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|Bad Blood(Blood Coven Vampire,book 4) by Mari Mancusi|
“Oh God,” Jayden moans, leaning back on the couch. “I can’t believe this is all real. I mean, vampires! Real vampires? And I’ve been employed by one all this time and didn’t even know it? No wonder we’ve gone through so many Minas. He’s probably eaten each and every one of them.”
I glance over at Cornelius who’s now cutting up a stalk of celery to stick in his probably literal “Bloody Mary” cocktail. “Well, sucked them dry, at the very least,” I reply wryly. “Except for Sasha, that is. The two of them are involved in some kind of huge plot to infiltrate and take over my boyfriend’s coven. That’s why I tried out for the play. I wanted to go undercover and figure out what was going on.”
Jayden nods thoughtfully. “That’s why you needed Sasha’s address,” he realizes. “Which, I assume, is where we are right now?”
“Yup. And I have all the proof I need. Problem is, I need to get to the Mandalay Bay Hotel by midnight to have any of it do any good.” I glance at my watch.
“In an hour it’ll be too late to stop them.”
Cornelius picks that moment to sink down into the worn armchair across from us, glass of blood in hand. He’s so tall it’s as if he’s sitting in a chair meant for a child. There’s no way Jayden and I could possibly overpower him physically. Especially with Jayden’s blood condition. One scratch and he’d be a goner. I watch as Cornelius takes a sip from his drink, the blood staining his lips. Then he makes a face. “Goddamn desert rat,” he mutters. “What I wouldn’t give for a little human martini infusion.” He looks hungrily at Jayden, who shrinks back in his seat, eyes wide.
“So,” I interrupt quickly, hoping to change the subject. “Why did you do it?
Why did you kill Jane and put Sasha in her place? What’s the goal here?” I force my voice to sound casual and unafraid.
A sly grin spreads across Cornelius’s face. He glances at his watch. “I guess I can tell you,” he says, “since there’s no way you’ll be able to warn your little boyfriend. In less than an hour the biting ceremony will be over. Magnus will have transformed Sasha into his vampire blood mate. And then the High Stakes Coven can have our revenge on the Blood Coven.”
Okay, hang on a second. “Revenge? Why on Earth do you want revenge against the Blood Coven?” I demand. “They’re like the most peaceful, allinclusive coven in the entire consortium.”
For the first time Cornelius loses his cool. He glares at me, eyes shooting daggers. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, mortal,” he snarls. “They killed her. Burned her to death without remorse. To this day her screams still haunt my dreams.”
I’m taken aback by his fury. “Whose screams?” I ask, warily.
“Tabitha’s! My baby sister,” he cries. He shakes his head, a distraught look on his face. “All the poor, poor girl wanted was to become a vampire like me. I told her not to—that she didn’t want this kind of life. But she didn’t listen. Went and sold herself to that abomination—that child vampire freak—who did nothing but lock her away from the world, abusing her, crushing her spirit, and then finally burning her to death in her own bedroom to stop her from speaking up about his cruel ways.”
My mind suddenly flashes back to the story Magnus told me back at Club Fang earlier in the week. About Lucifent, the previous Blood Coven Master, whose blood mate died in a fire that may or may not have been sparked by his own hand.
Oh God, and now her brother wanted revenge. And he was willing to take it out on Magnus, the new coven leader.
“But Cornelius,” I argue, pushing down my rising panic. “That was Lucifent’s doing, not Magnus’s. And he’s dead. Slayer Inc. killed him—probably to avenge Tabitha’s death, now that I think about it.” That part had never made sense to me before. “In any case, there’s no reason to punish the rest of the Blood Coven for a dead vampire’s crimes. And certainly no reason to punish Magnus.”
But Cornelius is not so easily dissuaded. “No reason?” he roars. “They turned their backs on his crimes. Ignored her screams and went on with their nights as she died in the most painful way possible. And then, when it was over, did they condemn the man who killed one of their own? No. They covered up the evidence and kept that mutant child vampire on as their leader. A murderer as their Master.” He scowls, his handsome face looking suddenly old.
“Fine. So now you’ll have your revenge. Get back at the Blood Coven. Then what? What are you going to do next?”
“I guess you’ll see,” Cornelius smiles. “If you live through the night, that is.”
Beside me, Jayden whimpers. I reach over and place a hand over his. This is scary enough for me; I can’t imagine how frightened a normal human would be in this situation. One that, before now, had no idea vampires even existed. A sudden crashing noise outside makes us all pause. Cornelius is on his feet. There’s some kind of fight going on outside between the zombie vampires. He groans. “It’s so tough to be Master,” he mutters to himself, then turns back to us. “I will return in a moment,” he says. “I suggest you don’t go anywhere. Unless you like the idea of vampires gnawing on your bones.”
And with that, he pushes the screen door outward and steps outside. I can hear him yelling at his vampires, insisting there are enough vulture corpses to go around. I shudder.