A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 1: Our first argument

Before I begin my reviews of the second novel in the Merry Gentry series, let’s recap what happened in Book 1: A Kiss of Shadows:
 
Merry is a faerie princess in hiding in LA when she is found out to be the missing princess during a throwaway undercover detective job. She is first discovered by Lord Sholto, King of the Sluagh but soon Doyle, captain of the royal guard of the Unseelie Queen Andais, battles Sholto in a bathroom and whisks Merry back to faerie, which is outside of St. Louis. Upon their return, Queen Andais lets all know that Merry has been elevated to co-heir of her throne with her son Cel, and whomever conceives a child first will take over the throne. Merry bargains for an alliance with King Kurag of the goblin court which nets her her very own goblin sex-toy Kitto. Merry’s blood awakens the Unseelie Court’s roses, and Galen’s junk was horribly maimed by some demi-fey. Merry comes into her first Hand of Power,  the hand of flesh, and uses it on three people: Nerys, one of Sholto’s hags, Pasco and Rozenwyn, sidhe twins who tried to kill Merry. Merry nearly has sex with both Sholto and Doyle before leaving LA to come to faerie, and before she returns to LA with her new throng of guards (Doyle, Galen, Rhys, Frost, Nicca, and Kitto), she fucks Frost in a grimy hotel bathroom. They all return back to LA and take up at work at Grey’s Detective Agency.
 
So, chapter one of A Caress of Twilight begins with Merry waking up in bed with two of her guards. Rhys and Nicca. The room is quite a bit chilly, as it is December in LA and a chill is in the air.  Merry thinks how silly it is for her to be calling the LA December chilly, since she knows if she were back in faerie, in Illinois,  that she’d be chilled to the bone. Now, I’m from Wisconsin, about 6 or so hours northeast of where faerie is located, and I can honestly say that December in this area is not bone-chillingly cold. It’s pretty mild, usually, so shut your fucking liar face, LKH.
 
Merry stands in front of the window, smelling in the air of the Pacific Ocean. Merry is standing there, staring lovingly at her guards, when the bedroom door opens and Doyle walks in. He walks over to Merry and stands a mere inches from her, but does not touch her at all. Merry seems perturbed by this, as normally he would at least touch her a little. Doyle tells her that he heard something that he wanted to check out. Merry asks if what he heard was outside the window, or if it was just her moving around. Doyle smiles and responds with, “You.” Merry then tells him that she was more than safe with two guards in her bed, but Doyle brushes this off because no guard is as good as him at protecting Merry. This starts a nice argument between the two, that Doyle doesn’t trust the other guards.
 
So wait, what? Doyle flat out tells her that he came in because he heard her making noise in her own bedroom, not that he heard anything outside, and Merry immediately launches into yelling at him about how she is safe with any of the guards? Women!, am I right?
 
No, really, this whole scene is confusing to me, and seems so totally randomly out of place.
 
He whispered, “I heard something.” His voice was always low and dark like thick candied liqueur for the ear instead of the tongue.
I started up at him. “Something, or me moving around?”
His lips gave that twitch that was the closest he usually came to a smile. “You.”
I shook my head, hands crossed over my stomach. “I have two guards in bed with me and that’s not protection enough?” I whispered back.
“They are good men, but they are not me.”
I frowned at him. “Are you saying you don’t trust anyone but you to keep me safe?” Our voices sounded quiet, peaceful almost, like the voices of parents whispering over sleeping children. It was comforting to know that Doyle was this alert. He was one of the greatest warriors of all the sdhe. It was good to have him on my side.
“Frost… perhaps,” he said.
I shook my head; my hair had grown out just enough to tickle the tops of my shoulders. “The Queen’s Ravens are the finest warriors that faerie has to offer and you say no one is your equal. You arrogant …”
 
Like, why start this argument? It’s so totally out of nowhere. HE TOLD YOU THAT HE HEARD YOU MOVING AROUND, why are you launching immediately into an argument, Merry?

Actually, this is a pretty common theme in LKH’s series. One character will always start a stupid, meaningless, bullshit fight for no reason. There’s a lot of arguing over stupid petty shit in these books. It becomes incredibly tiresome. 
 
