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Waylaid
     

Waylaid

4.5 24
by Kim Harrison
 
Worlds collide when Rachel Morgan of The Hollows meets Peri Reed of The Drafter in this exciting new short story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison.

The paranormal and the futuristic meet in this thrilling novella featuring your favorite badass heroines from two of “the amazingly gifted” (RT Book Reviews) Kim

Overview

Worlds collide when Rachel Morgan of The Hollows meets Peri Reed of The Drafter in this exciting new short story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison.

The paranormal and the futuristic meet in this thrilling novella featuring your favorite badass heroines from two of “the amazingly gifted” (RT Book Reviews) Kim Harrison’s most beloved series: the Hollows and the Peri Reed Chronicles. The magic of the Hollows runs full force into the technological sophistication of The Drafter when a device capable of carrying a city’s data stream pulls Rachel, the bounty hunter witch of the Hollows, between realities, marooning her in a world where the supernatural holds no sway. To get Rachel and Jenks home, Peri, the dangerous renegade of 2030, must decide what will chart her future: her blind trust in those who grant her power, or her intuition telling her to believe.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781501145551
Publisher:
Pocket Star
Publication date:
04/04/2016
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
1,452
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Waylaid

1

“You know what I’d like to do?” Jack leaned in to Peri, his hand curving suggestively about her waist, and she breathed in the faint scent of ozone and aftershave like a balm. Under it was a hint of gun oil, and Peri was hard-pressed to decide which one intrigued her more as they stood outside her apartment door with their carry-ons, glad they had the next week off.

“Mmmm, I like games,” Peri said as she tapped her key card to her apartment door pad. It disengaged the lock with an almost unheard click, and she turned to him, seeing the bound heat behind his sandy hair and blue eyes as he leaned to nuzzle under her ear. The tips of her short black hair tickled her neck along with his lips, and she stifled a quiver.

“I’d like to be there tomorrow when they find that ball of wax you left them,” Jack whispered. “That’s all. What did you think I meant?”

Peri exhaled in annoyance, giving him a little shove as he pulled back and took up their bags. Eyes rolling, she pushed open the door, her faint smile widening as Carnac, their cat, came out to weave between their feet, threatening to trip them.

“Hi, Carnac. Did you miss me more than Jack is going to tonight?” she said, scooping up the orange tabby and cuddling him as she followed Jack into the spacious apartment they shared. It was dark, and Detroit’s neon-draped skyline sparkled through the wide glass windows. The lighted mass-transit rail circled to touch upon the city’s hot spots to look like jewels on a necklace, and she let Carnac slide from her. It hadn’t been a strenuous job, but the timing had been meticulous, requiring several days and multiple dry runs. She was mind-weary and ready for some downtime.

“Lights up,” she said, to shake the apartment out of extended leave, and the glow brightened to show the comfortable mix of her and Jack among the modern open-floor plan, everything angled to take advantage of the view of a glittering new Detroit.

“Sure is a pretty thing,” Jack said as she dropped her coat and purse on a chair and went into the open kitchen to give Carnac some soft food.

“The accelerator?” she asked, seeing that he’d taken it from his pocket and was holding it up to the spotlight over the gas fireplace. The walnut-size, meticulously engineered crystal was one-of-a-kind, and it caught the light like a disco ball, sending wavelengths too short to be seen ricocheting around the apartment to make her back teeth hurt. She’d held it briefly before giving it back for Jack to carry. It gave her the willies, the orb’s facets feeling warm and malleable even as they pricked her skin.

Jack lowered the glittering crystal. “Hard to believe something this small is worth an entire city,” he said as he put it back in his pocket.

Hard to believe you can hold it like that in your bare fingers, she thought as she ripped open a pouch of cat food. “When it’s plugged in, sure,” she muttered, watching Carnac weave between her feet as she set the bowl on the floor and fondled the cat’s ears. “Right now it’s giving me a headache.”

The small orb was Event Horizon’s latest wonder, fracturing wavelengths to allow information to be sent out on a particle, instead of an entire wave. In layman’s terms, it was like having a single bandwidth hold a hundred thousand conversations instead of one, and it would revolutionize how information was handled. Whoever held it would own the world.

And it’s in Jack’s pocket, she thought as she seriously considered sleeping with it under her pillow tonight. It would go to Opti in the morning, and from there, returned to Event Horizon, the company that had developed it. It bothered Peri how often corporations stole or patented technology just to shove it in a drawer so their older technology would remain viable.

