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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
No answer. I glance outside and realize the sun’s already risen, meaning all good vampires (except for mutated ones like Jareth and my sister) have gone to bed. Great. Now I won’t be able to talk to him until nighttime. I decide to check his messages and listen to him grovel to pass the time away. At least he better be groveling.
Sure enough, I shuttle through thirteen pleas of forgiveness from my boyfriend before the voicemail lady informs me I have no more messages. And, I’m pleased to note, he sounds appropriately worried, freaked out, and apologetic in every single one. As well he should after what he pulled last night. He also asks me to meet him tonight, after the sun sets, at Club Fang, the Goth dance club where I first laid eyes on him last May. The night he mistook me for Rayne and tried to make me his blood mate by biting me in the neck. If only I’d learned to live with the transformation and not gone on that crazy quest to change back into a human. Then I’d be Magnus’s blood mate still. We could have lived happily ever after, without ever meeting anyone named Jane. Sigh. No use crying over spilled blood, I suppose. I dial Magnus and leave him a message, saying I’ll be there tonight at seven. I hang up and consider watching some television, but none of the shows on at six A.M. are worth watching. So I head over to the family computer in the den and switch it on. I’m not as computer savvy as my sister, but I do know how to Google with the best of them. Maybe I can dig up some dirt on Jane. To expose her as the fraud I know she is before she does something to harm the coven or, more important, my boyfriend.
Due to popular demand, Club Fang recently opened up its back room on weekends, creating a makeshift café that serves blood in chilled wineglasses to vampire patrons who have worked up a sweat on the dance floor. They keep the music low here, allowing for decent (or indecent as the case may be) conversation—something impossible to have in the main dance hall where Goths whirl and twirl to bands like VNV Nation and do what I call that footstuck-in-the-mud dance that they all seem to know and love. Rayne insists on coming with me, getting completely Gothed up, cheerleader uniform long forgotten. I wonder what her fellow squad members would think to see her decked out in a lacy, black, Gothic Lolita dress she claims she imported directly from Japan. (I, however, saw the receipt and know she bought it off eBay from some Cosplayer in Reseda.) I’m actually thankful to have backup in case things go badly with Magnus tonight, so I agree and we both get into the ancient Volkswagen Bug we share and head down to the club. After parking, we pay our five-dollar cover to the burly bouncer at the door and head into the club. As usual, I feel completely underdressed in my simple jeans and sweater combo as I step through the archway and enter Hot Topic territory. It’s funny; at school I’m the one who always blends and Rayne is the freak. Here our roles are completely reversed. The other patrons think of me as a tourist, ready to gawk at their Gothic beauty, then go home and tell the frat daddies what a freak show it is. I get more than a few dirty looks as I cross the room, heading for the café. Rayne’s already long abandoned me for the dance floor—unlike me she loves to dance—and I’m sure I won’t see her again for quite some time. Which is fine. I’ve got business to discuss with the boy. I step into the café and scan the room. My heart skips a beat as I catch Magnus sitting at a corner table, across the room, tapping his long fingers against the glass surface anxiously. He’s dressed in a simple black sweater and slim black jeans and is just so beautiful I can’t help but melt a little, even though I am still technically, for the record, totally pissed off at him. After all, he’s still my boyfriend. Still the love of my life. Not to mention one of the hottest creatures to ever walk the planet.
He catches my eye and flashes me a sheepish smile. I cross the room and he rises to his feet to greet me, pulling me into an embrace so strong it’s as if he’s holding on to me for dear life. The thought warms me even more. He loves me. I know he does. And at the end of the day, that’s more important than vampire politics and traditions, right?
We hug for a few moments, then sit down at the table. A tall, pale vampire waitress comes over and I order a black coffee, the only thing in this place not containing some sort of blood infusion. (At least I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.) As she leaves to retrieve my order, Magnus leans over the table and takes my hand in his.
“Sunny, my baby,” he murmurs, pulling my hand to his lips and kissing it softly. His English accent caresses my name in a way that gives me shivers. As much as I like to play tough, I’ve got it bad for this vampire and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Still, we have a lot to talk about tonight and I refuse to get swept up in romance until we do.
“Magnus, why didn’t you tell me?” I ask, feeling my throat clog up with the tears I swore I wouldn’t cry. So unfair that I inherited all the sensitive genes in the family and Rayne got all the kick-ass ones. “I had a right to know.”
My boyfriend lets out a long sigh. “I know,” he says. “And I wanted to tell you, too. Believe me, the whole thing’s been weighing on my mind for weeks. But the council insisted on absolute secrecy until Jane had passed all her certification and DNA tests; they didn’t want word of her selection to get out and have her candidacy compromised by a rival coven. I kept hoping she’d fail—that she’d somehow prove unworthy of the position and subsequently be rejected. Then I would never have had to tell you. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you for no reason.” He squeezes my hand. “I had no idea that she’d just show up out of the blue like she did yesterday. It was completely against protocol.”