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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“You want to turn me into a vampire,” I blurt out before I can stop myself.
“Yes. That is the plan.”
“But you want to do it…now,” I try to clarify. “Like right now? This very second now?”
He nods and it’s all I can do not to run screaming into the night. Oh God. This is not good. So not good.
“I think it’s the wisest thing to do,” he says, steeling his resolve and meeting my eyes again. “And what difference does it make, really? In one month you will undergo the transformation anyway. Why should we wait?”
Um, I can think of about three million reasons…
“I don’t know about you,” he continues. “But I’m not all about the pomp and circumstance like some vampires are. I’d be just as happy to turn you here, tonight, as I would in a lavish ceremony with all our peers. In fact, I think it’d be kind of romantic, sharing something so intimate between the two of us, under the blanket of a thousand stars.” He squeezes my hand tightly in his own, his eyes beseeching me. “What do you say, my darling? My Rayne?”
What do I say? What do I freaking say? How about that you don’t even know my real name? That you think I’m my sister. That I’m not even supposed to become a vampire at all? My heart pounds in my chest with a hardcore techno beat as I desperately try to figure out what on earth I should tell him. That I’m from another time. That he really doesn’t know me at all. That I’m not sure I want to become a vampire—ever—never mind right this second!
And by the way, even if I did someday decide I wanted to become a vampire, I still wouldn’t feel right doing it under false pretenses like this. I can’t make a lifelong commitment—make that an eternal commitment—to someone I’ve been lying to all this time. What would happen if he discovered the truth after he’d turned me? God, he might be so angry he’d never talk to me again. And then I’d be alone, for all eternity, trapped in the body of a monster I never wanted to be.
But how can I explain any of this to him? He thinks I’ve already got my vampire certification. That I’ve been on waiting lists, signed contracts. He thinks I’m fully dedicated to the process of becoming a creature of the night—and all we’re arguing about is a matter of a few weeks. Not life or death!
Bottom line, while I’m a hundred percent sure I want to be with Magnus and I want him to love me as much as I love him, this is a no good, very bad, awful idea.
“I’m—I’m sorry,” I say at last, hating the way his face falls at my words. “I don’t think this is a good time. I mean, there’s so much going on. All this chaos with Slayer Inc. And the launching of Project Z…I don’t want our moment to be rushed. I don’t want to sacrifice the specialness just because we feel pressured by the slayers. They shouldn’t be allowed to take that away from us.” I give him my most pleading look. “You understand, right?”
He nods slowly, though his eyes betray his total disappointment. My heart pangs at the idea of hurting him, but it can’t be helped. “I still want to go to Vegas,” I assure him. “I still want to be by your side.”
“I know,” he says, pulling me into an embrace. “And you’re right, of course. There’s no need to rush things. I know this is a huge life change and I want it to be as special as possible for you.” He pulls away from the hug and gives me a guilty smile. “I guess I’m just excited to make things official. Is that so wrong?”
I let out a sigh of relief. Oh thank God. I’ve bought myself some more time.
“Good things come to those who wait,” I manage to quip, though inside I still feel a little nauseated at my narrow escape. How long can I keep putting him off?
He laughs. “I suppose you’re right,” he says. “You’re always right.”
But as he leans in to press his lips softly against mine, I can’t help but think of how I feel so very wrong.
The wind swirls around me, tangling my hair as I make my way down a dark, deserted alleyway, filled with billowing smoke from a nearby exhaust pipe. High above, thick gray clouds succeed in blocking out the sun, giving the landscape a gritty, film noir vibe. The temperature has dropped and I shiver as I press onward, hugging my arms to my chest. I wonder, for a moment, where I am. And where I’m supposed to be going.
Suddenly, a scream pierces the air and I stop in my tracks. A teenage girl with long blond hair whips around the corner, waving her hands frantically in front of her face. Her eyes are wide as saucers and her mouth is twisted in fear. She slams into me, knocking me backward with the force of her fall. As I scramble to regain my balance, she grabs me by the shoulders, shaking me with all her might.
“They’re coming!” she cries. “They’re almost here!”
I stare back at her, confused as all hell. “Who?” I ask. “Who’s coming?”
But she’s already released me—pushed past me—sprinting down the alley as if she’s being chased by death itself. As I watch her disappear around the corner, my ears suddenly pick up a low groaning sound from not far away. I turn in the direction of the sound, my eyes widening as they fall upon what appears, at first glance, to be a really grungy homeless person, dressed in filthy, tattered rags. But then I get a closer look. At his scarred arms and legs, dripping with greenish pus. At his hollow face, his deadened eyes, his slack jaw. He staggers toward me, arms outstretched, another moan escaping his puffy, blackened lips.