Home > Soul Bound (Blood Coven Vampire #7)(6)

Soul Bound (Blood Coven Vampire #7)(6)
Author: Mari Mancusi

She purses her obviously collagen-injected, over-glossed lips, looking at me with clear disapproval in her purple contact–covered eyes.

“Um, did you want something?” I ask, suddenly eager to get rid of her and go back to my game. After all, those brain-hungry zombies won’t explode themselves, you know.

She sighs loudly, as if she’s carrying the weight of the world on her perfectly sculpted shoulders. “My name is Bertha,” she says at last.

“Bertha?!” I burst out laughing. I’m sorry—I can’t help it! This über hottie’s name is Bertha? For realz? I had always assumed there was some kind of law against hot chicks being named Bertha. A name like Bertha should be reserved for girls who look like that crazy ex-vampire slayer from back home who—

Oh crap. So that’s why she looks familiar….

“Bertha?” I cry, scrambling to my feet, trying to hide my shock. “Bertha the Vampire Slayer? Bertha the Vampire Slayer from Oakridge High School?”

Bertha had been the number one slayer in my neck of the woods, back in the day. She had some pretty major kills to her name, too. She’d even bagged Lucifent, the former leader of the Blood Coven. Unfortunately, her career had stalled out due to her inability to ever meet a drive-thru she didn’t want to go through twice. Those pesky blood pressure issues can really put a damper on one’s vampire slayer career.

But um, wow. I guess she kicked that problem.

“I probably look a little different then when you saw me last,” she says, preening a little. I catch her glancing at her own reflection in the bedroom mirror.

I nod. I mean, holy understatement of the century, Batman! This chick did not merely get her stomach stapled. She’d had a complete Heidi Montag makeover. Her once-pockmarked face is now porcelain-doll smooth. Her old stringy hair now flows down her back in silky waves. Her nose is at least three inches shorter and her breasts would make even Katy Perry cry.

“Wow, Bertha,” I say. “You look great. Really great.” And I mean it, too. Not that I’m into girls or anything. But if I was, she’d totally be first on my list.

She sniffs and I realize she’s moved away from the mirror and is now giving me a critical once-over. It’s then that I remember I’m currently dressed in Nightmare Before Christmas flannel pajamas, wearing no makeup, and haven’t brushed my hair since Tuesday. At this point, I’d be dead last on pretty much anyone’s list—male or female.

But still, there’s no need for the judgment here. I mean, it’s not like she gave me any heads-up of her impending arrival so I could apply some mascara.

“So to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?” I ask curiously. “I’m sure you didn’t fly more than halfway across the country to show off your extreme total makeover.” Though, to be honest, if I looked like her, I’d pretty much make that my full-time job from here on out. Tracking down all those boys who once rejected me, showing off my curves…

“I’m your new partner.”

… finding even hotter boys and stealing them away from their cheerleader girlfriends, only to dump them after—

Wait, what?

I stare at her. “My partner?” I repeat. If my heart was still beating, it’d be slamming against my chest right about now. What the hell is she talking about?

She nods. “The powers that be felt you might need some… motivation… in tracking down your sister. So they flew me out here to assist you.”

“Motivation?” I cry indignantly. “They think I have a motivation problem?” I give a loud, barking laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. A laugh that cuts short as I realize she’s staring smugly at the video game behind me. Particularly the game clock that’s still flashing on the screen.

“Oh, that!” I wave my hand dismissively. “That’s just practice. After all, you never know when you might meet up with a zombie while out on a Slayer Inc. mission. But don’t worry, Berth, my girl. Can I call you Berth? I am unsurpassed at perfect head shots. Seriously, brains start splattering all over the place at the mere the sight of my mighty BOOMstick.”

She raises an eyebrow. “That’s very… reassuring.”

I grab the remote and quickly shut off the TV. “But enough about me. Let’s talk about you! What have you been up to? Are you enjoying Vegas so far? Done any gambling? You have so got to try the Krave Lounge on Fridays. Amazing Goth scene. They’ve got the hottest—”

“Rayne!” Bertha interrupts. “We don’t have time for clubbing,” she says, spitting out the word as if it were poison. “We’re on assignment to track down your sister and Magnus. Or perhaps you forgot?” she adds, giving the television set another look of condemnation.

I frown. Am I missing something? After all, Teifert made my mission perfectly clear. As in, this is all basically a cover-up to buy them time. So why would they assign me back-up? Back-up who, I might add, seems awfully eager to get the job done… Could Jareth have been right? Could Slayer Inc.’s mission not be as heroic as I argued it to be?

No. I’d trust Teifert with my life. There’s got to be something else going on here.

“Who put you on this so-called assignment?” I ask, narrowing my eyes. “Not Slayer Inc. They would have told me.”

“That’s for me to know and you to find out,” Bertha sneers. Evidently she can play third grader as well as me. She plops down onto my bed. “Now, let’s talk strategy. Do you have any leads? Any idea where your sister and her boyfriend might have gone?”

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