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|Blood Ties(Blood Coven Vampire,book 6) by Mari Mancusi|
“Go on,” Magnus urges.
“Well, we know that Corbin has been listening to Jayden’s thoughts, which has kept him one step ahead of us this entire time.”
“Well, what if we plant some kind of thought in Jayden’s head? Tell him some kind of secret location or something. And when Corbin goes there, we’ll kidnap him and demand he bring us to their headquarters.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Jareth muses. “Though we’d need Jayden to believe what he’s thinking. Otherwise Corbin may see through it. It’s hard to hide one’s true thoughts.”
“I think you two are forgetting something,” Magnus interjects. “They already have what they want from Jayden. Rayne’s already their prisoner. Meaning Corbin’s probably no longer listening in.”
I frown, realizing he’s right. “If only it worked the other way, too,” I say with a sigh. “Then it’d be easy.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we know that Corbin’s stayed a step ahead of us because he can read Jayden’s mind. It’s just too bad Jayden can’t read his mind back. Like two- way telepathy.”
“Have you ever asked Jayden if he could?” Jareth asks suddenly.
I look up, surprised. “Well, no. I just figured...” I trail off. Maybe he’s right. Maybe Jayden can read Corbin’s mind. “But don’t you think he would have told me if he could?” I ask.
“Maybe he doesn’t know he can,” Jareth says. “Maybe it’s not a conscious thing. But if there’s some kind of link, we may be able to reverse it through hypnosis. If he’s willing, I should be able to focus his mind and have him push the other direction. To see inside Corbin’s head.”
“You can do hypnosis?” I ask, eyes widening. “I had no idea.”
He blushes. “When you’ve been around a thousand years, you tend to pick up a few random skills here and there.”
“Nice. Have you ever considered hypnotizing my sister?”
“Why? You want her to cluck like a chicken?”
“I’m thinking bigger picture. Like give her the undeniable urge to pick up after herself. Especially in our shared bedroom.”
Magnus rolls his eyes. “Focus, people,” he interjects. “Sunny, do you think Jayden would be amenable to this?” he asks. “It won’t be easy if he’s not a willing subject.”
My mind flashes back to Jayden. His declarations of devotion. Our secret kiss. The look on his face when I walked out of the ryokan, leaving him behind. “Yes,” I reply. “He feels terrible about what he’s done and will do whatever it takes, I’m sure, to set things right. I mean, it wasn’t like he did all of this on purpose. He just wanted to—” I stop short, realizing I haven’t actually revealed this part of the story to my boyfriend.
Magnus looks at me pointedly. “He wanted to...?” he prods.
“He just wanted to get me to like him,” I admit. “He thought he’d have a better chance with me if he were a vampire.”
Magnus rolls his eyes. “Stupid kid,” he says scornfully. “I mean, everyone who knows you knows you pretty much can’t stand vampires.”
“I don’t know,” I say with a small smile. “They’re growing on me.”
Jareth rises to his feet. “Okay,” he says. “Let’s head to your hotel and find Jayden. We’re running out of time and we must save your sister.”
“Jayden, are you here?” I ask, bursting into our ryokan bedroom, Jareth and Magnus hot on my heels. In my haste I don’t even bother to take off my shoes—a definite faux pas—and end up regrettably trouncing a great deal of mud into the room.
I scan the small area, my eyes falling on Jayden standing by the window, staring out into the night. Thank goodness he’s still here. He turns as he hears me, his expression more than a bit nervous. Especially when Magnus and Jareth step into the room after politely taking off their own shoes. They have such better manners than me.
“Sunny!” he cries. “You... you came back.”
“Of course I did,” I assure him as guilt starts clawing at my gut. What, did he think I was going to leave him here forever? Never speak to him again? I guess in a way he deserves it. But I know what he did was out of love. And we’ve all done stupid things out of love. “I couldn’t just leave you here, now, could I?”
His shoulders slump. “Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did. I mean, I pretty much screwed everything up. All those people at Bite Club were killed—because of me. All those vampires staked. And your sister...” He hangs his head. “I’ve been staring out the window, waiting for dawn. So I can walk outside and burn myself to death. After what I’ve done, I don’t deserve to live.”
“Oh, Jayden, don’t say things like that,” I plead, horror washing over in a wave. “We’ve all made mistakes. And we may be able to set this right—and save my sister. But we need your help.”
His eyes brighten. “Yeah? I’ll do anything. Anything. I know I can’t make up for all I’ve done, but whatever I can do to help... I’ll do it.” He looks at me with an agonized expression on his beautiful face, which breaks my heart. I want to be furious with him. But how can I?