We at Storm Moon Press are aware of the legal struggles many within the QUILTBAG face, and we know the valuable service Lambda Legal provides. With that in mind, we collaborated with six of our favorite authors (actually, all of our authors are our favorite!) who graciously agreed to donate their time and creative ability to help us create this anthology of legal-themed short stories specifically to help benefit such an excellent organization.
In Honest Lawyers, court reporter Luna is flattered by law student Craig’s attentions, but the fear of rejection makes her nervous about opening up to him about her status as a trans woman. Evan defends himself in a barroom brawl and 24 Hours later has to defend himself again, this time to his drunken attacker’s lawyer, who fortunately has as little patience for his client as Evan did. Lawyer Melanie is starting to come to terms with her attraction to women, something her new Study Buddy April is happy to help with.
Master Illan is a powerhouse in the Surim court, but it’s newcomer Daru who proves to be His Best Defense against threats both without and within. The moment Candy LeBon walks into Detective Calvin Guy’s life, he suspects a Double-Cross, but even he’s unprepared for the extent of twisted path she’ll lead him down. In Henry’s country, his attraction to Abel is Against the Law, but his secret is kept safe by another who harbors same-sex attractions—Henry’s wife.
Blurb of His Best Defense: M/M | trans* | fantasy | interracial
Legal researcher Daru em Caron starts his first day at Surim Court by getting shot as he protects Defender Illan em Murq, his idol and team member. Daru can’t help falling in love with his idol when he sees the human behind the Defender, and the attraction seems mutual. But Master Illan is skittish about being touched after suffering a bad experience, and Daru has to work hard to break through his defences and show Illan he is no less than any man.
Surim Court was the most impressive courthouse Daru em Caron had ever
seen. Tall, sturdy vaaron trees surrounded the three story high glass walls and
sheltered the enormous structure from the brightest sunlight. Three points of the fivesided
form drew the energies of the South, East, and West Spirits, while the side
between the fourth and fifth point reflected the cold, harsh judgment of the North
Spirit. He’d heard the stories and seen the image crystals, but standing before it in
person was… breathtaking.
Of course, when he’d watched the image crystals, he never could’ve imagined
that one day he’d be working here. Yet, here he was, ready to start his first day.
His time of slaving at the small Caron Court was long gone. Daru had steadily
moved onto bigger courts and bigger cases until word had come that he’d been chosen
to fill the position of legal researcher as part of Defender Illan em Murq’s team. At
twenty-eight years, Daru wasn’t the youngest to be invited to Surim Court—Defender
Illan himself still held that record after all these years—but it was close.
Daru was deeply honored to be working with such a brilliant defender. He
had analyzed many of Defender Illan’s cases in preparation, watching hours of image
crystals to study his technique and tactics. Defender Illan was ruthless in his pursuit of
the truth and the facts. He didn’t suffer fools or mistakes, and his team was considered
the best. Daru’s racing heart drummed in his chest, and his knees trembled with every
step. Now, he was part of that team.
With one last look at the outside of the impressive courthouse, Daru
straightened his skirt, wiped his sweaty palms on his tunic, and turned onto the path
leading to the main entrance. When he reached the guards standing watch, he showed
his name badge, proudly pinned onto his uniform, and held out his credit crystal that
had his new status burnt into it. But before they could motion him to enter, someone
slammed into him from behind.
Daru cried out as his knees hit the stone path, thrusting his hands out in front
of him to stop his fall. His long dreads hung in a messy bundle in front of his face and
pulled at his scalp as he untangled them and refastened the clasp at the back of his
neck. One of the guards helped him up while the other guard was already restraining
the person who’d slammed into him. Daru sighed at the state of his skirt and brushed
the dust off, wincing as he grazed his sore knees.
“I want to see Defender Illan!” the man, wearing a scruffy dress and worn
shoes, yelled as he tried to wriggle himself out of the guard’s firm grasp.
“Do you have an appointment, sir?”
“I only need to see the kuruch for five minutes.”