The pop of a wine bottle brought her head up, and she smiled at Jack, loving him. The accelerator had been in a research facility outside of Cincinnati, and they’d done well to get in and out with no one the wiser. Preparation and skill had meant there’d been no need for her to draft, transposing a small part of time and space a few seconds into the past in order to erase a mistake. Content, Peri gave Carnac a last fondle about the ears and went to join Jack in the living room. It had been months since she’d needed to draft to rub out what could have been a fatal error, and she enjoyed feeling normal.

“Oh, please tell me you’re joking,” she said as Jack turned on the TV and settled back into the cushions, eyes riveted on the menu as he loaded his latest fix. “Ja-a-a-ack . . .” she moaned as opening credits flowed over the flashing images of an athletic girl and her sidekick parrot, doing a magic spell and catching the sexy vampire. “Can’t you fall in love with something remotely possible?”

Jack’s ears reddened. “Stop making fun of my entertainment. Come sit with me. Have some wine. I got a white this time. We need to expand our palate.”

Brow furrowed, she stood between him and the TV. “You just threaded a technological fence that rivals the Pentagon’s, and you want to watch Dungeons & Dragons?”

Jack tugged her out of the way and down to sit beside him, his eyes never leaving the screen as the slim blonde with her long flowing hair chatted with her vampire girlfriend in a coffee bar. Behind them, two raggedy men with beards growled. Werewolves, apparently. “It’s not Dungeons & Dragons,” Jack said as he shifted closer to her. “This takes place in contemporary America. Cell phones and computers. You’d like it if you’d give it a chance.”

“Computers and cell phones with witches and vampires?” she moaned. “It’s worse than snakes on planes or giant crocs in Lake Placid. That at least has some plausibility.”

He flicked a cross look at her. “It’s not any more unbelievable than you being able to replay thirty seconds of time,” he said, letting her know she’d pushed enough and any more would hurt his tender male ego. “Besides, they aren’t really vampires and witches. They are metaphors for drug kingpins and cops. Everything you like. Sex on a vampire stake.”

“I can draft forty-five seconds into the past. Don’t shortchange me,” she said, peeved as she reached for the wine and filled the waiting glasses. “What is this?” she asked, noticing it was a new label.

The show went to commercials, and he let them run, turning the sound down instead of fast-forwarding through them. “It’s called Pentimento,” he said as he took up his glass and held the clear white to the light. “Which is a term for when a painted-over part of a picture begins to resurface and show itself. The guy said it packs a punch.”

Peri eyed the glass, watching how the wine clung to the side as she swirled it. “Can’t be worse than absinthe,” she said, her gaze rising to Jack.

He shrugged, downing half his glass. He eyed her for a moment, then shuddered. “Try it,” he said, voice husky. “Damn, that’s good. I think I found my newest best friend.”

She didn’t like his long-running love affair with sensation, but he never drank when they were working, so she could overlook it. Breathing deeply, she took a sip, letting it linger for a moment before swallowing. “It tastes like any dry white wine, a bit smoky, though.”

“Wait for it,” Jack warned, and her eyes widened as the flavor shifted, the faint hint of smoke blooming into a tartly acidic fire. It was like having swallowed a warm, glowing piece of amber.

“Wow,” she said as vertigo hit her, the alcohol so smooth that she hadn’t even felt it going down. She took another sip, enjoying the mutation in her mouth. This could be addictive, she mused as she set her glass aside to take up the bottle. “Where did you get this?”

“Cincinnati.” Jack settled in beside her, his glass in hand. “I picked it up while you were in that yarn shop. For an hour. God, Peri. An hour? It was in the local wine rack.”

“You’re kidding.” She spun the bottle around to read the label, and Jack shrugged, turning the volume up as the program came back on. “Potent.” She set the bottle out of his reach, knowing he’d drink it all and fall asleep if she let him. Jack was warm against her, and she relaxed, feeling just those two sips take a grip on her as she tried to get into Jack’s show. But then her disbelief was plucked, and she stiffened.

“No way!” she protested, wiggling to tickle his ribs and make him grunt, his hand rising to keep his wine from spilling. “Jack, they’re floating in a circle to summon a demon!”

“It’s not that bad!” he said, laughing as he set his glass safely down. “Apart from the floating thing, it makes perfect, sympathetic, logical sense. See? They have a salt circle to contain the summoned. And candles to serve as a medium between the real and theoretical.”

Peri tucked in closer, her fingers searching to try to get him to turn off the TV. “Lit for the first time while making love, I suppose, to make them even more powerful?” she questioned coyly, looking at her own candles scattered about.

“And then . . .” He stood to get the bottle, pulling himself away from her and making her pout. “You have your wine.” He wove on his feet, tipsy. “Which is magic in itself. Wine and salt moved the ancient world, Peri,” he said, bottle in hand. “Wine and salt. You think that’s just coincidence?” he said, lurching and accidentally knocking his glass.

