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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"We don't really know," confesses Mike. "One minute I've just won a football game and the next morning I'm on a plane to England. It's like something ... or someone . . . was pulling me to this spot. I couldn't eat or sleep until I got here. It was the craziest thing ever."
"Yeah, I only got here a few days ago," adds Trevor. "But same story. Freaking bizarre."
"I've been here over a month now. And I haven't figured out any way to escape," Mike says. He pauses, then adds, "What does he want from us, Rayne?" His voice cracks. "I'm starting to think we're going to die here."
It's strange to hear him sound so vulnerable. The big, tough football player. The meanest guy in school. I guess being trapped in a cave on the side of a mountain in the middle-of-nowhere England for a month can do that to a guy. Maybe at the very least he's learned some life lessons and will be a kinder, gentler Mike Stevens when/if we get out ofthis mess.
"Okay, I'll tell you, but you probably won't believe me,"
Isay. "You're here because you've been bitten by a Lycan— that's like a werewolf to you and me."
"No shit, Sherlock. We've seen the dude."
"Not him. The cheerleaders. Back home in Oakridge."
The boys are silent for a second. Then Mike says, "Come on, Rayne. We're serious. Don't give us some fairy tale."
"I am serious. Remember the girls came to England for cheering competition this past summer?"
"How could I forget," Trevor groans. "I had to go with-out sex for seven days and seven nights when my baby Shantel went away."
Mike snorts. "Oh whatever. You totally hooked up with Candi that night at—"
"Shut the hell up, man," Trevor hisses. "This chick knows Shantel."
"Uh, uh. There's no way she hangs with Shantel."
"They're both on the cheerleading team!"
"What? No freaking way, man. Not Rayne McDonald. She'd never be a cheerleader."
"Dude, she is. I swear it."
I clear my throat. "Uh, boys? Can we try to focus here? You know, trapped in a cave, by an evil, fuzzy werewolf trying to make us part of his sick little pack? You can debate my cheering status and the likelihood of me telling Shantel about this Candi chick once we get out of here."
"Sorry," they mutter in sync.
"But I didn't cheat on Shantel," adds Trevor. "Candi totally jumped me at this party, even after I said—"
"Uh, we were focusing, remember?" I sigh. "So now what we have to do is—"
But I can't finish my sentence because the big bad wolf is back.
Orpheus storms up the hillside and grabs me by the throat, pulling me to my feet. I cough as he crushes my lar-ynx, making it nearly impossible to breathe.
"You told the Order," he growls. "You told them about my American pack. My she-wolves across the sea." He drops me and I fall back to the ground, slamming my butt against the stone.
"Yes, I did," I say, trying to sound braver than I feel. "And the Order is currently mixing up an antidote for all of them. Your pack of wolf bitches will soon transform back into a squad of human—well, some may still refer to them as bitches. And as for you—"
I stagger sideways as Orpheus cuffs me upside the head.
"How dare you interfere!" he says, slumping down to all fours. "You've ruined everything!"
"For you, maybe. How about them? Do you think they like sprouting fur and fangs every time there's a full moon? I mean,do you have any idea how much laser hair removal and cosmetic dentistry costs these days?"
Orpheus sighs. He blinks a few times, then slides back into human form. It really is a fascinating transformation and I find myself watching closely, briefly wishing I had a video camera to record it and throw it up on YouTube for all to see.
"All I wanted was a pack to call my own," he mumbles, head in his hands. "The Order was so dismissive of me. I never fit in there. I wanted to create a new line of Lycans who would be, would be . . . my friends."
I stare at him. Is he crying?
Suddenly I feel a pang of empathy for the guy. I know more than anyone what it's like not to fit in. For everyone to think you're a crazy freak and not want to be your friend. But still. . .
"You can't force people to become your friends by infect-ing them with a virus," I reason. "People have to want to be your friends."
"No one ever wanted to be my friend."
I can't believe I'm feeling pity for the guy who's kid-napped me and tied me up. "Look, I understand what you're going through. I'm an outcast of sorts as well. I don't fit in with anyone at school. And none
of the vampires like me ei-ther. But you know what? I'm going to have to be okay with that. And not be so angry and hateful all the time. Take my old best friend, Mandy."
"Shewas friends with Mandy?" I hear Mike whisper to Trevor. I'd forgotten for a moment we had an audience.
"See, dude, I told you she was a cheerleader."
"Funny thing about Mandy," I say, ignoring the peanut gallery,"Ithought for years that she had ditched me to be-come one of the popular kids. That she didn't think I was cool enough to hang out with her. But I found out this week that it may have been me who ditched her. Because I was afraid she was leaving me behind, I started rebelling in the other direction. Scorning everything she wanted to become because I was afraid I couldn't become it myself."