The guard shook his head and forced the man to walk away from the
courthouse. “I’m sorry, sir. But we can’t let you in without an appointment. Come back
when you have one.”
The man struggled against the guard, pleading to be let go. The guard,
stronger and taller, dealt with it swiftly, pushing the man back down the path. He
handled it calmly, without raising his voice, obviously used to this sort of behavior.
Daru was relieved when the other guard waved him through. He’d never
experienced anything like this in the courts he’d worked at. Never. Of course, he’d
never worked on a case more serious than petty theft before, either. Located just
outside the city of Orsa, capital of the Surim Province, Surim Court was where
murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery cases were tried.
Entering the courthouse, Daru was as nervous as he’d felt on the first day of
school, and he kept his hands firmly at his sides, lest others see them tremble. A young
woman stood waiting for him, arms held out hooked in front of her, her hands
clasping her underarms in a formal greeting. She bowed her head. “Well met, Daru em
Caron. I am Neris em Murq, Master Illan’s first assistant. Welcome to Surim Court.”
Daru mirrored the greeting. “Thank you, Ris Neris.”
“That title belongs in the court room, Daru. You can call me Neris.” She
smiled. “I hope that little scuffle out there hasn’t shaken you up too much?”
“It was… unexpected.”
“Unfortunately, that sort of thing happens almost daily here. You’ll get used to
That didn’t sound promising.
Neris started walking without waiting to see if he was following her, and Daru
hurried to keep up with her. “I will give you a tour of the court later. Master Illan is
waiting to debrief you on the case. He is due for a meeting in half an hour, so we’d best
“Of course.” Daru swallowed. He hadn’t even expected to meet with the
Defender himself on his first day. He followed Neris through a maze of corridors,
hoping he’d be able to find his way back unassisted.
The room she led him to was large, open, and looked out onto the vaaron
trees outside. Once he spotted Defender Illan, leaning on a dark wooden desk, talking
to his team, Daru barely noticed anything else. Defender Illan was quite a few inches
shorter than Daru, round and soft-looking, a stark contrast to his cool violet eyes—a
color only seen in natives of the Murq Province—and the unreadable expression Daru
had seen on the image crystals. He wore his court uniform: a long, straight black skirt
and a simple black tunic with red trims. For a moment, Daru just watched his idol’s
hands, which seemed to punctuate what he was saying, even if Daru couldn’t hear it.
His black short-cropped hair showed no bald spot. It was a silly thing to notice, but
Daru couldn’t help focusing on foolish little details like that; being in Defender Illan’s
presence was overwhelming.
Note: These reviews apply to the overall anthology.
Susan at Top 2 Bottom Reviews
"This is a wonderful beginning to this anthology. Legal matters are only skimmed, though. But it’s all right when you have such great warm characters to cuddle up with. This is a short tale about two people getting acquainted and perhaps finding something lasting. Wonderfully detailed world and two hot guys who desire to be together despite their working relationship. This reads like a courtroom drama, a suspense thriller, and an erotic romance. For such a short tale, this manages to grab you from head to toes right from the beginning. Highly recommended!"
Victoria Zagar at Infinite Love
"Overall: Two amazing stories in the form of Honest Lawyers and His Best Defense, two good stories (24 Hours and Study Buddy) and two stories I didn’t much care for (Double Cross and Against The Law). This is a very mixed anthology, so there’s something for everyone. Different stories in this book will speak to different people, but few will love every story in it. Legal Briefs is cheap and proceeds benefit Lambda Legal, so I recommend it even if you find not all the stories are in genres you like. Kudos goes to Storm Moon Press for putting together an anthology that spans a range of genres and the whole LGBT spectrum."
"If you’re looking for a quick read with a legal edge and that feels completely natural then give this one a try… These characters are fun and witty with a great supporting cast… I found myself giggling multiple times and wanting to tag along with these two men. I’ll be reading this one again… This story is fun, interesting and peppered with hot moments that make these characters a joy to read."
His Best Defense © 2013 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved