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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Fine.” I sigh. “Go on, then. Have at me.” This ought to be good.
She looks at me, her face twisted in confusion. I look back at her, eyebrows raised.
“Any time now,” I encourage her.
She takes a hesitant step forward.
“Hey, isn’t that Steve Jobs over there in the woods?” I ask, suddenly turning my head and pointing my finger off into the distance.
Predictably, Spider turns to look. (Because, you know, it’s completely reasonable to expect her dead computer icon to be strolling through the New Hampshire countryside.) I take my advantage, diving past her, up the porch steps, and toward the front door.
My friend shrieks, realizing she’s been tricked, and whirls around, reaching out and grabbing me by the back of my shirt, yanking me backward. For a total slayer noob, she’s surprisingly fast on her feet. With her other hand, she fumbles for her stake.
I groan. “Really, Spider? I told you, you can’t kill me with a stake.” Seriously, this is getting so old.
“What makes you think it’s a stake?” she demands. Then, to my surprise, she waves the chunk of wood in my direction and flames shoot from its tip.
Holy crap! I leap to the side, narrowly missing getting flambéed by my best friend. “What the hell is that?” I cry. How did she manage to score some magical flamethrower when all I got on day one as a slayer was some stupid stick that I had to carve myself? So unfair.
“Um, Teifert gave it to me. He said I might need it.” Spider says proudly. Then she glances over my shoulder, her pride fading into distress. “Um, I didn’t know it’d do that, though.”
I follow her gaze and realize she’s succeeded in setting the porch on fire. Whoops.
Spider pushes past me, trying to fan out the flames. But she only manages to make them rise higher with her waving hands. She shoots me a desperate look. “Um, help?”
I stare at her. “You just tried to fry me like a crème brûlée. And now you want my assistance?”
“Please, Rayne! I don’t want Teifert to dock my pay for damages!”
I so want to tell her that working for Slayer Inc. is more of a destiny thing than a paid gig, but I figure there’s time to disappoint her later, when there’s not a five-alarm fire in the immediate vicinity.
“Fine. I’ll help. But you’ve got to let me in, okay? No more of this trying-to-kill-me thing.”
“Okay, okay, whatever,” she agrees. “Just get this fire out!” She runs down the porch stairs, then up again, helplessly watching the flames rise higher.
I roll my eyes and walk calmly into the manor. I grab the fire extinguisher I know they store in the closet under the stairs and head back outside.
The fire has gotten bigger at this point, lapping at the roof of the porch. Spider’s trapped herself between the fire and the porch rail, just standing there, frozen in place, a horrified look on her face. See? This is why I’m irreplaceable for this job.
I raise the extinguisher and let her rip. A moment later the flames sputter out. Spider collapses onto the porch in tears, choking on the smoke. I walk over and put a comforting arm around her.
“I’m the worst slayer ever,” she moans.
“I don’t know,” I tell her, feeling a surprising sense of pity for my friend. After all, my first day as a slayer didn’t go all that well, either. “The firebolt thing was pretty cool. You just need to remember not to use it around flammable materials. Or, you know, best friends.”
“Yeah?” She looks over at me with a hopeful look. “You think it was cool?”
She hangs her head. “I’m sorry I tried to kill you, Rayne. I guess I just got…overenthusiastic.”
“It’s okay. It happens to the best of us.” I give her a friendly hug. “Now come on. Let’s go talk to Teifert.”
“Um, Mr. Teifert? There’s someone here to see you.” Spider squeaks as she peeks her head into the vice president’s office. I stand patiently behind her, letting her do her thing. The place is still a bit of a mess, presumably from my sister and Bertha’s fight two nights ago, and I wonder how he can manage to work in such disarray.
“I thought I told you I wasn’t to be disturbed, Spider,” he admonishes, not looking up from his paperwork.
“I know, but…” Spider glances back at me helplessly, then turns to her boss once again. “She says it’s a matter of life and death.”
Mr. Teifert sighs, dropping the paperwork in question onto his messy desk with a totally uncalled-for overly dramatic flair. “Very well. Bring her in.”
“Hey, Teif!” I cry, popping into the office and plopping myself down in one of the cozy armchairs across from his desk. “How’s it hanging?”
He raises his bushy eyebrows, taking me in. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, I was here to apply for the whole slayer job—I was told Bertha’s no longer in service…”
“Yes, thanks to your little friends…”
“…and I was pretty sure I was next in line. Though Spider here tells me she’s been offered the gig.” I frown. “So what’s the dealio, dude? Am I off the list or what?”
“The…dealio…as you so eloquently put it,” Mr. Teifert says stiffly, “is that you decided to break a vampire out of jail and allow him to take out one of our top operatives. Pardon me for saying so, but I assumed your blatant disregard for Slayer Inc.’s best interests meant you were not all that interested in coming to work for us.”