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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
I shake my head. What am I thinking? I need to concentrate on my mission here, not lapse into girly-girlness. Distractions will only get us killed. There will be time for flirtation later, after we save Lucifent.
I start to feel like a secret super-spy as we stealthily approach the mansion from behind. We locate the back door that my sister had texted me about. Hands shaking, I manage to type in the alarm code she gave me, praying it works. I can see Magnus’s questioning look, and I know he’s wondering where I acquired such proprietary information, but in the spirit of being silent so as not to get caught, he luckily doesn’t ask.
Once we’re inside, I glance down at my phone again, going through Rayne’s detailed instructions on how to get to Vice President Teifert’s office. If the slay order exists, it’ll probably be there. I motion for Magnus to follow me down a long, cobweb-filled hallway, praying we don’t run into any huge spiders on the way. Seriously, for a multinational organization, they really need to cough up a little more cash for proper custodial services.
As I step on a loose floorboard, a loud groan echoes through the house, causing me to nearly jump out of my skin. Though my sister swore to me that no one stays in this place overnight and they rely on an alarm system rather than real-life security guards, I still get the creepy feeling that someone’s there, watching us in the darkness, waiting for the right moment to pounce. I cuddle up a little closer to Magnus, just in case, as we continue down the hall.
We take a left, then a right, and then another left, and by the time we reach the end of the fourth corridor, I’m feeling kind of lost. All the doors look exactly alike in the darkness and I have no idea how we’re going to figure out which one belongs to Teifert.
“I think this is it,” Magnus points out suddenly, gesturing to yet another nondescript door as we turn the corner.
I squint at the door in question, then back at him. “How do you know? It looks like every other door we’ve passed for the last ten minutes.” I frown. “You don’t have X-ray vision, do you?” Sure, he’s never hinted about anything like that before, when listing his vampire megapowers. But maybe it’s because he wants to keep that particular ability on the down-low. I mean, it’s one thing to brag about super strength or speed. But admitting you can steal a peek at your girlfriend’s Vicky Secret anytime you like could put you in a rather awkward position with the girlfriend in question.
“Um, no,” he says with a small chuckle. “I merely have regular vision, which I used to read the nameplate located on the side of the door.”
Oh. Right. My eyes fall upon the brass plate affixed to the wall next to the door. Duh. For a secret super-spy on a mission to save the world, I really need to work on my basic skills of observation. I guess it’s a good thing Magnus decided to tag along.
Here goes nothing. I wrap my hand around the doorknob and turn.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t budge.
“Hmm,” I whisper, searching the nearby wall for some kind of security panel but coming up empty. This lock appears to be more the old-fashioned type, needing a physical key. “Can you break it down, perhaps?” Not exactly subtle, but I can’t see any other options.
Magnus gestures for me to step aside. “Allow me,” he whispers. But instead of heaving his body against the door, he retrieves a small bag out of his pants pocket and kneels before the doorknob, pulling out what appears to be a silver bobby pin and sliding it into the lock.
I watch him work, amazed. “Since when do you pick locks?” I can’t help but ask. All this time I knew him and he’d never mentioned this particular skill set.
“Since the seventeen hundreds,” he replies, keeping his eyes focused on his work. “Back then there was no Consortium or covens to unite vampires and keep them in the lifestyle they are now accustomed to.” He pulls out another pin from the bag and inserts it in the lock. “So we had to get creative if we wanted to survive.” He gives me a quick glance before going back to his work. “Just be thankful you’ll never have to live in a world like that. The forming of the Consortium is the best thing that ever happened to vampires.”
I frown, getting an icky feeling from the whole “rah-rah Consortium” speech. After all, this is the same Consortium that, in my time, is trying to take over the world. The same Consortium that has accused Magnus of treason and cast out his coven, simply because he spoke out against their dictator of a leader and asked for a return of democracy. Not exactly the kind of organization that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
But the problem is, I realize, none of this has happened yet, and thus, Magnus is still naively loyal to the group. Heck, it took him a ridiculously long time to see the truth the first time around. And now I’m going to have to start from scratch if I want him on my side to help us take Pyrus down.
But first things first. Save Lucifent now. Prove I know what I’m talking about. Then maybe they’ll listen to me about the rest.
Magnus rises to his feet. “Got it.”
I give him two enthusiastic thumbs up. “Thank God for your misspent vampire youth,” I tease. He flashes me a bashful grin, then grabs the knob, turns it, and pushes open the door.
I cringe. Turns out, even if you are wise enough to go about picking locks instead of using vampire strength to break down the door, if the door in question hasn’t been WD-40’ed in the last fifty years, it’s not going to exactly work in your silent favor. In fact, I couldn’t imagine a louder noise than if we’d detonated some C-4 to blow the door in. If anyone really is here, lurking in the dark, they now know without a doubt they’ve got company.