A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 28 and Chapter 29: A man did a nice thing? Better make sure to thank him with sex! And other terrible myths we need to stop perpetuating

Chapter 28 begins with Rhys escorting Merry away from the queen’s chambers, but Merry notices that the hallways look different than before. Rhys is holding Merry close and notices that Merry is cold to the touch. He asks her what happened, and Merry tells him that Andais named her co-heir, but that she fears Cel or someone will kill her first. Rhys tries to calm Merry by reminding her that she now bears the queen’s mark and that no one will dare harm her or face the queen’s wrath, but Merry shows Rhys the knife wound on her neck, from Andais. She doesn’t trust anyone, and Rhys tries to comfort her, and tells her that as a guard, it is his job to protect her from anyone.

Merry tells him that his job description has changed, and tells Rhys that she’ll tell him about it as they walk. As she lays her ringed hand on his arm, it stays quiet again, which prompts Rhys to ask about it. Merry tells him that the ring needs bare skin to react, and as Rhys reaches for the ring, Merry tells him to stop. Merry hasn’t yet told Rhys about the lifting of the geas, and she does not trust that if the ring reacts to Rhys he won’t just jump her and fuck her against the wall. They come upon a hallway filled with spiderwebs and very large spiders, so Merry changes the subject to ask Rhys to conjure something stronger than a weak will-o’-the-wisp for light to keep the spiders away. Rhys remembers that Merry was scared of the spiders, so instead of conjuring a brighter light, he taps one of the spiders with his finger, and it promptly dies a terrible, spasming death, falling from the webs. The other spiders flee from Rhys and the webs, and Rhys asks Merry if that was good enough for her. 

Rhys reminds Merry that he was once a death god, and that things used to fear him. They walk through the spider-less webs and when they reach the other side, Rhys asks again to touch the ring, telling Merry that all the guards were hopeful that the queen is allowing Merry to choose a new consort, so he wants to know if the ring would react to his touch. Merry allows him to touch it, and Rhys bring her hand to his lips, and gently places his lips on the ring. The ring reacts much stronger than it had before, so Merry finally tells Rhys about the lifting of the geas. 

Rhys is, understandably, very pleased with this news, but Merry asks him to wait a bit longer, because she is afraid the queen will rescind the offer, as there were no witnesses when she told Merry. He agrees to keep it quiet. Merry then asks him what his name was when he was a death god, as no death god she knew of was named Rhys. He tells her no, he won’t tell her his old name, because he no longer is that death god, so that person no longer exists. Merry then teases him, asking if he’ll tell her his secrets if she invites him to her bed. Rhys realizes Merry is just teasing him, and Merry apologizes, telling him that he has always protected her and been a good friend to her, and it would be poor repayment if she left him celibate when she could end it.

Because us ladies always need to repay our man friends with sex when they do nice things for us, right?

The chapter ends with Rhys being a perfect gentleman and escorting Merry down the hall. Merry had thought Rhys would have been the most obnoxious of guards to learn of the possibility of sex, but he had not, proving her proof once again that she didn’t understand men.

Well, first off, Merry, you haven’t told ANYONE about the lifting of the geas, so Rhys could still be the most obnoxious. Secondly, lol all men want is sex AMIRITE

Characters Introduced:


Themes Introduced:

Rhys was once a death god, but will not speak of his old life.


A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 29

Chapter 29 begins with Merry and Rhys arriving at a set of double-doors at the end of the hallway. The doors are man-sized and pale grey with gold overlays. Rhys opens the doors, but before they step inside, Frost walks through the door toward them. 

Frost is now wearing the outfit the queen designed for him:

The shirt was completely see-through, to the point where I wasn’t sure if the cloth was actually white, or if it was clear and it was his skin that made it look white. The shirt was cut like a second skin to his chest, but the sleeves had a large puff of diaphanous material, cut tight just above the bend of his elbow by a broad applique of glittering silver. The rest of the sleeves fell in a long full tube like a crystal morning glory…. The pants were silver satin cut so low around the waist that his hip bones showed through the cloth of his shirt. If he tried to wear underwear they would have shown at the waist of the pants The only thing that kept the pants up was that they were unbelievably tight.

His hair had been divided into three sections. The upper part was pulled up through a white carved piece of bone so that the silver hair fell like the water of some fountain around his head. The second section of hair was simply pulled back on either side and held in place with bone barrettes. The lower section hung loose and free, but so little was left that it was like a thin silver veil emphasizing his body instead of hiding it.

Jesus fucking christ, what the fuck. I can’t even picture this in my mind, it just all sounds so horrible and atrocious. I feel bad for the dude. 

Merry hears a scream from the room behind Frost, and she realizes it is Galen screaming. She tells Frost to get out of her way, but he refuses, saying that Cel has ordered the punishment and that no one may enter until the punishment is complete. Merry again tells him to move, but he will not.

She then tells him that the queen is naming her co-heir tonight, and that the queen is also lifting the geas of celibacy on her guards. Frost doesn’t believe it. Merry eases up to him and runs a finger down his chest, saying it would be such a shame if she did not select Frost to be among her throng of lovers, telling him to move if he even wants to be considered. Frosts asks Rhys for his oath that this is true, and Rhys gives it, so Frost finally moves, allowing Merry past.

The room is a small water garden with a large rock at the center of the pool. Stepping stones led to the rock, on which Galen was chained. His body was covered in small, butterfly-like beings: the demi-fey. They were feeding on his body. He kept screaming.

Merry is concerned. Usually the demi-fey use glamour to hide the pain of their feedings, to make it pleasurable. Galen should not be screaming at all, which worries Merry. She pushes past the guards and sees a majority of the demi-fey feasting upon his groin.

She calls out to the queen of the demi-fey, Queen Niceven, telling her that it is not becoming of the queen to “do the dirty work of a prince”. Merry tells Niceven that she will be named co-heir tonight, and offers her own blood to the queen, in exchange for the demi-fey to stop feeding upon Galen. Niceven tells Merry that Prince Cel had ordered the demi-fey to destroy Galen’s manhood so that he may not sleep with the queen that night, and Merry tells Niceven that she was ordered to sleep with one of the guards that night.

Niceven agrees to the exchange, Merry’s blood for Galen’s freedom. Merry tells the guards to unchain Galen and see to his wounds, and she then offers her hand to Niceven, who lands upon her hand. Niceven lowers herself onto Merry’s index finger and chomps down, not bothering to use glamour to mask the pain. Niceven eventually stops and proclaims herself sated. She tells Merry that she would love for a longer drink of Merry’s blood next time, and she and her demi-fey fly off. 

Merry then goes to Galen, and he asks her if it is true that the geas is lifted. Merry nods, and Galen tells her he won’t be much use to her tonight. Merry asks Galen what Barinthus’s punishment was for disobeying Cel. Barinthus was merely forbidden from attending the night’s banquet. This is because Cel fears Barinthus, but does not fear Galen. 

Galen stands up and they all see him start to heal before their eyes. Merry knows that within hours the bites would be healed, and within days Galen would be completely healed, and she could finally sleep with Galen like she has always wanted to do. The chapter ends with Merry looking at all her guards and wondering which one of them she will choose to sleep with this night, comparing it to entering a kitchen pantry stocked with all your favorite goodies. 

Characters Introduced:

Queen Niceven – queen of the demi-fey, small Barbie-sided winged faeries. 

Themes Introduced:

Cel is afraid of Barinthus but not Galen. 

Men are basically snacks.



Galen’s green chest hair is mentioned a lot. Dude’s got green chest hair and a green rat-tail. Dude’s totally hot, totally. 

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