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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
“I have to . . .” I trail off as the auditorium door opens and Allegra, Jayden, and Eric stroll out of the theater. Damn it! Now I can’t even explain this is all a front for an important undercover investigation.
“Sunny? Why can’t you meet me tonight?”
“I have play practice!” I blurt out, not knowing what else to say.
“Play . . . practice?” Magnus sounds like he’s one millisecond away from exploding again. Great. Just great. “I thought you were in Vegas.”
Jayden peers at me with concerned eyes. It’s then that I remember I must look a mess. All blotchy red skin and tear-stained face. He mouths, “Are you okay?” I nod and give him a one-second gesture, then turn back to the phone.
“Look, can I call you in a little bit?” I ask, needing to get out of the theater where I can’t be overheard before I can really explain what I’m doing suddenly starring in a Vegas vampire revue.
“No, I’ve got to get to bed. I’ve been up way too long already, bailing Marcia out of jail. Do you know how hard it is for a vampire to get to the Vegas police office in the middle of the morning without being fried alive? Even with onehundred-plus sunblock slathered on every inch of my body, I’m burned all over.”
I expel a frustrated breath. “Okay, fine,” I say. “Call me tonight when you get off. Whatever time it is, I don’t care.”
He sounds so pissed off and I’m desperate to explain. But what can I do? I can’t give him the whole story with the three actors loitering in the lobby. I mean, they seem nice and all, but what if one of them is loyal to Cornelius?
They’d kick me out of the play and then I’d never have the chance to get all the dirt on Jane. And with no proof, I’ll have no way to stop the biting ceremony Friday night and Magnus will end up bonded together with Evil Bad Girl for all eternity. Or at least until she figures out a way to slay him and take over.
“Magnus, you have to trust me,” I say, not wanting to hang up without giving it at least one more try. “I know something’s wrong here.”
“Trust you?” he spits out. “Kind of like how you’re trusting me with Jane?”
I grip the phone. Oh so it’s going to be like that, is it? “That’s different!”
“Sure it is. Good night, Sunny. Enjoy your . . . play practice.”
And with that, the line goes dead.
I force back the tears as I stuff my phone into my bag. The fact that he doesn’t believe me hurts more than I care to admit. Why can’t he see that it’s not him I don’t trust—but Jane? I mean, I’m only doing any of this because I love him and don’t want to see him hurt. Heck, it would have been a lot easier to just stay back home in Massachusetts and let the whole thing play out. It’s not like I’m having any fun out here.
And yet he won’t listen to me. Instead he treats me like a child. Someone who wouldn’t understand the intricacies of his life. Is that really what he thinks of me? Some little girl? Someone dumb and naïve and good enough to make out with, but not smart enough to treat like an equal and truly share his life with?
It’s times like these that I’m forced to remember that Magnus is a thousandyear-old vampire and I’m not even yet an eighteen-year-old human. He’s lived his life ten times over and I’m still on my first go around. Of course he’s going to treat me as a child. To him I am one. And I’ll still be one, no matter how old I get. Thirty, forty—he’ll still never see me as an equal—a partner, if you will. Like Jane will be.
I think back to the round table at the conference yesterday. Jane and Magnus, side-by-side. Her voicing her opinions on the bylaws of the consortium. My boyfriend, looking over at her, proud of what she has to say. I’ll never be there. I’ll never be invited to give my opinions and serve as a respected equal like Jane. I’ll simply be the child. The trophy bride if we got married. Forever.
Not exactly the kind of relationship I’ve always dreamed about, let me tell you.
“Hey, Sunny, we’re going to go grab some food,” Jayden informs me, seeing that I’m now off the phone. “You want to come with?”
I’m about to say no, but then suddenly realize I do want to come with. In fact, I might very well need to come with. To spend the day with normal humans who don’t treat me like a little kid whose opinions don’t matter.
“Sure,” I say. “Sounds great.”
When Jayden and company find out this is my first trip to Vegas, they insist on giving me a whirlwind tour. I try to protest—after all, I know that for people who’ve lived their whole lives in the shadow of Sin City the touristy things are probably completely lame. But they insist, saying they never have a reason to do them otherwise and truly are just using me as an excuse to have fun, touriststyle. I don’t quite believe this, but they’re not taking no for an answer so I laughingly agree and we’re off on the town.
We hit the Strip—taking on rides like Insanity at the Stratosphere (which, I might add, truly lives up to its name) and the loops of the roller coaster at the New York New York Hotel. We check out the colorful fountain light show at the Bellagio and the intoxicating Lake of Dreams at the Wynn. We even ride the huge waves in the Mandalay Bay water park wave pool before heading back up the Strip to Circus Circus to catch some big-top action. And everywhere we go, my hosts seem to know everyone at the door. We get free rides, free admittance, and limitless chances to cut in line. Totally VIP and none of it costs a cent.