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  • Home > Mari Mancusi > Blood Coven Series > Bad Blood (Page 25)     
    Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi
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    “I wasn’t sure when you’d be back,” Heather says, leading me over to the dining room table. “But I thought you might be hungry.” She gestures to the table, piled high with containers of food. “Care for some vegetarian fried rice?”

    My mouth is watering so badly I’m worried I might be drooling. “Absolutely,”

    I cry, taking a seat at the table. Heather walks over to the kitchen area and pulls a plate down from the cabinet. She walks it over to me. “Veggie fried rice is my total favorite,” I tell her, pulling open the container and digging in.

    “I know,” she says, smiling down at me.

    I look up, mid-shovel, surprised. “How?”

    “She grilled Dad about it for, like, a thousand hours,” Stormy replies, coming out from the hallway, Nintendo DS in hand, as usual. Doesn’t anyone sleep in this house? “What you eat, what you wear, what you like to do. Not to mention she did, like, professional recon on your Facebook and MySpace pages, too.”

    “I did not!” Heather protests, her face turning a beet red. Stormy giggles. “Mmm-hmm.”

    “Okay, maybe I asked a few questions. And I might have done a quick Google search,” my stepmom admits, sliding into a seat across from me. “It’s just that I wanted to make sure you girls felt at home here during your stay.”

    “Thanks,” I say, remembering too late my mouthful of food.

    “That’s really nice of you.” And I mean it. She didn’t have to go through all that trouble for us. But I kind of like that she did. Not that I’d ever tell Rayne. She’d say I was being a total traitor to Mom. But honestly, Heather’s been pretty cool. Nothing like the homewrecking bitch we always imagined her to be.

    “Where’s your sister?” Heather asks.

    I swallow my food this time before answering. “Last I saw she was at the blackjack tables in the MGM Grand. I wouldn’t wait up.”

    “Gambling? She’s not eighteen, is she?”

    “Fake ID.”

    “Of course.” Heather chuckles. “Silly me. I must be getting old.”

    “Duh. You’re, like, ancient,” Stormy says, dipping her chicken in the red sweet-and-sour sauce.

    “Thanks, darling daughter of mine.”

    “Anytime, mother crone.” Stormy pops the chicken in her mouth with a pleased grin. I can’t help but giggle at their banter.

    “Now stop eating and go to bed,” Heather says, poking her playfully. “It’s way past your bedtime.”

    “M-om!”

    “Don’t Mom me,” Heather scolds. “Child social services would probably take you away if they knew I let you stay up so late to begin with.”

    “But don’t you want me to bond with my sister? That’s what you’ve been saying all week.”

    I look up, surprised.

    Heather sighs. “You’re really determined to embarrass me to death tonight, aren’t you?”

    Stormy grins. “Is it working?”

    “Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting a pass to stay up. You can bond with Sunny all you want tomorrow, if she’s around.”

    She says this completely matter-of-factly, but her words still sting and I’m suddenly feeling super guilty for coming home so late. I mean, this isn’t a hotel—these people have opened up their lives to me without reservation. And it’s certainly not little Stormy’s fault that my dad’s a bastard who never lives up to his promises—heck, he might disappear on her on a regular basis, too, for all I know.

    “Don’t worry, Stormy,” I assure her. “We can hang out tomorrow. Maybe make some waffles in the morning?” I look questioningly to Heather. She nods, a relieved look on her face.

    “Of course. Stormy loves waffles, don’t you?” she says. Stormy gives a typical tween too-cool-for-school shrug, but I can tell she’s pleased. She slides down from the table and heads down the hall to her room, shouting good-nights as she goes.

    Heather turns back to me, shaking her head fondly. “Sorry about that,” she says. “The kid’s eleven, going on twenty-one.”

    I laugh appreciatively. “It’s cool. I mean, she’s cute. And I’ve always wanted a little sister I could teach stuff to.” Unlike the annoying know-it-all one I usually live with.

    “Yeah, good luck with Stormy.” Heather snorts. “She’s the one always teaching me stuff. The girl is a freaking whiz on the computer and has pretty much mastered every Trivial Pursuit game in existence. Definitely her father’s daughter, that’s for sure.”

    Ugh. Way to accidentally bring up the big elephant in the room. The air between us suddenly is thick with awkwardness. I stare down at my fried rice, no longer very hungry.

    “Um, about that . . .” Heather starts hesitantly. “I’m really sorry I blindsided you with that whole half-sister thing earlier. For some reason I just assumed that your mother would have told you. Or your dad even. I can’t believe he didn’t say anything, all these years.”

    “He and I don’t talk much,” I mumble, finding myself unable to look up and risk seeing the pity in her eyes. Her father’s daughter . Am I my father’s daughter? Am I like him at all? Or is he more like Rayne? I have no idea. He never stuck around long enough for us to find out.

    The warmth has gone out of the room and my hands feel cold as ice. Heather presses on. “I feel terrible. If I’d known I’d . . .”

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