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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
Bertha, evidently startled by my sudden heroics (after all, what vampire slayer jumps in to save a vampire?) seems confused, staring down at the stake embedded in my arm. Before she can manage to rip it out, I take advantage, slamming my fist into her face as hard as I can. Unfortunately I’m no prizefighter, so I’m not a hundred percent sure my valiant efforts will even leave a bruise, but I feel pretty cool for landing my first punch, nonetheless. If only Rayne were here to see me now.
Bertha staggers backward, her hand flying to her face. Magnus springs into action, moving so fast I can barely track it. Gotta love the vampire super-speed. He tackles Bertha, bringing her crashing to the floor, using his weight to pin her down.
I yank the stake out of my arm, trying to ignore the gush of blood that splashes from the open wound onto the floor.
“Go!” Magnus cries, struggling to hold down the writhing slayer beneath him. “Run! Get out of here!”
I have to admit, it’s good advice. But at the same time there’s no way I’m abandoning my boyfriend to a slayer. Sure, he appears to have the upper hand now. But I know how slippery Bertha can be. And if I did jump ship and something ended up happening to him? I’d never be able to forgive myself.
Sure enough, a moment later, Magnus screams in pain, stumbling backward, freeing Bertha from his hold. At first I can’t figure out what happened, but then I see the knife sticking out of his gut. A knife that I’m pretty sure, from his reaction, is made of pure silver. Just as iron is poison to some fairies, so silver is to vampires. Bertha rises to her feet, straddling Magnus’s prostrate frame, her back to me.
“Time to die,” she growls, reaching for the knife.
Rage explodes inside me. Once again the slayer has gone too far. With a bellowing, Braveheart-esque shriek, I charge, slamming the stake into Bertha’s back. Again, I know it probably won’t do any permanent damage, but a piece of wood stuck in your back is a piece of wood, when all’s said and done.
She screams in pain, whirling around to face me, her beady eyes bulging with anger. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she says. “Did you want to go first?” She stalks toward me, her steps eating up the room with a frightening pace. I back up, now weaponless, until I’m flush against the wall. I steal a glance at Magnus, hoping for a last-minute rescue, but something tells me that’s not going to happen, what with him thrashing on the floor in pain and all.
Bertha reaches me. I try to shove her away, but she’s too strong, wrapping her meaty hands around my neck and squeezing tight, cutting off my air passageways. I latch on to her hands with my own, desperate to pull them away as I struggle for breath. But I can’t seem to pry them off, no matter how hard I try. My vision starts to blur. My lungs are empty. Could this be it? Could this be game over once again? That would be so unfair, to allow Bertha to kill me a second time.
“Wait!” a male voice booms. As Bertha releases her grip in surprise, I glance over to the doorway. The metal wall has lifted and standing there in a bathrobe and bunny rabbit slippers is none other than Vice President Teifert himself.
What, is everyone having a Slayer Inc. sleepover or something?
Teifert steps calmly into the room, as if all hell isn’t currently breaking loose. He presses the alarm button on the wall and the sirens fade to oblivion. The room is now eerily silent as he surveys the scene.
“What is the meaning of this?” he asks at last, sounding a little weary.
“This girl,” Bertha spits out, glaring at me. “She says she’s a vampire slayer. But I caught her and her little vampire boyfriend breaking and entering into your office. I felt it was my duty to stop them.” She looks at Teifert, a desperate plea for approval written on her pockmarked face. For a top vampire slayer, she’s got more than a few insecurity issues.
Teifert steps over to Magnus, who is still lying bleeding on the floor. He yanks the knife from his side, and Magnus gasps in agony as it’s ripped free. “I truly thought better of you, Magnus,” Teifert says in a soft voice.
“Well, I thought better of you,” Magnus growls. “But this paper seems to suggest otherwise.” With a shaky hand, he gestures to the folder with Lucifent’s slay order, which has spilled out onto the floor. “You’re supposed to protect and serve,” he says. “But all I see is an intent to kill.”
“We have our reasons for that,” Teifert says stiffly, his face turning red as a tomato. He grabs the folder and stuffs the papers back into it. “Not that it’s any of your business.”
“He’s my sire,” Magnus heaves. I can tell it’s taking a lot of effort to talk. I wonder why he’s not healing. Maybe the silver in his bloodstream is preventing it? If only I could get him out of here, get him to his blood donors for a proper transfusion…
“Your sire, yes. And your current Master. But there’s more to Lucifent than you know. And he must be brought to justice before it’s too late.”
“I won’t let you slay him,” Magnus insists. “Kill me instead.”
Teifert sighs. “If only you could understand,” he says. “We’re doing this to save your coven. With Lucifent at the helm, you’re all in danger.” He pauses, then adds, “Along with the entire human race.”
“What?” I cry, before I can help myself. “But I thought you killed—er, I mean are planning to kill—Lucifent because he’s a child vampire, which is against your laws.” Oh God, was there something else? Something we don’t know about the vampire leader that Slayer Inc. does? Something bad?