“Whoops!” Jack exclaimed as he reached for it. The glass hit the table with a crack, wine spilling. His reflexes were better drunk than most people’s sober, but Jack hissed as he cut himself on the broken rim. “Ow,” he said flatly, looking at the blood seeping out his finger, smearing it on the chipped glass as he refilled it.

Peri shook her head, dabbing up the spill with the cloth he’d wrapped around the wine bottle. “See what happens when you try to summon demons? You hurt yourself. I’m not going to draft to fix it,” she said as she leaned back into the cushions and took a sip of her own drink. “Not when I’m . . . this buzzed.” Blinking, she looked at her glass. “Wow, this stuff is strong.”

“But I haven’t finished,” Jack said, still standing with his chipped wineglass in hand. “I haven’t said the words of power yet.”

“Fine,” she said, laughing. “Impress me with your . . . summoning skills,” she said, having just heard the words on the TV.

Jack pulled himself into a dramatic pose, raising his broken glass. “Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again,” he intoned.

Peri snorted into her wineglass. “No fair, no fair!” she protested. “You can’t use old Simon and Garfunkel lyrics.” She kicked her boots off and drew her feet up onto the cushions as Carnac jumped onto the couch, wanting her lap. The cat was still licking the last of his dinner off his whiskers.

Jack looked fantastic against the sparkling backdrop of Detroit, even if he was weaving somewhat. “As I settle with my alpha bitch,” he improvised, “who’s going to help me satisfy an itch?” he sang.

Peri beamed. “At least it rhymes,” she said, encouraging him.

“Who keeps making fun,” Jack sang, “of what I like. To watch. On TV?” He drooped his head and drew his chipped glass to his chest dramatically. “So cruel to me. I summon you in silence,” he finished.

Arms spread wide, Jack looked up at the ceiling in expectation, and Peri laughed, holding Carnac on her lap. “Come back, Jack. I’ll watch your lame show, but you owe me.”

“Wait! Wait. I forgot my magic stone,” he said as he dug in his pocket, and, giggling, the man capable of killing a person in three seconds dropped the crystal into his glass, the blood from his fingers staining the wine a faint pink. “Abracadabra!” Jack exclaimed, taking a sip and lurching backward, arms pinwheeling as he lost his balance. “Whoops!”

Peri saluted him, choking on her drink when the lights went out. Eight feet away, the TV popped and went dark. Carnac leapt from her, claws digging deep. “Ow!” she shouted, her mind suddenly clear. “Stupid cat!” The apartment was dark, lit only by the ambient light from the city.

“Very funny, Jack,” she said, waiting for his evil chuckle and possibly a nuzzle on her neck. He wouldn’t tease her forever.

But Jack’s voice was concerned, not playful, when his shadow moved, setting his glass down on the nearby table. “We lost power. Looks like it’s just our building, though. Hold on. I’ll get the flashlight.”

Peri settled back in the cushions, content to let him stumble about, wondering if she should light a candle. The lighter was right there.

“Ow!” Jack exclaimed from the kitchen, and she cocked her head at his apparent affront. “Peri? Hey! What the fuck, woman?”

Peri froze when an unfamiliar voice echoed in their apartment, feminine but hard. “No one summons me,” the voice said. “No one. And not when I’m out with Trent!”

Peri sat up at a thud and crash. Jack groaned, and Peri slid to the floor so her silhouette wouldn’t show against the lighter windows. “Do you have any idea what it takes to get four hours alone with Trent?” the woman said, and Peri tensed when the shadow turned to her.

The hazy lassitude of the wine soured in her gut. Someone is in our apartment. Someone followed us? “Jack?” she whispered, her thoughts going to the accelerator, just sitting in his wineglass on the table.

“And you,” the intruding woman said, her shapely curves obvious against the glittering skyline as she moved forward. “You I’m going to pull inside out. How did you get my summoning name?”

Emboldened, Peri stood, not liking that she had no shoes on. “I don’t know who you are, but I’m going to light a candle,” she said. “Don’t move.”

The shadow gestured, hand going to her hip in impatience, and, fingers steady, Peri lit one of her candles, then another. Her eyes flicked to the chipped glass on the coffee table. It still held the accelerator, and, brow furrowed, Peri looked at the woman standing in front of her in a tight, glittery black-sequined clubbing dress. She had long red hair, frizzy and free about her shoulders, and was tall, looking like a Viking Wonder Woman in heels, her makeup tastefully applied to accent her cheekbones and wide eyes. A rival agent wouldn’t wear that to a task.

“Who are you?” Peri said, feeling small with the coffee table between them. She must have been here before they got home, because she sure as hell hadn’t come in after.

