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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
“That’s a handy little toy,” I agree, checking out the device. “Have you ever had to use it?”
He shakes his head. “And hopefully I’ll never have to,” he says. “But it’s good to have, just in case.” He stuffs the device back into his pocket. “Enough about me,” he says. “I wanted to say I’m sorry about the whole play fiasco tonight. I had no idea Cornelius would react like he did. He can be a bit strange, to tell you the truth. One day he’s completely charming and fun; the next day he might transform into a royal tyrant.” He shrugs. “I can’t believe anyone—even Sasha—actually goes out with him. He’s got ‘abusive boyfriend’ written all over.”
“Yeah, he’s definitely creepy,” I reply, realizing this is my big chance to push.
“What’s his deal, anyway? He thinks he’s a vampire?”
Jayden rolls his eyes. “Yeah, he’s completely obsessed with the whole vampire thing. Never going out during the day . . . though this is Vegas, I suppose. That’s not too unusual here.”
He has a point. Vegas is probably a great city for a vampire to set up shop. Everyone’s on their timetable.
“So what about this girl Sasha?” I ask, going in for the kill. “The one who played Mina before me. Did he kick her out of the play, too?”
Jayden shook his head. “I don’t think so. I mean, he liked her. And she lasted way longer than any of our other Minas did.”
“You go through a lot of Minas?” I ask, perking up at the admission.
“God yes,” Jayden declares. “Hell, it seems like we’re recasting that part twice a month. That’s why everyone’s so frustrated. They work a show or two and then Cornelius fires them.”
Fires them? Or snacks on them backstage? I shudder, remembering the flash of fang at my neck. What if Magnus’s mark—or my smell—hadn’t stopped him?
Would I be just another Vegas vampire casualty?
“I thought he’d be okay with you for at least a show or two. And since you were leaving anyway, it was kind of perfect. Or so I thought.”
Not counting on me being a vampire’s girlfriend. “But he didn’t fire Sasha?” I ask, wanting to get back to the subject at hand.
“No. And it was weird ’cause she wasn’t like any of the other Minas we’d cast in the past. According to the script, Mina’s supposed to be pure as the driven snow. Sasha, on the other hand, is one of the trashiest girls I’ve met. Former stripper, I believe. From some low-rent hole Cornelius picked her up in. We tried to mention this to him, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Insisted she was the perfect Mina. For months the two of them were inseparable. We were pretty sure they were hooking up, though we never saw them actually together.”
“And then she just left?”
Jayden nods glumly. “Yup. Just like the others. Disappearing without a trace, leaving us high and dry once again.”
Except she didn’t exactly disappear. She showed up in Massachusetts, claiming a pedigree she obviously doesn’t have. But the question remains, how the hell had this stripper-turned-actress been able to fool an organization like the Blood Coven? I mean, even if she’d figured out a way to study for the certification with Cornelius’s help, DNA testing doesn’t lie.
“Do you happen to know where she lives?” I ask. “Or used to live, I guess?”
Jayden looks at me. “Why?” he asks, sounding puzzled.
Why indeed. Way to ask the subtle questions, Sun.
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe someone should . . . check on her? Make sure she’s okay?” That, at least, seems like a reasonable excuse, right? “I mean, she did disappear.”
“True.” Jayden looks thoughtful. “Though I wouldn’t know the first place to look. Only thing I know is she lives in some trailer park. But there are millions of those outside the city so that doesn’t do us much good. Only Cornelius would know her exact address, I guess, and he refuses to talk about her at all. I’m wondering if maybe they just broke up.”
“Or he did something to her,” I suggest, feeling bad about misleading him as to my intentions. But I need this information. “Does he have files we could look at? Just to check things out?”
Jayden shakes his head. “He keeps it all on the computer,” he says. “Makes things easier for him since we switch cast members so often.” He shrugs.
“Anyway, it’s sweet of you to be concerned about Sasha, but I’m sure she’s fine. Probably skipped town to avoid paying a bad debt or something. It’s Vegas. People disappear. Especially no-good people like her.” He pauses, then peers at me with worried eyes. “You look stressed. Is everything okay?”
I force a smile that I’m sure doesn’t quite meet my eyes. If only I could explain it’s not Sasha I’m worried about, but my boyfriend: He’s the one who might be in trouble. I need to find the address of that trailer and fast. It may be my only chance to gather evidence as to what’s really going on. Maybe she has a stripper ID card or something. I could show Magnus she’s not who she says she is. At least get him to postpone the biting ceremony until more information can be gathered.
I just need someone who’s good with computers to help me get that address from Cornelius . . .
“Forget Sasha,” Jayden suddenly declares. “I asked you out so I could learn more about you, not talk about her all night. How did you come to visit our fair city? No offense, but you don’t seem like the Vegas tourist type, to be honest.”