Home > The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12)

The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12)
Author: Kim Harrison


The Hollows series
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Acknowledgments

I’d like to thank my editor, Diana Gill, for her fabulous insights that make the Hollows the most it can be, and my agent, Richard Curtis, for seeing it before I did.

 

 

One

How does the man make checkered shirts and pastels look good? I thought as Trent lined up his drive, head down and feet shifting, looking oddly appealing outside of the suit and tie I usually saw him in. The rest of his team and their caddies were watching him as well, but I doubted they were rating the way his shoulders pulled the soft fabric, or how the sun shone through his almost translucent blond hair drifting about his ears, or how the shadows made his slim waist look even trimmer, unhidden beneath a suit coat for a change. I found myself holding my breath as he coiled up, exhaling as he untwisted and the flat of the club hit the ball with a ping.

“Yeah, the elf looks good in the sun,” Jenks smart-mouthed, the pixy currently sitting on the bottom of my hooped earrings and out of the moderate wind. “When you going to put us all out of your misery and boink him?”

“Don’t start with me.” With a hand held up to shade my eyes, I watched the ball begin to descend.

“All I’m saying is you’ve been dating him for three months. Most guys you date are either dead or running scared by now.”

The ball hit with an audible thump, rolling onto the par-three green. Something in me fluttered at Trent’s pleased smile as he squinted in the sun. Damn it, I’m not doing this. “I’m not dating him, I’m working his security,” I muttered.

“This is work?” Wings humming, the pixy darted off my earring, flying ahead to do a redundant check of the area before we walked into it.

Jenks’s silver dust quickly vanished in the July heat, and I felt a moment of angst as Trent accepted the congratulations of his team. He looked relaxed and easy out here, the calm he usually affected true instead of fabricated. I liked seeing him this way, and feeling guilty, I dropped my gaze. I had no business even caring.

As one, the rest started to the green with a clinking of clubs and masculine chatter, undoubtedly feeling pushed by the next team waiting just off the tee. The big guy in the lime-green pants had been talking loudly the entire time, trying to throw Trent’s game off, no doubt, but Trent had outplotted corporate takeovers, evaded genetic trafficking charges, slipped murder accusations, and survived demon attacks. One overweight man huffing and puffing for him to move faster would not break his cool.

Sure enough, Trent needlessly fussed over the divot as the rest went on ahead, refusing to relinquish the tee area until he was ready. Smirking, I hoisted his bag, the three other clubs he used clinking lightly as I came to take his driver. I wasn’t a caddie, but it was the only way they’d let me on the course and there was no way that Trent would ever be in public without some kind of security.

Even if he could take care of himself, I thought, smiling as I took his club and our separate paces became one. My God, it’s nice out here.

“Subtle,” I said as we found the manicured grass, and he snorted to make me flush, not because I’d seen through him, but because I was one of the few people Trent would drop his mask around. It shouldn’t have been that important. But it was. What am I doing?

“Watch the guy in the green pants,” he said, looking over his shoulder. “He has a tendency to drop his ball into the players ahead of him.”

“Sure.” Head down, I paced beside Trent, his clubs banging into my back, feeling as if I belonged there almost. I’d been working with him the last three months while Quen, Trent’s usual security adviser, was on the West Coast with the girls. This new feeling of . . . responsibility, I guess, bothered me. Jenks’s words, though crass, had been echoing in my thoughts in quiet moments, and I looked at Trent’s hand, wishing I had the right to take it.

“Are you okay?”

I looked up, almost panicking. “Sure. Why?”

Trent’s eyes ran over me as if searching for the truth. “You’re quiet today.”

I was quiet today? Meaning we’d been spending enough time together that he knew the difference. Forcing a smile, I handed him his putter. “Just trying to stay in the background.”

He took it, eyebrows high, and I’d swear I heard him sigh as he turned away. Head coming up, he stepped onto the green and joined in the light banter between the other CEOs. My heart was pounding, and I dragged my melancholy ass out of the way to rest under the shade of the storm shelter.

“Just trying to stay in the background,” Jenks said in a high falsetto. “My God, woman. Your aura is glowing. Just admit you like him, bump uglies, and get on with your life!”

“Jenks!” I exclaimed, then wiggled my fingers apologetically at the man lining up his putt.

Smirking, Jenks landed on the storm shelter’s rafters, his hand carefully going over a small wing tear to even out a raw edge. “That’s how pixies know we’re in love,” he said as he folded his dragonfly-like wings and wiggled out of his red jacket, wincing as something pulled. “If the girl has glow, she won’t say no.”

“Nice.” Arms over my middle, I set the bag down and watched Trent, glad the girls were coming back tomorrow. With Quen taking up security, I’d be able to wrap my head around reality. I was confusing my work with everything else—and I was done with being confused.

“How’s Cookie Bits’s game?” Jenks asked. “He looks as distracted as you.”

Frowning, I raised my hand as if to bop him, but it would never land. Cookie Bits. That’s what Jenks had been calling Trent ever since he caught us sitting in his car outside the church after a job. I’d only wanted to hear the end of the news, but try telling Jenks that.

“Tink’s little pink rosebuds, the local pixies are more stuck up than a fairy nailed to my church’s steeple,” Jenks said, giving up on getting a rise out of me since it wasn’t working. “I’m wearing red for a reason, not because I look good in it. Look! Look what they did to my coat!”

Disgusted, Jenks held up the bright red jacket Belle had made for him, poking his finger through a hole just under the armpit. I stiffened, suddenly seeing his small wing tear in a new way. A pixy wearing red should’ve been given free passage. I’d been seemingly everywhere in Cincinnati with Trent the last couple of months, but the country club was the worst. I hadn’t known Jenks was having issues. He’d probably been too proud to tell me. “You okay?”

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