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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Is this her?” Pyrus demands, rising from the sofa and giving me a critical once-over. “Why, she’s only a little girl.” He walks over to me and chucks me under the chin. “Are you the big, bad monster who’s got the entire Blood Coven shaking in their boots?”
“We’re hardly shaking,” Lucifent corrects, looking offended.
Pyrus turns on his heel, his expression full of condescension. “Well, maybe you should be,” he says sweetly. “Seeing as somehow this little human girl managed to outsmart your entire organization. Got through your blood-mate program, wormed her way into your inner circle. Hell”—he gestures to Magnus, who’s currently staring down at his feet as if they hold the secrets to the universe—“this one was ready to turn her into an actual vampire.” He rolls his eyes. “Imagine, having a vampire slayer as a member of the Blood Coven.” He laughs, as if it’s the most ridiculous thing in the world. If only he knew about my sister…
“I’m not a slayer,” I feel the need to interject. You know, since we’re being honest now.
Pyrus focuses back on me, stepping forward and invading my space. He’s a good-looking guy—but his breath reeks like rotten fish. I remember in the Lost Boys movie Rayne and I rented that bad breath was supposed to be a telltale sign of a vampire. As if his impressive set of fangs doesn’t already clue me in.
“Well, then you work for Slayer Inc.”
I square my jaw. “No. I don’t.”
SMACK! My head flies backward from the force of his sucker punch. I bite down to avoid screaming, and my mouth fills with the metallic taste of blood.
“I’ll ask you one more time,” Pyrus says, his jaw tightening. “And then I’ll stop playing nice.”
“You can ask a thousand times,” I growl, hocking the mouthful of blood onto the plush carpet at my feet. The vampires immediately stiffen. I’d forgotten how sensitive they could get over even the tiniest bit of the red stuff. Better be careful or I might end up as room service. “My answer will be the same. I’m not a slayer. I don’t work for Slayer Inc. I’m just a concerned party looking out for the best interests of the human race.”
“Do you think I’m stupid?” Pyrus demands, looking this close to losing his cool. “You enroll in our vampire-in-training program. You seduce one of our top vampires. You attempt to win his trust by warning him about a threat to his sire’s life. A threat, I’m assuming, you engineered to begin with. And then, when you think you’re in, you try to talk that vampire into turning against his own people and sparking a civil war.”
I grimace. I have to agree, it does sound kind of bad when you put it that way. “Hey, at least I’m not planning to unleash an army of zombies onto the world.”
Lucifent’s expression pales. Magnus looks up in interest. The House Speaker turns and shoots Lucifent a death look. “I thought you assured me that no one knew about Project Z,” he seethes.
Lucifent squeaks, dropping his shot glass. Blood splashes on the carpet. “I swear, Lord Pyrus,” he stammers, his confident swagger having completely abandoned him. “The only person who knows is General Jareth, who’s overseeing the program. And I can assure you he can be trusted.”
Pyrus opens his mouth to speak, but Magnus suddenly interjects. “So wait,” he says. “The whole zombie thing she was talking about is true? That’s really what Project Z is about?”
“I told you that you should have believed me,” I mutter.
The House Speaker shakes his head wearily. “Great. Now everyone and his sire is going to know by morning.”
But Magnus isn’t listening to him anymore. He’s turned to Lucifent, a furious expression on his face. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he demands. “I’m supposed to be your second in command.”
Lucifent rises to his seat. “Perhaps because I knew you’d act like this,” he challenges his protégé. “What did you think we were going to do to Slayer Inc.? Ask them nicely to stop murdering us and hope they agree? They tried to kill me!” he reminds him. “They need to be punished.”
“And what about the rest of what Sunny told me?” Magnus continues, this time addressing Pyrus himself. “About using the zombies to enslave the humans once Slayer Inc. was out of the way? Is that part of the plan as well?”
Lucifent frowns. “Of course not! That’s ridiculous.” He pauses, then turns to me. “Um, isn’t it?”
“Why don’t you ask your fearless leader?” I suggest.
The two vampires look at Pyrus. He releases an annoyed-sounding sigh. “Oh, don’t go soft on me now,” he says. “The human race has it coming to them. Why should they continue to control the world—to run the show? Face it, they’re nothing more than parasites, devouring our planet like it’s going out of style. One must only look at the disappearing rain forests, the melting ice caps, the fading ozone layer, global warming. Over only a few short years, humans have caused irreparable damage to the planet we share.” He frowns. “But hey, why should they care? If they’re lucky they might live a hundred years. Then they’ll be food for worms. While we vampires are stuck inheriting the wasteland they leave behind them.”
I bite my lower lip, wishing I had a response. Wishing his speech didn’t actually make quite a bit of sense. I mean, I’m not suggesting zombie warfare is the answer, mind you, but I admit humans haven’t really been the best caretakers of our planet.