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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
But Lucifent only grins, patting his protégé on the kneecap. “Come inside, my boy,” he says. “We’ll open a bottle of Machiavelli and we’ll toast this triumphant night. There will be time to talk of such things at a later date. Right now I feel like celebrating.”
Magnus bows. “Very well,” he says. “But let me say good-bye to my blood mate first.”
He turns to me, taking my hand in his and leading me away from the group. “Thank you again for tonight,” he whispers once we’re out of earshot. “It was definitely…interesting.”
“Magnus,” I say. “I don’t like the sound of this. Taking out Slayer Inc.? Impressing Pyrus? Project Z?”
The vampire gives me an indulgent smile. “Don’t worry,” he says. “Lucifent knows what he’s doing. Sometimes he can be rash, but in the end, he is reasonable. He would never do something to hurt the coven, despite what Slayer Inc. might say.”
I frown. I wish I could have his confidence in the guy. But after seeing him gleefully slurp down a dead slayer with wild abandon, I’m not exactly feeling the warm and fuzzies for our fearless leader.
“You have done well today,” Magnus adds, oblivious to my distress. He brings my hand to his lips and kisses it softly. “I am very much looking forward to the day when I can make you my official blood mate for all eternity.”
He pulls me close, wrapping his arms around me and squeezing me tight. I know I should feel warm in his embrace. I should feel safe. But instead, I feel nothing but cold seeping into my bones.
Because no matter how much Magnus trusts his Master, I don’t trust him one bit. And I feel like I’m only just beginning to realize the extent of Rayne’s and my future-changing mistake.
“There is seriously nothing I hate worse than doing nothing.” Rayne proclaims, bursting into my room early the next evening and flopping herself down on my bed. She picks at her black-painted fingernails, frustration etched on her face. “I could barely function at school today thinking about everything that happened last night. And when I tried to lose myself in a World of Warcraft raid this afternoon? I ended up getting everyone killed and they booted me from the group.”
I give her a regretful smile. “Maybe it’s for the best,” I point out. “I mean, not about the WoW thing,” I add quickly, catching her face. “But as far as doing nothing? We’ve probably done too much already. I’m thinking it’s best we lie low from this point forward. Before we screw up the world any worse than we already have.”
“And what? Just sit back and let all hell break loose because of our mistake?”
I sigh. “What else can we do? Go try to slay Lucifent ourselves?”
“I am a slayer…”
“Not in this world you aren’t,” I remind her. “And you’re not a vampire, either. I just wish we knew what the guy was up to. What this whole Project Z deal is.”
“Well, we know it’s something designed to impress Pyrus,” my sister points out. “And since we know Pyrus is pretty much as evil and power-hungry as vampires come, I’m guessing it’s probably not a charitable venture to help feed starving children in Africa.”
“Yeah. I think it’s probably safe to say he’s not planning Operation World Peace,” I agree. “But beyond that, we don’t have a clue. Besides the fact that it starts with a Z…”
“Right.” Rayne purses her lips, then pops up from the bed and heads over to my laptop. “Project Z,” she muses, loading up the browser. “What could Project Z stand for…?”
“Um, are you trying to Wikipedia a vampire master’s secret plan?” I ask skeptically.
“I was thinking more of searching the Scrabble dictionary for Z-words,” Rayne replies, scanning the web page. “Like…maybe…Project Zamboni?” She giggles. “Lucifent’s master plan to give the Blood Coven hockey team a fighting chance at the Stanley Cup?”
I snort. “Yeah, that’s it. I’m sure.”
“Or maybe Project Zirconia?” Rayne adds, using the mouse to scroll through the word list. “Selling all the diamonds in the Blood Coven vault and replacing them with fakes, all in an effort to solve our current economic crisis.”
“Nah. Too magnanimous,” I declare. “What about Project Zookeeper? He’s figured out a way to cage all the werewolves and create a brand-new tourist attraction to compete with Disney World.”
Rayne rolls her eyes and abandons my computer. She wanders over to the bed again, her smile fading from her face. “This sucks,” she sulks. “At this rate the world is going to end before I manage to get Jareth back as my boyfriend.”
“Oh!” I cry. “That reminds me. What was Jareth talking about when he brought up that whole queen thing? It had something to do with Project Z. He said she was completely smitten and would do anything he asked, remember?”
My sister frowns. “God, that’s right. I swear, the guy’s got girlfriends coming out the freaking wazoo.”
“Or maybe not,” I point out. “Maybe it’s the same girl you saw at Club Fang. Maybe she’s also this queen person.”
“Well, I suppose she does look a little inbred,” Rayne admits. Then she sighs. “Seriously what does she have that I don’t? Besides a tacky wardrobe and piglike eyes?”