Chapter 16 begins with Merry waking up. Doyle is staring at her and then starts kissing her. Oh good, it’s a sex chapter. Fantastic.
I began to kiss my way down the smooth muscles of his chest, while he stayed above me and finally went to all fours. I wanted to celebrate that the burns on his torso were healed by touching every inch of him. I found his nipple ring and played with it, using my lips and teeth, and finally setting my mouth past the ring, and into the nipple beneath, to suck and play and tease, until he cried out “Enough” in a strangled voice.
That’s right, I had forgotten Doyle had his nipples pierced. Also, saying that he got on “all fours” while he’s a faerie who can transform into a giant dog probably isn’t the best description there.
The voice made me smile, because I had worked long and hard to get my Darkness to tell me when he’d had enough of anything. The queen had taught him, and the rest, to simply take what she gave them, for any touch was a blessing. I wanted to know what my men wanted, and to give it to them.
I laid down underneath him. His body was like a roof above me, so that I could gaze down the line of him and see all that he had to offer. His hair was a black richness that he’d thrown to one side of his body, like a living cloak. I was sheltered and content under the covering of his body.
I caressed my fingers down his body, wiggling lower so that I could cup the hard, swelling richness of his body in my hands. I wrapped one hand around that hardness, and put my other hand on the softness below so that I could cup him gently as I began to stroke him with my first hand.
I really, truly hate the flowery language used in a lot of romance novels to describe people’s genitals. I mean, sure, seeing that sentence written as I wrapped one hand around his dick, and put my other hand on his balls so that I could cup him gently as I began to stroke that dick probably isn’t the best sounding description, but it gets the job done. I’d rather read that than see “hardness” and “softness” used 8,000 times throughout one of LKH’s 50 page long sex scenes.
“Meredith…” he said.
“I thought I’d lost you,” I said, and wiggled down between his legs while he still held himself above me on his hands and knees. With my hand wrapped around him, there was still much of him bare, and I lowered that nakedness into my mouth. I licked the tip of him, peeking out from the circle of his foreskin, then slipped my mouth over him, tongue playing with the extra bit, rolling it, and sucking on it separately from the rest of him, until I felt his body spasm above me. Only then did I take the meat of him more firmly in the center of my mouth, and suck him down, until I met my hand where it gripped the base of him. With this much of him in my mouth, I could no longer trust myself to be gentle enough to play on those softer bits, so I put my other hand on the smoothness of his hip to steady myself as I rose off the bed to take more of him inside me.
He moved one hand to touch my shoulder. “Meredith, if you do not stop, I will go.”
I drew myself off him so I could talk, but kept my hands playing with him, and began to gently work that soft extra bit downward, so that when I put him back in my mouth, there would be only naked shaft to suck. I liked the sensation of the foreskin to play with, but I was sometimes too enthusiastic not to move something so delicate away from my teeth. I had wanted to do this with Doyle for so long, and been denied. He would not waste his seed in any way that would not gain him a child with me, but now…
Oh that’s right, none of Merry’s serious men would allow her to go down on them because it’d waste their semen. They threw fits about this in earlier books, because all she wanted to do was slob a knob and they denied her this constantly. So she’d only do it with Kitto. Ugh, Kitto. I really hope he doesn’t show up in this book.
“I want you to go into my mouth,” I said.
“Meredith,” he said, and he had to swallow hard, and finally put his hand on mind. “I cannot think with you doing that.”
“I don’t want you to think.”
He held my hands still, coming to his knees so he could hold both my hands, which were still around his body. “We have had this talk.”
“But I’m pregnant,” I said. “We can make love just for pleasure, and my pleasure is you in my mouth for the first time.”
He stared down at me, then a strange look came over his face. I couldn’t decipher it at first, then he smiled. He smiled down at me, shaking his head.
Also, ugh, I just now realized that the title of this book is “Swallowing Darkness”.
“Where in faerie are we?” he asked.
“We are safe. You are healed. I am with your child. I want to drown in your body. Let all the questions wait, Doyle, please.”
He gazed down the line of his body to where I lay back against the bed, my hands still wrapped around him. My hands were hidden where his much larger one had closed around them, from hand to past my wrists, so that my pale skin was very white against all his darkness.
He glanced to both sides. “I’m not sure the others wish to wait.”
I glanced to one side, then the other. Sholto lay on his side of the bed, on his stomach, which meant he’d turned his tentacles back to the tattoo, or he couldn’t have lain that flat. He was watching us, with careful, hungry eyes. “I’ll wait, for my turn.”
Holy shit LKH uses so many commas. SO MANY.
“I will leave,” Mistral said, and he stood beside the bed. The wounds on his body had vanished, as if the arrows had never touched all that muscled beauty His gray hair covered his body, almost as if he hid from me with it.
Doyle was going a little softer in the nest our hands had made, but I had to concentrate on Mistral’s mood for a moment. One of the hardest things about all the men was tending to everyone’s emotions. I knew Mistral less well than any of the other fathers, so here was my first moment to quiet that hurt look in the way he held his body, as if something had hurt him that had nothing to do with iron arrows.
