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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
The room is silent. Heather stands there, biting her lower lip. Rayne’s looking one step below enraged serial killer. And I . . . well, I’m just wondering if I should go run after Stormy. After all, our parents’ sins are certainly not her fault. She didn’t ask to be born into this mess.
“So, um, are you guys hungry?” Heather asks, hopefully. “I’m not much of a cook, but there’s a great Chinese place just around the corner that delivers. Anyone for some dim sum?”
“I’m not hungry,” Rayne replies through clenched teeth. Of course as a vampire she’s never hungry—at least for human food. But I have a feeling something besides the undeadness is ruining her appetite at the moment. “Can I just go to my room?”
“Of course, dear,” Heather replies, looking more than a little nervous. “You two will be sharing a room with Crystal. It’ll be like a great big girlie sleepover!”
Crystal smiles smugly at Rayne’s look of horror and I have a feeling the experience will be less of a sleepover and more of a visit to one of the lower circles of Dante’s hell if she has anything to do with it. And, seeing as it’s her room, I figure she kind of does.
Rayne looks like she’s about to explode at this point so I decide to interject. Play the peacemaker twin. “Great,” I say, forcing a cheery voice. Believe me, I’m just as upset as Rayne is at the news, but what good does it do to flip out?
We’re here in Vegas, more than two thousand miles from home, and we’re stuck here for the time being. Nothing to do but make the best of a bad situation, right? “We really appreciate your hospitality. I think actually we want to go check out the Strip before it gets too late. We’ll be back in a couple hours.”
Heather looks relieved and I suddenly realize it must be as hard for her to have us here as it is to be here ourselves. Living reminders of her husband’s past life, invading her home space, without even the husband in question to smooth out the transition. I feel kind of bad for her, actually. Once again, Dad’s irresponsibility ruins the day.
“Okay,” she says. “Have fun. And be careful.” She reaches over and gives me another hug. “I’m really glad you guys are here!”
If only we could say the same.
Rayne storms out of the elevator ahead of me, steam practically coming out of her ears as she pushes through the double glass doors of the apartment’s entrance, leaving behind the cool, over-air-conditioned tropical lobby in exchange for the hot, arid desert air. I try to catch up to her and finally am forced to literally grab on to her shoulder to slow her down. She turns around, her hands squeezed into white fists, her face stormy with rage. “I can’t believe this!” she cries. “He lied to us. All these years. He cheated on Mom and had a kid with that bimbo up there and didn’t even have the guts to tell us about it. After all these years! I mean, we’ve had a baby sister now for eleven years. A baby sister and we didn’t even know about it. What a bastard! An absolute bastard.”
“He probably was afraid you’d react just like you are now,” I venture, not sure why I’m even defending the guy. In truth, I’m pretty pissed myself. But that doesn’t mean we should take it out on the sweet little girl upstairs. Who is, it seems, our own flesh and blood. As I think back on her now, I realize the resemblance is unmistakable. Same blond hair, same big brown eyes. Our very own Mini-Me.
“Sunny, don’t you see? He doesn’t care how I react, he only cares about himself. I mean, he’s not even here. We come more than two thousand miles to visit him and he can’t even be bothered to stay home to greet us.” She shakes her head and I can see she’s trying desperately not to cry. Rayne likes to make like she’s the tough one. Never letting anything bother her. But inside she’s actually the greater marshmallow of the two of us, if you want to know the truth.
“Rayne, we only gave him, like, a day’s notice,” I remind her. “Maybe he really did have a last-minute business trip. And besides, we didn’t really come here to bond with him. That was just the excuse we used to get Mom to say yes, remember? We came to investigate Jane and to make sure she isn’t an evil imposter who plans to kill Magnus and tear apart the Blood Coven.” No matter what’s up with the home life sitch, I’ve got to stay focused on my main objective here. Suss out Evil Jane and bring her down. Rayne rolls her eyes. “That’s why you came,” she corrects. “I was just humoring you for a chance to drink some booze and play some slots.” She pauses, then adds, “Which I’m thinking of going to do. Right now.”
Oh man. I hate when she gets like this. All self-protective Rayne. She can do more damage to herself in times like this than anyone she’s trying to protect herself from could ever hope to do. I remember a few weeks back she even crashed her own car because she was so angry at David moving in with Mom. Like, yeah, that’ll show them!
If only Jareth were here. He’s the only one ever able to stand up to her when she gets like this. Knock her down a few pegs, talk some sense into her. The guy has the patience of a saint to deal with my crazy sister on a daily basis, let me tell you. Maybe because, as a vampire, he has all the time in the world. I glance at my watch. Speaking of time, it’s nearly dark and I need to get over to the convention center at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the consortium is being held. Time to start spying on Jane.
Of course, now I need to sweet-talk my angry, sullen sister into coming with me.