But the woman only shifted her weight to her other hip, big hoop earrings that went out of style in the eighties brushing the top of her wide shoulders. “My God,” the woman said condescendingly. “You didn’t even make a circle. How do you expect to stay alive?”

Jack was on the floor, knocked out or simply passed out. She didn’t know which. He was breathing, though. She tensed, ready to go for the accelerator. “I hope they’re paying you overtime, because I’m not that drunk.”

The woman’s eyes narrowed. “My bitchy trumps your ’tude, girl. I ought to give you to Al. A hundred years as his familiar will teach you something.”

The woman strode forward and reached for Peri, not the accelerator. Submitting, Peri let her get a grip, grasping the woman’s arm and spinning to flip the larger woman over her back. But the woman was wise to this move, and she hooked her foot behind Peri’s and gave a tug.

Whooping in surprise, Peri went down, landing on her back to look up at the woman bending over her beaming a bright, toothy smile. Hand splayed over her chest, Peri smiled back. “Oh, this is going to be messy,” Peri wheezed.

“You’ve no idea.” The woman’s hand moved in some weird sign language. “Detrudo!” she exclaimed, her expression becoming shocked when nothing happened.

Gut clenched, Peri rolled into her. The woman yelped, staggering to find her balance. But Peri was up, jumping onto her back and wrapping her arm around her neck.

The woman’s fingers dug into her arm, and Peri hung on, legs wrapped tight around her as the woman dropped to the floor, slamming the breath out of Peri again. “What the Turn did you do to me?” the woman gasped, fingers prying at Peri’s grip around her neck.

Back hurting, Peri hung on, knowing if she could last a few seconds more, she had the bitch. “It’s called a choke hold, lovey,” she rasped, wincing and tightening her grip when the woman thrashed wildly, knocking them into the table. The glass with the accelerator hit the floor, sending the crystal rolling under the couch. Carnac fled, his eyes wide and tail bristled.

“Not that,” the woman rasped, then rolled, rising up with Peri still on her. “What. Did. You. Do to me!” she exclaimed, slamming Peri into the wall with her last words.

Stunned, Peri let go, gasping for breath as she fell to the floor. I can’t let her get the accelerator, Peri thought. Knowing she was down, she reached her mind out, finding a still-point of motion five seconds in the past. Her mind would buffer itself by forgetting everything she’d changed the moment she caught up with the present, so she would change very little, and with a curious side step of mental gymnastics, she pushed a two-block area five seconds into the past.

The woman stiffened as if feeling it, and Peri held her breath, watching the flames from her candles flash blue. The tint jumped from molecule to molecule, the room hazed blue . . . then cleared . . .

And suddenly Peri wasn’t gasping for breath on the floor, but still on the woman’s back.

“Let’s try this again,” Peri muttered, her memory of the next five seconds very clear—for the moment—and she dropped off before the woman could smash her into the wall. Teeth clenched, Peri grabbed the woman’s long red hair and spun her, flinging her into the wall.

The woman hit with a thud and fell. “Ow . . .”

Panting, Peri dove for the accelerator, ripping free the Glock she’d taped to the underside of the couch.

God help me, Peri thought as time caught up and everything flashed an amazingly clear shade of red and settled.

Time again ran smooth. Peri stood firm as a familiar disconnection raced through her. The last thing she remembered was clinging to the woman’s back. Obviously she had drafted to rub out a fatal mistake, and in the doing had forgotten how she’d broken her choke hold, or how the accelerator had gotten into her pocket, or why the woman was sitting on the floor, shaking her head and trying to focus. Peri could guess, though, seeing as she was standing beside the couch with the Glock she’d taped under it in her hand.

“Move, and I’ll blow your head clean off,” Peri said, but the woman was staring at her from the floor, her green eyes wide and wondering.

“Whoa,” she said, narrow hand raised in submission. “What just happened? Kind of like déjà vu, only I remember it different, not the same.”

Peri hesitated, the Glock’s aim never faltering. “You felt that?” she said, shocked. Most people couldn’t sense it when she drafted. Jack could, which was why he was her partner. “Who are you? Is this some kind of Opti test? Bill? Are you listening? This isn’t funny.”

The woman snorted, cautiously sitting up and untangling herself. “No, it isn’t. Al put you up to this?” she asked as she wound her hair into a makeshift, messy bun and sat there, tired and blowing a missed strand out of her eyes. “Who in hell are you, small, dark, and deadly?”

“Peri Reed. I work for Opti.” She risked a glance at Jack. “Who sent you?”

