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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"I was always the weakest," Orpheus confesses. "I couldn't run as fast. I couldn't catch any game. None of the female wolves liked me. So I decided to leave and start my own pack. Show them that I didn't need anyone."
"One thing I've learned, Orpheus, is that we can't be afraid to need people in life. I know it makes us seem helpless and weak, but sometimes, admitting you need help can be strong in and of itself." Wow, that sounded pretty good. Especially since I made it up on the fly. Maybe instead of see-ing a shrink, I should become one.
Orpheus rises to his feet. "You seem like a smart girl, Rayne," he says, sounding apologetic. "I'm really sorry I'm going to have to kill you."
Kill me? Fear shoots through my heart. "Why would you have to kill me?" I cry.
"I have to kill all of you." He shrugs. "The Order knows what I did, thanks to you. Soon they'll find my den and they'll use you as evidence against me. I'll be hanged for my crimes against the pack. And I can't let that happen. So I'll have to kill you and eat the evidence."
Okay, being killed is bad enough. But being eaten as well?
He shape-shifts again, back to wolf form. He slowly ap-proaches me, step by step, paw after paw.
Desperate, I flip myself over and attempt to wiggle away like a worm—the most stupid escape attempt known to mankind. My heart pounds in my chest. My body grows numb. Oh my God, I can't believe I'm going to actually die. Die and be eaten by a werewolf. And Jareth will never know what happened to me.
Jareth, please help me!I cry one more time.
A moment later, the wolf is on me, grabbing my leg in his mouth and yanking me backward. Teeth dig into my flesh, piercing my skin as I'm pulled back into the cave. I scream and kick at his face, but he's too strong.
This is it. I'm going to die. But not right away. I'm a vam-pire and immortal. So I'll be alive for all of it.
Every last bite. Until he clamps down on my neck, sharp fangs ripping through sinew, severing my head from my—
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bat sweeps into view with a high-pitched screech. I look up. It's big, it's black, and head-ing right toward Orpheus's face. He drops my leg, letting out a bellow of surprise as it
attacks, beating its rubbery wings against the wolf's eyes, his nose, his mouth.
I watch, amazed. Could it be? It's impossible. Jareth doesn't have any powers. And the other vampires would never rescue a slayer. Still, I can't imagine this is just some random bat. Somehow or other I've been rescued. The undead cavalry has arrived.
A moment later the bat poofs into a cloud of smoke and suddenly Jareth himself appears on the hillside.
I burst into tears, I'm so happy to see him. Big, bad, beautiful Jareth. My true love. My hero. He's dressed all in black, looking gor-geous and powerful. And best of all, he's got a gun in his hand, aimed straight at the wolf. (How he transported that gun while in bat form, I'll never know.)
"No one messes with my Raynie," he states, just before squeezing the trigger.
The gun goes off. The wolf yelps once, then collapses onto the cave floor. It convulses a few times, its chest rising and falling, then goes completely limp.
I stare at the wolf, then up at Jareth, tears of joy now streaming down my face.
He reaches me in an instant, throwing his arms around me and pulling me close. "Oh, Rayne," he murmurs. "I was afraid I'd get here too late."
I bury my face in his shoulder, sobbing and laughing all at the same time. Jareth. My wonderful Jareth.
The vamp who saved my life. My blood mate. Forever and always.
"Jareth," I cry. "I'm so glad you came. I was afraid you couldn't hear me."
"Of course I could hear you," Jareth says, leaning down to untie my hands and feet. "I heard you the first time you cried out. It just took me some time to track you down." He rips a piece of his shirt and ties it around my leg to stop the bleeding. Then he helps me to my feet.
I kick Orpheus with my toe, to make sure he's really dead and it's not going to be one of those horror movie scenes where the corpse always rises one more time. But he's total dog meat.
"Silver bullet," Jareth explains. "Just like in the movies."
"I'm so sorry about yesterday," I say, covering his face with kisses. "Well, the last month actually. I've been so stu-pid. So selfish. You've been wonderful. Everything I could want in a blood mate. And I took it all for granted. I guess I just. . . panicked. I mean, I felt trapped in a way. Like, I couldn't believe I'd be with someone forever. But then, when I realized I'd lost you, I knew I couldn't face forever without you by my side."
He smiles and kisses me back. "I'm sorry, too, Rayne," he says. "I should have been more sensitive to your feelings. You were a new vamp, just learning the ropes of unlife. As your blood mate, I was the one who was supposed to teach you, be there for you. And yet I was so caught up with the idea of being able to walk out in the sun, I neglected my duties. I be-came angry and impatient when you floundered on your own, knowing deep inside it was all my fault you weren't adjusting properly. I should have been there for you and I'm sorry I wasn't. I hope you can forgive me."
"Of course I do," I say. "As long as you forgive me for being such a bitch. Vampire transformation, new hormones or no, there's no excuse for how bratty I've been. Especially to you, who I love more than anyone, ever." I press my face against his chest, feeding on his warmth. Suddenly some-thing occurs to