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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
At last, Jareth pulls away, his fangs sliding easily from my wrist. He takes a white bandage and ties it carefully around me, stopping the blood from flowing too fast. Then he looks up at me, blood tears streaming down his cheeks. I reach out, squeezing his icy hand in my own, trying to warm it with my fingers.
“I never thought I’d see her again,” he whispers, dropping his gaze to my hand. “And what she said…” He trails off, then looks up again, his face awash with appreciation and awe. “I can’t even tell you what you’ve just given me,” he murmurs. “I will never be able to repay you for that gift…as long as I live.”
“Yes, you can,” I assure him, forcing my voice to be strong. “By helping us defeat Pyrus before he gets too powerful. We still have a chance if we work together.”
He nods resolutely. “Of course,” he says. “The last thing I want is to start a war that will kill more innocent people. Just like my family was killed.” He swallows hard. “We have to put an end to this. Now.”
“Well, we can start by calling off the zombies. Letting Queenie out there know you’ve changed your mind. That you no longer need her services. Tell her to send the zombies back to their graves where they belong before they do any harm.”
Jareth agrees, then chuckles softly.
“What?” I ask, feeling my face heat, but not sure why.
“You thought she was my girlfriend,” he says. “For real.”
“Yeah,” I admit. Now my face is burning red. “Though I was surprised, to be honest. She didn’t seem like your type.”
“And what is my type, may I ask?” Jareth asks in a teasing voice. And suddenly I realize his face is very close to mine.
I grin. “A mere mortal who won’t take no for an answer?”
He laughs, a sweet gentle laugh. The kind of laugh I’ve missed hearing for so long. Then without warning, he pulls me close. So close I can feel his breath on my lips. Oh God. Is he really going to do it? Am I really going to experience our first kiss…all over again?
But just as his lips brush my skin, a screech echoes through the chamber. We break apart, whirling around to see what on earth could have made such a horrific noise.
It’s Queenie, standing in the doorway, her face twisted with fury as she stares down at us. “How dare you?” she demands in a cracking voice. “How dare you betray me?”
Jareth’s eyes widen in fear. “Look,” he tries. “Glenda! I can explain!”
But Queenie—Glenda—doesn’t seem interested in any explanation. She’s already turned to the intercom attached to the wall next to the door. She pulls the transmitter to her mouth, still glaring at Jareth with utter disgust.
“Attention, passengers,” she purrs into the mic. “The captain has turned off the seatbelt sign. You are now free to eat around the cabin.”
It doesn’t take long for Pyrus’s guards to show up. Magnus refuses to meet my eyes as they handcuff me and gag me and drag me away. I can’t tell you how much it hurts to know he turned me in like that, but I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked, knowing his character like I do. It’s funny, I’ve always admired his sense of unwavering loyalty, even though this isn’t the first time it’s been completely misguided. To trust so completely that what you believe in is right and true—it’s something I’ve never been able to do myself. I’m always searching for ulterior motives or double-crossing. Which is one of the reasons he and I had our problems the first time around.
But now the tables are turned and he’s the one who doesn’t trust me. And for good reason, I suppose. I lied to him. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. I led him to believe I wanted to become a vampire. No, not only a vampire, but his blood mate for eternity. The girl he’d been waiting to arrive for a thousand years.
And all the while I conspired against his bosses. The vampires he’s associated with for centuries. Of course he’d trust them over me. In his mind he just met me a few days ago. And I’ve done nothing but deceive him since.
Still, all the rationalization doesn’t dull the ache in my heart as I realize I’ve probably lost him forever. Any chance we had for a happily-ever-after in this new reality is gone for good.
Oh and the ever-after part? Turns out that might be shorter than expected as well.
After leaving me in some kind of holding cell for about an hour, the guards finally return, handcuffing me again and leading me into a private elevator, which shoots us fifty stories up. We emerge in a luxurious penthouse—as fancy as they get—with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the brightly lit Vegas strip. The place makes the suite in The Hangover look like a Motel 6 and is almost as badly trashed. Pyrus evidently likes partying hard in the city of sin.
Because, yes, we’re in the House Speaker’s suite, where I spot the man in question lounging on a fancy sofa, dressed in a silk gold-and-black dressing gown and sipping blood from a martini glass. Across from him sits Lucifent, who looks ridiculous in this lavish adultlike setting. A little boy, legs too short to even reach the floor, dressed in a tuxedo and downing shots of blood. It’s surreal, to say the least.
“Pyrus, have you seen the bottle of Louis the Sixteenth we’d opened to let breathe?” asks a voice to my left. I whirl around to see none other than Magnus walk into the room, holding a pair of wineglasses in his hands. He’s dressed more casually than the other two, in a pair of slouchy black jeans and a tight black T-shirt that accentuates his abs. (Not that I’m looking…) But it’s his eyes that strike me the most—the usually brilliant blue pupils are dull and sunken and shadowed. As if he’s lost quite a bit of sleep. He stops short as he sees me and a look of guilt flashes over his face. But he quickly recovers and turns away, focusing instead on his Master and the Speaker.