I could tell from his expression and the speed of his pencil on the paper that he was thinking a hundred miles an hour. I was also pretty sure I knew what the trigger was, but I couldn’t go there yet. I had to talk to Poe.

“What happened with the rip is another side effect, like your senses or sleeping or energy level. I can’t stop thinking about all the variances. For us, back in Ivy Springs, the rips progressed. At first, only travelers could see them, and they could be interacted with. Then they became scenes, and the travelers existed outside them. Then anyone with an active time gene could see rips, whole scenes. Rip worlds. Time started blending: rips with humans but no interaction between the two.”


“But I interacted with rip people. Stepped into someone else’s life. Has anyone else done that?”

“I don’t think so. Here’s a list of everything everyone has seen.” He leaned back so I could see his computer screen, and then pointed to a desktop folder titled “IG.” “I’m going to send you this file. It contains all the basics about the Infinityglass, from when I thought it was an object. If you want to look over it, we can talk about it, see if any of it applies to you.”

“You mean, slick as glass, gritty, curvy, immalleable?”

“If those are the ones that work.” He shut his laptop and slipped it into the case. “Have you decided whether or not I’m a nice guy?”

“My only other option for answers is my mother, and I’d trust Darth Maul before I’d trust her.”

“You’re killing me with the nerd references. But you know that, don’t you?”

My phone buzzed with a text from my dad.

The job is on.

I grinned. “The verdict is in, and I think you’re a nice guy. You’re also my best bet for information about the Infinityglass.”

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“So we can continue our search tomorrow?” he asked.

My grin got even bigger. “Actually, I have other plans for tomorrow.”

Chapter 10


I went to the side entrance of the house to wait for Dune.

Because I was excited to see him.

I used to meet Benny at the same entrance when I was a kid. I didn’t want to throw a Benny-shaped shadow over Dune, and I didn’t think I was. Benny had been my friend. Dune was … different.

I wanted to punch myself in my own face. The last thing I needed to indulge in was a crush, especially one that had exploded on me like a shaken champagne bottle.

“Hey, kiddo.” Carl, who’d been head of security for as long as I could remember, stood and brushed biscuit crumbs from his shirt. “Is something wrong?”

“Take a load off,” I said, briefly placing my hand on his shoulder. “I’m waiting for someone.”

“New kid?” He sat, but kept his posture straight and his feet flat on the floor. Ready to jump in front of me at any second, should the need arise.

“We’re going on a job.”

Carl knew exactly what that meant.

“First one for this guy?” When I nodded, he picked up his Styrofoam cup of hot chocolate and took a slow sip. “And you think he’ll be good in the field?”

“We’ll find out. All Dune has to do is take a little trip with me.”

“To where?”

Dune stepped through the door. Raindrops caught in his black hair, and some settled on the shoulders of his navy windbreaker. He looked mysterious, coming in from the outside mist, kind of like a mystical warrior.

Wow. That cheese stunk like Roquefort.

“The Bourbon Orleans,” I said brightly. “One of the oldest hotels in New Orleans. It’s also one of the most haunted.”

He slid his arms out of his jacket and hung it up on a hook by the door before dropping his bag. “Do you believe in that stuff?”

“I can transmutate. Ghosts don’t seem like a stretch.”

Dune cast a quick glance over at Carl, who just smiled.

“Bye, Carl,” I said, kissing him on the cheek.

“Good luck, and be careful.” Carl wiped hot chocolate foam off his upper lip. He was still smiling.

I hooked my arm through Dune’s and led him toward the living room. It was a really nice arm. Strong. Defined. Tan with just a scattering of dark hair.

“You’re pretty open about your ability,” he said.

“Carl’s been around for years. We don’t have extended family. Or friends.” I wasn’t ready to let go of his arm yet, so I guided him toward the stairs and my bedroom. “Dad just hires staff instead.”

“You aren’t tight with the people you work with?”

“Not really. I’m older than Amelia and Zooey.” I wasn’t even going to touch the Poe relationship. “Besides that, it’s me and my dad, and the guards. Are you tight with the people you work with?”

“The Hourglass operates as a family. Our boss encourages it. You care about people; you have their backs when it comes down to the hard situations. I know how hokey that sounds.”

“It doesn’t sound hokey at all. Kind of nice, truthfully.”

“You’re lonely.”

He said it in a gentle tone, and it was an observation, not a question, but I felt like I needed to explain. “I have other people besides the ones I work with. There’s Gina, my dance teacher. I mean, it’s only the two of us, but I see her three days a week. I’ve taken a couple of classes at the theater where she teaches.”

“Dance class and Chronos jobs.” He raised his hand, and for a second, I thought he was going to touch my face. My heart caught in my chest, but he scratched his chin instead.

“What? You don’t like the way I live my life?”

“You have so much to offer, Hallie. The world needs you like nature needs sunlight.”

“That’s … possibly the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

He answered with a frown.

Feeling too close and too obvious, I pulled away from him. My body went cold without his heat. He rubbed his arm, like he was missing my warmth, too.

Or I was losing my mind, or something worse.

“Anyway, neither of my parents had big families. So it’s just us.” I walked into my bedroom, looking over my shoulder to see if he’d follow. He hesitated, but he came in. Then I dropped the bomb on him. “How do you feel about staying with me in the hotel this weekend?”

He blinked a couple of times. “Non sequitur much?”

“Sit.” I took the tiny vanity stool, partly from guilt that it was so small it barely supported him, and partly because I wanted to see what he looked like on my bed.

“A hotel?”

“Yeah.” I did a nervous side to side spin. “For a job. We need to retrieve something from the lobby.”

“When your dad hired me, he told me there was a good chance I would end up going on a Chronos job. I think he said many of them were questionable. He never said anything about taking his daughter to a hotel.”

“If you want to bail …”

“No! No, I don’t want to bail.”

My slow grin was answered with an immediate blush.

“I mean, I’m going to do the job. You’re stuck with me. I just … if I’m going to get arrested for a ‘retrieval,’ I should maybe make arrangements for bail ahead of time.”

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