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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
Is it because of what he did in Vegas? Or something deeper than that? Are my past experiences with my dad and all his broken promises still tainting my ability to believe my boyfriend? Even though my father’s actions were all justified in the end and it turned out he wasn’t the terrible father we thought he was, it’s still hard to reconcile the feelings of abandonment I experienced through his extended absence. And that makes it nearly impossible to truly believe that there’s really someone out there now who loves me enough to never let me down.
And thus I force Magnus, time and time again, to pay for all my emotional baggage. Which is so not fair to him. If we want this to work—and oh God, I do, I do—I need to work on my own issues as much as he needs to work on his. One way or another, I need to learn to trust him. With all my heart, soul, and mind. Otherwise, like he said, why are we even bothering?
Realizing I’ll never be able to sleep, I slide out of bed and start unpacking. The lights are dim— probably to accommodate the manor’s normally nocturnal guests—so I draw back the curtains, hoping for some kind of early-morning light. But outside, the darkness still looms and rain sluices down, thunder cracking and lightning slashing through the sky. I shiver, then force myself to turn back to the chest of drawers.
I’m almost fully unpacked when I hear a firm rapping on the door. “Come in,” I say, pushing the last drawer closed and straightening up. I catch my reflection in the mirror and try to pat down my messy hair to better greet my visitor. But the hollows in my eyes from lack of sleep aren’t so easy to fix.
The door pulls open and Rufus, the human butler, steps in, carrying a syringe. “Sorry to disturb you,” he says in a stiff English accent. “But I’ve been instructed to prepare for Master Jayden’s feeding.”
Of course. I nod and sit down on the bed, holding out my arm to him to let him do his thing. By this point the needle no longer even hurts that much and soon I’m watching the blood drain from my veins, down a tube and into a blood bag.
“So how is Jayden doing?” I ask. “Can I go see him?”
“He’s fine,” Rufus replies. “The girls are back and keeping him entertained.”
Of course they are. “Well, I’d like to see him. Can you show me where he is after we’re finished?”
Rufus shoots me a sympathetic look. “I’m afraid that’s not possible.”
“Professor Lucedio gave me explicit instructions. You’re to stay in your room until the sun rises.”
“He did?” A cold feeling starts creeping over me. “But why?”
“This is a hotel for vampires,” Rufus reminds me curtly. “And not all of our guests are... accustomed to sharing such close quarters with mortals.”
“Yes. And I’ve had some... accidents... in the past because of it.” He tilts his head to the side and I gasp to see a myriad of white scars crisscrossing his neck. Ouch.
“Dude. I hope you got major workers’ comp for that.”
He chuckles softly. “I’m used to it by now,” he says. “And guests are usually respectful enough just to take a sip or two.”
“Is that even legal? I thought it was forbidden to take from anyone who’s not a sanctioned donor.”
Rufus shrugs. “Sometimes, when you’re on holiday, you’re tempted to... let your fangs down, so to speak. And we, as a premiere holiday destination, find we’re better off looking the other way when it comes to that sort of thing. After all, there’s no use risking our impeccable TripAdvisor rating just over some random inconsequential indiscretion.”
“No offense, but that seems a bit more than an indiscretion...”
“Which is why we need to keep you here,” Rufus concludes. “Especially since you’re not only mortal, like me, but you’ve got fey blood in your veins as well —which can be very addicting to some vampires. And let’s just say you don’t want to put temptation directly in their paths. You may not live long enough to regret it.” He pulls the needle from my arm and presses a cotton swab to the wound. “It’s better that you just stay here and rest, trust me.”
I sigh. So basically what he’s saying is I’m stuck under house arrest for my own safety for the foreseeable future. Stupid weakwilled vampires, unable to control their own bloodlust.
“And when morning comes and all good vampires are resting in their coffins or beds, you can come downstairs,” he adds. “I’ll cook you a big delicious breakfast, then give you a tour of the entire place.”
“Great.” I feel bad—I know he’s trying to be nice and accommodating. But what good will walking around in the daytime do me? Jayden will be asleep with the rest of them by then. So much for him keeping me company. I am seriously going to die of boredom in this place, aren’t I?
“Look, I totally get it,” I say. “But maybe you could send Jayden up to my room if I can’t go down to see him? I want to make sure he’s okay, at the very least.”
Rufus gives me another pitying look. “Lord Magnus gave explicit instructions you’re not to be alone with the boy during your stay here.”
I frown. Why, Magnus? Because he lusts for my blood? Or because I might be lusting for something else...?
Rufus pats my shoulder comfortingly. “Don’t worry, miss. As I told you, the girls are seeing to his every need. He is having a grand old time down there with them in the library. His laughter rings through the halls.”