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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“But shouldn’t we be helping Lucifent?” I ask. “I’m sure he needs some assistance for his big presentation to Pyrus tomorrow night.”
But Magnus only shakes his head. “He told me he and Jareth have it all under control,” he assures me, reaching out to squeeze my hand. “We just need to relax and enjoy our time together.”
I wonder if he even knows about the zombies. Did Lucifent ever clue him in on Project Z? I’m guessing no—I’m thinking if he did have a clue as to what his boss was really up to, he wouldn’t be acting so cavalier. He’s Magnus, after all. Protector of the people. The fairest ruler of them all. There’s no way he’d be down with letting loose an army of the dead on Slayer Inc., never mind the general population.
Unfortunately every time I try to bring it up, he cuts me off, telling me he doesn’t want to talk business tonight. He doesn’t want to think about vampires or the Consortium or any kind of projects—from A to Z. Tonight he wants to spend time with a pretty girl and enjoy all of what Vegas has to offer.
So I do my best to enjoy myself. Try to remind myself that this is exactly what I wanted. But in the end I find I can barely hold a conversation. And by the time we get back to our hotel room at the Wynn, I can tell Magnus thinks something’s wrong.
We stand outside the room and he pulls out a key card, handing it to me and inviting me to open the door. From the anxious look on his face, I get the feeling there’s something special inside and my heart starts fluttering as I slip the card into the reader and step into the room, wondering what on earth it could be.
The first thing I notice is all the candles, placed on every available surface and giving the room a warm, golden glow and sweet scent. Then my eyes find and follow the trail of dusty pink rose petals winding toward the king-size bed. On the white cloth–covered bedside table is a bottle of champagne—Cristal—chilling on ice, alongside two silver flutes. It’s a scene of seduction right out of a Hollywood film. But I’m guessing it’s not sex Magnus has in mind. At least not only sex…
As I stare at the room, too shocked to move, the vampire steps in beside me, snaking a hand around my waist. My body lurches at his unexpected touch. “Do you like it?” he whispers in my ear.
Do I like it? Once upon a time I would have thought I’d died and gone to Heaven to see such a love nest, created by my busy boyfriend. Back then he was too preoccupied to ever do something so romantic. Now, I realize, because of Rayne’s and my actions, he has nothing better to do than to spend his existence trying to make me smile.
And I should be smiling. I should be thrilled. Instead, I’m filled only with dread.
“Wow,” I say, forcing my feet to step farther into the room, escaping his tender touch. “It’s really beautiful. And so…unexpected.”
He comes up behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist again, dragging me close to him and nestling his head against my back. “I wanted to surprise you,” he says, stroking my stomach with gentle fingers, sending my pulse skittering like a frightened cat. “I wanted to make sure tonight was special for you.”
“It’s…very special,” I stammer, inhaling sharply. Can he hear my heart hammering in my chest? I’m almost positive it’s drowning out the soft jazz, drifting from hidden speakers.
He brushes away my hair and presses his lips to the nape of my neck. I shiver at the slight scrape of fangs against my delicate skin. “All I want to do is make you happy,” he murmurs. “For the rest of your immortal life. Which,” he adds, pulling me around to face him, taking my hands in his own, “will start tonight.”
I leap back, startled out of my trance. He furrows his brow at my reaction. “What’s wrong?”
“Look, Magnus,” I say, trying to keep my composure. “I thought we agreed we were going to wait.”
His smile falters, a shadow crossing his face. “Only so I could make it special for you,” he reminds me. He gestures to the romantic room. “Which, as you can see, I have tried my best to do…”
Oh God. This is not good. My heart is now pounding in my chest with the force of a sledgehammer and I don’t know what to do. I’ve run out of excuses and evidently out of time. If I say no now, he’s going to be angry. I’m going to lose my in and my only chance to stop Lucifent. But if I say yes, I realize, the consequences are going to be far worse.
“Magnus, I don’t know,” I try to hedge. “I mean, there’s so much going on right now. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on Lucifent’s presentation to Pyrus?”
Magnus’s eyes narrow. He drops my hands and walks over to the bed. With an angry gesture, he sweeps the rose petals from the comforter and sits down.
“You seem awfully concerned about Lucifent,” he says sourly. “In fact, you haven’t stopped talking about him since we got here.” He looks up, his eyes rimmed with red. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”
I sit down beside him on the bed, reaching over to take his hand in mine. “I’m sorry,” I say. “It’s just that I can’t help thinking about the battle between Slayer Inc. and the Consortium.”
He squeezes my hand, his face softening. “Sweetheart,” he says, “you need to stop worrying about that. Lucifent has everything under control.” He pulls my hand to his lips and starts kissing the back of my wrist.