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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"Vegetable soup," he says, walking over to the counter and picking up a knife. I watch, enthralled, as he dices a car-rot. He grabs the slices and throws them in the pot. "I figured since this is a house filled with vegetarians, I'd better start learning to just say no to my meat-and-potatoes lifestyle and learn some new recipes."
I breathe in through my nose, savoring the soup smell. So good. So, so good. I have to fight the urge not to push him out of the way, grab the pot, and dump the whole thing down my throat in one gulp.
"Well, it smells delish," I admit.
"Sorry you won't be able to have any," he says in an overly sympathetic tone. "It must be hard to give up food." David works for Slayer Inc. and is one of the few people on earth that knows I'm now a vamp.
All I can say is he better never tell my mom.
I scowl. "What makes you think I want any?"
"The drool at the corner of your lips," he says with a chuckle.
Oh. I reach up to wipe my mouth with my sleeve.
"That's not from soup envy," I explain, even though of course it is. "It's the bloodlust. I'm actually contemplating sinking my teeth into your jugular and sucking all the blood out of you until you're completely dry and shriveled up." I don't know why, but I find it amusing to try to shock and anger him.
Unfortunately for me, he doesn't take the bait. "Sure you are," he says with a patronizing smile. "You forget I have ac-cess to your file, my dear. I know you're still on synthetics."
"You looked at my file?" I cry, up until this moment not even aware I had a file. But if I do, I know I sure as hell don't want my mom's boyfriend checking it out! "What right do you have to look in my file?"
"I'm your guardian," he says simply. "It's my job to know these things."
"Well, I'm going to tell Slayer Inc. I want a new guardian. Or no guardian at all. You're my mom's boyfriend. There's gotta be a conflict of interest in there somewhere."
"I checked out the rules and I assure you, Rayne, it's per-fectly on the up and up," David says. "And
speaking of, how is your latest assignment going? Teifert tells me the cheerlead-ers are actually Lycans?"
I open my mouth to retort that it's none of his business when my mom walks in. All talks of the fanged and furry must cease.
"Hi, honey," Mom says, coming over to kiss me on the forehead. "How was school?"
I want to tell her about the football game. About my stu-pid English teacher who believes he's the greatest author since Shakespeare and forces us to sit and endure his poetry during class. And about a whole slew of other things that daughters share with their moms. But he's here. And I don't want him knowing anything about my life that he doesn't have to. He already knows too much—having looked into my file and all.
"Fine," I say, going the one-word answer route.
It doesn't matter anyway. Mom's already moved on to David, evidently feeling the one standard question satisfies her obligatory daughter-discussion requirement for the night. She walks up behind him and wraps her arms around his waist. He turns around, soup spoon in hand. She opens her mouth and he gives her a taste.
"Mmm," she says. "Delicious." She stands on her tiptoes to kiss him on the mouth. So gross. I turn away.
"You're a great cook, sweetie. Much better than I could ever be."
"The neighbor's dog is a better cook than you'll ever be, Mom," I mutter.
Mom's face falls and I feel bad for being snarky. She tries hard. And she's never had any help. And look at her—she's happy! With a great guy who cooks. Why can't I be okay with that? But I can't be. I'm just too annoyed.
"Your mother is a fine cook," David scolds me. "And she works very hard. You guys should appreciate all she does for you."
Now he's lecturing me about being nice to my mom. I can't stand it! I'm always nice to my mom. Okay, well, the neighbor's dog jab wasn't exactly a Mother Teresa moment, but really, I'm a good daughter with lots of respect for the Momster. He so needs to mind his own business.
"Mom knows I appreciate her," I snarl. "And you're not my father."
"No," David says under his breath so Mom can't hear. "If I were your father I'd be off in the high-stakes poker room in Vegas."
That's it. I'm not going to take this from him. Not father cracks. Not when he should know how sensitive a subject that is with me. (If he'd read my file and all!) I start to lunge toward him, ready to attack. "You take that back!" I cry, shoving him in the chest. I catch him off balance and he falls back against the stove, making it look like my push was a lot harder than it really was.
"Rayne!" my mom cries, horrified and furious. She jumps between the two of us before I can take another swing at him. "Stop it! Now! What's wrong with you?"
David stares at me with cool eyes, as if daring me to keep going. I curl my hands into fists and take a deep breath, re-minding myself that in addition to being my mom's boyfriend he also works for Slayer
Inc. How much power does he have over there, anyway? Could he tell Teifert about my outburst and get me nanoed?
I look at my mom. She's sunk into a kitchen chair, head in her hands. Is she crying? God, that stupid David made her cry. He so deserves me to kick his ass.
"You bastard!" I say, furious. "Look at what you've done! You made my mother cry."