9780060546045

Night Road

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780060546045

  • ISBN10:

    0060546042

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-10-29
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Summary

For a heme like Cole, life is a tightrope existence in which sunlight is his deadly enemy and one mistake could trap him underground, staring at the inside of a coffin lid, for eternity. After a century of wandering he may still look like a teenager, but he's known in the heme community for being observant, meticulous, and controlled-a master of life on the road. When Cole is asked to take a newly created heme out for training, however, his usual caution may not be enough. If Gordon, the rookie who really is in his teens, can't cut ties with his old life and accept his new limitations, Cole will have to discreetly dispose of the kid-the same way a mad dog would be put down for the safety of society. Cole thinks he can handle it. But no matter how carefully he plans, or how much he thinks he's in control, accidents still happen. . . .

Excerpts

Night Road

Chapter One

Cole did have a map in his backpack. He'd studied it in the parking garage. Only now that he was already on the subway did it occur to him that it might be outdated.

What a foolish mistake on his part, to assume that he could rely on a thirty-year-old map.

Cole loathed mistakes.

Next stop—Fifth Avenue? That couldn't be right. Fifth was on the wrong side of the park, wasn't it?

He'd decided to take the train into Manhattan because he'd had difficulty once when he'd taken a cab. The stop-and-start traffic had made him carsick, which had been very unpleasant for both him and the cabdriver, who had neither seen nor smelled regurgitated blood before. And of course, as soon as his stomach was emptied, he had to prevent the Thirst that would inevitably follow. He'd quickly fed on the cabdriver, a hairy man who apparently was not fond of bathing. He'd had to take more than usual; then he'd felt bad about leaving the man unconscious and tucked a large tip into the guy's shirt pocket.

Now Cole sat, feeling the muted throb of the tracks under the car, and he had an uncomfortable suspicion he was moving farther and farther away from where he needed to be.

He did not want to pull out his own map. To pull out a map and pore over it in New York City screamed "Tourist! Come rob me!" But there was no help for it. He was an idiot. He should have gotten a new map and studied it before he even got out of his car.

He got off at the next stop—Lexington Avenue—backpack slung over his shoulders. He did not like using the backpack, which crushed and wrinkled the clothes inside. Of course, he had not wanted to come into the city at all—but his wants had nothing to do with it, and the backpack was less obtrusive than his suitcase, which had wheels and a handle that popped up.

Real eighteen-year-old guys, Cole felt, did not walk alone at night wheeling luggage on the subways and streets of Manhattan.

He walked across the platform as quickly as possible and leaned with his back against the concrete wall, under the faint sterile buzz of a fluorescent light. There he pulled out the map and discreetly unfolded one corner, hoping that would be enough to give him a clue where Lexington Avenue was in the scheme of things.

It wasn't. He unfurled the whole damn thing. Fine, he was a teenage tourist.

But the map didn't make any sense. Cole didn't even know where he was. And all those colored lines branching off. Now, here he was who knew where, holding a tangled mess of lines on a paper that was worse than useless because the stupid trains didn't always stop at each station that was marked. No, they sometimes skipped stations, which, now that he thought about it, was likely what had happened to him. Or perhaps he'd gotten on the wrong train in the first place, back when he'd switched from the PATH train.

God. He'd have to go up, get his bearings, and walk to his destination.

Unless he was in Queens. Or any place that didn't have streets numbered in a grid.

The problem was that he'd been too complacent. Cole had thought he already had the answers when he knew that the moment you let down your guard is the moment you start making mistakes. He'd just thought he could remember from the last time he'd been here. He couldn't recall the year exactly, but it was the summer Lady Di married Prince Charles. He remembered because Mina and Alice had kept Johnny's TV tuned in to the wedding.

Now, map still in hand, he headed up the concrete stairs to the sidewalk to look at street signs and figure out where he was.

He'd only stayed a few weeks during the Charles-and-Di summer. The longest Cole had ever stayed in Manhattan was for three or four years, back when Johnny had first bought the Building; but that was before the subways had been extended this far.

At the top of the steps Cole paused, map in his hand. It had rained recently, but not much. The air was damp and heavy and smelled of wet streets and steamy concrete, but the only water was a trickle in the gutters, a darker patch here and there on the sidewalk.

Not far away, under the corner street sign, some guy in a greasy overcoat was dancing in the middle of the sidewalk, flapping his arms slowly, his eyes on an invisible somebody right in front of him.

"Code red, Code red," Cole heard him announce to the somebody. "Frequency forty-nine has been alerted. Clearance requested from the emperor."

All right. There was no hurry; it was several hours till dawn. And Cole did not know why Johnny had called him in, but if it had been urgent, there was no question that Johnny would have told him so.

Of course, he had not tried to find out what it was all about. He'd felt a vague discomfort licking at him, but rather than ask Johnny why he wanted him to come in, Cole had asked instead: Is everything all right? And Johnny had said yes. Anything beyond that, he knew, could wait.

He peered at the strange man again—he could almost smell the stale odor of unwashed clothes from here. He wasn't afraid of the guy, just reluctant to get involved in a hassle out on a public street.

"Need help?"

Cole turned. It was a woman. Not hemovore. An omnivore. You could always tell even if no bodily movements gave it away. An omni's eyes had a stunted, undeveloped look, while a heme's gaze was ripe to the core. This omni woman had short gray hair, wore jeans, and carried a canvas bag looped over one shoulder.

Night Road. Copyright © by A. Jenkins . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Night Road by A. M. Jenkins
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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