The woman gingerly felt her back. “You summoned me, remember?” and then she went pale. “Wait, wait, wait. Something is wrong.” Her gaze went to Jack as the man laughed in his drunken stupor, facedown on the floor, then back to Peri. “I can’t feel the ley lines. What did you do to me?”

The woman scrambled to her feet, and Peri backed up, Glock aimed at the intruder’s chest. “I said, don’t move.”

But the woman looked down at her black clubbing dress, anger shifting to disgust. “Crap on toast. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get blood out of sequins?”

“I’ll give you the name of my cleaner,” Peri said, moving to stay between her and the door when the woman went to look out the windows, hands on her hips as she took in the skyline. Here Peri was with a weapon ready to blow the woman away, and she was crabbing about her dress? Damn. I think I’m starting to like her.

“Where are we?” the tall woman asked, almost ignoring Peri.

Peri’s jaw clenched as anger and sympathy warred in her, the feeling of having found a kindred spirit winning. How often had she stood at a window, asking the very same thing? Peri lowered the Glock. “You’re not here for the accelerator?”

She turned. “How many times do I have to say it? You summoned me. Where am I?”

Peri put the safety back on. “Detroit.”

Fear crossed the woman’s features. It was the first moment of doubt Peri had seen in her, and it set Peri back. “No,” the woman said, touching the glass as she looked out. “Detroit? It’s so . . . sparkly. Alive.” She turned, her alarm almost hidden. “This is reality, right? Not the ever-after?”

Peri eyed her from under a lowered brow. “I’ve never heard Detroit called that before.” She checked her safety and tucked the Glock in the back of her waistband. She hated putting it there as she couldn’t reach it if she was pinned to the floor, but she wasn’t going to entirely trust this yet. Something weird was going on, and Peri shifted to get between her and Jack. “Who are you? Who do you work for?”

“Rachel. Rachel Morgan,” the woman said as she turned back to the window. “And I don’t work for anyone but myself. That can’t be Detroit. It was destroyed in the Turn.”

She was an independent. Not good. Hired by whoever gave her the most money. “The what?” Peri went to nudge Jack awake, but he only groaned and pushed her away, his face flat against the floor. “You mean the exodus?” she said. “Not everyone left. Those who stayed fixed her.”

“You’re from here?” Rachel spun, her eyes wide as she ran her gaze up and down Peri as if impressed. “Oh, my God,” she said suddenly, long hand to her mouth. “That shifting-of-time thing wasn’t a spell. You’re human.”

Peri’s brow furrowed. “What else would I be?”

Rachel suddenly looked vulnerable as she clasped her arms across her middle. “Ah . . .”

Peri shoved Jack again. “Jack, wake up. It’s not funny anymore.”

Rachel sat down on the front edge of a chair. She looked ill in the candlelight. “Son of a bastard,” she whispered. “You summoned me. And you don’t have a clue how you did it. Crap on toast. I can’t kill you now.”

Peri toed Jack’s ribs. “Jack. Wake up!”

Rachel’s head rose. “Was it him? Did he summon me?” she said, and Peri put up a warning hand when the woman stood, eyes alight.

“Back off,” Peri warned her, and Rachel hesitated, recognizing Peri’s commitment.

“Sorry,” Rachel said. “I didn’t think I hit him that hard.”

“He’s kind of a wimp,” Peri said, surprised at the flash of a smile from Rachel. “But I don’t think it was you. The wine he brought home packs a wallop.” The accelerator was in her pocket, but she no longer thought the woman was after it. Rachel had felt her draft, and she’d gotten into her apartment somehow; maybe this was an Opti test to see how she and Jack were at finding and bringing in new drafters. Damn it, Bill. We’re nowhere near ready to retire.

Rachel reached for the wine. “This is Trent’s label,” she said, lips parted. “His name isn’t on it, but it’s his label.” Her head rose. “This is what you were drinking? Where did you get it?”

“Cincinnati.” Peri didn’t mean to be unhelpful, but that was all she knew.

The woman raised one eyebrow. “Curious,” Rachel said, seeming to find her confidence the more convoluted and mixed-up Peri became. “Okay . . . It’s not Halloween, is it?”

Peri shook her head. “No. It’s the middle of June.”

“Equinox.” Rachel set the bottle down. “Let me guess. You were messing around, summoning a demon. Salt, candles, words of power?”

Peri’s eyes narrowed. “Okay. Fun’s over, Jack,” she said loudly. “Wake up. Time to pay your actor and go to bed.” She stood over him, rolling him over with her foot. There was a red bump on his forehead. Suddenly concerned, she dropped to wedge his eyes open to see if they dilated right.

“I gotta get out of here,” the woman said.

“The door is right there.” Peri reached for her phone. This had gone on long enough, but Opti could pick her up off the street. Jack was fine. He was drunker than a skunk and no help at all, but fine.

The woman strode to the door, hesitating as she opened it and looked out into a bland hallway. “Can I borrow bus fare?” Peri looked up in amazement, and Rachel shrugged. “This dress has absolutely no room for even a card. Besides, Trent won’t let me pay for anything.”

Peri sat back on her heels. “You’re kidding,” she said flatly.

Irritation flashed over Rachel, vanishing when Carnac, drawn by the sound of the door opening, came out from the back room. “Rex!” Rachel cried, scooping the orange tabby up. “Did you get caught up in the circle? Poor kitty.”

Peri slowly rose from Jack, muscles tensing. “Ah, that’s my cat.”

“It isn’t,” Rachel said, heading for the open door. “’Bye. Thanks for nothing.”

Lunging after her, Peri grabbed her arm and swung her around. “That’s my cat!” she said, and Carnac leapt from Rachel, skittering out the door and into the hall.

“Look what you did!” Rachel exclaimed, furious. “Jenks is going to kill me. That’s his cat! How am I supposed to find Rex now?”

“I thought you said he was yours,” Peri barked back.

Rachel stood in the hall, frustrated. “It’s complicated,” she said, clearly wanting to leave but not without her cat. “I’m in so much trouble,” she said suddenly as she leaned against the hallway wall, head in her hand. “I have no idea when or maybe where I am, and I can’t do anything. Not even light a stupid candle.”

This woman is nuts, Peri thought, edging back toward her apartment. “Well, maybe there’s a magical door somewhere,” she said, thinking she was going to have to call Bill. He’d want to pick this woman up. See if she was an anchor. Rachel had not only noticed the draft but had realized there were two timelines. Even a crazy anchor had some worth. “Just go walk through it, okay?”

Rachel’s head came up, the depth of her worry giving Peri pause. “I’m telling you, I can’t! It’s like there’re no ley lines.” She stiffened, eyes lighting up. “Hey! Ley lines. I didn’t study Detroit’s lines, because no one lives there. Map. You got a map?”

Anything to get you out of my hallway, Peri thought, reaching for her phone. “Where do you want to go?”

“To see a map,” Rachel said, and Peri held up a hand to stop her when she came closer.

“Of Detroit, right?” Peri said, opening the app. “Here.”

She handed her phone to Rachel, and the woman took it, her brief confusion vanishing. “Oh, cool,” she said, turning the clear glass phone over to see the picture of Carnac on one side, then flipping it back to marvel that she could see the map when looking the other way. “Ivy would love this. Is it made of glass? How does it work? It’s a spell, right? I can’t feel anything. Maybe it’s me. Did you hit me with one of those joke spells to cut off my access to the lines?”

Absolutely bonkers, Peri thought, worried the woman was going to try to take her phone. “Anything look familiar?” she asked instead of answering, and Rachel shifted the map around with one thin finger, delighting in it.

“No. But ley lines exert an unseen force. People usually put their important buildings over them. Museums and the like. The demons get a kick out of it. This looks like a good bet,” she said, extending the phone so Peri could look. “See how the roads kind of lead to it?”

Demons? Peri rocked forward onto her toes, then away. “You’re serious?” she said. “All roads lead to it because it’s a mall.”

“Is that what that says?” Rachel mused, then started when Peri used two fingers to zoom in on it. “My God. That is so cool,” she blurted, then added, “Yeah, demons like shopping as much as anyone else. Al says that’s where bell-bottoms and leisure suits came from. Some kind of joke that went wrong.”

Peri itched to take her phone back, but she didn’t like crazy. Skilled, powerful, dangerously wealthy she could handle. Crazy was different.

“There’s got to be a ley line there,” Rachel said, seemingly buoyed up. “If I can get into it, I can get out of here. Without Mr. Man there on the floor.” She bit her lip, then smiled at Peri. “Thanks for the map.”

“Hey!” Peri cried when Rachel spun to the elevators, sequins glinting. “That’s my phone.”

“Thank you!” Rachel sang out, and Peri’s jaw clenched.

You can beat up my partner. You can try to steal my cat. But don’t you dare take my phone. Peri made a hop-skip and jogged after her. “You’re not leaving with my phone,” Peri said, jerking Rachel to a stop as she hit the elevator button. Backing up, Peri’s hands fisted. “Don’t test me. I’m small, but that doesn’t mean you can walk all over me.”

Rachel hesitated when the doors slid open, and Peri wondered if she should pull her Glock just to hammer her point home. “Don’t I know it,” Rachel said tiredly, still in the hall as the door slid shut again. “So what do you propose, Peri Reed from Opti?”

