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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
Oops. I kind of forgot about her.
“Marcia was in jail!?” I cry, putting on my best shocked, horrified, can’tbelieve-this-is-happening voice. I am an actress after all. An actress with a real part in a real play that isn’t put on by a high school, I might add. “I mean, I always knew she was kind of a bitchy loose screw, but jail? What on Earth did she do to wind up in jail?”
“Don’t give me that innocent BS,” Magnus snarls on the other end. “She told me everything. I know you set her up and I know you’re somewhere in Vegas. Why the hell are you in Vegas, Sunny? I thought we talked about this.”
So much for “wish you were here.”
“Rayne and I wanted to see our dad, of course,” I reply, switching to defensive mode. Stupid Marcia. And stupid Rayne, too, for thinking her stupid plan would solve everything. “He lives here, remember?” I’m not lying, I might point out. Rayne and I did want to see our dad. And he does live here. Just not this particular week.
“I see,” Magnus says slowly. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him so pissed. Except maybe the time he accidentally bit me instead of Rayne that first night at Club Fang. Which, I might point out, was technically his fault, not mine. “So after years of never visiting Vegas you two randomly decide that this would be the perfect week to head out West for a little father/daughter bonding? The same week, per random coincidence and wild chance, that I would be in Vegas for the consortium and specifically told you that you could not come with me?”
Hmm, when he puts it that way it does sound kind of bad. But still!
“I’m seventeen years old. You can’t tell me what to do!” I blurt out. “If my sister and I want to go to Vegas, we should be able to go to Vegas!”
He sighs deeply into the phone. “Really?” he asks. “That’s how you want to play this? That I’m some evil tyrant, holding you back, treating you like a child?”
“You’ve got to admit, sometimes you do.”
“Only for your own good. To protect you,” he insists. “Vegas is dangerous enough when all is well and mortal. Now add vampires to the mix. Not a great place for a seventeen-year-old to be wandering around.”
“What are they going to do to me,” I demand, furious now, “that you haven’t already done?”
He’s silent for a moment and I know I’ve finally gotten to him. But instead of feeling triumphant for getting the upper hand, I just feel sick to my stomach.
“Sunny,” he says at last, “I’m sorry if you think I’m some horrible, unreasonable jerk-off. But I’m only trying to protect you.”
“And I’m only doing this to protect you!” I insist.
“Why on Earth would you think I’d need protection from you?” he asks, incredulously. “I’m a thousand-year-old vampire. You don’t think I can take care of myself?”
“Not from forces at work behind the scenes that you know nothing about,” I reply. “Not from Jane.”
I suck in a breath, waiting for his reaction. It bursts over the phone lines a second later like a high-powered explosion. “Oh my God, Sunny, you have got to be kidding me. You’re still on about her? Is that what this is all about? You came to Vegas to spy on me and my blood mate?”
“You don’t understand!” I cry, furious. “She’s not who she says she is. I mean, did you know she was in a play about vampires? I saw it on a playbill and—”
“Seriously, Sunny, this jealousy thing has got to stop,” Magnus interrupts in a weary voice. “As I told you before, numerous times, I might add, there’s nothing wrong with Jane. She’s been vetted by the coven librarians a hundred times over and checks out with flying colors. Do you think these guys would let anyone slide through who wasn’t totally worthy of running the Blood Coven?
Of being partnered with me? I can promise you, without hesitation or doubt, that these researchers have nothing but my best interests at heart. And if they say Jane is worthy, then that’s good enough for me.”
I gnaw at my lower lip, frustrated beyond all hell. “Well, it’s not good enough for me,” I insist. “Because I know she’s an evil fraud. And I’m going to prove it to you if it kills me.”
Magnus sighs into the phone. “You know, I really thought you were more mature than this, Sunny,” he says in a disappointed tone. “I guess I sometimes forget you’re only seventeen.”
“I am mature,” I squeak back, my voice going into the Minnie Mouse octaves, as it always does when I’m upset. Which is not, unfortunately, the best argument for maturity. “If you’d just listen to me for two seconds!”
Magnus is so quiet that I have to check to make sure he hasn’t hung up. Finally he speaks. “Okay, I’ll listen. If it’s that important to you, I will. Can you meet me at the Mandalay at eight o’clock tonight? I think I have a five-minute break between meetings. We can get a coffee and talk.”
Five-minute break. That’s all I get, huh? Meanwhile Jane gets to spend the whole week with him. Really nice. Not to mention eight o’clock is when play practice starts. And I have to show up to that or they’ll kick me out of the play and I’ll lose my chance to investigate Cornelius.
That said, I’m guessing Magnus is so not going to understand.
“Um, actually . . .” How am I going to explain this without coming off as a complete flaky lunatic? “Eight o’clock is not really good for me, to tell you the truth.”