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.His touch would wipe away Erik's hurt and the terrible things he'd said and make me stop feeling so broken.I put my hand flat against the door so that I could push it all the way open and go in to him.Then she laughed, low and musical and seductive, and my world stopped.It was Neferet.She was in there with Loren.There was no mistaking that sound—that beautiful, alluring laughter.Neferet's voice was as distinctive as Loren's.When the laughter stopped, her words came to me, sliding through the crack between door and frame like a poisonous mist."You've done well, my darling.Now I know what she knows, and everything is coming together perfectly.It will be a simple thing to continue to isolate her.I just hope the part you have to play isn't too unpleasant for you." Neferet's voice was teasing, but there was an edge of hardness to it."She's easy to lead around.A shiny present here, a pretty compliment there, and you have true love and a popped cherry sacrificed to the god of deception and hormones." Loren laughed again."Young girls are so ridiculous—so predictably easy."I felt like his words were piercing my skin in one hundred different places, but I made myself move silently forward so that I could peek in through the cracked door.I got a glimpse of a big room filled with rich leather furniture and lit by lots of pillar candles.My eyes were drawn instantly to the centerpiece of the loft—the huge iron bed in the middle of the room.Loren was lying back on it, propped up by zillions of fat pillows.He was completely naked.Neferet was wearing a long red dress that hugged her perfect body and dipped low to show the top of her boobs.She paced back and forth as she spoke, letting her long, manicured fingers trail over the iron railing of Loren's bed."Keep her busy.I'll make sure that little gang of friends deserts her.She's powerful, but she'll never be able to tap into her gifts if she doesn't have her friends to help keep her head on straight while she's chasing around after you." Neferet paused and tapped a slender finger against her chin."You know, I was surprised by the Imprint, though." I saw Loren's body jerk.Neferet smiled."You didn't think I'd be able to smell it on you? You reek of her blood, and her blood reeks of you.""I don't know how it happened," Loren said quickly, the obvious irritation in his voice driving daggers into my heart so that I could feel it shattering into tiny pieces."I guess I underestimated my acting abilities.I'm just relieved that there's nothing real between us—saves me from the messy emotions and bond that would go with a true Imprinting." He laughed."Like the one she had with that human boy.He must have experienced some nasty pain when that was broken.Weird that she was able to Imprint so fully with him before she's Changed.""More proof of her power!" Neferet snapped."Even though she has been ridiculously easy to lead astray for a Chosen One.And don't pretend to complain that she Imprinted with you.You and I both know it just made the sex more pleasurable for you.""Well, I can tell you that it was damned inconvenient that you sent the gallant Erik to find his little girlfriend so soon.Couldn't you have given me a few more minutes to finish up?""I can give you all the time you want.Actually, I can leave right now and you can go find your little teenage lap dog and finish up."Loren sat up.Leaning forward he grabbed Neferet's wrist."Come on, baby.You know I don't really want her.Don't be angry with me, love."Neferet easily pulled away from him, but the gesture was more teasing than mad."I'm not angry.I'm pleased.Your Imprint breaking the bond with the human boy has left Zoey even more alone.And it's not like your Imprint with the chit is permanent.It'll dissolve when she Changes, or dies," she finished with a mean little laugh."But would you rather it didn't dissolve? Perhaps you've decided you prefer youth and naïveté to me?""Never, love! I'll never want anyone like I want you," Loren said."Let me show you, baby.Let me show you." He moved quickly to the end of the bed and took her into his arms.I watched his hands roam down her body, a lot like he'd touched me not long before.I pressed my hand against my mouth so I wouldn't sob out loud.Neferet turned in Loren's arms and arched her back against him as his hands continued to moved all over her body.She was facing the doorway.Her eyes were closed and her lips were parted.She moaned in pleasure and her eyes opened slowly, almost sleepily.And then Neferet was looking directly at me.I whirled around, ran down the stairs, and burst out of the building.I wanted to keep running away.Anywhere that was far, far away, but my body betrayed me.I was only able to stagger a couple steps from the door.I did manage to get to the shadows behind one of the well-trimmed holly hedges before I bent at the waist and puked my guts up.When I stopped gagging and dry heaving I started walking.My mind wasn't working right.I was disoriented with terrible, whirling thoughts.I was feeling more than thinking, and all I could feel was pain.The pain told me Erik had been right, except he'd underestimated Loren.He'd thought Loren was just using me for sex.The truth was that Loren hadn't even wanted me.He'd only used me because the woman he did want had put him up to it.I wasn't even a sex object to him.I was an inconvenience.He'd only touched me and told me all those things… all those beautiful things because he'd been playing a part given to him by Neferet.To him I meant less than nothing.Stifling a sob, I reached up, yanked the diamond posts from my earlobes, and with a cry hurled them away from me."Damn, Zoey.If you were tired of those diamonds, you could have said something.I have some drop pearls that would go great with that dorky snowman necklace Erik gave you for your birthday, and I would have traded them for the rocks."I turned around slowly, like my body might shatter if I moved too fast.Aphrodite was just coming out of the sidewalk that led to the dining hall.She was carrying a weird fruit in one hand and a bottle of Corona in the other."What? I like mangos," she said."The dorm never has them, but the vamps' kitchen fruit fridge always does.Like they'll miss a mango here and there?" When I didn't say anything, she continued, "Okay, okay, I know beer's common and kinda tacky, but I like it, too.Hey, do me a favor and don't ever tell my mom [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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