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  • Home > Mari Mancusi > Blood Coven Series > Bad Blood (Page 35)     
    Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi
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    “Vegas is actually a pretty small city,” Jayden explains as we walk through the midway of Circus Circus, which is packed full of food stands and carnival games of chance. (This is one of the only places in Vegas where kids get to play, too.) All around us, trapeze artists swing through the air with the greatest of ease, as if we’re in a real, live circus. “Everyone knows someone who knows someone. And so it becomes a big trade-off—if you’re in the service industry you can write your own ticket. You let someone’s cousin get in somewhere and next time around he returns the favor. Like Eric. When he’s not acting, he works the door at Studio 54, a dance club at the MGM. So he’s always giving and getting favors from people who want to get someone they know on the list.”

    “That’s awesome,” I exclaim, fascinated by the inner workings of the casino town.

    He grins, his face flushed with pleasure. “It doesn’t hurt that Allegra’s so pretty either,” he adds. “Opens up a lot of doors for us.”

    I glance over at Allegra, who’s currently wrapped up in a conversation with a food vendor, who blushingly hands her three pink cotton candies, free of charge, I bet.

    I turn back to Jayden. “What about you?” I query. “What secret Vegas dooropening superpower do you have?”

    Jayden blushes. “Trust me, it’s not as glamorous as Eric’s and Allegra’s,” he confesses. “In fact, I don’t even know if you’d even be interested, after we’ve already done all this much cooler stuff today.”

    His assuming I wouldn’t be interested makes me all the more intrigued. “I’m game,” I tell him. “Show me what you can do.”

    He grins, looking suddenly excited. “Okay,” he says. “But if you’re bored out of your mind, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

    For some reason, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be the case. Maybe because I’ve already had more fun today than I can remember having in forever. All the pressures I’m facing have faded into the background and I’m just having a good time, like a normal seventeen-year-old girl who has no idea things like vampires even exist.

    Jayden turns to his friends. “Okay, she asked for it. I’m taking her to Planet Hollywood for the show.”

    The other two groan, making mock gagging noises. Eric clutches his throat in a choking motion. Allegra makes like she’s clawing her eyes out.

    “Not again, Jay!”

    “Remember what happened the last time you took a girl there?”

    Jayden shrugs sheepishly. “I think Sunny here is different,” he says. “I think she’s going to like this.”

    His faith in me makes me want to like it, whatever the “it” in question may turn out to be. So we say our good-byes and I allow Jayden to lead me through the casino, toward the front door. The place is completely packed with tourists and their children and for a moment we get separated. But he stops in front of me, grabs my hand, and proceeds to drag me through. I can’t help but notice how his careless touch sends my heart rate sky-rocketing all over again and I scold myself for being so easily affected.

    As we cross over a pedestrian bridge to the other side of the Strip, I try to picture what Magnus might be doing now. It’s already nearly dark—he’s likely just waking up and getting dressed for the night’s meetings. Maybe he’s retrieving his FedEx package from the concierge, filled with donor blood for his dinner. Will Jane meet him down in the lobby or swing by his room? Will Magnus escort her to the conference center, arm in arm? Will tourists stop and stare, amazed at what a beautiful couple they appear to be?

    He was so rude on the phone earlier. Such a jerk. And I’m really getting sick of him not believing a single thing I say. I mean, how come he takes Jane at face value, but anything I try to present to him he dismisses instantly?

    I shake my head, my thoughts too troubling to focus on. I’ll deal with Magnus later. When I have proof about Jane—the kind he can no longer ignore. For now, I’m having fun for once. Normal human girl fun. I deserve that. I also deserve, I think, to know where we’re going. But every time I ask, Jayden only offers a mysterious, “You’ll see!” He won’t even cave under tickle torture. (And I’m a master at tickle torture.)

    We head inside Planet Hollywood and down a corridor, lined with shops. Finally we come to a small theater. My eyes shoot upward, attempting to read the marquee, but Jayden’s too quick—covering them with his hands before I can grasp anything except the word “Popovich” written up there. Which, of course, makes zero sense to me.

    “Hang on, girlie,” he teases. “We’re almost there.”

    From here on out it’s like that old game of trust, where one person pretends to be blind and the other tries to lead them. I quickly learn that Jayden, while cute and sweet and adorable, should never be left alone with a blind person, ever. I’m tripping over everything and I’m pretty sure I’m going to fall and break something if we don’t reach our destination quickly.

    “Okay, here we are,” he whispers, his hot breath scorching my ear. We step into a room and suddenly I feel a weird, fluttery movement at my legs. I scream in shock and surprise.

    Jayden bursts out laughing and removes his hands from my eyes. I look around, scanning the room, trying to get my bearings. It’s then that I realize the place is packed with dogs and cats. Big dogs, small dogs, fluffy cats, short-haired cats—the place is a regular canine/feline menagerie. Bright-eyed puppies look up at me, wagging excitedly, while sleek black kittens rub against my legs. Delighted, I crouch down to my knees. The animals surround me, each hungry for my attention. I start petting, trying to get my hands on as many as I can and soon my hands and face are covered with exuberant, if not slobbery, kisses.

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