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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
Rayne purses her lips, as if she doesn’t want to say. Then she pulls me onto the bed and places a hand to my ear. She leans in close. “Hades,” she whispers.
I pull away. “Of course I remember Hades, you idiot. I’m stuck there for eternity, after all. Except when I manage to escape for a few blissful dream minutes. Which, I might add, you’re not exactly helping me make the most of.” I make a move to abandon the bed. But Rayne is too quick—grabbing my hand and jerking me back down.
“Sunny,” she says, her voice low and serious. “This is no dream.”
Her words send a chill down my spine. “But what else could it be?” I find myself asking, against my better judgment.
She looks at me solemnly. “We’ve been given another chance.”
“Another chance?” I am so lost at this point it’s not even funny.
“Look.” She draws in a breath. “Remember how I traveled to Hades to free your soul and everything?”
Again with the remember. As if I could forget how, only two days ago, my sister showed up at my dad’s front door with her boyfriend, Jareth, and vampire rock star Race Jameson. They had this crazy story about how they planned to make a deal with the devil to get me out. Very sweet of her and all, but, to be honest, I wasn’t that optimistic that she could really pull it off. After all, there are only a few people in this world reported to have been brought back from the dead, and most of them are pretty important. Like, Son of God–type important. Why would anyone make an exception for me?
I realize my sister’s still talking. “Well, I finally got my audience with Hades, thanks to the help of his wife,” she says. “And I begged him to let you out. But he wouldn’t. He said it was against the rules or something, and that if he did it for you, he’d have to do it for everyone, yada, yada, yada.” Rayne rolls her eyes, telling me exactly what she thinks of that little technicality. “But he owed me—after I helped him win his video game. So we made a bargain anyway.”
I bite my lower lip, beginning to get a bad feeling about this. Something about my sister and her so-called bargains, which never seemed to work out in my favor. “Which was…?”
“He reset the clock for us. Basically sent us back in time, into our old bodies. Before any of the badness happened.” She dashes to her computer and pulls up the calendar. “See? It’s April fifteenth.”
I stare at her, realization hitting me with the force of a ten-ton truck. “April fifteenth?” I repeat. “Of last year…?”
“One month and one week before prom,” Rayne announces triumphantly. “And…”
“One month before Club Fang,” I realize aloud. “One month before Magnus bites me by mistake.” I stare at my sister, the implications of her so-called bargain hitting me hard and fast. Could it be true? Could we actually be back in time?
“Oh, Rayne,” I cry, looking at her with horrified eyes. “What have you done?”
“I’ve given you a second chance,” she says stoutly. “A chance for you to choose your destiny once and for all.” She pauses, then adds, “Are you willing to take it?”
Back in time. My stomach flip-flops as I stare at my sister, trying to make sense of it all. Back in time?
Rayne’s done some crazy stuff before, don’t get me wrong, but nothing like this. My mind races as I try to catalog the events of the past year. All the life-changing stuff we’ve experienced. All the supernatural events. Vampires, werewolves, fairies. Everything that happened to us…has it really now unhappened?
Rayne’s hopeful smile fades, her enthusiasm sliding into nervousness as she waits for me to say something…anything. I shake my head, not knowing whether I should kiss her or kill her. I mean, she did manage to do the impossible—to bring me back to life. But at what cost?
“I’m sorry, Sun,” my sister says after a time, her voice thick with regret. “I know it’s a lot to take in. And believe me, I didn’t make the decision lightly. But Hades left me no choice. He’s really a ‘my way or the highway’ type of guy, if you want to know the truth. And not half as good at video games as he thinks he is.”
I lie back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. Long ago, when we were kids, Rayne and I had pasted glow-in-the-dark stars up there and some of them had stayed stuck. Unlike my reality, that is, which has suddenly become completely unglued.
“Magnus,” I whisper, finally admitting aloud what’s been niggling at the back of my mind. My sweet vampire. What happened to him when time reset? Did he lose all memory of me and the things we’d shared over the last year? Does the Magnus in this time period even know I exist?
I let out an involuntary gasp at the thought. All those moments, all those memories, stolen away. Rayne lies down beside me, also staring up at the ceiling. “Yeah,” she says. “That’s the worst part. I had to leave Jareth behind, too.”
I turn to glance at her, pulled out of my self-pity for a moment as it hits me exactly what my sister’s given up for me. She could have easily left me to rot in the Underworld and gone off to live happily ever after with her vampire boyfriend. But now, just like Magnus, Jareth won’t know her from a hole in the wall. She’s given up her true love—her eternal happiness—all for my second chance.
“I’m sorry, Rayne,” I whisper, reaching over to squeeze her hand.