donna's calm competence new and surprising, although she doesn't know Donna well enough to be sure it really is new.
We can still see the old Donna in the way she freaks out after learning Ted has been married before, how she is still jealous about Ted's work and connection with Anita, and how Donna tries to fall apart in a crisis with Peter and Ted that isn't fully in her control. All these things get resolved to some degree eventually and the family-to-be hugs it out. Peter getting badly hurt from a stab into leg makes Donna readjust her priorities further, and Ted helping to save Denny from kidnappers helps Donna see his work with Anita in a more positive light.
The wedding has to be postponed since Peter and Denny are both recovering. The hotel and the other wedding business agree to the delay with no extra charge as an apology for all the problems caused by the local people. Dixie has so many issues she ends up going home, but otherwise the ceremony is performed on the beach just as planned, and both Donna and Ted are determined to make the marriage work.
- Donna's late husband is named John in Obsidian Butterfly, but named Frank in Serpentine.