Chapter One

I guess I should maybe explain my situation a little more before I get ahead of myself. My name is Angela Steiber and until about three weeks ago, I was just your everyday average law student. I go to the _ school of law in Seattle. I fancy myself to be witty, but others apparently think of me as more sarcastic. I stand around five foot seven inches, with long brown hair that reaches my upper back. I have been told I have green eyes, however I think this is because most people think of me as a very jealous person. I had no idea of what had been hiding underneath the surface of society until, like most other people, about three years earlier when the Fae decided that they needed to come out into the public. The Fae are a race of preternatural creatures, and the only thing they all have in common is the ability to use glamour, or the ability to make oneself look, sound, feel, and to a lesser extent smell different than they really are. In other words, a fae is a creature that can hide its true appearance to appear human.

I hadn't really thought much of it until I was landed with a project from school about whether "the fae should be tried more harshly for crimes they commit." Until that point I hadn't thought about the prejudices people had developed against the fae, so I decided to do some research. I was horrified to find that there were approximately twenty cases of assault on fae just in my hometown within the first two weeks of coming out into public life. I decided that I would start a group at my school to help raise support for the fae, as it was apparent that most court cases were not going in favor of the fae, even when they were obviously wronged or had committed no crimes.

As it turns out, there were three fae attending my school, and about seven people whose parents or grandparents were fae. I hoped that they would become very active members of my group, but instead they asked me to try to keep the group quiet, as it would draw unwanted attention to any fae that were not open to the public. This last tidbit of information was a little shocking to me as I thought that they were all required by law to come out into public, but as I thought about it, I asked myself a few questions; If I were a fae who was still in hiding, would I want to go public when that meant losing my job, being mugged, and being unable to do anything about it? I decided that the fae at my school were right, and I kept the group quiet, by raising funds to help fae whose homes were damaged by violent mobs. This eventually was spread around the fae community in Seattle, and I started finding gifts at my doorstep, usually they were wrapped in red paper with no note on them. I found the first one and took it inside, as soon as I opened it, I gasped. There was a small statuette of the Blind Justice made of marble that was so intricately carved, or as I suspected formed, that I could even see beneath the blindfold and see the eyes of the woman. I touched the statue, half expecting it to come alive, but instead a small chamber opened in the back and a note fell out.

Dear Ms. Steiber,

I would like to let you know how much your generosity in helping me repair my home after it was set upon by those vandals meant to me. I hope that this statue will help you to remain balanced and become the best you can become in defending those who cannot defend themselves.

I appreciate your efforts,

The Lady Of The Water

I tried to find out who exactly sent this gift, but I was unable to track it back, as it was not sent by mail or UPS. I guess the fae like being mysterious, that or maybe they need to be mysterious to protect themselves. However, at that time I still did not know enough about the fae community, or any other preternatural creatures, to realize that even though the latter of these reasons was true, it was not protection from humans that the fae were worried about.

The second shock that hit me came about three weeks before I graduated. This time it was that the werewolves were coming out into the public. I wasn't as shocked about this as I had been about the fae, mostly because I had interacted with the fae and I had heard small tidbits of info from them about other creatures. At first I assumed they were other types of fae not out in public but after the werewolves came into the public, I realized this was not the case. The only werewolf in my area that had come out into the public was a man named Joseph Blount. He was depicted as a hero. However, I had overheard from the Fae that only those who's true forms are neither horrifying nor their powers too great were selected to be revealed to the human world, that way, the Fae could gauge how the populace would react to the more powerful fae. This suggested to me that there was some sort of leadership among the Fae, but when I asked one of my friends among them, he grew pale and quickly warned me not to pry too much into such matters.

The werewolves of Seattle had apparently noticed my actions among the fae as well, because they asked me to do some work for them in the legal department; their normal lawyer was out of town on vacation. I was rapidly getting myself set as the future lawyer of all the preternatural creatures, or so I thought.

As it turns out, the "work" that the werewolves wanted me to do was finding legal loopholes that they could use to avoid trials for any "accidents" that can occur with werewolves. I was horrified at first, but then a werewolf named Robert McClellan explained a few things to me. The thing about werewolves is that they are control freaks. Ironically even though they want to control all those underneath them, they themselves have a distressing tendency to lose control of themselves. This tendency peaks at the time of the full moon, when the moon makes them more vulnerable to involuntary changes.

It took me a while, but I eventually found a loophole in the laws that state that deferred the cases to a lower court; a court for violence among animals. Now the normal procedure in this court for an animal that attacks someone is that the animal be put down, however because the werewolves are sentient they cannot be sentenced that way. Therefore the werewolves get off with just a fine, albeit a very hefty one. I was still a little uneasy about this, because the werewolves would only get fined for even murder, but I reminded myself that the loophole only works if it isn't on purpose; if it is on purpose the wolf will never make it to trial, the pack would kill him or her first.

It just so happens that the night that I found this and was going to bring it to the alpha werewolf, the werewolves were having a meeting with some of the more unsavory kinds of preternatural creatures. I didn't know it at the time, but these creatures were vampires.

I walked into the house after knocking because that was what I was used to doing, and suddenly I was met by a pair of cold eyes staring back at me from down the hallway. The eyes belonged to a handsome man, looking to be in his late twenties to his early thirties wearing dark jeans that fit him very nicely and a tight shirt that had headphones around a tree with writing that said, "Music is Life". The way he kept staring at me was making me uncomfortable, in more ways than one. First off he was the hottest guy I had ever seen in person, and secondly his gaze looked more like he was hungry than interested. I mumbled some pathetic greeting under my breath and he raised an eyebrow.

