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  • Home > Mari Mancusi > Blood Coven Series > Bad Blood (Page 14)     
    Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi
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    With traffic, the cab ride from the airport to Dad’s apartment takes about twenty minutes. We watch out the window as we enter a desert oasis of flashing neon lights, carnival-like rides, and high-rise hotels. The Vegas Strip. Sin City here we are.

    It’s a den of iniquity. But it’s also Disney World. Billboards featuring scantily clad women cling to every available surface, while a roller coaster rushes screaming children through its loop -de-loop. There’s a Sphinx-guarded pyramid, a colorful medieval castle, a half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower. The strip is a canopy of light and sound and it’s packed with people wandering the streets. Some looking for that next lucky game, others for an amusing show or a hot club, still others for just a pretty girl to chat up. The excitement in the air is intoxicating and I almost wish we weren’t here on important business and could just enjoy the madness.

    The cabdriver takes a right turn immediately after passing the elegant Wynn Hotel and pulls into the circular driveway of a steel and glass high-rise apartment building called The Tower. I glance down at the directions I printed out. Sure enough, this is it. Nice digs, Dad.

    “Are you nervous?” I ask my sister as I pay the driver. (Back at the airport Rayne had inserted her “cab fare” ticket back into the “lucky machine” and subsequently lost all of it, including her original quarter.) “About seeing Dad I mean.”

    “Not about seeing Dad necessarily,” Rayne says as she steps out of the cab and heads to the trunk to retrieve her luggage. “More about meeting the new family.”

    Good point. We’d never met the woman who Dad left Mom for. Or our stepsiblings for that matter. What would they be like? I guess we’d be finding out very, very soon.

    A blast of hot air hits me square in the face as the taxi pulls out of the driveway and back onto the Strip. It’s got to be at least a hundred degrees out here—a far cry from the typical forty-degree weather we’ve been having back in Massachusetts. I’ve only been outside for like two seconds and already I’m soaked to the skin.

    Rayne, on the other hand, looks cool as a cucumber as she effortlessly walks her two heavy suitcases to the front doors of the building. She doesn’t even have any sweat stains under her arms and she’s wearing a black wool sweater, for goodness’ sake! Damn vampires. Lucky for her, she’s mutated, allowing her to endure the hot sun. Otherwise the girl would be quite the crispy critter right about now. Though I do notice, to my secret satisfaction, that her pristine white and black Goth makeup is looking a bit melty.

    The front doors slide open and a portly porter steps out, hotel cart in tow. He smiles at us and asks if we’d like him to take our bags up to the suite. Nice. I could get used to this Vegas hospitality. We stack the bags onto the cart and follow him into the lobby.

    A blast of welcome air-conditioning greets us the second we step inside, instantly dropping my body temperature to a non-fatal level, thank God. I look around the luxurious lobby, drawing in a breath. Beyond sweet—it reminds me of the Polynesian Hotel down at Disney World in Florida. A lush, colorful jungle, complete with four-story waterfall, cascading down into the lobby, misting my sweaty arms with cool droplets of water. Red and green parrots perch on branches, squawking merrily in greeting and golden koi swim up to the edge of the pool, puckering their lips with wordless pleas for fish food.

    “Wow, Mom might want to consider upping our child support payments,”

    Rayne remarks with a low whistle. “Dad’s evidently been winning at the slots.”

    “No kidding,” I reply, taking in all the luxury. “I wonder how much a pad in a place like this goes for.”

    “Studios start at five-hundred grand.”

    We whirl around at the voice and come face-to-face with a skinny, bleachedblond teen girl, dressed in ridiculously short shorts and a low-cut pink tank top designed to showcase her probably store-bought boobs. She’s got green eyes, white skin, puffy pink lips, and an expression that says she wants us to know she’s bored as hell. Snapping her gum loudly, she gives us what can only be described as a disapproving once-over.

    “Are you, like, Sunshine and Rayne?” she asks, as if she couldn’t be less interested in our replies. I notice my sister glaring back at her, so I decide to jump in before she can open her mouth.

    “That’s us,” I say brightly, trying to diffuse the tension. “You can call me Sunny, actually. Everyone does.”

    “Sunny,” she repeats with a small snort. “How adorable.” She turns to my sister. “And should I call you Rain-eee?” she asks, in the most condescending voice.

    “Only if you want permanent damage to those pearly white teeth of yours,”

    Rayne replies sweetly, not missing a beat. “And who, may I ask, are you?”

    The girl sniffs. “I’m Crystal. Your stepsister.”

    Rayne and I exchange looks. This was our stepsister? The girl who got to have access to our father 24/7 while we sat back in Massachusetts, praying the man who gave us life would remember to stuff five bucks in an envelope and mail it in time for Christmas?

    “Crystal,” I cry, deciding to make the best of it. “Ohmigod, it’s so great to meet you.” I throw my arms around her and give her a big hug. (After all, we’re practically related, right?) But her body is bony and stiff and, while she allows the hug to be given, she doesn’t exactly reciprocate. It seems our stepsister isn’t completely thrilled about us descending on her turf. Which is understandable, I suppose. It’s a weird situation for all of us. Hopefully she’ll loosen up once we get to know her.

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