Holidays Are Hell

Holidays Are Hell

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Holidays Are Hell by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, Vicki Pettersson

This holiday, spend quality time with family and loved ones—living and dead . . .

There's no place like home for the horrordays—unless you'd prefer a romantic midnight walk through a ghost-infested graveyard . . . or a haunted house candlelight dinner with the sexy vampire of your dreams. The (black) magical season is here—and whether it's a solstice séance gone demonically wrong with the incomparable Kim Harrison, a grossly misshapen Christmas with the remarkable Lynsay Sands, a blood-chilling-and-spilling New Year's with the wonderful Marjorie M. Liu, or a super-powered Thanksgiving with the phenomenal Vicki Pettersson, one thing is for certain: in the able hands of these exceptional dark side explorers, the holidays are going to be deliciously hellish!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061239090
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/30/2007
Series: A Hollows Novella
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 220,409
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest. Her bestselling Hollows novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; Black Magic Sanction; Pale Demon, A Perfect Blood, Ever After, and The Undead Pool, plus the short story collection Into the Woods, The Hollows Insider and graphic novels Blood Work and Blood Crime. She also writes the Madison Avery series for young adults.

Lynsay Sands is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there are occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at

Vicki Pettersson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sign of the Zodiac novels, a six-book urban fantasy series set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll always consider that glittering dust bowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think).

Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney and New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romances and urban fantasy. In the world of comic books, she is also the writer of NYX: No Way Home, Black Widow, X-23, and Dark Wolverine. She lives in the American Midwest and Beijing, China.

Read an Excerpt

Holidays Are Hell

By Kim Harrison

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Kim Harrison
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061239090

Chapter One

I stuck the end of the pencil between my teeth, brushing the eraser specks off the paper as I considered how best to answer the employment application. What skills can you bring to Inderland security that are clearly unique to you?

Sparkling wit? I thought, twining my foot around the kitchen chair and feeling stupid. A smile? The desire to smear the pavement with bad guys?

Sighing, I tucked my hair behind my ear and slumped into the kitchen chair. My eyes shifted to the clock above the sink as it ticked minutes into hours. I wasn't going to waste my life. Eighteen was too young to be accepted into the I.S. intern program without a parent's signature, but if I put my application in now, it would sit at the top of the stack until I was old enough, according to the guidance counselor. Like the recruiter had said, there was nothing wrong with going into the I.S. right out of college if you knew that's what you wanted to do. The fast track.

The faint sound of the front door opening brought my heart to my throat. I glanced at the sunset-gloomed window. Jamming the application under the stacked napkins, I shouted, "Hi, Mom! I thought you weren't going to be back until eight!"

Damn it, how was I supposed to finishthis thing if she kept coming back?

But my alarm shifted to elation when a high falsetto voice responded, "It's eight in Buenos Aires, dear. Be a dove and find my rubbers for me? It's snowing."

"Robbie?" I stood so fast the chair nearly fell over. Heart pounding, I darted out of the kitchen and into the green hallway. There at the end, in a windbreaker and shaking snow from himself, was my brother Robbie. His narrow height came close to brushing the top of the door, and his shock of red hair caught the glow from the porch light. Slush-wet Dockers showed from under his jeans, totally inappropriate for the weather. On the porch behind him, a cabbie set down two suitcases.

"Hey!" I exclaimed, bringing his head up to show his green eyes glinting mischievously. "You were supposed to be on the vamp flight. Why didn't you call? I would've come to get you."

Robbie shoved a wad of money at the driver. Door still gaping behind him, he opened his arms, and I landed against him, my face hitting his upper chest instead of his middle like it had when we had said goodbye. His arms went around me, and I breathed in the scent of old Brimstone from the dives he worked in. The tears pricked, and I held my breath so I wouldn't cry. It had been over four and a half years. Inconsiderate snot had been at the West Coast all this time, leaving me to cope with Mom. But he'd come home this year for the solstice, and I sniffed back everything and smiled up at him.

"Hey, Firefly," he said, using our dad's pet name for me and grinning as he measured where my hair had grown to. "You got tall. And wow, hair down to your waist? What are you doing, going for the world's record?"

He looked content and happy, and I dropped back a step, suddenly uncomfortable. "Yeah, well, it's been almost five years," I accused. Behind him, the cab drove away, headlamps dim from the snow and moving slowly.

Robbie sighed. "Don't start," he begged. "I get enough of that from Mom. You going to let me in?" He glanced behind him at the snow. "It is cold out here."

"Wimp," I said, then grabbed one of the suitcases. "Ever hear about that magical thing called a coat?"

He snorted his opinion, hefting the last of the luggage and following me in. The door shut, and I headed down the second, longer hallway to his room, eager to get him inside and part of our small family again. "I'm glad you came," I said, feeling my pulse race from the suitcase's weight. I hadn't been in the hospital in years, but fatigue still came fast. "Mom's going to skin you when she gets back."

"Yeah, well I wanted to talk to you alone first."

Flipping the light switch with an elbow, I lugged his suitcase into his old room, relieved I'd vacuumed already. Blowing out my exhaustion, I turned with my arms crossed over my chest to hide my heavy breathing. "About what?"

Robbie wasn't listening. He had taken off his jacket to show a sharp-looking pinstripe shirt with a tie. Smiling, he spun in a slow circle. "It looks exactly the same."

I shrugged. "You know Mom."

