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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Let’s get this and get out of here quick!” I urge.
Magnus doesn’t need a second invitation. I follow him into the office and head straight for the desk at the center of the room, rummaging through drawers as fast as my hands will let me, searching for our proof. Magnus takes the file cabinet at the far wall, dumping out drawers and scanning documents with super-speed, all while keeping a watchful eye on the door.
“Look!” I cry, grabbing a folder marked Lucifent from the pile. Magnus drops the papers he’d been rummaging through and joins me at the desk. With trembling hands, I peel open the folder and examine the contents inside. Could this be our smoking gun?
“Hell,” Magnus swears under his breath, evidently a faster reader than me. “You were right. They really are planning to go through with it.” He grabs the folder from my hands and slaps it shut. “Let’s go,” he says. “We have to get this to Lucifent. Pronto.”
“I don’t think so,” snarls a female voice.
I shriek as a figure steps out of the darkness and stands, silhouetted in the doorway. Oh God. We’ve been caught. And not only caught, but caught by the worst person possible to get caught by.
Bertha the Vampire Slayer. My murderer.
Bertha the Vampire Slayer. I’d almost forgotten what she looked like, pre–extreme makeover. But the sight of her now brings it all rushing back to me. A pockmarked face, greasy blond hair, beady little pig eyes, and a body smooshed into tight black leather three sizes too small. The fat oozing out the sides makes me more than a little nauseated. Or maybe it’s the sight of the wooden stake, holstered at her side.
“Who are you?” she growls. “And what do you think you’re doing here?”
My mind races for an answer that will save us. I do not want to face her in a full-on fight after the last time. Then I remember I’m still technically posing as my sister. Maybe that can work out to our advantage.
“My name is Rayne McDonald,” I declare with as much bravado as I can muster on short notice. “I am a vampire slayer, like you, and I have apprehended a prisoner.” I turn to gesture to Magnus, at the same time trying to wink at him without Bertha seeing so he’ll understand this is only a ruse. The last thing I need is for him to believe me and try to take both of us on.
Luckily he seems to get it, bowing his head and looking all submissive-like.
Bertha screws up her face. “That’s impossible. There’s only one girl born in each generation, destined to slay all the—”
“Save it, you Buffy wannabe,” I interrupt. “Do you really think Slayer Inc. wouldn’t have a backup stashed away for emergencies? Especially when their so-called destined slayer can’t seem to keep her cholesterol levels in check.” I give her a pitying smile. “I hate to tell you, Bertha my girl, but you’re not exactly the special snowflake you think you are.” I grab Magnus roughly by the arm, praying he’ll continue to play along. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to process my prisoner.” I make a move toward the door.
For a moment Bertha is silent and I start thinking we’re actually going to get away with this nonsense. But just as we reach the door, she leaps in front of us, blocking our path. “If you really are a slayer,” she says, “then you’ll know the secret password.”
Oh crap. Rayne didn’t tell me there was a secret password. Or maybe there isn’t. Maybe she’s trying to fake me out or something.
“Please. There is no password,” I decide to try, seeing as even if there is one, I don’t have a clue as to what it could be. “Now get out of my face before I report you to Teifert for obstruction of slayer justice.”
Bertha calmly stretches out her arm, reaching for a button on the wall. As she depresses it, a steel door comes crashing down over the only exit and an alarm starts blaring. Uh-oh. Guess I guessed wrong on the password thing.
A computerized female voice comes over the airwaves. “Intruder alert. Intruder alert.”
I glance over at Magnus. So much for bluffing our way out of here. Now our only option is to fight. As Bertha lunges at me, I leap aside, dodging her attack while my eyes scan the room desperately for some kind of weapon to even the playing field. But, for a vice president of a vampire-slaying organization, Teifert seems decidedly understocked in the arsenal department, with not even a spare stake to be seen.
Bertha whirls around, her face a mask of anger as she winds up for round two. But this time Magnus is ready for her. He hurdles in front of me, his fangs clicking into place as he grabs her roughly by the shoulders.
“Oh, you want to play, too, vampire?” she snarls.
Quick as lightning she flips herself backward, freeing herself from Magnus’s grip and launching to the other side of the office. For someone so skinny-challenged, the girl can really move when she wants to. Once she’s out of fangs’ way, she whips out her stake, lunging forward at Magnus with a screeching battle cry.
I stare in horror as she rushes him, déjà vu hitting me hard and fast. This was exactly how she took out Lucifent. Quick, decisive, and without a single line of Buffy-esque banter. Just charge, stake, and poof! No more Blood Coven Master.
I can’t let that happen to Magnus.
I step in, shoving the vampire out of her path as Bertha brings her stake down. The sharp wood drives into my forearm instead, causing me to squeal in pain. I may not be a vampire who implodes from a stake to the heart, but let me tell you, it still doesn’t feel like a day at the beach to have a piece of wood jammed into one’s flesh. Not to mention the major sliver potential.