Carden is on the run, on the other side of the world in the ‘cradle of civilization' in Petra, Jordan. Far from his human lover, Rory, he's learning that reclaiming his father, Declen, the King of the Vampires might restore world order--but hasn't done much to strengthen familial ties.
Declen is angry that Carden worked as a whore and that he is gay…worse, he is furious that Carden not only fell in love with Rory, a mortal man, but abandoned him. Declen declares Carden unfit to help him in the epic battle between good and evil. He tells Carden to right his wrongs with Rory, that without love, without….entasy he is useless in the final showdown set to take place in the City of Blood.
The sun stayed high, blood red in a gray sky. It seemed Apocalyptic. How apt, Rory thought. This was the day of a new order, a change of biblical proportions.
“Man, this is gonna play havoc with the traffic lights,” Dennis muttered beside him as red lights started to come on all over Hollywood. Red replaced white in lampposts and Rory felt a wave of anguish.
They were alive and they were back in business, but high on their hill overlooking the city he loved, it didn’t feel like home anymore.
“It’s going to be okay,” he said with more conviction than he felt.
Vampires had taken over most of the city. Some said it was the end of the world, others said it was the beginning of change.
Rory stared at the sky, stunned by its stark beauty. But this dramatic development had nothing to do with vampires or the loss of so much blood. It was the result of Los Angeles’ raging wildfires. The chronic water shortage meant that the fires, started by rioters in the hills, were now moving closer to the city.
We’ll all burn and this is hell.
Rory’s thoughts became fragmented as two 747s roared overhead. He knew they were filled with water and heading to the point of origin. He felt a surge of hope as the last tank rolled down Sunset Boulevard toward the freeway. He felt like breaking into grateful applause.
His best friend, Dennis, put a hand on his shoulder as the last tank rumbled back to the military base in San Pedro. Rory felt its impact under his black tennis shoes.
Dennis let out a breath. “It’s over. No more Martial Law.”
Rory nodded. He knew in time they would all forget the days of blood-letting. The madness. The strange creatures that had emerged from the depths of the city, only to be destroyed by their own vampire leaders.
The city of Los Angeles would forget this like she’d forgotten earthquakes, the Rodney King riots and countless other states of emergency.
“Look,” said Dennis, sounding giddy with happiness.
Rory turned around and faced the club that had started it all, the club that had given and taken so much life from him and many, many others.
Eclipse didn’t look the same during the day, but following a nightmare four days of Martial Law, it was showing signs of indomitable life.
The big, red neon sign with the fang detail flickered on and he grinned.
Yep, we’re back in the game.
Each and every resident of the city had been forced to obey curfew at sunset. Even now, Vampire Army patrols still marched the streets, keeping the peace. Rory had stayed at the club the whole time, protecting it, getting it ready for tonight.
Lives had been lost, thousands of stores looted. Hundreds of people had fled the city, but still, Los Angeles was back in business.
Rory pushed the heavy wooden door to the club open and admired the efforts of all involved. The club had never looked better. Red leather and vinyl trim on all the new bar stools and club chairs juxtaposed the black, fake fur sofas and lampshades.
It was decadent and lush.
“What do you think?” Thiago asked, gesturing outside.
Rory grinned at the former brothel slave. Thiago, who was Dennis’ lover was a vampire who now chose to be known as a go-go dancer and, in his words, hung house husband.
Thiago’s fingers rippled through the red crystal chandelier adorning the entrance to the club he now had a financial stake in, along with all the other performers.
“It looks as good as new. Better than ever.”
“Perfect,” Thiago trilled. He was wearing a black leather thong and not much else, well, unless you counted Dennis’ hands constantly adorning his ass.
In an hour, the club would reopen. In one hour, patrons, old and new, would come here needing to forget dark times. They would want to have fun, they would want to relax. Rory ran through his mental to-do list. Yep. They were good to go.
He found Dennis in the kitchen running through the new menu for their newly installed tasting lounge. For a hefty fee, their patrons could now enjoy an eight-course meal of small bites as vampires modeled the latest sexy creations from tinsel town’s most provocative designers.
“All our girls in the house?” Rory asked.
Dennis nodded, grinning.
There were no girls, it was trade speak.
Eclipse had kept the club’s surviving vampire hookers. Most enjoyed the work and wanted to stay since really, they had no idea of what else they could do with their lives. Only now, they were here by choice and they got sixty-five percent of their income, plus all their tips.
Rory found the scantily clad workers waiting for him in the refurbished bar, early cocktails in their hands.
“It feels good, doesn’t it?” Bellis asked. A former vamp whore, he was the new bartender. He’d learned from Silk and Suede, both now dead, like so many others. He was a handsome Spaniard with long, dark hair and an easy manner.
Six staffers had miraculously survived the attack on Eclipse and Rory had galvanized new recruits.
Bellis and his lover Wen, a lanky Japanese vampire with a bent for BDSM, now had a share of profits in the bar take. They had concocted new, celebratory cocktails.
“Here, try this.” Bellis handed him a frosted red Martini glass.
Rory sipped. “Wow, that’s great. What is it?”
“Blood on the Rocks.”
Rory smiled. “I like it.”
“We have all kinds of plans.” Wen gave him a hopeful look.
“Fantastic,” Rory said. His sex workers waited, nervous, yet excited. “I don’t have to tell you all how glad I am that you trusted me and Dennis,” he began and his voice faltered.
Thiago glanced at the others and said, “Of course, we trust you. We’re with you one hundred percent.”
The others nodded, some still fearful that Blane, the former owner would rise from the dead.