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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Especially since we brought company,” Spider adds with a smug smile. She turns and gestures to someone or something behind the doorway. “Say hello to my little friends,” she quips as she steps aside and lets the friends in question barrel through.
Suddenly the chapel is swarming with zombies. Disgusting, slimy, decrepit zombies. At first I start freaking out—thinking now it’s really over for good. But then I realize the zombies seem to be under Spider’s control somehow. And they’re going after Pyrus’s goons with much gusto, moaning and groaning and gnashing their teeth.
“Are you kidding me? Freaking zombies? I don’t get paid enough for this,” mutters one of my captors. He and his buddy drop my arms and start fleeing toward the door. The others, evidently feeling similarly about their pay grade under Pyrus’s employment, join them. Spider watches them go, clapping her hands gleefully and instructing the zombies to give chase.
Now free, the vampire masters surround Pyrus, yanking him off Magnus and dragging him away. Pyrus tries to fight back, but without his army, he’s not all that tough. And he quickly realizes he’s outnumbered.
“Look,” he tries. “I can explain.”
A vampire helps Magnus to his feet. Another leads him over to Pyrus.
“Would you like to do the honors?” she asks, holding out a wooden stake.
For a moment, I think Magnus is going to do it. He looks so fierce, so furious, as he stares with hatred at the man who murdered his sire. Who almost murdered him. Who, in another lifetime, murdered me. But then he shakes his head.
“Killing him now would make me as bad as he is,” he says to the group. “Despite what he may believe, we vampires are more civilized than that. Let him stand trial for his crimes like anyone else. And let the courts decide his fate.” He pauses, then adds, “We are a democracy, after all.”
A cheer erupts from the crowd as two of the vampire masters lead Pyrus away—hopefully to rot in prison, until he can be officially tried. While I’m not really a huge fan of capital punishment, as a rule, in his case I can make an exception. After all, that’s the only way we can be absolutely positive he can’t get out and start trouble someday. Because life in prison for a vampire is a very, very long time.
Once he’s gone, the Consortium members surround our little group, offering up their thanks to us for saving the day. “I feel like such an idiot,” laments Thadius, the first vampire who speaks up from the crowd. “How did we not know what he was up to?”
“None of us did,” Magnus assures him kindly. “We were all blinded by his smooth speech and easy lies. Well,” he adds, “all of us except these two girls here, who risked their lives to tell us the truth.” He shoots me an admiring look “And didn’t give up, even when we didn’t believe them.”
The vampires nod. “We owe you a great thanks,” Thadius says, addressing my sister and me. “If it weren’t for you, who knows what Pyrus might have accomplished?”
I glance over at Rayne and smile. Who knows, indeed.
Before we can speak, a noise at the door interrupts. Spider bursts into the room, a huge grin on her face. “Those guards won’t be troubling you any longer,” she crows, rubbing her hands together in glee. “Man, it’s fun to be zombie queen for a day. Too bad I have to give them back to Glenda afterward. It’d be so cool to have a gig like that permanently.”
“You already have a job, remember, Miss Slayer?” Rayne reminds her with a teasing poke to her ribs. “One I have to admit you’re actually pretty good at. At least when you’re not setting buildings on fire.”
Spider beams at the compliment. “Well, I suppose you’re not so bad yourself,” she replies.
A brunette vampire in a navy-blue suit turns to Spider. “Slayer, I hope you will let your bosses know that this situation has been taken care of. And there will be no war against you, at least from us. We would like to continue to live in peace and harmony from this point forward and keep you in the role of policing the otherworld for the foreseeable future.”
Spider nods. “I can do that!” she declares. “I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.”
“We cannot allow this…incident…to harm the Consortium’s image,” the woman continues, turning to the other masters. “We must replace Pyrus as quickly as possible so our people do not feel any disruption.”
“I agree,” Magnus cuts in. “We’ll hold a vote. Find the best vampire for the job.”
As the others murmur their assent, I reach over to give my boyfriend a little squeeze. “Well, I know who’d get my vote,” I tease.
He cocks his head in question. “And who is that?”
“You, silly,” I reply. “Remember, I know the future. I’ve already seen your leadership abilities firsthand. And I think you’d make a very excellent House Speaker.”
Yes, yes, I know. I’m the one who always complained about him working too hard. And House Speaker is probably twice the demanding job that Coven Master is. But still, I know it’ll make him happy. And I know it’ll help vampire kind to have a wise and benevolent ruler looking out for their best interests. So maybe I’ll have to finish a movie alone or get stood up on date night once in a while—it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
“She’s right,” Jareth agrees, slapping his friend on the back. “I can’t think of a better vampire for the job. You’ve got my vote, mate.”