Seduced by Moonlight – Chapter 20

Chapter 20 begins half an hour later after they land in St Louis. They exit the plane to find a few of Andais’s guard there as Merry’s bodyguards. The only one of the group Merry knows well is Barinthus, remember him from book 1? Barinthus is about to grasp Merry’s hand in greeting, when another sidhe guard pushes him out of the way to go in for a hug. It is Abloec, who is apparently drunk. Abloec is tall with multiple-shaded grey hair and charcoal grey eyes. Doyle asks Barinthus why Abloec is there, and Barinthus tells them that he was allowed to choose two of the guards that accompanied him to meet Merry, but the queen chose the other three.
 
A police officer steps up to them and asks them if there’s a problem. The publicist to the Unseelie Court, Madeline Phelps, steps up to usher him away. Remember when I commented during my review of the first book that anytime there’s a human woman introduced, she’s always got short hair and isn’t super pretty, especially if she’s got an unpleasant personality? Yep, that’s Madeline. I’m betting some short-haired female pissed LKH off at some point in her life.
 
She smiled when she said it, showing very white, very straight teeth, framed by a deep burgundy, almost purple lipstick. The color matched her short, pleated skirt and body-fitting double-breasted suit jacket. Purple was probably the new in-color for the year. Madeline kept track of things like that. She’d cut her hair since last I saw her. It was very close to her head, but left long in thin lines around her face and down her neck, so though the hair was shorter than anyone’s except the major’s, it managed to touch the collar of her royal purple jacket.
 
I can’t even picture what that hairstyle looks like. I really, REALLY want it to be the Kate-Plus-8/Get me your manager haircut, but the way it’s described makes it seem like a sloppy mullet.

 

The cops and Madeline argue for a bit about whether or not there’s a problem, because of course they do. Both Barinthus and the Major, Major Walters, were put in charge by the queen, and Walters is not happy about this.
 
“You can’t have two leaders,” the major said, “not and get anything done.” He glanced at Abloec, then at Barinthus, and the look said he didn’t like the way Barinthus was running his men. What Major Walters couldn’t know, and none of us would ever admit outside the sidhe, was that if things weren’t running smoothly, it was almost always Queen Andais’s fault, or her son’s. But since Prince Cel was still locked safely away, it had to be something that the queen had done.
For the life of me I couldn’t think why she’d have allowed Abloec to be seen in front of as much media presence as was likely to be in the press conference. He was addicted to everything, drink, cigarettes, drugs. You name it, Abe liked it. Once he’d been the greatest libertine of the Seelie Court, a lover and seducer par excellence. He was cast out of the Seelie Court for seducing the wrong woman, and Andais would only allow him into the Unseelie Court on one condition. He had to join her guard, which meant that Abe went from being one of the busiest lovers of the sidhe to being celibate.
 
So, Abe is an addict to a weird-sidhe degree, as alcohol and drugs don’t really affect the sidhe much. They can become drunk, but it doesn’t last long at all. Seems like a waste. They continue to argue about Barinthus’s control over his guards, and Walters picks up on the fact that none of them want Abloec around. It becomes such a stupid roundabout conversation LIKE ALWAYS ANYTIME THERE’S POLICE COPS INVOLVED.
 
Cop: “Is there a problem here?”
Doyle: “Nope, none at all.” He glanced around at each of us, eyes wide.
Cop: “WTF is with that look? What’s going on? It’s obvious there’s something wrong.”
Doyle: “Nope. And if there was a ‘problem’ we can’t tell you. Sidhe-stuff.”
Cop: “We were hired to protect you. We are here to HELP you. Help us help you.”
Merry: “Officer, I’m part human so I understand what is going on here. You’re the problem. Get out of sidhe-business and let us do our thing, despite us hiring you to help us out and also whatever we’re going to do is likely going to break all sorts of human laws, which we’re held accountable under but we totally won’t follow anyway. There isn’t a problem here at all. These are not the droids you are looking for.”
 
