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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
“Why yes, I have seen her,” he says, his velvety voice almost a purr. “She’s with her future blood mate, Magnus, getting ready for tonight’s ceremony. Don’t you worry my little one,” he says, chucking me under the chin.
“Everything is right on schedule.”
“Um, great?” I say, taking a step back. His breath is utterly foul. “So maybe I should get over there then. Magnus is . . . expecting me.”
“I’m so sorry,” Cornelius replies, his tone full of pseudo-sympathy, “but I can’t let you do that. You see, I know you’ve figured out our little ploy—our little twin switcheroo, you might call it. And I’m afraid if I let you go, you’d just go run and tell your little boyfriend the truth and ruin everything I’ve worked so hard preparing.” He shakes his head, as if weary of the world. “I knew I should have killed you the second I smelled your tainted blood and saw your scar. I can’t believe you thought you’d get to me by posing as an actor. And then that computer trick—you think I would just download some executable file without investigating its origins? Please. I let you in. I watched as you took her address. And then I simply waited until dark to follow you here.”
My heart sinks as I realize I haven’t been half as clever as I thought I’d been. And now I’m trapped. Screwed. About to become a vampire snack. Unless . . .
“So what are you going to do?” I demand, mustering as much false bravado as I can. Channeling my inner Rayne. “Suck me dry? I think you’re forgetting about my tainted blood. Yeah, a little Holy Grail goes a long way. A small taste of me will be like gargling holy water. I can just walk out of here and never look back.”
I storm past him, starting for the door. He places a hand on my shoulder, stopping me in my tracks. “You might be able to get past me,” he says, his voice way too self-satisfied for my comfort. “However, the vampires outside don’t have quite the same refined tastes as I do. They’re also very, very hungry. So I’m guessing they’d bite first and ask questions later, if you know what I mean.”
I look out the window just in time to see a zombielike vampire chomp greedily on a grime-covered bone. If they’re willing to eat something like that, Cornelius may be right about their lack of refined palette.
“Besides,” Cornelius adds, another smirk on his face. “You’d be leaving something—or should I say someone—very valuable to you behind.”
Oh God, what now? I turn to him. “What do you mean?” I demand.
“One moment. I left him in the car.” He steps out of the trailer. The zombie vampires look up hungrily, then seem to realize it’s one of their own kind and go back to their meals. Cornelius walks over to his Cadillac SUV, looking very out of place in the midst of the carnage, and opens up the back hatch. He grabs what appears to be a body bag and lugs it back into the trailer. The door slams shut behind him and he tosses the bag on the couch.
“Ow!” cries the bag—or more accurately the person in the bag. I cover my gaping mouth with my hand, realizing I know that voice very well.
“Jayden!” I cry, diving for my friend. I unzip the body bag and help him out. He’s hogtied and gagged. I struggle to release him while Cornelius just watches with laughing eyes. Oh God, I can’t believe he got Jayden. This makes things much more complicated.
I yank the gag out of his mouth and he erupts into a choking cough. Helplessly, I pat him on the back while glaring up at Cornelius. Bastard. How dare he take poor innocent Jayden who has nothing to do with any of this world? He could have lived his whole life blissfully ignorant of all of this dark otherworld around him. Gotten married, had children, been happy. Now, for the rest of his life, he’ll be scarred. If he has a “rest of his life,” that is. At the moment, the Magic Eight Ball would say that the outlook is not so good.
“Sunny!” Jayden’s eyes widen as they focus on me for the first time. “Oh God, he got you, too?”
I nod, not having the heart to tell him I walked into the trap myself, no “getting me” necessary. “Are you okay?” I ask him. “He didn’t . . . bite you . . . did he?”
After all, a vampire bite is bad enough; imagine adding hemophilia to the mix. Jayden shakes his head. He looks over at Cornelius, who currently appears to be fixing himself some sort of bloody beverage over in the kitchen area. Jayden’s normally beautiful eyes darken with fear. “Crazy psychopath,” he whispers under his breath. “He really thinks he’s a vampire. Like, for real.”
I swallow hard. “Jayden, he is a vampire.”
“What?” He shoots me a look. “But there’s no such—”
“You have to trust me,” I hiss back. “I’ll explain later. Just know that we’re in serious danger and it’s best to just sit here and don’t move. I’ll think of something.”
“What, are you like Buffy or something? A vampire slayer?”
I wish. “No, but my sister is. And my boyfriend’s a vampire so I know a lot about their kind.”
Jayden shrinks back from me, wide-eyed.
“No, no. He’s one of the good ones. Not all vampires are evil,” I assure him.
“So . . . you’re dating . . . Edward Cullen.”
“Sure, if you have to relate it all to a Stephanie Meyer book,” I grudgingly agree. “But don’t say that to Magnus’s face. He’s a card-carrying member of Team Jacob. Even has the T-shirt.”