Welcome to Vampire Court, where nothing is as it seems, where justice is swift and severe for the guilty, and the rules are not to be broken.
Meet Winter, a gorgeous, human-despising vampire accused of mass murder. Winter hides a secret that could clear him of the charge, a secret he fights to conceal. If known, it would be worse than the murder charge he faces.
Meet Dustin Belmont, fresh out of law school. He is also struggling, trying to jump-start his career, unable to turn down this job offer, no matter how weird these people seem.
Dustin is trying to wrap his head around who or what his new client is. Forced to spend a week at The Source, the bizarre vampire mansion preparing his case, Dustin will have loads of time to get to know his disagreeable, uncooperative client. But can Dustin even defend the gorgeous Winter when what he has done appears to be clearly undefendable?
The Reservoir Tavern appeared as a small, dingy shack sitting at the edge of a dead-end street. It was made of stone for the most part. There were very few windows, and most of them were broken. The time-weary sign above the heavy wooden door emitted a hissing sound, constantly flickering as if it were struggling for its last breath.
Dustin wasn’t sure what had made him turn that corner, but he felt compelled. There wasn’t much to see, and it didn’t look at all safe, but his feet moved forward anyway. There was only one lamp post, which meant the street was practically shrouded in darkness, as were the tavern, the three empty lots, and what once must have been a small factory.
He’d been taking a walk, wasting time until his sister got off work from the hospital, and for some reason, he ended up walking into the Reservoir for a beer. He had no idea that once he was inside, nothing would ever be the same again.
After he mounted the two shaky wooden steps and walked onto the gallery, Dustin pulled open the heavy door.
There was music, if you could call it that. The singer screeched in some foreign language. Dustin winced. It was awful. He paused and looked around, squinting. He could barely make out the outlines of customers in the bar, but they were there, a handful of them, among a scattering of tables. And they were all staring at him.
Suddenly, Dustin was hit directly in the face by a cavalcade of bright, piercing lights. Dustin raised a hand to shield his eyes from the glare. They were like headlights on a foggy night, slicing through the gloom.
That strange song was still playing on the jukebox in the corner next to the bar. No one was speaking, or lifting their glasses, or even moving. It was as if they’d all suddenly frozen in time.
Dustin decided to make his way to the bar. He’d have a drink, then leave. He already regretted coming in here. He stumbled over what may have been an empty bottle and found his way to the bar. He’d been in dank places before, but this one would win prizes.
Dustin glanced around and spotted two males leaning on the bar at the far end. A pool table and a dart board sat behind them, but no one was playing. One of the men was wearing a long, dark coat. He was very tall. It looked like he had pancake makeup on his face. He was extremely pale. Maybe he was in the theatre or a circus clown. The lighting in this place really messed with your head. The guy with him was shorter in stature, with spiky black hair. Dustin could hear talking, and they appeared to be engaged in conversation, but their mouths weren’t moving. Dustin took a seat at the bar. Where’s the bartender? And as soon as he thought it, a muscle-bound guy with a Mohawk appeared. He, too, just stared at Dustin.
A new song began to play. A cacophony of music, with another woman singing the same line over and over: “Coursing, coursing. Beautiful coursing.” Oh, God.
“Weird song,” Dustin said to the silent bartender.
The bartender picked up a glass and casually began wiping it. “It’s a classic,” he said without blinking.
“Really?” Dustin looked toward the door. “I’m more of a heavy metal man myself.” He laughed, but the bartender’s expression remained stoic. Whoa. They take their music seriously here.
“Can I get a beer, please?” Dustin asked.
“We’re closed.” He met Dustin’s gaze.
Dustin looked around. “You’re not closed. What about all those people?”
“We don’t serve your kind here.”
Was it written on his forehead that he was gay? That pissed him off. “You are aware that it’s illegal to discriminate.”
The bartender just kept on staring at him.
“I’ll have a beer from the tap.” Dustin crossed his arms. “Now please.”
The bartender didn’t move.
“From the looks of this dump,” Dustin snapped, “I don’t think you’re in any position to be turning down business. And I’m a lawyer.” Dustin pointed at him. “You are serving other people. I’ll sue this place if you don’t serve me.”
“What people?” the bartender asked him.
Dustin turned around. His jaw dropped. Where in the hell had everyone gone? Even the two at the bar had disappeared. Before he could say anything else, a face popped up beside him.
Dustin jumped, almost falling off his bar stool. “Ah, yes, hello.”
“Did I hear you say you were a lawyer?”
“Yes. I’m a lawyer.” Dustin got back on his seat and looked at the young man who was leaning on the bar. He was dressed in jeans and a black jacket. His eyes were blue. He didn’t look old enough to be in this place. His flawless skin also looked mighty pale. He was quite beautiful, slender and of average height.
“I’m Elu,” he said.
“Dustin Belmont.” He held out his hand.
Elu grabbed it and shook it at a strange angle. “Glad to make your acquaintance.”
“Your hand’s cold,” Dustin commented.
“I’m always cold. So, are you here to donate?”
“Donate?” Dustin shook his head.
“Oh, you just wandered in here,” Elu corrected himself.
“Yes. Are you collecting money for something?” Dustin asked him.
Elu motioned to the bartender. “No. Crass, give the guy a beer. It’s okay.”
The bartender immediately poured the beer, then slammed the glass down in front of Dustin. He almost snarled at him.
Dustin stared at Elu. That fellow does not like me.
“He doesn’t like anyone much.” Elu shrugged.
“Did I say that aloud?”
Elu ignored the question. “So, you got any experience defending the undefendable?”
“Ah, no, I mean, I’ve just started out, no clients yet.” Dustin looked at him. “But I don’t believe there’s anyone who can’t be defended.”
He laughed. “You don’t know Winter.”