That’s a pretty apt comparison to how any conversations with humans go in these books. Always, though I did cut out about 3 pages of pure fluff writing. I don’t understand why LKH writes like this.
 
Anyway I don’t even care what happens with the cops and the guards and then Madeline tells Doyle and the men that she has to get them all presentable for the press conference. Then some sort of bitchy fight breaks out between Merry and Madeline and I have no idea what the hell is going on. Here it is in all its glory, because I can’t be fucked to go into ‘girl-mode’ to transcribe this bullshit:
 
He looked at her much the way Walters had, except meaner. She let go of his arm and took a step back. For a moment the real Madeline stared out; ruthless, determined. She played her trump card with a face that was harsh with her anger. “The queen’s orders are for me to make sure you are all lovely for the press conference. When she asks why I didn’t do that, do you want me to tell her that you contradicted her orders?” She, more than most of the humans who dealt with the court, knew what the queen was capable of, and she used that knowledge well.
I turned in Frost’s arms so that my face was framed by the fur of his coat. “None of us is contradicting my aunt’s orders,” I said.
The look she gave me was just this side of insolence. Madeline had enjoyed the queen’s favor for seven years now. Seven years of basking in the absolute power the queen had over beings who could have snapped Madeline in half with their bare hands. She felt safe behind the shield of Andais’s power. Up to a point, she was right. Beyond that point – well, I was about to remind her of what that point was.
“We have a major press conference, Meredith.” She didn’t even bother to use my title now that no other humans were around to listen. Her glance flicked from Galen’s much loved, old brown leather jacket to Doyle’s short black one, and finally to Kitto’s Day-Glo parka. Her lip curled just a bit. “Some of the coats, some of the hair, and you are seriously not wearing enough makeup for this kind of photo opportunity. I have makeup and wardrobe outside.” She turned toward the door as if she’d fetch them.
I said, “No.”
She turned back, and the arrogance on her face would make any sidhe proud. “I can call the queen on my cell, but I promise you, Meredith, that I am following her orders.” She actually slipped a small phone out of the inner pocket of her blazer. A phone so tiny it hadn’t disturbed the line of her jacket.
“You are not following her orders, not to the letter,” I said. I knew I looked small, near child-like, peeking from amid the ticklish fur of Frost’s coat. And for the first time it didn’t matter, not to people like Madeline. I could hide my power until we needed it. I didn’t have to be forceful to win this one.
She hesitated with the phone open in her hand. “Of course I am.”
“Did my aunt tell you to dress us, and primp us, as soon as we came in out of the cold? Were those her express orders?”
She narrowed her carefully lined and shaded eyes. “Not in so many words, no.” She sounded uncertain, then gained her businessy tone as she continued, “But we have the press conference, and then you’ll have to change again before the big party. We have a timetable here, and the queen doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” She hit a button on her phone, put it to her ear.
I stepped out from the warmth of Frost’s body and whispered in her other ear, “I am heir to the throne, Madeline, and you’ve always been nasty to me I’d start trying to make nice if I were you and I liked my job.”
I was leaning so close that I heard my aunt’s secretary answer the phone, but not what he’d said. “Sorry, hit the wrong button. Yes, they’re here. We’ve got some challenges, but nothing we can’t handle. Okay, okay, great.” She hung up and stepped back from me the way I’d seen people step back from Andais and Cel over the years, as if she was afraid.
 
So, after whatever the fuck that is, Madeline tells Merry that she’ll wait out in the hall but gently reminds them that there is a schedule they must meet and asks them to please hurry. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS STUPID POWER PLAY? It isn’t even a good power play, it’s just bullshit petty bickering because MERRY DOESN’T WANT TO GET READY YET. Are you three? Are you a fucking three year old child? Jesus Christ.
 
So the chapter ends with Merry justifying to herself that she was totally right in the fight, because she gained knowledge about Madeline that could eventually be used as leverage, or some other bullshit which TOTALLY DOESN’T EVEN MATTER and WE WASTED AN ENTIRE CHAPTER ON.
 

 

Fuck this book.  

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