A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 4: Panties is the new Moist


Chapter four begins with Merry standing naked in an office with a dude’s hand shoved down her bra.

Okay, well, she’s standing in Jeremy’s office in her black bra and “matching panties” (side note: anyone else skeeved out by the word panties? It is my ‘moist’. Fuck that word.) Maury Klein is a sound engineer who specializes in surveillance pieces, and he is trying to fit Merry with a very small, very powerful microphone. He is basically man-handling her breasts, 100% focused on the job and totally non-sexual.
He’d actually at one point suggested that the wire might best be hidden inside my body. I’m not shy, but I vetoed that idea. Maury had shaken his head and muttered, “Don’t know how the sound quality would hold up, but I wish someone would let me try it.”
Merry’s two coworkers were in the office with her, Jeremy and Roane Finn. Roane is Merry’s lover for the past two years, and she mentions that their sex is incredibly intimate due to Roane being the same height as her. So, 5’3”ish. I can never seem to tell from the descriptions of Roane what his hairstyle is, however. Dark auburn hair that clings to his face and rolls down the back of his collar, which leads me to believe dude’s got a mullet. It wouldn’t surprise me. Oh, and he has perfect red-tinged lips. So a short pale dude with a mullet who wears red lipstick. Attractive.
You know who else is pale with red lips, hair that frames his face and curls down his neck?
Roane is a roane. Clever, right? I guess roanes are ‘seal people’, people who had a second ‘seal skin’ that could transform them into seals. Is this a real fucking thing? My Google-fu is failing me here. If it is a made up faerie thing, LKH, couldn’t you have, oh I don’t know, CALLED THE CHARACTER SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
Roane could no longer turn into a roane, however, because some jerkface fisherman found and burned his seal skin, and now Roane can roane no more. He gets all sadface about it and like often stares forlornly out into the night sea. Roane misses his roaneself in a very roanelike manner.
How much roane could a roane Roane roane if a roane Roane could roane Roane?
The other person in the room is Detective Lucy Tate, who Merry and Gray’s had worked with before. I guess all of the people at Gray’s have been detective-ised due to the Magical Dispensation Act, which allows those of magical abilities to obtain a detective’s license without the required training. Because reasons. Tate and Merry are friendly and like each other, but Merry thinks there could be something dark inside of Tate because of how guarded Tate keeps herself.
Once Maury gets the microphone in place, Roane helps Merry put her dress back on. Despite the fact that the whole ‘dude manhandling Merry’s boob to put a microphone in place’ scene was played off as totally unsexy just business, the mood suddenly shifts pretty intensely as Roane helps Merry into her dress. All of a sudden, it’s just sex sex sex making the room all hot and heavy, and all that happened was Merry put her clothes back on with a little help from her seal lover. Once Merry is all dressed, this confusing conversation takes place:
            “How do you do that?” Detective Tate asked.
            The question startled me, made me turn to her. “Do what?” I asked.
 “You stand there for nearly an hour in nothing but your underwear with a man fondling your breasts, but it’s not sexual. It’s like an R-rated comedy routine. Then Roane helps you on with your dress, never touches your bare skin, just zips you up, and suddenly the sexual tension in the room is thick enough to walk on. How the hell do you do that?”
            “Us, as in Roane and me, or us as in…” I let the thought trail off.
What?? Did the poor editing faerie strike? I just… this is what? What is this even? First off, “Roan helps you on with your dress”. Who talks like this? Then, where is that “Us?” coming from? This is why having an editor is good, people! Listen to them!
One of the things I’ve found as I’ve read LKH’s novels is, the more she writes, the worse her editing becomes. Spelling mistakes abound, wonky grammar, stuff just thrown in that doesn’t even fit in with the conversation. It’s way worse in her Anita Blake series, but this was just so strikingly offputting that I had to mention it here. Second time in two chapters that LKH has written something that makes so little sense, and we’re reading a goddamn fantasy faerie smut novel.
They then bring in Tate’s partner, Detective John Wilkes. They had kicked Wilkes out of the room because when Merry took her dress off for the mic fitting, he spilled his coffee all over himself. Merry jokes that he “must not see a lot of naked women”. Merry is then confused when everyone in the room says how absolutely jaw dropping gorgeous she is.
Merry was raised an ugly duckling, you see. As part of both courts of faerie, she was never dark enough to be beautiful to the Unseelie Court, and never light enough to be beautiful to the Seelie Court. She’s super ugly you guys. Her mom told her so every day.
After this is revealed, Merry begins to worry that either Roane or Jeremy have guessed her true identity, Princess Meredith NicEssus, the missing sidhe princess the tabloids go crazy trying to locate. Meredith worries that if one of them mention her true name out loud, it would work its way back to her aunt, who has the ability to hear things uttered in darkness.
They then start discussing their grand plan: Merry has answered one of Norton’s personal ads, and they have a date set for tonight. They’re going to get hot and heavy, and Merry is going to try to get proof that he places compulsion spells on his victims. Roane is then going to burst down the door as if he’s the jealous boyfriend trying to get his woman back, to rescue Merry. If Norton proves too much for Roane alone, Uther is going to help.
Uther is finally described: a 13 foot tall pig-faced man, complete with tusks, a jack-in-irons named Uther Squarefoot. He is their muscle, but Merry notes he had to excuse himself from the fitting session, because “seeing an attractive female nearly naked is not good for a man when there’s no hope of relieving the thoughts that spring unbidden.” Uther is lonely, because there’s no one his size to fuck him. Merry says that if she survives the night, she’s going to help find a “lady of the night” to help him out, because “sex doesn’t have to mean intercourse”.
“If I were truly fey down to my toes, I’d do Uther myself. That’s what a real friend would do.”
Yeah fucking our friends is what us women are good for. Yep.
Characters Introduced:
Maury Klein: dorky sound dude. No height mentioned.
Roane Finn: a roane who can roane no more. 5’3”. Merry’s lover. Sad sack about swimming.
Detective Lucy Tate: friendly, kind detective friend of Merry’s. Tall and attractive.
Detective John Wilkes: nerd who can’t get laid
Themes Introduced:
LKH needs to listen to her editor.
Aunt can hear things uttered in the dark.

Sexiness Level: 1/10. I guess people could enjoy the scene where Roane helps Merry into her dress. It’s like 3 pages of describing the heat they generate together in the room. He’s just so short it totally takes out any sexy for me.

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