His eyes landed on mine. "How is she?"

I looked at the floor. "Same. You want some coffee?"

With an easy motion, he swung the suitcase I had dragged in up onto the bed. "Don't tell me you drink coffee."

Half my mouth curved up into a smile. "Sweat of the gods," I quipped, coming close when he unzipped a front pocket and pulled out a clearly expensive bag of coffee. If the bland, environmentally conscious packaging hadn't told me what was in it, the heavenly scent of ground beans would have. "How did you get that through customs intact?" I said, and he smiled.

"I checked it."

His arm landed across my shoulders, and together we navigated the narrow hallway to the kitchen. Robbie was eight years older than me, a sullen babysitter who had become an overly protective brother, who had then vanished four-plus years ago when I needed him the most, fleeing the pain of our dad's death. I had hated him for a long time, envious that he could run when I was left to deal with Mom. But then I found out he'd been paying for Mom's psychiatrist. Plus some of my hospital bills. We all helped the way we could. And it wasn't like he could make that kind of money here in Cincinnati.


Excerpted from Holidays Are Hell by Kim Harrison Copyright © 2007 by Kim Harrison. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Holidays Are Hell 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
Raven_Wrath More than 1 year ago
If you've read Kim's Harrison's Hollows series, this book is a great addition, and one you'll be glad you read later, as events that take place in this anthology are referred to in future novels. Lynsay Sands's story was laughable, but not her best. Marjorie Liu isn't someone I'd read before, and this short didn't leave me wanting for more. I absolutely loved the Vicki Pettersson short and couldn't wait to dive further into her Zodiac series. Her short was more of a spin-off, taking a turn from the original narration from the main character in her series and this gave readers a different insight. Brilliant. If you read her Zodiac series and were unfortunate enough to have missed this short, you wouldn't be lost without it. But you'd be missing out on some incredible back story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
'Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel' by Kim Harrison. Teenager Rachel recuperates from I.S. disease that killed her father and nearly killed her, but left her new powers as a witch in training however, she misuses her new skills with a resurrection that may prove lethal.--------------- 'Run, Run Rudolph¿ by Lynsay Sands. Nick and Jill are to play Mr. and Mrs. S. Claus, but instead shapeshift in a flight for their lives when John tries to shoot her with a destabilizing ray.------------- 'Six' by Marjorie M. Liu. Necromancer Joseph warns Six, a member of the Chinese Squad Twelve, of a deadly vampire plot.----------- 'The Harvest¿ by Vickie Pettersson. Retired Zodiac warrior Zoe Archer must return to the mortal realm to rescue her newborn granddaughter. ------------- These are well written thrilling fantasy novellas with the added bonus that Ms. Harrison¿s tale stars a younger Rachel Morgan.----------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gotta love these ladies, every single story is fun and well written.
hjjugovic on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Great collection of short stories about the supernatural and the holiday season. Kim Harrison's tale of a younger Rachel Morgan trying to raise the ghost of her father is especially adept at capturing the conflicting emotions of the season.
lewispike on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Another set of short stories from some of the best writers of Dark Fantasy - paranormal takes on our current world with a romantic twist.Kim Harrison weighs in with another good story of Rachel Morgan's life before joining IS, ghosts, vampires, witchcraft and memories of Rachel's childhood all well handled.Lyndsay Sands comes in with a follow-up to another short story in another of these anthologies. The start was close enough that I wondered if I'd read it before, but it quickly found its feet and became its own story.Marjorie Liu throws a wonderfully odd little story, although one that perhaps we should know more about. It is set in China during the Spring Festival - something I had at least heard of, and a story based around necromancers (who are good guys and bad guys), and Chinese vampires (who are not quite like the better known Western varieties). This is my favourite story of the collection, just because of the new culture.Vicki Pettersson is an author I've not heard of before. I will be chasing up her stuff - she wrote a nice story in a nice setting.I only gave this 4 stars because I'm not really a fan of the short story collection. Although all four of these are well self-contained, I feel let down and wanting more depth from each of them - good in some respects, but still enough to pull the star rating down.
imayb1 on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Admittedly, I bought the book for Kim Harrison's story, "Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel", but I enjoyed three of the four stories and would recommend the book to readers who like Harrison, Liu, or Pettersson's work. Harrison's piece is backstory for Rachel Morgan, the lead character for the series beginning with "Dead Witch Walking." I liked the story because it showed Rachel's family and why she wanted to be I.S.Lynsay Sands, "Run, Run Rudolph" was terrible, implausible romantic tripe and I regret the time I spent reading it. A shop-girl loves a shoe salesman, but a mad scientist zaps her with a super-secret experiment of her brother's design and now she can shape shift. Marjorie M. Lui's, "Six" features an orphaned Chinese woman who is part of a tough, elite governmental anti-terrorist unit and she's trying to stop vampire terrorists. It was a surprisingly good read and the most memorable in the book.Vicki Pettersson's "The Harvest" was an action-packed backstory regarding Jo Archer's mother. (Jo Archer is the main character in Pettersson's novel, Scent of Shadows.) I felt the story would be tough to get into without knowing the novel, and it's very much a tale of a tragic hero.
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The stories were a lot of fun.
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Cybotic More than 1 year ago
While the other short stories in here are okay, the teenage Rachel Morgan story sets so much in motion and gives such a telling glimpse into why Rachel is who she is, the book is a treasure for fans of the series.
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