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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
Race shakes his head. “The girls over there belong to the Cosplay Coven.” He hands Rayne a folded piece of paper. “Here’s the address. Suki wants you to meet them after sundown. They’ll take you to Bite Club from there. Unfortunately,” he adds, “I have a concert tomorrow night. I won’t be able to join you.”
“How tragic,” Rayne mutters.
I look over at the girls, who are watching with curious expressions on their faces. “Are you sure we can trust them?” I ask.
Race grins cockily. “Do you have any choice?”
After plopping down a huge tip for the waiter, the three of us exit the restaurant. (And are subsequently chased down by said waiter, who hands me back my extra yen. Turns out the whole tipping thing in Japan is not done. In fact, it can be seen as a sign of dishonor. Weird, huh? Personally, if I were him, I’d just take the money and run. Especially after having to deal with my annoying twin sister. He earned his money that night, big-time, just for not spitting in her drink.)
We say our good-byes to Rayne, who jumps in a cab to cut west across town and get back to Shinjuku and her luxury hotel. Jayden and I, on the other hand, are back on the subway, heading toward our little ryokan. Rayne did offer to try to get us a new reservation at a nearby Best Western, I but figured it was easier to just stay where we are at this point. Besides, I have to admit, the place is growing on me. Like a cozy little nest for just the two of us.
Jayden sleeps for most of the subway ride and then listlessly shuffles down the main road toward the ryokan. I study him worriedly as we stop at a crosswalk. Under the streetlights, his skin looks almost translucent and the hollows under his eyes are as deep as the Grand Canyon. When we get back to our room, he plops down on the futon mat in exhaustion.
“How are you feeling?” I ask worriedly.
He looks up, trying to put on a brave face. “Fine.” “You don’t look fine. You look terrible.”
I climb onto my own futon, propping myself on my side with my elbow. “You know what I mean,” I protest, poking him playfully. Just a small tap, but it nearly knocks him over. My teasing face sobers. “Seriously, Jayden. Are you going to make it ’til tomorrow?”
He rolls onto his back and stares up at the low ceiling. “I don’t have any choice, do I?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I could try to catch you a rat or something. They’ve got to have rats here, right? Even though, to be honest, I don’t know what they’d eat, the streets are so freaking clean...”
“I don’t want a rat, Sunny.”
“A cat? Though I think they might be sacred here. Or lucky. I guess it’d be lucky to find a cat to feed you...”
Jayden manages to throw a pillow at me.
I sigh. This sucks. And I can’t even feed him my own blood, because the whole syringe/blood bag thing is back in England.
Unless... “Jayden,” I say softly.
For a moment I think he’s already fallen asleep. Then I hear a quiet. “Yeah?”
“What about my blood?”
“I thought you said you were too low.” “I feel much better today. I think I can give a little.” “But we don’t have the syringe.”
“I know but... what if you took it the old-fashioned way?”
His eyes widen. “I couldn’t. I mean, remember what happened last time? And here there’d be no Magnus to save you...”
I swallow hard, wondering if I’m sure what I’m saying. Once I make the offer, there’s no turning back. But if I don’t, I’m not sure Jayden will live through the night.
“Well, you’ve had training since then,” I remind him. “You had no problem sampling from that girl back at the coven and letting her go afterward.”
“Yeah, sure, but I don’t love her,” Jayden blurts out. Wait—what? What did he just say? My heart starts pounding in my chest with the intensity of an 808 drum. “Jayden—”
His pale face pinkens. If he wasn’t a vampire, I imagine he’d be tomato red at this point. “Never mind,” he says quickly. “I can probably drink from you. If you’re willing to risk it, that is.”
At this point, I’m scarcely interested in the drinking discussion. I want to know more about his slip of the tongue. Does he really love me? What about Elizabeth? If he does love me, why did he kiss her? Well, kiss me thinking he was kissing her. But if he loved me he wouldn’t have tried to do that, right? Unless somehow deep inside he knew it was me, but pretended he didn’t so he could kiss me without any consequence.
This is so confusing. I shake my head. Don’t go there, Sunny. Why torture him and make him admit something that won’t do him any good? Loving me is probably a noose around his neck right about now. And if I press the issue, I’ll probably end up choking him.
So I let it go. But inside, I have to admit, I do feel a little warmer.
“Okay, let’s do this,” I tell him, back to the matter at hand. “Um, where do you want to bite? My arm? My leg?”
He manages to sit up on his mat, looking at me with sleepy green eyes, framed by lashes way too long for a boy. Smiling shyly, he points at my neck.
I bite my lower lip. “There? Really?”
He shrugs. “The blood there is the most powerful, according to the girls,” he says simply. But I wonder, suddenly, if he’s telling the whole truth about that.