Anyway, now that Merry’s gotten all unnecessarily angry at Doyle, he gets mad back. He steps closer to Merry and looms down on her and says “I could kill you before either of them knew what had happened.”
 
What?! You’re trying to PROTECT her, and now you’re threatening her?
Doyle gets more and more angered, threatening “I could kill all three of you.” But is stopped when he hears a gun behind coked behind them. Rhys held a gun to Doyle and tells him that he doesn’t believe Doyle would be able to kill all three of them. Nicca also pipes up that he has a gun pointed at Doyle’s head. Doyle doesn’t back down. “Perhaps I couldn’t slay you all, but I could kill the princess before you could kill me, and then your lives would mean nothing. The Queen would hurt you much more than I ever could for allowing her heir to be slaughtered.”
 
Merry finally gets some sense and tells them to knock it off, specifically telling Doyle to cut his shit out. “I am tired of these little games, Doyle. Either you trust your men to keep me safe, or you don’t. If you don’t, then find other men, or make sure you or Frost are always with me. But stop this.”  Doyle tells the room that if it had been one of Merry’s enemies who had come into the room, Rhys and Nicca would have slept through her death, but Rhys tells them he was awake the whole time. “I thought you’d finally come to your senses and were going to do her up against the wall.” He says.
 
Oh that’s right. Doyle hasn’t had sex with Merry yet. It has been three or so months since the first book, three months since they returned to LA with explicit orders for Merry to fuck all her guards, and Doyle still hasn’t.
 
Merry orders them to all put away their guns, but no one listens. She rightfully gets pissed at this. “Put up the guns. I am the princess here, heir to the throne. He’s the captain of my guard, and when I tell you to do something, you will, by Goddess, do it.” Rhys and Nicca both look to Doyle, who gives the smallest of nods, and they put their guns away. Merry tells them all to get out and leave her alone, but Doyle tells them that would not be wise, and Merry asks if her direct order means nothing to them. No one responds to that, but Doyle says “Our first duty is to keep you safe, Princess, and only second to keep you happy.”
 
Merry loses it at this. “What do you want from me, Doyle? I’ve offered you my bed, and you’ve refused.” She doesn’t let him answer and continues lashing out at him. “No, I don’t want to hear any more of your excuses. I believed the one about wanting to be the last of my men, not the first, but if one of the others gets me with child, according to sidhe tradition that person will be my husband. I’ll be monogamous after that. You’ll have missed your chance to break a thousand years of forced celibacy. You haven’t given me a single reason good enough for that kind of risk.”
 
Doyle tells her that if she wants a good enough reason, all she needs to do is take a look outside the bedroom window. Merry looks with her special faerie sight and sees a faint hand-print of something small, but humanoid, pressed into the window glass. Something had tried to get through the wards she had placed around the apartment while they slept. No one, but Doyle, had noticed this, and because of that, Doyle feels his job is to keep Merry safe first, and to have sex with her second. Since he doesn’t trust the other guards, he does not ever want to take a risk on Merry’s safety just to bone her. 
           
Merry says that since the creature tried to get past her own personal wards, she now has its magical “fingerprints”, so to speak, and could probably track it to discovered who tried her wards. Wait a minute – these are still Merry’s original wards she placed on her apartment? You mean to tell me that in the three months of all the guards living there with her, that not a single one of them, not a single one of the much stronger and more powerful than Merry guards thought to redo her wards? Seriously?
 
Rhys tells Merry that he thinks it’s quiet clever that she put a tracking ward on her apartment, but Doyle seems angry by this – the wards were definitely not strong enough to keep anything big out, and had whatever tried to breach her wards been bigger or stronger, they’d all likely be dead now. Because, we didn’t just spend the entire chapter in a pissing contest of how much better and stronger Doyle is than everyone right? 
 
The chapter ends with Merry thinking about how she thought that fleeing all the way to LA would be far enough from faerie that things wouldn’t come after her, but now she realizes that is not the case anymore, now that she’s an heir to the Unseelie throne.
 
Characters Introduced: none
 
Themes Introduced: Doyle thinks everyone around him is weak and cannot protect Merry as good as he can. 
 

Sex: not from Doyle!

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