“No one works this site after dark,” I said.Silence met my pronouncement. I glanced up. The ring of police sneered at me.
“Sure. We have all the time in the world for a good night’s sleep,” Officer Crandell snapped. “This is a murder investigation. . .”
“And if you work this investigation past sundown, it’ll be a massacre,” I retorted.
He jerked back as if I’d hit him. “Sunset? You can’t be serious. Vampires?”
Tanya closed a hand around my arm. “This is a vamp site?”
“It’s a prison.”
They stared at me as if I’d sprouted wings.
I stared back, horrified and amazed at the blank faces. “Do you not feel the weight? The hooks digging in as you move nearer that corner? Can you not feel the rage? The vampire is trapped.”
Uneasiness crawled through the knot of blue uniforms.
“For the love of God, don’t free it!” one of the uniforms grumbled.
“That isn’t my intention,” I replied. “The vampire nation polices its own. Any vampire they consider enough of a threat to bury in a place like this isn’t high on my let’s-be-friends list.”
“Not to mention that mucking with vampire magic ends so badly for anyone who isn’t a vamp,” Tanya muttered.
“Not to mention,” I agreed.
“So, vampires murdered three people to imprison someone?” Crandell asked. “Sacrifices for some kind of spell?”
“What do you smell here?” I asked.
The cops glanced around, nostrils flaring, noses wrinkling.
“Death,” said one.
“Blood,” Tanya said.
I nodded. “Blood. Vampires don’t waste blood. Not like this. Vampires didn’t commit these murders. You don’t trap a predator with the blood of its prey.”
Crandell’s eyes widened. “It’s a lure?”
“That’s my guess,” I said. “And that’s all it is. But given the amount of blood, the placement and the fact that the trapped vamp is awake within his prison. . .”
Crandell’s eyebrows climbed. “Him?”
I shrugged. “Overwhelming sense of masculine presence. Every susceptible man and woman in this room feels it.” I glanced at Tanya. She’d hunched her shoulders. When she caught me looking, she forced them down and back. When I looked at the one gay investigator, he met my gaze, rolled his eyes and wiped sweat from his upper lip.
“I stumbled into one of his snares,” I said. “I got a good look at him.”
Tanya gasped. “And he at you?”
I shrugged. “He is trapped.”
“For how long?”
Uneasiness roiled through my gut. “I don’t know. As if you didn’t have incentive enough to catch the killer, I suspect this is a mortal’s attempt to free the vampire and bind him to service.”
“Is that possible?”
“I don’t know that it’s impossible,” I said. “I am motivated to find out.”
Crandell blinked, then frowned. “Because the vamp has a lock on you, now.”
“Because he has a lock on me.”