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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
Voices in the hall interrupt my troubled thoughts. I duck behind a dusty armchair and hold my breath, praying they won’t enter. But my prayers, it seems, are definitely not reaching the big guy tonight because a moment later the room floods with light and two vampires walk in and sit down.
And my ankle starts bleeding again.
“Are you sure you need to do this?” I hear the first vampire, who sounds like Professor Lucedio, ask the second as I try to put pressure on the wound. Vampires can smell blood a mile away, after all. Luckily, the professor is currently smoking a pipe, which is evidently masking the smell. But for how long?
I glance around for an exit, but the only one (besides the dogguarded window) is across the room, past the two vampires. I’m basically stuck here until they leave. Or, you know, smell me and drain me dry.
I turn back to the conversation, not knowing what else to do. “After all, he’s made great strides with the girls tonight,” the professor is adding. “Maybe it’s not too late to pull him in. I’m sure they would adopt the boy into their ranks. They seem quite fond of him, after all.”
Wait—are they talking about Jayden?
The second vampire, who I realize is Tanner, the Blood Coven bodyguard, shifts uncomfortably in his seat. “I’m just following the Master’s orders,” he replies.
Ah, I get it. Professor Lucedio thinks Jayden should remain a vampire and join the English coven. But Tanner’s telling him that Magnus instructed him to keep Jayden half human by giving him the blood transfusions until we find the cure. Good, Tanner. Play by the rules. Don’t let those English vampires let you stray from the Master’s orders...
“It just seems like such a waste,” Lucedio adds. “A nice young vampire like that. And the girls have really taken to him, as well. Especially Elizabeth.”
I scowl. Elizabeth doesn’t deserve a nice vampire like Jayden. And Jayden would never go for a girl like her.
At least I hope not... Anyway, she won’t have a chance, because I’m going to spring Jayden and we’re going to find the Holy Grail and make him human again.
“I know, I know,” Tanner replies. “But the situation is... complicated, as you know. In the end it’ll be better this way.”
Wait a second. What was that? I crane my neck, trying to determine what the vampires are doing. I catch a glimpse of Tanner, leaning over a coffee table, slipping a vial of clear liquid into a glass of blood.
“And this will work?” Lecedio asks. “I don’t want a big mess on my hands, you know. It’ll disturb the other guests and I can’t afford a big black mark on my Yelp rating in this economy.”
Tanner stirs the blood. “It’ll work, all right. And the autopsy will determine that his body simply rejected the transfusion and overtaxed itself fighting off enemy cells. His heart gives out, the abomination dies, and everyone can move on with their lives.”
I clamp a hand over my mouth to stop my scream. They’re going to kill Jayden and make it look like an accident. How could Tanner do something like this? And... wait... didn’t he say he was following his Master’s orders? But Magnus wouldn’t do something so cold. Not after promising me he’d do everything he could to save Jayden’s life...
“Well, it sounds like you have everything under control,” Lucedio replies.
“I am only following Lord Magnus’s orders,” Tanner replies humbly. “He wanted a way to take care of the... problem... without upsetting... well, you know who.”
My heart wrenches so hard for a moment I think it’s going to break in two. Oh God. How could he? How could he lie to me like this? Tell me he’s off to find the Grail and save Jayden’s life while secretly instructing his bodyguard to kill the boy and make it look like an accident so I’d never suspect a thing.
And then having the nerve to lecture me about my trust issues.
Lucedio rises to his feet. “Speaking of the girl, I should go check on her. Poor thing. She’s going to be devastated when she finds out her little friend is no more. She has quite a loyalty to the boy.”
“Too much,” Tanner adds bitterly. “Which is why we need to take care of this tonight.”
The two vampires rise from their seats and start toward the door, leaving me shaking in fright. I have to get it together. Before they discover I’m missing and Tanner feeds Jayden the poisoned blood. I can be heartbroken at the betrayal later, once Jayden and I are safe. Right now I have to act.
Oh, Magnus, how could you? After all you said. After you begged me to trust you...
I shove the thoughts from my brain and start racking it for a solution. I can’t fight them—I’m outnumbered and don’t have vampire strength. I need to use fairy cunning instead.
And suddenly I realize exactly what I have to do.
“Hey, chaps, how’s it bloody going?” I ask as I waltz into the library and don my best English accent. I plop down onto the sofa next to Jayden and grab a magazine off the coffee table, all casual-like. “What’s Bonnie Prince Charles been up to these days, that jolly old hooligan? And oy, is that David Beckham hot or wot?”
Everyone stares at me and I do my best not to squirm, praying they can’t see through my disguise. “Um, Elizabeth, have you been sampling the LSD- infused blood again?” asks Susan cautiously.
Good. They’re buying it. Well, sort of. “Who, me?” I scoff. “Please. I don’t need drugs to achieve this natural high.”