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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
“Yes, hi, I’m looking for a guest named Magnus?” I inform the hotel clerk at the Park Hyatt hotel in Shinjuku about an hour later. I thought taking a cab would save me time, but traffic was so terrible, it took twice as long. And gave me way too much time to think about what just happened.
I can’t believe I actually opened up to Jayden. Gave him my trust. Admitted my love. Only to find out he’s just as bad as the rest of them. A liar. Just like my dad. Just like Magnus. Will I ever meet a guy who will just respect me enough to tell me the freaking truth? God! I can’t believe I trusted Jayden. That I came all the way to Japan to try to save his life— putting everyone I love—and myself—in danger. Blaming myself, thinking I was responsible for his predicament. But no. The idiot did it all to himself. Willingly turned himself into an undead monster, just so he could hook up with me. And, sure, that might sound kind of romantic except for the fact that he then just sat back and let me beat myself up about the whole thing—believing that it was all my fault the poor guy pretty much lost his soul.
I can’t believe I actually felt sorry for him. I can’t believe I kissed him. I’m so ashamed of myself.
“Magnus?” the clerk repeats. “No one here by that name. So sorry.”
I bite my lower lip. Of course there isn’t. They’re here undercover to spy on the Alphas. They’re probably using pseudonyms. “Maybe you’ve seen him?” I ask the clerk without much hope. “He’s about this tall? Kind of looks like Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean? Green eyes to die for?”
The clerk just stares at me. “So sorry,” he repeats. Great. I walk over to a nearby bench and plop down. Here I am, just waiting to confess my sins, and I can’t even find my boyfriend to do it. And seeing as this hotel is at least fifty floors high with nearly two hundred guest rooms, the chances of me finding him on my own are slim to none.
I try dialing his cell phone again, but it goes right to voice mail. He’s probably in a meeting, as usual. I try my sister, too, but when the call is picked up, it’s not Rayne on the other end. Instead, a high-pitched voice says something I can’t understand in Japanese.
“Is Rayne there?” I try. “Rayne McDonald?” A gnawing worry starts eating at my stomach. Why would someone else answer her phone? Is she in trouble? “Do you speak English?”
“Ah, English. Yes,” says the voice on the other end. “I found phone. In alley. You know owner?”
Oh God. I white-knuckle my mobile, fear now washing over me in a wave. Maybe she just dropped it by mistake. No big deal. She’s already over at the ryokan, just waiting for me.
I try to get more details—what alley, what neighborhood, was it near the Bite Club? But the woman’s halting English doesn’t give me much to work with. Finally I give up, hanging up the phone and pacing the lobby, wondering what I should do. Magnus needs to know what’s going on so he can alert the Consortium. But at the same time, I can’t just hang around here when my sister could be in serious trouble.
Rayne, why did you have to go play the hero?
Just as I’m about to give up and head back and look for my sister, I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. I look up to watch the elevator doors slide open. My eyes widen as I recognize the tall blond woman in a crisp blue suit stroll into the lobby. Marcia. Magnus’s annoying Brady Bunch–esque secretary! I’ve never been so happy to see the bitch in all my life!
“Marcia!” I cry, scrambling up from my seat. “Oh my God, I need to find Magnus. Can you tell me what room he’s in?”
The vampire arches a cool eyebrow. “Well, well,” she sniffs. “Look what the bats dragged in. Aren’t you supposed to be on some holiday in jolly old England or something?” She looks a little too pleased with herself as she asks. Probably imagining all the trouble I’m going to get in with her boss when he finds out I’m here.
But I don’t have time to indulge her fantasies at the moment. “Come on, M,” I plead. “You can belittle me later, I promise. But I have to find Magnus now. I’ve got something really important to tell him.”
“Lord Magnus is in meetings all night with the other members of the Consortium,” Marcia informs me haughtily. “He asked not to be disturbed. Now, if you’ll excuse me...” She pushes by, hip-checking me on purpose, I’m sure of it. She’s still in love with Magnus and hates the fact that he picked a mortal chick over her illustrious vampiric secretarial self.
“Come on, Marcia,” I beg. “This is important.” Marcia lets out a long, drawn-out sigh. “Whatever you have to say to Lord Magnus, you can tell me and I’ll try to relay it to him between meetings. But no promises.”
Argh. As if I’d trust her. “Come on,” I beg. “This is an emergency! Don’t be like this.”
She cocks her head at me, her eyes burning with self-righteous fire. “Don’t be like what?” she demands. Uh-oh. “Don’t be a good assistant with the coven’s best interests at heart?” She scowls. “Why are you even here, anyway? You’ll only distract him again. Trying to pull him away from his important duties to our coven with your little whiny ‘What about me?’ shtick.”
I stare at her, horrified, wanting to defend myself, but not sure where to begin.
“You know, we could have already defeated the Alphas if Lord Magnus hadn’t skipped out to rescue you in Fairyland,” she continues. “And then, when he’s already on thin ice with the Consortium, he completely disobeys their orders and jaunts over to England with you, because you batted your eyelashes and pleaded.” She squeezes her hands into fists, her manicured nails digging into her palms. “And now you’re back. And with more trouble, I’m sure. I beg of you: Go home. Leave Magnus alone. We need him too much in this war to have him distracted over and over again by your pretty face.”