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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
A flicker of fear crosses his face. “Cornelius,” he murmurs. “I think maybe some of his blood must have mixed with mine when he bit me.”
My heart sinks at his words, remembering all too well the night Jayden saved my life—and the entire Blood Coven—by risking his own. Could he have really somehow become infected while facing off with the evil vampire? ’Cause that would make this whole thing my fault.
“Sunny, please, you’ve got to help me,” Jayden begs. He clutches at my skin with desperate, bluish fingers. Sighing, I wrap him into a hug, pulling him against me, feeling the tears break free from my eyes as he buries his face in my shoulder. If I somehow did this to him—dragged this sweet, innocent boy into my dark world—I don’t know how I’m ever going to be able to forgive myself.
“I’m so hungry,” he murmurs. “So scared.”
“I know,” I say, attempting to soothe him with soft murmurs. “I was once bitten by a vampire, too. I know how horrible the transformation can be.”
I shudder, remembering that awful week. The pain, the confusion, the wild changes. Of course, at least for me, I had my sister at my side. And Magnus, too, guiding me every step of the way. Jayden has had to go through this whole nightmare alone. With no hope or help. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.
“But you’re not a vampire now,” Jayden says, looking up at me. “So could this whole thing still be reversible somehow?” I can hear the thin shred of hope in his voice and it breaks my heart all over again. “Is there still a chance for me to go back to being human?”
I bite my lower lip. That is the $64,000 question, isn’t it? “I’m not sure,” I hedge. “For me, it took a drop of blood from the Holy Grail.”
Jayden’s eyes widen. “The Holy—” He shakes his head. “Does that even really exist outside of Monty Python movies?”
“Oh yeah. It exists.” I nod. “But it’s not like some prescription drug you can have called in to a pharmacy. It’s hidden away, deep underground in England and closely guarded by this ancient druid sect. Not exactly as accessible as a Big Gulp at your local 7-Eleven,” I add wryly. “Magnus took me there when I was infected and paid off the druids so they would allow me a tiny sip. Of course, I had to drink it within seven days of being bitten. If you were really infected by Cornelius, well, that would have happened, like, a month ago. So I’m not sure that would even be an option for you.”
Inspiration hits me with the force of a ten-ton truck. Technically speaking, I’ve still got traces of ye olde Grail blood swimming through my mortal veins. For full-blooded vampires, this is a total turnoff—and maybe even poisonous. But for a newbie like Jayden—well, maybe he could get some real mortal benefits by taking a sip or two...
I bite my lower lip, trying to come to terms with the idea. I’ve been bitten twice in my life. Once to turn me into a vampire, once to make me mortal again. And let’s just say I’m sooo not one of those fang- banger types—like my sister—who totally gets off on the whole thing. (Rayne makes it sound orgasmic. To me, it’s—literally—a big pain in the neck.) But still, I got Jayden into this mess. It’s my responsibility to get him out—if I can.
And maybe, just maybe, I can.
“Okay, Jayden,” I say, reluctantly sweeping my long, dirty blond hair away from my neck. I suck in a breath; I just know I’m going to regret this. But what choice do I have? I can’t just leave him here. “Let’s try something.”
His eyes widen in a mixture of fear and desire. “I don’t know, Sunny,” he says worriedly and I can see his hard swallow. “I don’t want...”
But he does want. I can see the hunger in his hollow face. The shaky hands, the bated breath. He wants me badly, even if he can’t admit it aloud.
“It’s okay,” I assure him, trying to sound confident. “I want you to. The Grail blood inside me might make you better. And that’s what’s important here.”
He nods slowly, as if unable to speak. His lips part and my heart breaks all over again as I see his tiny, pointed fangs slide into view. Poor Jayden never asked for this. I just hope we’re not too late to save him.
“Bite me,” I whisper. And weirdly, I actually want him to. In fact, my whole body is humming with anticipation of the act. Is it his vampire scent—the pheromones given off by creatures of the night—that are seducing my senses? Or is just Jayden himself—the sweetest boy in the world—who has me all turned on?
He cocks his head to the side awkwardly, trying to get in position. I stretch my neck out to give him better access. He leans forward and I can feel his shaky breath on my skin a moment before that all- too-familiar sting.
Ohhh! My eyes roll back in my head as he takes that first, tentative suck—unexpected ecstasy sweeping over me in a tidal wave of emotion. Suddenly I realize that though Magnus has technically bitten me twice, both times he only transferred blood into me. Never took any out.
This feels different. Wayyyy different.
Jayden grabs me by the shoulders, yanking me roughly toward him, his fingernails digging into my skin. I moan in pleasure as his mouth presses more firmly, more confidently, against my neck, locking himself against me and drinking large gulps of my blood. Oh God, it feels so good. So warm. So delicious. Like I always imagined sex would feel like.
“Oh, Jayden,” I find myself murmuring as I collapse weakly into his arms. I close my eyes, completely enraptured. The dark, dank alleyway has now become the center of my universe and the rest of my mundane reality is a mere echo of little importance compared to what’s going on here. Something to easily give up forever, just for one more moment of this vampiric ecsta—