This is one of the aspects I hate the most about this series, or any LKH series to be honest. The main female character spends SO MUCH of her time tip-toeing around the super delicate emotions of the men that surround her. She will say something, and then there will be chapters of whiny fights with her trying to placate the now hurt guy. Which will inevitably hurt some other of her harem, and so on, and so on, and so on. I am sick and tired of reading supposedly strong female characters who constantly kowtow to the men around her.
“I want to celebrate that Doyle is alive and with me, Mistral.”
He shook his head, not looking at us, and moved toward the path leading out. “I understand.”
It was Doyle who helped. “But once we have,” and he smiled at me, “celebrated, then you are one of us, and not to be exiled from the bed.”
Mistral looked out through that veil of gray. His eyes had gone the green of a sky before a serious storm hits. I knew just enough of him to know that it showed great anxiety. I wasn’t sure why, but our Storm Lord was worried.
“We are safe, Mistral, I swear,” I said.
“You would truly let me join you?”
“If Merry wills it, then we share,” Sholto said, not like he was entirely happy, but as if it were true.
As if it were true? Dude, it’s been true THIS ENTIRE SERIES SO FAR. The more the fucking Merry-er. Get it?
Mistral moved back toward the bed, sweeping his hair back so more of his face showed, and his body was revealed in all its lovely potential. “I am not to be exiled?”
“You are my Storm Lord, Mistral. We risked much to save you. Why would we cast you out?” I asked.
Doyle squeezed my hands gently, and I released him so he could talk to the other man without being distracted. “You think Meredith is like the queen, but she is not.” He held his hand out to the other man. “None of us have to leave. None of us have to watch while others satisfy their lust and know that we will go wanting. Meredith does not play such games.”
Sholto spoke from the other side of the bed, on his knees now. “He speaks truly, Mistral. She is not Andais. She is not the other sidhe bitches who tease and torment. She is Merry, and she would not invite you to join her unless she meant it.
I looked at Sholto then, because it was a speech that I wouldn’t have thought he knew me well enough to make. He answered the unasked question in my eyes. “You are honorable, Meredith, and just, and beautiful, and a goddess of lust and love.” He looked past me to Mistral. “She is a warmer thing than we have had in any court of faerie in a very long time.”
Throughout this series, Merry is always surprised by her men’s actions and words. She thinks that they don’t know her well enough, but honestly, I think it’s Merry that doesn’t know her men at all.
“I didn’t know I still had hope,” Mistral said. “To find it gone was more than I could bear.”
I didn’t completely understand his mood or his words, but I wanted to chase them all away. I held my hand out to him. “Come to me,” I said.
“Come to us,” Doyle said. “There is no cruelty here, no hidden tricks, I swear.”
He came at last and took my hand, as Doyle touched his shoulder in that very male greeting when you would not dream of hugging. I’d noticed that when nude, the men were less open to hugs from one another.
Another thing that’s mentioned throughout the series is how the sidhe are super open about nudity. They’re not at all like those prude Americans who cannot even bare being nude around anyone. Except, I guess, when the male sidhe are naked around one another?
Mistral looked down at me with eyes that were still anxious green. “Why would you want me now?”
“Why would I not?” I asked.
“I thought you would have no use for me.”
I went to my knees and drew him down into a kiss that started soft and ended fierce and nearly bruising. His body was already happier than it had been just moments ago. I caressed him gently, and his face showed a pleasure so intense it was almost pain. He had truly thought I would not let him touch me again. I might have asked why or what, or even who had lied to him, but Doyle’s hands came at my back, pulling me a little back from the other man.
“I would finish what we started.”
“You are our Captain,” Mistral said. “It is your right.”
So, they spend all this time trying to get Mistral to understand just how wanted he is in their little group, and how Merry would never toss him out like old trash, but then the second Merry shows Mistral any sort of tenderness, Doyle pulls a “lol me first, bro”. And Mistral just instantly accepts it?
“It’s not because of rank,” I said. “It’s because I thought I lost him, and I want the taste of him in my mouth to remind me that I have not lost everything I love.”
Mistral kissed me more gently, then let Doyle pull me away. “To be third in your bed is more than I had hoped for, Princess. I am content.”
“Meredith. I am simply Meredith here and like this,” I said.
He smiled. “Meredith in the bedroom, then.”
Doyle pulled me back to the center of the bed, and into his arms and his body. Sholto went back to lying on his side of the bed. Mistral climbed on it, but stayed sitting in one corner, his legs drawn up. Neither of them turned away, but I didn’t mind an audience of my choosing, and neither did Doyle.
I swear to you that in a previous book Doyle actually DID mind having an audience. He’d only get intimate with Merry when I believe Frost was with him, no one else. I don’t have it in me to go back and check, though.
Anyway, that’s where the chapter ends. Guess the next chapter is the sex scene. As always with LKH novels, sex has to be either preceded by, interrupted by, or ended with some sort of emotional temper tantrum, so I’d expect one within the next few chapters again. Good for us.