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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
Jareth surprises me with a grudging nod, then turns and starts heading through the woods again, walking so fast I have to sprint to catch up. He expertly skirts the manor’s lawn, avoiding any spotlights, until we’ve reached the back door. He studies it for a moment, taking in the massive lock attached to the remote control panel to the side. Then he turns to me with an expectant look.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did you need my mere mortal assistance already?” I ask sweetly.
“I don’t need it,” he clarifies, his voice laced with bitterness. “It just seems unnecessary to go through all the trouble of breaking down a door if you can simply open it with your secret password.”
“Now you’re thinking,” I reply with a grin. “Stand back, vampire, and watch some mortal magic.” I approach the control panel, opening the alarm box and pressing the secret code I learned from my Slayer Inc. training. Thank goodness I had been paying attention when Teifert drilled those numbers into my head back in the day. A moment later, the box beeps twice and all three LED lights go green.
I turn to Jareth triumphantly. “Would you care to bust in the door now, m’lord, utilizing your magnificent vampire strength?”
The corner of Jareth’s lip twitches. “So there is something you can’t do.”
“Not really. I just wanted to make sure you still felt useful and relevant.”
The vampire groans, then reaches out to wrap his hand around the doorknob. The door swings open easily. “All right! Way to go!” I cry in my most encouraging tone, patting him on the back. “Rock on with your bad vampire self, you!”
“Do you mind lowering your voice?” the vampire hisses. “We are trying to be stealthy here, are we not?”
“Oh. Right. Good point.” I had been so enjoying teasing him that I almost forgot we’re still in dangerous territory and all. “Sorry. Let’s do this.”
We step through the door and into the dark hallway at the back of the manor. I bite on my lower lip, assessing the scene, trying to remember the best way to get to the stairs, leading to the dungeon below. If Magnus and Sunny were caught, that’s probably where they’d be taken. Unless Bertha or another slayer got too eager and—
Jareth’s back pocket breaks out into a My Chemical Romance ballad.
“Holy super-stealth, Batman,” I note dryly.
The vampire fumbles with the phone. At first I assume to silence it. But then, to my surprise, he steps back out the door and puts the receiver to his ear.
“Hello?” he whispers as I stare at him in disbelief. “Oh, hey, baby,” he says after a pause. “That’s so sweet of you. But I’m right in the middle of something now. I can’t really talk.”
I squeeze my hands into fists. Is he for freaking real? Making mad gestures, I soundlessly urge him to hurry up. He holds up a hand.
“No, no, I’m alone,” he assures her as he looks up at me, putting a finger to his lips. It’s all I can do to prevent my jaw from dropping to the floor. “Well, I appreciate that. Good-bye, sweetie.” He pauses, then laughs. “No, you hang up!” Another pause. “No! You!”
I grab the phone from his hand and throw it across the field. As he watches the phone fly through the air, a look of horror on his face, I shrug. “Sorry,” I say. “You seemed to be having some difficulty disconnecting. I thought I’d help you out.”
“I can’t believe you just—”
“So are we going to do this whole rescue? Or did you need to ask your girlfriend for permission, first?”
Jareth lets out a long sigh, then closes the door behind us, leaving his phone out on the field, where I hope the rain will douse it so it will never work again.
“Fine,” he says. “Now where to begin?”
“Oh just shut up and follow me,” I growl, no longer feeling excited about our daring rescue. I stalk down the hall, not looking back to see if he’s following. I can’t believe he answered his phone. Not only answered—but was all cutesy to the girl on the other end. That’s so not like the Jareth I know. I mean, he’s never once talked to me on the phone like that!
Jealousy burns at my gut as I push open the door that leads down into the basement, where the dungeon is located. I stare down into the darkness, wishing I still had my flashlight.
“What are you waiting for, all-powerful mortal?” Jareth asks, coming up beside me and whispering in my ear. I jump a mile in surprise.
“Nothing,” I retort, trying to still my heart. “Just…just looking for a light switch.”
“Not a good idea. It might alert someone to our presence.” He grabs me by the arm and pulls me close. “Just stick by me,” he purrs, his breath tickling my earlobe. “Perhaps I have my uses after all.”
It’s been a half hour since the blood transfusion and Magnus is already looking a hundred percent better. The bleeding has gone, the wound has closed up, and his abs are once again the six-pack of perfection they were always meant to be. I have to admit, being a vampire does have some benefits. Namely the amazing power of regeneration.
Which I, on the other hand, am severely lacking. While Magnus did manage to restrain himself from draining me dry, my donation to his health has left me in a very weakened state. Not surprising, I suppose. If I were to have given blood at the Red Cross, I would have at least gotten some orange juice and cookies out of the deal, to help keep me standing. Here I don’t even get a dry crust of bread.