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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"But I'm a vampire slayer, not Ace Venfootball, Jock Detective. What does this have to do with me?"
"Rayne, why is it you feel the need to argue with every single thing I say?"
"Because every single thing you say is usually stupid and ridiculous."
Teifert sighs. "Here's your assignment. And no, until we get our replacement slayer trained, you can't get out of this. We need you to go try out for the cheerleading squad. Infil-trate their ranks. Find out what's going on."
I stare at him aghast, too stunned to answer at first. Then I find my voice. "No effing way."
"Rayne, do I have to remind you of the nanos still in your blood?"
Ugh. Why does he always have to go there? Basically, for those of you just joining us, when they selected me as a potential slayer girl at birth, the nurse—a secret Slayer Inc. operative—injected me with some kind of nanovirus that lives in my bloodstream. And if I refuse a mission, all Slayer Inc. has to do is activate the virus and I'm dead. Nice, huh?
"But wait a second! I'm a vampire. I'm immortal. You can't threaten me with nanodeath anymore." Ha!
Answer that one, T-Man!
"The nanos are encapsulated shards of wood. If activated, they'd head straight for your heart. Basically, you'd be staked from the inside out."
Um, wow. That's .. . wow.
I swallow hard before speaking. "It's not that I don't want to do this," I argue. Yeah, right. Do I sound convincing? "It's just that there's no way the cheerleaders are going to let me join their ranks. All teens may look alike to you, T, but take a closer look at yours truly. I'm not cheerleader material. I don't dress like a cheerleader, I don't talk like a cheerleader, I can't do splits or back handsprings to save my life.
Oh, and there's the whole 'they are my archenemies and want to kick my ass' thing to contend with.
There's no way in hell they're going to let me on the squad."
"Rayne, you're a smart girl. You'll figure out something," Teifert says. He gets up from his chair, reaches in his pocket, and hands me a hall pass. "Now you'd better get to first pe-riod. Don't want to get a detention the first day."
"But we're not finished talking. This is an impossible as-signment. I mean, infiltrating seedy blood bars and staking evil vampires? That I can handle. Cheerleaders? No effing way."
"Good luck, Rayne," Teifert says, jumping off the stage and heading toward the main exit. "I'll expect a report from you in a week."
I slump into the folding chair, staring at my hall pass. Great. Just great.
So then he says I have to join the cheerleading squad!" My boyfriend, Jareth, reaches over to squeeze my and in sympathy. His is squishy with suntan oil. A bit grossed out, I pull my hand away to wipe it on my towel.
Yes, it's after school and we're at the beach. Again. Sigh.
Ever since Jareth found out that the blood virus had bonded with the melanin in his skin and he was, for the first time in like a thousand years, able to go outside during the day, he's become the biggest sun worshipper to ever walk the earth. When we first met we'd go to dark, enchanting goth clubs and dance the night away. These days, all he wants to do is tan and surf. Yup. My perfect, pasty, eyeliner-wearing, Goth vampire boyfriend is now a beach bum.
I've tried to humor him. To be understanding. After all, I imagine it's been rough, sleeping in coffins for a millennium. And to finally get a chance to rejoin the human race? Yeah, that's got to be pretty enticing.
Still, I hate the beach.
"Well, look on the bright side. I bet you'll look pretty sexy in one of those short skirts," he teases.
I swat at him, careful to avoid his grease. Since he has no chance of developing skin cancer, he douses himself with baby oil every time. I, on the other hand, am fully clothed from head to toe and sitting under a black umbrella. The last thing I want to do is ruin my perfectly pale complexion.
"Whatever. I'm so not doing this. One, it'll ruin my rep. Imagine! Me! Rayne McDonald. A cheerleader!
And two, they'd never, ever in a million years let me on the squad."
"That, I don't believe."
"What? Why not?"
"If you wanted to, you could get on that squad."
God, he can be so naive. "No way. Look, Jareth," I argue, trying to be patient. "I know you were born a billion years ago, but let me tell you a little bit about twenty-first-century high school. There are two requirements to being a cheer-leader: One, you have to be one of the Populars; and two, you have to be able to flip your legs over your head. Neither ofwhich I have any chance of doing. Though I think the flippingthing would probably be easier, now that I think aboutit."
"You underestimate yourself, as always. Give away your power.Rayne ..." Jareth turns to me, looking me straight in theeye. "What color is your parachute? And who moved yourcheese?"
Ugh. Ever since he was forced to retire as General of the BloodCoven Army due to the blood disease's weakening effects,he's decided to learn new replacement skills so he can beknown for his brains rather than his brawn. Problem is, insteadof going back to school, taking night classes, what-ever,he's decided to do this by stocking up on self-help books.And now every time we get into a discussion he starts quotingsome sort of ridiculous psychobabble or other.
"Okay, okay. I'll try out for the squad," I relent. "I don't havemuch of a choice, anyway." Better to give in now, before I'msubjected to a lecture on how to win friends and influence cheerleaders."Rah, rah, rah, and all that!"