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  • Home > Mari Mancusi > Blood Coven Series > Bad Blood (Page 42)     
    Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi
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    Jayden strokes my palm with his thumb, sending a chill down my spine. It’s so cozy and intimate here. Other diners surround us from all sides, yet it feels like just the two of us, sitting alone in the calm, flickering candlelight and warm breeze.

    Jayden captures my eyes with his mesmerizing emerald ones, a look of adoration on his beautiful face. My breath catches in my throat as I realize exactly what he’s thinking. What he wants me to do. And it would be so easy, too. To lean forward—just an inch or two—giving him the sign he’s searching for. Letting him know I’m feeling the same things he is—that rush of blood in my ears, that intense flutter in my heart, the weakness in my knees. Which of course I am.

    It would be so easy to give him the go-ahead. To let him know it’s okay to push through the unspoken barrier between us and press his mouth against mine. They’d be warm, his lips—hot maybe—burning with desire, but tempered with sweetness. Unlike Magnus’s kisses, which are cold as ice, seeing as the guy is technically a walking corpse . . .

    “You’re so beautiful, Sunny,” Jayden murmurs, not dropping his gaze. “And so sweet.”

    Argh! I want to kiss him so badly it hurts. But I can’t. I won’t. I shake my head, trying to surface from the lust I find myself drowning in. As simple as it seems, as easy as it would be, it would also open up a world of not-so-easy, not-sosimple complications. Because while in some other life, Jayden may very well be my soul mate, in this one, I belong to a vampire. I am not free. I push back on my chair and scramble to my feet, effectively breaking the spell between us. Jayden looks dazed and more than a little disappointed, but he doesn’t press me, which honestly makes me like him even more. But I push it all down, deep inside, and give him a bright, completely fake smile that all but kills me to make. “Thanks for dinner,” I say. “It was fun.”

    Fun. Please. It was so much more than fun and I’m screaming inside to tell him. To tell him how lonely I’ve been with a boyfriend who doesn’t have time for me. One who doesn’t want me with him, even though he’s less than a mile away. One who calls me jealous and immature and refuses to listen to my reasoning or look at my proof. I hadn’t realized how upset and unhappy I’ve been until I experienced something else. A guy who doesn’t make me his last priority. Who doesn’t make me feel unwanted or like I’m just a kid. Probably because he’s just a kid, too. And he knows where I’m coming from in a way Magnus never will.

    Jayden reaches out and touches my shoulder, finding my eyes again. His expression is kind. Understanding. He may be a kid, but he’s not stupid. “You have a boyfriend,” he assesses. “That’s why you look so nervous.”

    Half of me wants to deny it, but instead I nod miserably.

    “It’s okay,” he says, giving me a quirked smile. “Really.”

    Argh! Why does he have to be so sweet about everything? It only makes it harder. I’d rather he were some lusty horn dog who only wants to jump me and then never call the next day. But instead, he’s classy. A perfect gentleman. Just the kind of guy I always imagined myself with. The kind of guy I thought Magnus was when we first started dating.

    “Thanks,” I say, dropping my gaze to my feet, where I don’t have to contend with his unfairly alluring eyes. “It’s complicated.” If only I could explain exactly how complicated.

    “Come on, Sun,” he says, nodding his head to the restaurant exit. “Let me take you home.”

    I follow him out of the taqueria and onto the street. “Do you want to take a cab or walk?” he asks.

    “Walk.” I’m not ready to say good-bye just yet.

    So he leads me through the streets, back toward the Strip. He doesn’t talk much, but it’s not awkward. If anything the situation feels kind of desperately romantic. Like a funeral procession for our new friendship. I don’t know his phone number or have any idea where he lives. I don’t even know his last name. And in the long run, that’s probably for the best. We’ll say our good-byes and make them stick, instead of torturing ourselves with a temptation I cannot submit to. I’m going home to Massachusetts on Sunday and that is that. I mean, what am I going to do, Facebook friend him? No. It’s better this way.

    I involuntarily find myself slowing my step, my heart feeling as if it’s being torn in two. I try to think of Magnus. Of all we’ve shared over the last six months. But all I can think about is our last conversation on the phone. When he called me jealous and childish and didn’t believe a word I said. Is this how he shows his love for me? Will it change, once I have proof that I was right?

    “We’re here,” Jayden says, a few moments later as we turn off the Strip and I see the apartment looming in front of me. “This is where you said, right?”

    I nod, wishing suddenly that Dad lived a lot farther away. Or that I could at least say he did, to prolong our walk. You know, like to Massachusetts or something.

    Jayden turns to me, taking my hands in his, and the chills electrify me all over again. “Good-bye, Sunshine,” he murmurs. “I’m really happy I got to spend the day with you. You’re special. Very special. And I’m honored to have met you.”

    I find I can’t speak. I just stare at him, forcing the tears not to fall. He leans forward and kisses me gently on the cheek, just a whisper of a butterfly’s wing against my skin, but it scorches all the same. He smells of Old Spice, an oldfashioned cologne that my grandfather used to wear that has no business being worn by an eighteen-year-old boy and yet smells perfect on him. And then, before I even realize it’s happening, he turns and walks off back toward the Strip.

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