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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
This place is just a tourist trap, not a real vampire den.”
Rayne bites her lower lip. “That’s just their cover,” she says, unwilling, evidently, to give up. Her eyes scan the room. “The forums said they have blood on tap. Maybe it’s not in the main restaurant. Maybe they have a back door into a secret room. I don’t suppose your phrase book has how to say ‘blood bar’ in Japanese, does it?” She starts looking through the book again.
“Sure, it’s right after ‘Where’s the bathroom?’ in their list of top useful phrases,” I reply dryly. Rayne throws the book at my head.
At that moment, the waiter returns with our first course. Some kind of shrimp appetizer, swaddled in a plastic coffin and dripping in bloodred cocktail sauce. Genuine or no, I give this place an A+ for presentation.
“Do you know any vampires?” Rayne asks the poor waiter, evidently done with any attempts to speak his native tongue.
“Vampire!” He nods enthusiastically. Rayne’s eyes light up. “Where?”
He cocks his head in confusion, then makes a sweeping gesture around the restaurant. “Vampire... Café!” he says slowly, as if speaking to a dim- witted child. Which, of course, in this case isn’t far off the mark.
Rayne lets out a frustrated breath. “Well, where’s the back room? I heard there’s a Blood Bar here. Where’s the entrance to that?” She’s practically shouting now, falling into the trap so many tourists do—assuming that if they only speak louder, they’ll suddenly be understood.
But our waiter only looks baffled. “Bath-room?” he tries. Poor guy.
“No, no! I mean—”
“It’s okay,” I cut her off. “We’re fine,” I tell the waiter. “Domo arigato. Thank you.”
The waiter looks relieved and babbles something in Japanese that I assume is “Enjoy your meal” but very well could be “Go back to McDonald’s, you stupid American pigs.” I poke my appetizer with a chopstick, then take a tentative bite. Hmm, not bad. I chase it with Rayne’s glass of wine and then steal her appetizer off her plate. “Too bad you guys can’t eat,” I tell the two sulking vampires across from me. “This is pretty good.”
“A vampire restaurant is the stupidest idea ever,” my sister grumps. “Seeing as real vampires don’t eat.” She slumps back into her chair with a huff. “Maybe we should have tried somewhere else.” She pulls the curtain back, as if she wants to just leave then and there. I’m about to tell her that she can’t just up and walk away on the bill and, besides, I want to finish my meal, but then I notice that the birthday party people are all looking at us, and whispering furtively to one another. I also notice that none of them seem to be actually eating any of the cake in front of them, but the red sauce has been drained dry.
And they all have identical glasses of red wine. “Rayne,” I hiss. “Take a look at that group over there.”
Rayne stops climbing out of the booth and looks over in the direction of the party. “What, more stupid tourists? Who cares?”
“Yeah, but they keep looking at us and whispering.”
“Whatever. I’m so—” Rayne cuts off as she does a double take. “Wait a second,” she hisses. “Is that…” Her eyes widen in recognition. “Oh my God, it is! What the hell is he doing here?”
“Who?” I ask, trying to peek back through the curtains for someone recognizable at the party table, praying it’s not a member of the Blood Coven. But before I can scan the crowd, my sister yanks me back inside the booth.
“Race Jameson,” she hisses. “He’s sitting at the far end of the table.”
“What?” I stare at her. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure. I spent thirty days in lockup with Mr. Vampire Rock Star. I’d recognize him anywhere. I totally forgot that he’s here on some Japanese comeback tour now that he’s off the bad blood.”
“Cool.” I try to part the curtains again. “We should totally say hi. Do you think he’ll remember me from the time he helped us with the werewolves?”
My sister pulls the curtains shut again. “No.” “No, you don’t think he’ll remember?” “No, I don’t want to say hi.”
“But why?” I protest. “He’s totally nice. Not to mention he’s a vampire. He might know where we can get Jayden some blood.”
Jayden looks up hopefully.
But my sister shakes her head. “I don’t care if he’s walking around with an IV blood drip permanently fused to his veins. We’re not going over there.”
I narrow my eyes at her. “Rayne, what happened in rehab?”
But before she can tell me to mind my own business, our curtain parts. At first I assume it’s the waiter, coming back with the second course, but the piercing violet-colored eyes prove me wrong.
“Well, well, if it isn’t the Bobbsey Twins,” Race Jameson purrs in a velvety voice. “What on Earth are you doing here in Japan?”
“That would be the McDonald twins and none of your business,” Rayne retorts, refusing to look him in the eye.
“Aw, don’t be like that, my little Rayney Day,” he says as he plops down beside my sister. She scoots to the other half of the booth, as far away from the rock star as she can get. “I thought we were friends.” “Yeah, and I thought the Tooth Fairy was real,” my sister snarls. “Until, you know, I stopped believing in fairy tales.”