An Excerpt From No Quest for the Wicked

I’d reached the part of my mission where stealth was most essential. One wrong footstep, one breath that was a little too loud, and the game would be up. The door ahead of me was ever so slightly ajar. It looked as though anyone could walk right through, but the door wasn’t what kept out intruders. Anyone who tried to pass through that doorway would wake up in a body-shaped dent on the opposite wall.

Anyone, that is, who didn’t have my particular qualities. For me, that slightly ajar door was the most challenging obstacle. I’d need to open it wider to get through, but there was the risk that would make enough noise to give me away. I slid my toe into the gap, shivering as I crossed the powerful wards. Moving my foot slowly forward, I eased the door open, bit by bit, then I paused and held my breath, listening carefully. The scratch of a pen confirmed my fear that the room was occupied.

At this time in the morning? How early did I have to get up?

At any rate, it was time to make my move. I slid my body into the gap in the doorway, edging sideways into the chamber. I’d made it all the way into the room when a crunching sound made me freeze. I glanced down and saw that I’d stepped on a wadded-up piece of paper. After holding my breath a few seconds without noticing any reaction from the room’s occupant, I kept going, watching more carefully where I stepped.

I’d almost made it to the paper-and-book-strewn table in the middle of the room when the occupant said, without looking up from his work, “Katie, what are you doing here?”