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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
He shakes his head. “No, it’s fine,” he says. “As long as you talk to me while you’re doing it.” He pauses, then adds shyly, “I’ve missed you, you know.”
“I’ve missed you, too,” I admit as I sit down on the chair and tie a rubber band around my arm. It makes me feel like one of those heroin addicts you always see in movies. “And I’m really sorry I didn’t get in touch once I got back to Vegas. Things have been… Well, crazy doesn’t even cover the half of it.”
“What happened?” Jayden asks. “I thought everything was cool with the Blood Coven and you were just going back to Massachusetts.”
I slap at my arm to find a nice vein to draw blood from. “Yeah, so did we. Until our parents dropped the ultimate bombshell on us.” I stab at the vein with the hollow needle and a moment later thick, syrupy blood drains down a tube and into the awaiting blood bag. It hurts like a mother, but I remind myself that this small sacrifice may very well save my friend’s life and so I’m going to have to deal.
Jayden leans forward in bed, his eyes greedily watching the process. “Bombshell?” he manages to ask without drooling.
And so I give him the 411. About our fae heritage, the threat on our lives, hiding out at Slay School, being kidnapped by fairies. The works. And it’s not ’til I come to the part about my dad sacrificing his life to save my sister that my voice cracks and the tears well up in my eyes.
“All this time we thought he was just a selfish jerk,” I blurt out, emotions hitting me hard and fast. “Abandoning us to start a new family—not caring whether we lived or died. But instead he was out there that whole time, forcing himself to stay away in an effort to keep us safe from harm. Before he died, he told us that not a day had gone by that he didn’t think of us, wishing there was some way to rejoin his family.” I make a face. “Meanwhile I was basically sticking pins in a Dad-shaped voodoo doll, cursing his existence on the planet. Some daughter I am.”
Jayden gives me a sympathetic look. “You didn’t know,” he reminds me gently.
I scowl. “I didn’t bother to find out either. I just took it all at face value without questioning what was really going on. And now he’s gone. And he’s never coming back. And I’ll never get a chance to tell him how much I love him. How much I’ve always loved him...”
“Maybe you didn’t get a chance to tell him,” Jayden replies quietly, “but I bet he knows all the same.”
I look over at him, through my veil of tears. “I hope you’re right.”
“I am,” he says, his voice leaving no room for argument. “And I can tell you something else, too. Your father would definitely not have wanted you to be sitting here, beating yourself up over the ‘what if’s.’ To negate his sacrifice with regrets. He’d want you to think of all the good times you shared together, don’t you think?”
“I suppose so…”
“Try it. I mean, what’s your favorite memory? Something the two of you shared.”
I don’t even have to think before answering. “Every night when we were little, he’d curl up in bed with me and Rayne and tell us the best bedtime stories known to man. They’d always start out exactly the same. ‘Once upon a time there were two fairy princesses, Sunshine and Rayne.’” I grin. “Who would have thought those stories were actually nonfiction?”
Jayden gives a low whistle. “Fairy princesses. Seriously, that’s, like, the sweetest thing ever, Sun!”
“I don’t know about that.”
“So do you have...” Jayden pauses, grinning sheepishly. “This seems so silly to ask.”
My face heats as I realize what he’s wondering. “What, wings? Yeah. I do.”
“Can I see them?” His voice betrays his eagerness, which totally makes me blush hard-core.
“I don’t know. They’re kind of... weird...” “Please? I’ll show you my fangs...”
“Um, been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Or the bandage, in this case.” I remind him teasingly, gesturing to my neck.
“Oh yeah.” He grimaces.
The blood bag is full, so I pull out the needle and press a cotton swab over the wound. I’m more than a bit light-headed from so much blood loss and I find I have to grip the chair as I rise to my feet to steady my weakened legs.
Jayden frowns. “I don’t like to see you doing this to yourself,” he says. “Not for me.”
“I want to,” I reassure him, sitting back down on the bed and handing him the bag. “And besides, it won’t be for long anyway. We’ll get the Grail blood and you’ll be cured and we’ll all live happily ever after.”
“Happily ever after. I like the sound of that,” he says before sinking his teeth into the bag. I can’t help but watch as he sucks the thick red liquid into his mouth, his cheeks flushing with renewed color as my blood drains down his throat. I know I should be creeped out beyond belief, but instead I just feel warm inside, knowing my blood is curbing his desperate hunger and offering him a few moments of peace. The dark shadows in his face seem to fade away and his eyes are brighter and full of life as he drains the bag dry, then sets it down on the nightstand. He looks up at me with an affectionate smile.
“You sure you’re a fairy?” he teases softly. “And not an angel, sent from heaven?”