Peri thought for a second, then unfisted her hands. “You mind if we go back and get my jacket? And maybe my boots?” She hesitated, a smile quirking her lips. “Put Jack on the couch. He has a coat that might fit you, too. Unless you want to go traipsing around Detroit in that.” She could stash the accelerator in their apartment safe, too. She wasn’t going to risk taking it into the streets with this woman.

Rachel’s expression eased, going from a calculating determination to a friendly acceptance. “That would be nice. Thanks.” She hesitated, then added, “I sure could use the help.”

You got that right, Peri thought, deciding that if things went wrong, she could text Bill to come pick up the wack job. The Packard Mall would be as good a place as any, and better than most.

Meet the Author

Kim Harrison, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Hollows series, was born in Detroit and, after gaining her bachelor’s degree in the sciences, she moved to South Carolina, where she remained until recently returning to Michigan because she missed the snow. When not at her desk, Kim is most likely to be found landscaping her new/old Victorian home, in the garden, or out on the links.

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Waylaid 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
CSHallo More than 1 year ago
The author's note admits that this short story's premise is such a trope of fanfiction - i.e., the intersection of completely separate fictional worlds - that it's amazing that this crossover story comes from her! It's as if J.K. Rowling were to have Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike meet up to work a case or if Stephanie Meyer were to have Bella... just kidding, Meyer just keeps rewriting her own work and thus couldn't write something like this! If Harrison's new fictional world introduced in The Drifter suffered from any flaw, it was that she didn't take the time to build the world and its mechanics well as she did in The Hollows. (Admittedly, The Drifter is a thriller, not a Tolkien-esque work of mythos-construction, so too much world-building would have taken the thrill out of it.) Thus, much goes unexplained and lingo, once introduced, is used - even in exposition - as if the one, brief mention chapters and chapters earlier stuck with you. Now, Waylaid does not expand The Drifter's world. It gives readers more time with it so that its basic mechanics are well-laid down in readers' minds before the sequel novel arrives. This is accomplished through the literary device of the naïve character who needs instruction - i.e., Rachel Morgan at some point in the later third or so of The Hollows series' timeline. Waylaid is a primer to The Drifter's fictional world. Waylaid itself is a well-constructed, exciting story, even if it's centered around arguably the most random MacGuffin in all of Harrison's body of work. For long-time fans of The Hollows series, this will satisfy in all ways except in its length, but could any short story truly satisfy fans, who invested in a world portrayed in 13 books, 2 graphic novels, and a half dozen or so short stories, and their desire for more of their favorite characters? For new fans of The Drifter, this will further round out Peri Reed's character, showing her in a position where she's more acting than reacting. This story is a steal for anyone who has read anything by Harrison and simply enjoyed it. If you count Harrison among your favorite authors, Waylaid is a gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kim Harrison found a way to put a square peg in a round hole. The Hollows goes to Detroit in this fun short story with Rachel, Jenks, and Peri. While short, it's a cute fun tale that gives a taste of both worlds. Give it a quick read, you won't be sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waylaid is the Kim Harrison short cross-over story, where Rachel Morgan gets pulled into the world of Peri Reed, a la The Drafter series. Good ol' Jenks comes to the rescue! I loved it! I've missed my old friends, Rachel and Jenks. Peri just doesn't have the family, snark, or magic of Rachel. Sigh.
D-B1 More than 1 year ago
I loved and enjoyed reading the suspenseful, humorous, and outstanding Peri/Rachel/Jenks story by the wonderfully, talented Kim Harrison. Read the highly recommended, must read story where Peri finds herself helping Rachel and Jenks get back to their time period. Can't wait to read the next book in the Peri series!
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
What happens when the worlds of Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison's Hollows series and Peri Reed from The Drafter collides? You get the chance to find out in Waylaid a novella by the author who wrote both. Rachel Morgan is one of my absolute favorite fantasy characters and when that series ended, well, I was really unhappy. When I heard that she would be back in a novella, I jumped at the chance to read it ahead of its release on April 4th. Thank you Gallery and NetGalley for sending me a copy for my honest review. I read The Drafter last year and was intrigued by the concept of someone who could bend time in order to re-write it, but had to rely on an anchor, or partner, to tell them what happened after their memory was lost. That would require an amazing amount of trust, and The Drafter explores that issue fully. Waylaid takes place when Peri and Jack were still partners. I felt rather voyeuristic knowing the background between the two, and how badly their relationship ended. Because this story takes place pre The Drafter, I knew more than Peri did about their relationship and I watched them closely to observe the clues Kim Harrison gave about what was to come. In this book, Jack accidentally summons Rachel from an alternate universe. The story was told from Peri's perspective, so it was interesting to watch her build the trust that I already had with Rachel. It was also funny, because Rachel does come across as a crazy woman, and even though I know she isn't, in this alternate world of Peri's she is totally out of her element. Rachel and Peri team up, against Peri's better judgement, to return Rachel to her world. While doing this, she see's that things are not exactly as they appear between she and Jack. Now, if only she could remember it after Rachel returns home.
