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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“You did watch the instructional video after I left, right?” I can’t help but ask. “And you practiced on the dummy?”
I can feel his smile against my skin. “Don’t worry. I’m fully licensed to bite,” he quips, sending chills down my spine as his mouth moves against my skin. “This won’t hurt a bit.”
“Well then, let’s get this show on the road.” Before I lose my nerve.
And so he does. And, as his fangs sink down, breaking the skin and piercing my veins, instead of pain, I feel only pleasure. A warm, sweeping sensation like an ocean wave, washing over me, engulfing me entirely. And as the blood flows from me to him, I feel our minds dancing with one another, my essence flowing into him, giving him new life and new power. It’s an exhilarating feeling, to say the least. So beautiful, I can’t help but wonder why we never did this before. It could have brought us so close, especially on those days we felt so apart.
But just as I’m surrendering to the sensation, Magnus rips his mouth away, his face clouded with confusion. As he stares at me, as if I’m some sort of ghost, I realize I probably shouldn’t have been thinking about our shared past while our minds were so connected. Could he hear my thoughts over the rush of blood? Or perhaps sense the overwhelming love and affection I feel for him—a practical stranger in his mind?
“Who are you?” he breathes, capturing my eyes in his own, searching deep, as if trying to catch a glimpse of my soul. The amazement in his face, the rapture mixed with bewilderment, consumes me and it’s all I can do not to break down then and there. To allow the dam to burst and tell him everything, hoping he’ll believe me and not run screaming into the night. (Well, to the other side of the cell, in this case.)
But I force myself to hold back, knowing it’s not the right time. Not the right place. And instead, I reach out to brush a lock of hair from his eyes with tender fingers.
“I’m just me,” I say simply, offering him a small smile. “No one special.”
“On the contrary,” he says, leaning back down to take another sip. “I think you’re quite special indeed. More special,” he adds, before sliding his fangs back into my wound, “than I ever could have realized.”
I glance at my watch for what seems the thousandth time as I pace back and forth across my bedroom floor. Mom’s already been up here twice to politely (then not-so-politely) ask me to stop the clomping of feet, claiming it sounds like an earthquake downstairs and is drowning out her Pride and Prejudice DVD. (As if she doesn’t already know the whole thing by heart!)
If only she knew the true reason for my frantic feet. She’d definitely put Colin Firth on pause. Sunny’s not back yet. And all the texts I’ve sent have gone unanswered. I even tried to call, but her phone went straight to voice mail. At first I just figured she had her ringer off, staying in stealth mode. But now, too much time has passed and I’m worried she might be in trouble.
If only they’d invited me to come along. But no, they took off from Club Fang without letting me know, heading straight to Slayer Inc. Manor all by themselves. Sure, I understand why Sunny did it; the girl is always trying to prove she’s just as capable as me when it comes to these things. But still! In this case, I could have definitely helped. I’m the slayer. I know Slayer Inc. Manor inside and out. I could have made sure they got what they needed and got back out with ease.
But no. All I get is a text, asking for codes and maps. Which I sent, of course. But maybe I should have taken the initiative to drive out there myself and meet up with them. That way they’d be forced to accept my help.
I glance at my watch again. Something must have happened. There’s no way she’d still be wandering the halls unless something went awry. Maybe she typed in the alarm code wrong. Or maybe someone was there after hours, burning the midnight oil, and discovered the intruders. A billion possibilities whirl through my brain on what could have happened to my sister in that house.
I can’t take it any longer. I head downstairs and tell Mom I’m running out to the library. Best-case scenario, everything’s fine and I’ve wasted a gallon of gas driving out there. No big deal. At least I’ll feel like I’m doing something. And if, by chance, they are in some sort of trouble? Well I’m more than ready to stage a rescue.
I leave the radio off as I drive down the dark, windy New Hampshire roads, heading toward the remote manor. Rain starts to fall and fog laps at my windshield. It’s a miracle I don’t drive off the road as I navigate the turns with limited vision. This is just the kind of weather that horror movies are made of, and the feeling of dread creeps into my bones.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, I turn the corner onto the dead-end street where the manor resides. My headlights flash on a dark, abandoned BMW on the side of the road and my heart starts thudding in my chest. I park behind it, then leap out, shining my flashlight at the license plate. Sure enough, it’s Magnus’s. He and Sunny are still here. This does not bode well.
I leave the cars behind and head into the woods. The fog is as thick as pea soup and the rain pitter-patters onto the leaves above, creating an eerie soundtrack to my journey. I keep my flashlight low, so as not to cause attention to myself, and attempt to navigate over the fallen logs and twisty roots without breaking my ankle.
As I reach the edge of the mansion’s side lawn, I slip behind a mammoth oak tree, hoping to stay hidden as I scout out the scene. The old Victorian manor that I used to think looked so cool now looks like a haunted house. As lightning flashes across the sky, followed by booming thunder, I’m beginning to wonder if I should have enlisted some backup for my rescue. Or, at the very least, let someone know where I was going. I try to remind myself that this is just the business office of my employer, a place I’ve frequented dozens of times. But for some reason the sentiment doesn’t make me feel much better.