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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
“No, wait! You barely know how to fly this thing. You’re going to need those,” Rachel reminds him, jumping off to throw the case back in, then boosting herself back up.
“I know, but ...” Corbin looks around frantically for other possible discards. At that moment, the rooftop swarms with guardians spilling through the shattered doorway, armed with stakes and crossbows.
“Get off the helicopter,” one of them commands into a megaphone. “You’re under arrest.”
The three of us look at one another. Then Rachel shoves an unfolded map in my hands. “The Blood Coven is waiting for you here,” she says, pointing to an X on the map. “Good luck!”
“Wait, what are you—?” I start to say, but before I can get out the words, she’s jumped off the ‘copter and is running toward the slayers. “Come and get me, bitches!” she cries.
“Rachel, no!” Corbin and I cry in unison.
But it’s too late. The guardians turn on her and let loose their crossbows. As the stakes pierce her body, she instantly poofs into nothingness—as if she were never there at all.
“Corbin, go!” I cry, bloody tears flooding my face. “Go now!”
Corbin slams the gear and the helicopter jerks upward, rising over the guardians. They try to shoot, but the wooden stakes bounce harmlessly off the bottom of the ’copter and rain back on the ground below.
I lean my head against the side of the helicopter, trying to catch my breath. “She didn’t have to do that,” I moan, mostly to myself.
“Actually, she did,” Corbin says simply, staring out the front window, steering the ’copter toward our destination. “It just surprised me that she did it.”
“Rayne!” I whirl around, my heart leaping to my throat as my eyes fall on Jareth—beautiful, sweet, adoring, wonderful, boyfriend Jareth—pushing through the cafe door and running toward me with all abandon. A moment later, I’m in his cool, vampiric embrace, his arms wrapped around me, squeezing me tight. I bury my face in his shoulder, bloody tears of relief raining down on his Batman T-shirt.
“Oh, Rayne,” he murmurs. “I thought you were dead. I thought you were dead and I didn’t know what to—”
“Shh,” I comfort, looking up at him. He’s got bloody tears in his eyes, too, and the love that radiates from them scorches me down to my core. I’ve missed him so much. More than I even realized. Because this is love. Real, honest, deep love between two people who trust each other more than anything in the world. Not some cheap, dirty lust brought on by a craving for blood. He lowers his head to brush his lips against my own and—
Corbin clears his throat. Ugh. Speaking of ...
I reluctantly break free from Jareth’s hug and turn back to see the Alpha has come up behind me. Guilt slashes through me as I catch sight of his agonized face. I guess all residue of the vampire scent has not deteriorated as I’d hoped. He hates me and yet he can’t help but love me. He’s fighting it, but it’s a brutal battle. And it’s all my fault.
“I’m Jareth,” my boyfriend greets, stepping up to Corbin and putting out his hand. “Thank you for helping Rayne escape from Riverdale. I am forever in your debt.”
Corbin scowls, refusing to take Jareth’s hand. He turns to me. “I just came to tell you that they brought over your Bloody Mary. Though sadly for you, I don’t think they used real blood,” he snarks bitterly.
I give him an apologetic look. After Rachel sacrificed her vampire life for us, we used her map, along with the helicopter’s on-board GPS, to find the nearest town and started heading in that direction. Luckily, Corbin’s virtual experience made him a pretty good real-life flyer, with the exception of a rather bumpy landing I’m sure I got bruises from. (But considering the alternative, I’ll take them!) From there, I purchased a pre-paid phone card and called Jareth on his cell to let him know we’d arrived.
Corbin slinks back over to the table, his shoulders hunched miserably. Jareth turns to look at me with questions in his eyes.
“Uh, sorry,” I say. “Let’s just say Corbin here isn’t the biggest fan of vampires.”
“I see.” Jareth watches him for a moment. “Rayne, can I speak to you alone?” he says suddenly.
“Um ... sure.” I follow Jareth out of the little town cafe and onto the cobblestone street. There aren’t many people out and about in this predawn hour, but he pulls me into a dark corner anyway. Then he turns to me, accusation in his eyes.
“You’ve drunk from him.”
My eyes widen in surprise and the familiar feeling of guilt slams through me once again. “Uh, how can you tell?”
“Because, my dear, it’s painfully obvious,” he replies, running a hand through his blond hair. “It’s also, I might add, going to be a painful problem.”
I cringe at his disapproval. This is so not how I wanted our reunion to go. “I couldn’t help it!” I protest. “There was no Blood Synthetic on campus. At least none that I knew of at the time. And I was dying of thirst.”
“You should have drunk from your sister then.”
“I couldn’t. She’s got this Holy Grail crap in her bloodstream,” I remind him. “It’s like vampire poison.”
“Well, then what about an animal?”
“I tried to eat a few extra-rare hamburgers. I just threw them up.” I screw up my face, remembering. “Anyway, I don’t get it. What’s the big freaking deal? You drink human blood every day.”