RabidReader1 More than 1 year ago
A well written novella that successfully blends Peri Reed's technological world with that of Rachel Morgan's magical one. Jerks remains the same smart mouthed capable pixey we had grown to know and love in the Hollows series and Rachel is true to her character too, she still acts first and thinks later. Peri Reed is more hesitant and controlled than Rachel ever could be, but she is just as much of an appealing character as Rachel and the world Ms Harrison is creating in this new series has all the potential that the Hollows did. In this novella she managed to seamlessly meld two totally different wolds together and make them fit as though they were ment to be. I must admit it is very nice to have a snippet of the characters you loved in the Hollows back for a short while, even if it is only to entice readers to Peri's series of books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitly loved it. The hollows has always been my "must read" series and mixing Rachels life with Peri was the best. I wish there was more. The two characters complement each other in a funny power way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like visiting an long lost friend. Like visiting a long list friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a difficult story at first, as it merged two "realities", but I enjoyed it very much and can't wait to read more about the drafter's world.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Two worlds colliding is an adapt description for Kim Harrison’s new short story, Waylaid; she brings Rachel Morgan from the Hollows to futuristic Detroit and into the world of Drafter Peri Reed and her partner Jack Twill. Its fast-paced, fun and addicting, her fans will gobble it up and even non-fans can enjoy this entertaining teaser. In near future Detroit, secret government agents Peri Reed and Jack Twill have just successfully completed a mission for Opti and have just gotten home to enjoy some well-deserved downtime. While goofing off Jack accidentally summons a strange woman from the past that unexpectedly sets off an avalanche of trouble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been missing Rachel and Jenks for a long time, and this story curbed my craving for a great adventure. I love the mix between the characters, Peri, Rachel, and Jenks, and having Rachel explore a new dimension. Thank you Kim for a great short story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Peri's awesome, Rachel's awesome, Jenks is awesome. What could be better than putting them all together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fully enjoyed this story! I think that for the readers of the Hollows series that were unsure about this series will come to terms to want to enjoy this new world of Harrison's too. I mean it has the Rachel and Jenks seal of approval. They like her so why not us?! Love the interaction between the two and the opening of Peri's eyes to what is happening around her(even if she can't remember, LOL). Can't wait for the second in the Drafter Series and enjoyed this little tid bit of our old friends Rachel and Jenks!
Wanda Wygal More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read! I thoroughly enjoyed the blending of Peri's and Rachel's worlds. Both women are strong. Rachel's growing confidence and maturity came through in this story. Jenks was an added bonus! I'm looking forward to the next Peri book. Peri can only continue to grow. Nice job, Ms. Harrison. The characters are different. However, if you enjoy Harrison's "The Drafter" a try you will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope this story will weave into the Drafter series like many of the other short stories she did for the Rachel Morgan series.
Peyton Collick More than 1 year ago
As a huge fan of the Hollows, (but more importantly, the writing of Kim Harrison) I was thrilled when the Drafter series came out. It was a fresh tale set in my home state of Michigan and I loved it. It combined several of my favorites (espionage/thriller/futuristic) in a story about a strong female lead character who seems to be in over her head, but is smart enough to find a way out against all odds. It wasn't the Hollows, and it was fabulous! Then, Ms. Harrison gives us this delicious morsel. In a 'dang its over' short story, she manages to combine the world of the Hollows and futuristic Detroit in a crossover that doesn't disappoint. Rachel finds herself stuck in her typical rock/hardplace with no magic. She has to trust someone, but is Peri Reed that someone? Great story. Fabulous crossover. Leaves me wanting more. Peri is in way over her head and the next installment of the Drafter can't come soon enough.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Too Short. Wanted more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great installment
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Rachel for years and this was just as awesome as I've come to expect , best yet I have a new favorite hero in Peri. Can't wait to read more about her and Jack
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great fun read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was good to see Jenks and Rachel again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the Hollows series, but do not really care for the Peri Reed world. It was nice, however, to visit with Rachel and Jenks again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So happy to hear from Rachael and Jenks if only briefly. But it just wasn't enough to make me truly happy. Peri seems to be a good character, bur we still miss the old familiar faces- Trent and Al and Ivy. I know time marches on and so do authors but we can always hope!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a great way for the Hollows fans to get to like Peri. Short but insightful, for character building.