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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
I stare at her, impressed. Eleven going on twenty-one? How about forty-three?
“You’re like a regular twenty-first century Robin Hood,” I exclaim. “Robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.”
“Something like that.” Stormy beams.
“Aren’t you afraid of getting caught?”
“Nah. I go through a ton of international proxy servers to hide my trail.”
“You realize I have no clue what you just said.”
She laughs. “No one ever does. But don’t worry, these places are already way corrupt. If they report a disturbance, they’ll get the gambling commission nosing around. And then they’d definitely have some explaining to do.”
Okay, that logic I can understand. “Well, just don’t tell the evil twin you can do this. She’ll probably make you hack into the Bellagio or something to increase her odds.”
“I don’t think she’s poor enough to need my help.”
“She might be soon, at the rate she’s going.” I shake my head. “Anyway, how about those waffles?”
Stormy turns to me, an excited look on her freckled face. Suddenly she’s eleven again. “Really?” she asks. “You really want to make some?”
She leaps off her seat and dances to the kitchen. I join her there and soon we’re in major waffle-making mode, mixing the batter, heating up the iron, making a total mess. I accidentally drop an egg on my shoe, and she cracks up. Her laughter is infectious and soon we’re both giggling like crazy.
“Let’s add chocolate chips!” she cries, pulling over a breakfast barstool to stand on so she can reach the high shelf. “I know Mom has some up here somewhere,” she adds as she starts rummaging through the cabinet.
“Chocolate chips in waffles?” I say, raising an eyebrow. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“Gives them added yum,” Stormy explains confidently as she pulls the Toll House morsels from behind the bag of flour. Unfortunately in doing so, she manages to knock over the flour and a moment later I find myself completely covered head-to-toe in white powder. Stormy looks down at me, her expression hesitant. “Oops?” she says.
“Oops?” I cry, grabbing her by the waist and yanking her down from the stool. She squeals in protest as I grab the Toll House bag away from her. “I’ll give you oops,” I tell her, tickling her and laughing so hard I can barely catch my breath. I grab a handful of chocolate chips and try to stuff them into her mouth. She screams as I roll her in the flour on the floor at my feet and wiggles free, retreating to the other side of the breakfast bar for cover.
“What’s going on here?”
We whirl around and realize that in the midst of our laughter we hadn’t heard Heather walk through the door, home from work. Yikes. I assess the kitchen, which is completely trashed by this point. Flour and chocolate chips strewn everywhere. She’s going to be so pissed. And I, as the almost adult and the guest in the home, am really the one to blame.
“We’re making waffles, Mom!” Stormy announces cheerfully. “With chocolate chips for extra yum.”
“And we had a little accident,” I start to explain. “But don’t worry—I’m totally going to clean—”
“So who’s winning?” she interrupts.
“The food fight, of course.” She grins at both of us.
“I think we’re about tied,” I manage to say, relief washing over me. I can’t believe she’s not mad.
“No way. I’m kicking Sunny’s butt,” Stormy insists.
“Mmm-hmm.” Heather rubs the top of her daughter’s head affectionately.
“Sure you are.” She turns back to the kitchen. “Need some help?” she asks.
“With the waffles, I mean, not the food fight.”
I toss her a grateful smile. “Definitely.”
Somehow, with Heather’s help, we’re eventually able to produce a few edible waffles out of the mess and sit down at the breakfast bar to eat them. I glance over at my sister, who’s stuffing waffle into her mouth, still unable to stop giggling. I reach over to brush a smudge of flour from her cheek, affectionately. It still feels weird to have a newfound sister and even more so to know where she came from. But at the end of the day she’s adorable and sweet and smart and really impossible to dislike. If only Rayne would give her half a chance. We finish eating and Stormy begs me to play Dance Dance Revolution with her on the Wii. I agree—after a shower to wash off all the flour, that is—and soon we’re dancing up a storm. I’m sweating like crazy trying to keep my balance and pound out the dance moves, which, if you’ve never tried it, is a lot harder than it sounds. Of course Stormy is a total natural (or has had a lot of practice) and whips my butt in every game.
“Okay, okay, I give in,” I say, collapsing on the couch next to Heather, who’s been watching us with amusement. “You win.”
“Aw,” Stormy says. “One more round?”
“Stormy, it’s almost time for school,” her mother reminds her. “I need you to go get dressed. You can see Sunny when you get home this afternoon, if she’s free.”
“Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll be ready for a rematch then,” I assure her. She looks appeased. “Okay. You’d better be.” Then she scrambles off to the bathroom.