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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Well,” he continues, clearing his throat. “On Bite Night we practice.”
“Um, what?” My pulse picks up all over again as I give him a questioning look. “Practice what?”
His cheeks pinken into a blush, and for a moment I think he’s not going to explain. But then he shrugs and looks up, piercing me with his hot blue eyes and melting me all over again.
“Why, biting you, of course.”
I stare at Magnus in shock, one hundred percent positive, even without looking into a mirror, that my face has drained of all its color. (Which, unfortunately, probably only serves to make me look even more like a Goth girl. Yuck.)
“Did you say…bite me? As in biting me on the neck? Biting me on the neck with your fangs?” I stammer nonsensically, seeming unable to utter anything even remotely intelligent. After all, what else could he mean? It’s not like the phrase Why, biting you, of course is all that ambiguous to begin with.
But still! What am I going to do? I mean, sure, it’s one thing to show up and stare at Magnus from across the room one last time. Quite another to agree to having his lips press against my neck, his fangs slicing through my flesh. Not that I’m worried about physical injury or anything—I know I’ll heal. It’s just that I also know all too well from previous experience how heavenly it can feel for a vampire—any vampire—to bite a mortal on the neck. And this isn’t just any vampire. This is Magnus. My Magnus.
I so cannot do this.
“Are you okay?” Magnus asks, peering at me with concern. “You look as if you’re about to pass out.”
“I’m fine,” I blurt out quickly. “It’s only that…I guess I didn’t realize that we were doing the whole biting thing tonight. And well, I’m feeling a little under the weather, actually.” I fake a sneeze, then cough loudly into my hand for effect. “You might not want to bite me tonight. I mean, you wouldn’t want to catch my cold. Or flu…Yeah, actually, now that I think about it, I might have the flu. Or maybe that nasty superbug that’s going around?” I suggest hopefully. “In fact, just the other day I heard someone say something about a global pandemic that the government is trying to cover up. I wouldn’t want you catching it and ending up turning into a zombie or something, all on my account…” I trail off, looking at him helplessly. He isn’t buying any of this. I can tell. Not that I blame him.
Sure enough, Magnus raises a skeptical eyebrow. “I’m an immortal, all-powerful creature of the night,” he reminds me drolly. “I don’t catch colds.”
Oh. Right. Duh. I’m an idiot. Of course he can’t get sick. I should have remembered that from the one time I really did come down with the flu and he stayed by my bedside feeding me chicken soup until dawn. Which was so very sweet of him, I might add.
I shake my head. No. I have to think of some other excuse. Something else to get me out of the whole biting thing. Not that half of me doesn’t want him to go for it. I mean, to be honest, I really can’t think of anything better than having my true love’s lips against my neck. (Well, besides having them against my lips, that is.) But I know all too well that if I allow that to happen, I’ll be a goner for sure. And there’ll be no way I’ll be able to walk out of his life forever.
Which I really need to do. Not only for myself. But for him. And Jareth. And the rest of the Blood Coven. Their entire future depends on me not screwing this up.
Magnus puts a hand on my shoulder. “Look, it probably seems scarier than it is,” he says. “But trust me, it’s not a big deal. I won’t even be drawing any blood. And I’ll put numbing cream on my fangs beforehand. You won’t feel a thing.”
“I know, I know,” I say. God, he must think I’m a total baby. “It’s just…It’s just…” What am I supposed to say? It’s just that I’m back from the future and don’t want to fall in love with you all over again?
Magnus’s face softens. He gestures for me to take my seat again, then sits down beside me. “Look,” he says, peering into my eyes with his own deep-blue ones. “If you’re feeling uncomfortable, we don’t need to do this tonight. You can go home and spend some time thinking things through.”
I cock my head in question. “Thinking things through?” What is he talking about?
He gives me a rueful look. “Look, Rayne. If you can’t even bring yourself to go through with a practice bite, do you really think you’re ready for the real thing?” he asks slowly. “Because if you’re not, I suggest you walk away now, while you still have a chance at mortality. Remember, eternal life is forever. And forever is a long time to live with regret.”
I drop my eyes, conflicting thoughts waging war inside my head. Poor Magnus. I know how much he wants a blood mate. He’s been so lonely. By himself for a millennium. This is his one chance to find a partner in crime to spend eternity with, and I know how much he’s been looking forward to it. And yet he’s willing to let me go. To remain alone so I won’t have to do something I might regret. It’s so sweet and selfless I can hardly stand it.
And I find I can’t bring myself to let him down. At least not today.
“I’m okay,” I assure him, daring to rest a hand on his arm. It’s all I can do not to yank him toward me and wrap him into a huge hug. But that would be seriously improper, I know. Not to mention more than a bit awkward, seeing as we’re supposed to have just met mere minutes before. “I know what I’m doing.”