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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
"So, uh, basically you need to either wait 'til the next full moon or figure out a way to get the entire squad turned on at one time?" Cait asks.
"Yup. And I'm not one for waiting." I pull out a magazine cutout from my bag and unfold it. Race Jameson, rock star extraordinaire, grins back at us from the printed page. "Meet my secret weapon."
"You're going to show them a magazine cutout?" Cait ex-claims.
"Not exactly," I say, flashing a grin at Sunny. She nods, knowing right where I'm going with this one.
"But you'll see soon enough. First, I need to get all the cheerleaders in one place." I turn to Cait. "And that's where you come in."
It's seven P.M. and I'm pacing the living room floor of my house, waiting for my mom to leave. She's taking her damn sweet time getting ready for her date with David. I glance over at him. He's looking at his watch, too. He knows timing is everything and for once I'm glad I have him on my side. He may be an annoying future stepfather figure, but he's still an operative of Slayer Inc. and has operation Get Mom Out of the House under control.
"Sweetie, our dinner reservations are in a half hour," he calls up the stairs. "We need to get going."
"Just a minute, David. I'm putting on lipstick."
"Gah, before she met you she didn't own a tube of lip-stick," I mutter.
He laughs. "Hey, she looks gorgeous wearing it. I'm not going to fight that battle."
"Yeah, yeah. Tell her to apply it in the car. The cheerlead-ers will be here any minute now and we can't let Mom know we're staging a save-the-town party in her living room on a school night. She'd absolutely kill me."
"Are you sure everything's in place?" David walks over and rechecks the front door. "Automatic locks working?"
"Yup. I tested them a few minutes ago. You did a great job putting them in." I press a remote control and the entire house seals up. I release the button and it's an open house again.
"Thanks. I used to be an engineer before I joined Slayer Inc. So I'm pretty handy with rigging up this kind of stuff."
"Yeah, well, I. . . appreciate it. I couldn't have set this up without you." It kills me to compliment the guy, but he did put a lot of work into this plan.
"No problem." He grins. "It's all in a day's work."
"Yeah, but I know how you feel about me. And I haven't been very grateful."
"Don't worry. I get it. I'm your guardian and I'm also dat-ing your mom. That must be pretty weird for you."
I shrug."Idon't know."
"Aw, come on, Rayne. Of course it is. Some strange guy comes into your home, kicks you out of your room, spends all his free time with your mom. It's gotta be rough."
"Okay, fine. It is a bit . . . annoying. Especially the room part. Or the mom part. I don't know. It's all weird. Nothing against you personally. Just, we've been an all-girl family for a long time."
"Ihave to tell you something, Rayne," David says, his voice growing serious. "My condo isn't really being painted."
"What? What do you mean?" I stare at him, once again angry. Was this just his clever ruse to get into Mom's bed? And here I'd been thinking he wasn't such a bad guy after all. "Why the hell are you here then?"
"Slayer Inc. has had reports of a new threat coming into town. We're not sure of the details, but there's been intelli-gence that it may be after someone in your family. They're keeping it on the down low. I'm not even supposed to know this. But I heard it from a very reliable source. So I decided I should stay close, just in case," he says. "I love your mom, Rayne. And I want to protect her family as best I can."
"Oh my God!" I cry. "Something's coming after our fam-ily? But why? 'Cause Sunny's Magnus's girlfriend? Or 'cause I'm the slayer?"
"They don't know. But actually they think it might have something to do with your mother."
"What? But Mom's not a part of any of this! She's an in-nocent bystander. She doesn't even know the supernatural world exists."
"There's more to your mom than you know, Rayne," David says mysteriously.
Footsteps start down the stairs. Mom's on her way down. David lowers his voice. "No time to explain.
But know this: I'm here living in your house to ensure your mother and you girls are protected. Because I care about all of you. Whatever it is, whenever it comes, I will do everything to keep you all safe."
Suddenly the nerdy house invader looks somewhat like a superhero in the dim lighting.
"Thanks," I whisper back. "Just promise to keep me in the loop. After all, I'm still the slayer, right?
Maybe I can even help."
He nods, then straightens to address my mother. "Don't you look gorgeous," he exclaims, whistling.
My mom beams, twirling around. She's wearing a gauzy pink dress with a rose-petal pattern. She does look gorgeous. And happy, too. I remember how bored and sad she used to be before she met David.
He's good for her, whether I want to admit it or not. And if he's really here to keep us safe, then that's even better.
"Go! Go!" I urge, remembering the timing we're working under. Future threats must be sent to the back of my mind. Tonight, I have to catch and cure me some werewolves. "En-joy dinner. Have a good time.