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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
The smell of the blood dripping from a long cut on her left arm is nearly overwhelming. I imagine it sliding down my throat. Spicy, warm, and thick. So delicious. So satisfying. I take a step back. The girl's obviously been through something horrifying—the last thing she needs is some newbie vamp who's been denying herself proper food for the last few months to finally give in, grab her arm, and start sucking away.
I shake my head. I'll get a hamburger on the way home. Extra rare. No big deal. Really.
"Don't come any closer!" Cait cries, her hands in front of her face as if to ward off an impending blow.
"Cait! It's me. It's Rayne. Are you okay? You're obviously not okay."
I notice Jareth has taken a large step back as well. Proba-bly fighting the same urge I am to suck. We vampires really turn into monsters when it comes to fresh blood. And resis-tance often is futile.
"Rayne?" Cait whimpers, lowering her hands and look-ing up at me. "Is that really you?"
"Hang on. I'm going to call 911, all right?" I rummage through my messenger bag for my cell phone, flip it open, and start to dial.
"No!" Cait protests, yanking her sweater down over her arm and jumping off the toilet seat. She grabs the phone out of my hand and volleys it across the room. It skitters over the tiled floor, battery popping off the back.
“Uh, was that really necessary?" I demand, now angry on top of bloodthirsty and concerned. That's the third phone I've gone through this year. And Mom's never going to buy that it wasn't me who broke it this time.
"You don't need to call 911. I'm fine."
"Just a tiny cut. Not a big deal."
I scan the locker room, taking in the carnage. "Not a big deal? Look around, Cait. You're going to tell me nothing happened here?"
Cait's face crumbles and she bursts into tears. "No." She sobs. "Something did happen. Something really
. . . crazy. I can't explain it. It's too . . . too weird. You're going to think I'm insane."
"I promise you, Cait. Absolutely nothing you say will make me think you're insane." I put a hand on her shoulder. "Seriously." If only she knew about me, she'd think I was the one who needed the men in white coats to take me away.
"I saw . . . with my own eyes . . ." She shakes her head and leans against the locker-room wall, staring up at the ceil-ing. I can't help but notice the blood from her cut is now soaking through her sleeve. I force my eyes away. "Oh God, you're going to think I'm nuts. But the cheerleaders. They . . . they ... all of a sudden they—"
"Morphed into werewolves, trashed the place, and ran howling away into the night?" Jareth asks in a calm, matter-of-fact tone.
Cait's eyes grow wide as saucers as she stares at Jareth. "How did you know?" she demands, her voice trembling. "And who are you, anyway? And how did you get in the girls' locker room?"
"Don't worry, Cait. That's Jareth. My boyfriend. He's one of the good guys," I assure her. Then the enormity of what Jareth said hits me. I turn to him, my own eyes probably as wide as Cait's. "What did you just say?"
He shrugs, looking around the room. "From the evidence we see here, it seems quite possible that the entire squad has somehow been infected by the lycanthropy virus."
"In layman's terms, they've been turned into werewolves."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha!" I fake laugh as hard and loud as I can, trying to pretend his statement is ridiculous and nothing we should seriously consider a problem. After all, I don't want Cait to think we're a couple of freaks who believe in things like that. The girl's been through enough already tonight. Last thing she needs is to be told that creatures of the night aren't just made up monsters in horror movies, but live and walk among us. "Jareth, darling, you're such a kidder! So silly. Werewolves. Ha, ha, ha!" My mind races for a more believable, less monster-driven theory as to why the cheerleaders trashed the gym and took off.
Maybe it was their time of the month and they were really, really grumpy . . .
"Well, Rayne, actually it makes sense," Cait says slowly. "I mean, in an impossible way, but still. When I went into the bathroom to change, Mandy, Nancy, and the rest of the gang were their normal, beautiful selves. Blonde, blue-eyed, and certainly lacking any body hair whatsoever. Then when I came out, the locker room was filled with furry wolf women, running around like nutcases, howling up a storm, and destroying everything in their paths."
"Um. Yeah, but maybe someone ..." I'm so reaching here. "Er, let a pack of. . . wild dogs in the locker room by mistake. You know, through a back door or something?"
Jareth shoots me a pointed look.
"What?" I ask. "It could happen! In fact, that's probably exactly what did happen. Pack of wild dogs.
Maybe even coyotes. They left the door open and they just came in and—"
"The wolves were wearing bras and panties, Rayne."
Sigh. So much for convincing Cait the world is a nor-mal, monster-free place. She's scarred for life. One of us now. I wonder if she'd like to apply to become a vampire. And if so, is there a signing bonus for bringing in new recruits?
Cait bursts into a fresh set of tears. "You guys think I'm crazy, don't you? Like one of those people always getting ab-ducted by aliens. No one believes them either." She sniffles."Iknow what I saw. They were werewolves. They were really werewolves."