Moonlight, Roses & Murder

Selina is a woman with a secret…and she has been hiding it for a very long time.

With her nieces, she runs Luna’s, a nightclub in downtown Seattle, catering to Steampunk and Goth clientele. When someone leaves a body behind her club, she is drawn into a web of mystery and murder. Puncture marks on the body indicate a vampire might be responsible and as more women are killed, a red rose is left by their bodies.

When a vampire hunter with secrets of his own comes to investigate, Selina wonders who she can trust…

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And read the Prologue and part of the first chapter now.

“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” ~Bram Stoker

Prologue

Walking out of the club, Hailey smiled and looked back at her friends.  “I told you it’s only a few blocks, and I like the exercise.”  She tried to adjust the corset of her Steampunk costume, but it was determined to keep riding up.

“This isn’t Ellensburg,” said her friend Sonya, smoothing out her long black dress.  “Seattle is not someplace to be walking around by yourself at night.” 

“I’ll go with you,” Andy offered.  He looked good in his Victorian outfit, but he’d been slurring his words since their third shot of whiskey.

“That’s okay,” Hailey replied, holding up one hand.  “See, it’s right there.”  She pointed towards one of the buildings.  “Okay, right behind the tall one,” she added, laughing.

“Let’s all go,” Sonya offered, looking at her watch.  “We can get there and back in time for the next set.  The band is really good tonight.”

“I’m fine,” Hailey replied, giving her a hug.  “Oops, sorry about the ruffles.  They keep getting in the way.”  She smiled.  “I’ll talk to you in the morning.  We still have three days left of Spring Break.”

“She has to go call Doug,” Andy said, smirking.  “Lucky guy if you ask me.”

“Okay Andy, time for coffee.”  Sonya pulled him back towards the club.  Looking at Hailey, she added, “Be careful.”

Hailey nodded, then turned and walked across the street, cutting through Pioneer Square.  She loved Seattle, especially this part of the city.  The glass-covered metal pergola was beautiful and with the trees and old buildings, it almost felt like she’d stepped back in time.

She heard music playing, probably from one of the clubs.  The Steampunk Convention was bringing out a lot of people for a Thursday night.  Two creepy guys were standing next to one of the doorways, which Hailey carefully walked around.  Glancing over her shoulder, she was relieved that they seemed deep in conversation.

Almost there, she told herself as she crossed the street and walked along the sidewalk.  As she passed the alley, she thought she heard a noise.  She looked over and saw nothing but started walking faster.  She could swear she heard footsteps and suddenly, this part of the block seemed deserted.  She stopped and heard two clicks, then silence.

“Okay, this is getting scary,” she said softly, wishing she’d asked Andy to come with her after all.  As she hurried to the end of the block, she saw the hotel across the street.  Finally, she thought, sighing with relief.  She took a step towards the bright lights of the hotel as someone grabbed her from behind, pulling her back into the shadows…

Chapter 1

Selina Bellerose looked up as one of her employees walked into the office.  Jeremy was her head bouncer, and he usually came in making a joke or complaining about a difficult customer. 

“Selina, we’ve got a problem,” Jeremy said seriously.

“What is it?” she asked, brushing her long brown hair over her shoulder.  When he hesitated, Selina said, “Just tell me, Jeremy.”

“You’d better come look for yourself,” Jeremy replied, walking out of the room.

Selina nodded, following him out of the office and through the now deserted club.  As they walked up the stairs to the rear entrance, Jeremy stopped and looked back at her.  “It’s not pretty.”

As they stepped into the dim light of the alley, she could see a figure lying on the stones.  “It’s a girl.”  Selina walked over to the very still young woman, who was dressed in a beige and brown Steampunk outfit with her hair done up in pigtails. 

“She’s older than she looks,” Isabella said, standing next to the body.  Her assistant manager paused and added, “Or at least she was.  She’s dead, Selina.”

“Have you called the police?” Selina asked, turning to Jeremy.

Jeremy and Isabella exchanged a look.  “Call them,” Selina said.  Walking back into the club, she added, “And stay with her until they arrive.”

Isabella nodded as Jeremy pulled out his cell phone. 

Selina walked back down the stairs, looking around the club.  This was going to be trouble, she thought.  Trouble she didn’t want or need.  She walked into her office and started moving papers and a few other items into her safe.

Detective Nathaniel Wright looked around the crime scene.  He was in his early thirties and had been a detective for almost three years, so he knew this case was going to attract some attention.  The victim was young, pretty and had lost a lot of blood.  She was also wearing a Steampunk costume, which had very little blood on it.  As he went over the crime scene, it was obvious the murder hadn’t happened in the alley. 

He looked over at his partner Maria Fuentes.  She was in her late forties and easily the smartest detective he knew.  She had a way of getting people to relax and tell her much more than they would normally admit to the police.  She looked like the average mom, but she’d solved more cases than any other detective in the Seattle PD.  He had learned a lot from her.

“What do you think?” he asked Maria. 

“I’ll let you know in a minute,” she replied, walking over to the young woman standing behind the club.  She had dark blonde hair, tied up with a blue velvet ribbon and was wearing a blue and white, Victorian style dress.  “Excuse me, it’s Isabella, isn’t it?’ she asked, recalling that two people had called in the murder.  “Do you have a moment to talk?”

Isabella nodded, looking back over at the handsome, young African American detective, then down at the dead girl.  “Of course,” she replied.  “Would you like some coffee or anything?”

Maria shook her head.  “Thank you, but we need to stay with the body until the forensics team gets here.”  She pulled out a small notebook and a pencil.  “Did you find the victim?”

“No,” Isabella replied, “Jeremy found her when he came out here to dump…” she paused and swallowed.  “When he brought the garbage out.” 

Maria edged over a little, so that she was blocking the view of the body.  “And then he went back into the club and got you?”

Isabella nodded.  “I told him to find Selina and I would wait with the young…with the body.” 

Maria looked up.  “Did he tell you she was dead?”

“He said she didn’t seem to have a pulse,” Isabella replied, “but he was only out here a moment.”

Maria nodded.  “Then, you called us right away.”

“As soon as Jeremy brought Selina up,” Isabella replied.  “She’s the owner and we thought she should know.”

Maria was used to this type of thing.  Some people called immediately, others were in shock and had to be told to call, and a few didn’t want the police involved.  She’d give this young woman the benefit of the doubt for now.

“Where is Jeremy?” Maria asked.  “I’ll need to speak to him and the owner.”

“Of course,” Isabella said.  “I told them I would stay with her,” she looked back towards the body.  “I would stay until you arrived.”

Maria nodded.  “Why don’t you ask Jeremy to come out here.  You’re free to go home if you like.”

Isabella turned and went into the club.  Maria looked around, then back over at her partner.  Finally answering his question, she said, “I think someone murdered this young woman and staged her body behind the club.  What I want to know is why?”

“Her ID was in her pocket,” Nate said, glancing down at the ruffled skirt.  “Says her name was Hailey Elizabeth Brockner.”  He shook his head.  “Looks like she was here for the Steampunk Convention.  Why these kids want to dress up like freaks is beyond me.”

“They seem to enjoy it,” a soft voice said behind them.  Turning, they saw a beautiful woman in her early thirties.  “She was quite lovely,” she said, looking down at the young woman on the ground. 

Nate cleared his throat.  “And you are…”

“Selina Bellerose,” the woman replied.  “I am the owner of Luna’s Nightclub. 

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