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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
“It does seem a really lousy coincidence. And I don’t like the fact that the Alphas have Corbin on the payroll again. They’re dangerous enough without actual vampires working for them.”
“Well, Corbin didn’t want to be a vampire,” I remind him. “Maybe he took the Grail so he could turn himself back into a human.”
“Maybe,” Magnus says, not sounding all that convinced. “Or maybe the Alphas need it to finalize their supernatural DNA cocktail.” He scowls. “This could be bad. I have got to notify the Consortium immediately.” He rises to his feet and starts out the door.
“Wait,” I cry, stumbling after him. “What about Jayden?”
He stops and turns back to me. “I’m sorry, Sunny, I don’t know what to tell you. Without the Grail, he really doesn’t have much hope.”
“Which is why we need to get it back! We should go to Japan!”
“Yes. I should go to Japan,” Magnus corrects. “You… and Jayden… can wait for me here if you like.”
“Here?” I look around the trash flat.
“I mean at Vampire Manor. You remember the safe house we stayed at the last time you were in England, don’t you?”
“I’ll have Tanner stay with you as well. He can help you administer doses of your blood to keep Jayden stable while I search for the Grail. And the manor can supply him with doses of their house blood to satisfy his remaining hunger.”
I look at him sharply. “What, they just happen to have blood on tap there?”
“It’s an all-inclusive,” Magnus replies drolly. “Vacationing vampires often desire something a little richer or sweeter than their normally contracted blood donors. Not to mention, have you ever tried to stash a human in your carry-on? Rather impractical to say the least. Not to mention strictly against FAA regulations.”
Once again, these vampires have it all down to a science. I guess when you have immortal life, you’ve got plenty of time to work out all the kinks.
“I don’t suppose there’s any way for me to convince you to let me come to Japan?” I ask, though I already know his answer before even opening my mouth. “I could look for the Grail myself while you’re concentrating on all the other stuff you’ve got on your plate.”
“I’m sorry, Sunny. But the Consortium won’t allow it. Besides, to be completely honest, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on my mission if I was always worrying about your safety.”
“You wouldn’t have to worry. I can take care of myself!”
He gives me a tender smile. “I know you can. I do. But I would worry anyway,” he murmurs, reaching over to brush a stray lock of hair from my eyes, then leaning down to kiss me gently on the forehead. His lips are soft, sweet.
Which would be nice if they weren’t saying, yet again, “Sayonara, Sunny.”
It’s nearly dawn when we reach Vampire Manor and the morning mists are beginning to roll in, making the drive through the wrought-iron gates and down the long, narrow driveway tunneled by overgrown pine trees even more creepy. I try to remind myself that this isn’t some kind of haunted house, but rather your local friendly vampire B and B. A resort for fine, fanged individuals to retire at while vacationing in jolly old England. Though don’t get me wrong—the place is no five-star resort. No golf course, no swimming pool, and it’s a million miles away from any kind of restaurant that might serve pizza. But, as Magnus reminds me, a gloomy English countryside is preferable to creatures of the night, seeing as they can’t exactly cruise the Caribbean with their sun allergy.
Not that this makes me feel much better, knowing I’m going to be stuck here, pizzaless, for the foreseeable future. At least I’ll have Jayden to keep me company. He’s still a little wary from our encounter on the plane, but I can totally apologize for all that once we’re alone. At least I know now I’m in no danger of being seduced by him and his non- functioning vampire scent, which means I can just be his friend. Well, in addition to being his breakfast, that is.
As we pull up to the foreboding Victorian mansion, I remember how freaked-out I was the last time we stayed here. Especially once I found out they’d arranged for Magnus and me to share a bed, assuming we were actual blood mates. After all, back then I barely knew the guy. And I certainly didn’t trust some bloodsucker to do the right thing.
Who knew in less than a year he’d become my best friend and true love? The one person in the world I’d want to curl up with in a big smooshy canopy bed for two, pulling the curtains closed to block out the sun and sleeping for at least a week.
But, of course, now the bloodsucker in question has other plans.
“You’ll be safe here,” he tells me as the chauffer comes around and opens the door. Jayden and his guards scramble out, but Magnus grabs onto my hand, evidently not ready to exit just yet. “Safer than you would have been in Vegas, even. This place is known only to vampires and is extremely protected with the latest in high-tech security. The Alphas wouldn’t stand a chance infiltrating it—even if they did know of its location, which, I can assure you, they do not.”
“What about Rayne?” I ask, suddenly remembering my sister is now out of rehab. Could she be in danger, remaining in Vegas? “Maybe you could arrange for her to come here and meet us? You know, if it’s all safer and stuff.” Plus, even though she can be annoying at times, at the end of the day, she’s pretty entertaining. And from what I remember about the cobwebby interior of this place, I’ll need quite a bit of entertainment to keep my sanity in the coming weeks.