"How interesting, did the alpha see fit to bring us snacks or are you one of his human helpers?" he asked in an amused but dangerous tone. It took me a few seconds to realize that when he said "snacks" he was referring to me. I instantly paled the moment I realized and he grinned. "I guess that means you didn't know we'd be here," he said, walking slowly towards me with a gait that seemed to scream at me that he was a predator and me, stupid scared me, stood there like a deer in the headlights while he stalked over to me.

"Ah I see you've met Antonio Barcolini," drawled a voice from the hallway. I turned to see that it was John Michael, the Alpha. I cleared my throat and started to say something when he just said, "Ah I see that you brought the papers I need, thank you Angela, you may leave them on the counter and go home." He put a special emphasis on the last part as if he were warning me that this person was not a person I'd like to see anymore, as if the situation hadn't already told me that. I turned to go and found that Antonio was right behind me looking at me intently, and my heart was racing, both with fear and with excitement. Why the hell I was getting excited about a person who said he viewed me as a snack was beyond me, but it happened anyway.

"Well Ms. Angela, it has been a pleasure meeting you, and I do hope we get to see each other again soon," he said with a little sparkle in the back of his eyes that told me that, even if I didn't want him to see me ever again, he would.

I all but ran out the door and got into my car, but before I closed the door I heard shouting from inside and Antonio's voice laughing. I drove off as fast as I could, and got a ticket to top off my day.

I woke up in the morning and had the feeling that I had just slept in a very dark damp place that smelled of rot. I shook my head to rid myself of the feeling, but it wouldn't go away. I looked at the clock and it was four-o-clock in the morning. I groaned because I knew that I wasn't going to get back to sleep after this feeling. I decided to go for a jog to see if I could get rid of the feeling. I put on my favorite sweatpants, put on my running shoes and a light shirt and headed out. As I got further down the street from my apartment, the feeling I had since I woke up got worse suddenly. I was just beginning to freak out when I heard a voice call out to me.

"Oh, why hello there Angela, I knew I would see you again, but I didn't dream that it would be so soon," said an all-too-familiar and hungry voice. I turned to look at the source and found myself not six inches away from Antonio from earlier that night.

"O-Oh, hello there… M-Mr. Barcolini was it?" I managed to stutter out. Standing this close to him, I could feel a radiating cold emanating from his body, yet even though I felt this, I felt urged to move closer and to let myself drown in his presence. Yeah, it was that bad. Looking back on things, I might've been better off running for my life and screaming bloody murder. But then again I wouldn't have made it far anyways.

"Now now, there is no need for such formalities with me Angela," Antonio said with a rich, chocolaty sort of voice that I knew I could lose myself in if I wasn't careful. As he said this, he moved forward until I was basically forced to lean against him or else stumble back. As I touched him through his shirt, I suddenly felt a shiver. He was a goddamn ice cube for how cold he was!

"But I barely know you Mr. Barcolini, I couldn't possibly––" I was interrupted when he suddenly snapped around to look behind him. I peered around him to see another person standing there. He had Russian features and wore tattered clothes. I wouldn't have been disturbed because he looked like any regular homeless man, except that his eyes were blood red and he was staring at me. Seriously! What was it with people and staring at me like I was food!

"Ah… hello Zhukov," Antonio said looking at him warily. I was officially freaked, the man that sent chills down my spine and who was easily the scariest person I had met was being wary about this guy.

I was just about to turn to run away when the other person, Zhukov, spoke. I had never heard such a rich and powerful voice before. It wasn't like Antonio's voice, which made me want to melt into him––or freeze as the case may be––but rather it was rich and powerful in a dark and foreboding sense, and I found myself unable to move at all.

"Ah, Antonio, out for a little fun I see. Mind if I join in?" he said, never removing his gaze from me.

"Please restrain yourself, Zhukov, she has the protection of the local pack. We would not like to have an altercation with them now would we?" Antonio said. When he said this, I looked at him with a quizzical look. Wasn't he just trying to do the same to me just a few seconds ago?

He caught my gaze and quirked his lip a bit. On a scale from one to ten on the confusion scale, I was at eleven.

"Anyways, shouldn't you be attending to the Master Zhukov?" Antonio asked lightly. At his question, Zhukov visibly tightened with fear and finally looked at Antonio. He suddenly had a hunted look on his face and started shifting uncomfortably back and forth.

"Ah… yes… of course…" he said tentatively, which somehow did nothing to diminish his appearance as being terrifying. Suddenly he started running off in the opposite direction, constantly looking behind him as if to make sure he wasn't being followed.

"When will he ever learn…" Antonio sighed. Then he turned his gaze back to me and made a small bow. "I am ever so sorry for him, he does not have very good control." Somehow, I felt that Antonio had done what he did to protect me, if only because he didn't want to share me with the other vampire.

"Ah, well I guess I should be going now," I said, trying anything to get away from this man. He looked at me as if I had said something amusing and stepped a little closer to me. At this point I was about three inches from him and I was trying to resist moving even closer. When I had finally managed to make a step backwards, his hand lashed out and caught my arm. It wasn't a tight grip, but it was firm.

"Why don't you come with me?" he asked in a tone that brooked no argument. He forced me to stare into his eyes, where I saw my own fearful reflection looking back at me. Suddenly my vision started going out, and before I knew it I was completely knocked out.