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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"Rayne!" Someone grabs my arm and yanks me back, just in the nick of time to save Cheerleading Barbie's perfect Ashlee Simpsonesque "after" nose.
I turn around, annoyed. If I was a healthy vamp, no mor-tal human would have been able to stop me like that. Stupid blood virus. I should start lifting weights.
I realize it's my current best friend, Spider, who's grabbed me. The only person in school who understands me. Which means she should understand my cheerleader rage and let me go.
"It's not worth it," Spider says, not living up to her potential.
"It is so worth it." I growl back, glancing over at the three girls, who are staring at me with haughty expressions. As if they really think they can even lay a scratch on my body. Puh-leeze.
"It's the first day of school. You really want to sit in de-tention the first day of school? I thought we were going to the My Chemical Romance concert tonight."
I sigh. "You're right, I guess. But look at those smug losers," I say, gesturing over to the Barbies. "They
deserve to die."
"Believe me, I'm not saying they don't. Just not necessar-ily before A period,'-' Spider says rationally.
"Besides, Mr. Teifert is looking for you."
Mr. Teifert is the school drama teacher and—as only I know—also president of Slayer Inc. I wonder why he's looking for me. After all, I'm technically retired from the Slayer biz. The virus made me too weak to perform my duties. But Teifert says once a Slayer, always a Slayer, and you never know when they might need me.
"Great." What fun assignment will he have for me this time? "Okay. I'll see you at lunch."
I watch as Spider turns and walks down the hallway, won-dering why no one picks on her. After all, she's not exactly the most normal kid in school either. When she was born, her par-ents raised her as
"gender neutral"—not treating her as a boy or a girl—just a person. She was only allowed to play with gender neutral toys—no Barbies or trucks for Christmas. And she was never put in dresses or allowed to wear baseball caps. The idea behind these avant-garde parenting techniques was that she could choose which gender she preferred when she was old enough to make the decision. But Spider's always been indecisive. She's now sixteen and she still hasn't made up her mind. Her last boyfriend was a drag queen, so I guess she's getting the best of both worlds.
I sneer one last time at the cheerleaders as I walk by, but they've already moved on to the all-important
"Does my makeup look all right?" part of their day and so they ignore me. Attention spans of gnats, let me tell you. I walk to the school auditorium's side entrance and push open the heavy metal door. It clangs shut behind me, leaving me in darkness. I always think the stage is spooky when there's no one about.
Not that I should be scared of the dark. After all, I'm the most dangerous creature here.
A spotlight illuminates the stage and Teifert, always one for drama—being the drama teacher and all—sits beneath it in a folding chair. Last year the school put on a great produc-tion of Bye Bye Birdie with Sunny in the starring role. I have to admit, the girl was pretty good.
"What's up, T?" I greet with a casual wave. "How's it hanging?"
He grunts, running a hand through his wild black hair. I don't think he really approves of me, even if last summer I did save the vampire and human races as we know them. I mean, a girl should get some props for that, I think.
"Rayne, we have a problem. And we need your help," he says, without so much as a "Hey, how was your summer?" intro.
Great. And here I thought all I'd have to worry about this semester was calculus.
"Of course you do." I sigh. "What is it this time?"
"Mike Stevens?" I scowl at the name of my arch nemesis. Lex Luthor to my Superman. Joker to my Batman. Mike Stevens is captain of the football team and officially the biggest dick in the universe. "What about Mike Stevens?"
"Uh, okay, T," I say. "Let's get something straight here. Mike Stevens missing doesn't necessarily qualify as a prob-lem. I mean, have you met the guy? Some might say a miss-ing Mike Stevens could be the best thing to happen to Oakridge High in a very long time."
"That's not all," Teifert says. "There's also something suddenly very odd about the cheerleaders."
"Odd about the cheerleaders?" I cock my head. See, I knew I should have kicked their butts when I had my chance. "You mean more odd than usual about a group of girls who want to dance and kick up their legs while wearing short skirts in the middle of a New England November?"
"Yes. And Rayne, this is going to sound strange, but. . ."
Strange. Ha! He's talking to a vampire who's also a vampire slayer who spent her spring exposing an evil vam-pire and keeping him from destroying the world. "Dude, after all I've been through, nothing's going to sound strange. Absolutely nothing in the known universe."
"Very well then. The cheerleaders? They've been heard, uh . . . growling."
Huh. Then again . . . maybe I'm wrong.
"Uh, growling? What do you mean, growling?"
"We're not sure exactly. But we think there's something very odd about their recent behavior. And now with the school's top quarterback missing, well, we feel it's something we need to check into."