Waylaid

Waylaid by Kim Harrison Read Free Book Online

Book: Waylaid by Kim Harrison Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kim Harrison
Tags: Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Adult
prepping for the task, risked her life, her partner’s. Bill had it. It was safe. To negate that . . . How could she?
    “I can’t just give it to you,” Peri said, not liking her plaintive tone. “It belongs to Event Horizon. They invested billions developing it. That’s why Jack and I were contracted to steal it back for them.”
    Rachel turned from the window, arms around her middle. “And that’s why it’s in Bill’s pocket?”
    Peri stiffened. “You think Bill is corrupt?” she said hotly. “That we stole it so he could sell it to the highest bidder? That’s not how Opti works. That’s not how Jack and I work.”
    “It’s how the world works,” Jenks said, making Peri feel like a fool.
    “Look,” Rachel said, and Jenks darted into the kitchen.
    “Oh, God,” he muttered as he scanned the counters. “Here comes the list.”
    “I have a boyfriend ,” Rachel said, clearly peeved. “And a job, and responsibilities, and I’m not going to stay here in this dead world you made by killing all the Inderlanders, or lines, or both. I’m not going to do it!”
    “Rache, relax,” Jenks said as he nibbled on a cracker half the size of himself. “Peri isn’t going to just leave us hanging. Are you.”
    It wasn’t a question, and Peri didn’t answer them. She couldn’t help but wonder how the woman stayed alive through her pressure-induced panic attacks, but as she watched Jenks calmly trying out the plastic drink sword, she thought she knew. That, and the woman wasn’t a slouch. She’d taken Jack down. Whether he was intoxicated or not, that wasn’t easy.
    “How about this?” Rachel said, calming. “We make a fake one. Change it out for the real accelerator. Jenks and I go home. Bill gives the fake one to the company he says invented it. It doesn’t work, they make a new one. If Event Horizon didn’t make it, the company who did makes a new accelerator. Nothing changes, no harm done.”
    Silent, Peri went into the kitchen and opened a jar of peanut butter. It made sense, but she didn’t like the subterfuge. Opti had given her everything, made her valuable, irreplaceable, strong, and important—even if no one outside a small circle of people knew it.
    “And you’ll know if this Bill guy is corrupt or not,” the pixy added. “Bonus!”
    Eyes narrowed, Peri slammed the silverware drawer shut. “Bill is not corrupt,” she said as she scooped out a spoonful and set it on the counter.
    “Then you know that for sure, too,” Rachel said, her mood softening as she came forward to lean on the kitchen bar. “Thanks for the peanut butter. He’s got a fast metabolism.”
    “Me, too,” Peri muttered as she put the jar away. Giving her a meek nod of thanks, Jenks began eating the peanut butter with a pair of tiny chopsticks he’d pulled from a back pocket.
    Steal from Bill? She didn’t know if she could do that. He’d been her handler since day one, giving her and her partner the high-profile jobs and all the perks.
    But knowing if Bill was selling their work to the highest bidder would be worth a few hours of her time. “You really think you can make something that looks like it? Bill is not stupid, and Jack knows what it looks like.”
    “Absolutely.” Rachel hiked herself up on the bar stool. “You probably have what I need to make it.”
    “Which is?” Peri asked, her doubts rising again.
    “She’s got copper pots, Rache,” Jenks said as he finished, cleaning his chopsticks with a drop of water and darting off to her shelf of talismans.
    Peri warily watched him. “Stay out of my stuff,” she demanded, though she was ignored.
    “Copper pots?” Rachel questioned. “You sure you’re not a witch?”
    “She’s got more candles than a teenage vampire,” Jenks said, flitting among her talismans. “You can melt one down. Make a mold of it. Holy crap, you still play with dolls, Peri?”
    Peri strode out of the kitchen. He was messing with the figurine she’d gotten from the

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