This one was a slog through hell to get done and I am very glad to see it up, very glad to see it gone. Hopefully, ya'll will enjoy it.
Chapter 46 is obscenely long, and it would be better titled "In Which All Major Players Kiss Anita's Ass." I know that happens a lot in this novel, but this is the worst example I've seen so far.
Leopards are Belle Morte's animal to call. I don't think I've covered this properly, so let me explain: Big, powerful vampires get an animal to call. JC has wolves, Musette had rats and bats, apparently, and Belle has leopards. Anita, despite not being a vampire, will eventually have all the things to call and the phrase "(blank) to call" will invoke this urgent urge to kill in the reader, and you won't ever really know why. I think the words "Deus ex machina" and/or "asspull" would be better suited to this particular element, but whatever.
Belle tells Anita she's pissed because Anita shot the Mother of all Darkness's servants. Belle is not pissed because this might, in turn, piss off the MOAD. No. Belle is pissed because the servant raising...stuff was proof that Belle was best vampire, and now it's all dead and icky on JC's floor.
Anita should not be allowed near political situations. EVER.
JC says that Musette broke the truce and was being put under room arrest, and the servants of the MOAD were trying to stop this lawful detainment. Belle calls bullshit. Valentina confirms it, stating that if she'd known that Stephen and Gregory were abuse victims, she wouldn't have abused them.
This defies all logic. I will buy vampires and werewolves and magical waves and possessions that smell like roses. What I won't buy is a sadist deciding that triggering an abuse victim is bad. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that's how a sadistic vamp would operate.
Belle gets pissy because she has to accept that Musette did break truce, so she decides that she's taking Asher back to France with her. JC says no, we're fucking each other, that means I get to keep him. Belle says JC is lying because Musette smelled (?) the lie on Anita. JC replies that Anita only counts intercourse as sex. Because, like, we didn't already cover this THREE OTHER TIMES already.
So Anita decides to bargain with Belle Morte for Asher's freedom, and of fucking course it's Anita having sex in front of Belle. Also, this happens:
He’d used my real name, he almost never did that. Perhaps because Belle was using my nickname, he didn’t want to.
This is the skeeviest part of the book so far, and I have no idea why.
So Belle drowns Anita in the magical scent of psychic roses, and Anita and Micah roll around on the floor, and a random person touches Anita, and this gives her the ability to remember that she's a necromancer and that vampire magic doesn't really work on her, and this somehow activates her inner leopard, and she and Micah have psychic sex on a real floor, while Belle psychiclly feeds on the psychic sex energy. And this somehow makes all the leopards in Anita's pard safe against Belle's influience because Plot. I guess. I think it's over there rocking in the corner, at any rate.
Belle calls all the humans in the room toys, and compliments JC on how nice his set are. Then they go back to discussing the dead servants of the MOAD and what the punishment for killing them should be. Belle realizes that Damian is Anita's vampire servant, a plot point that goes absolutely nowhere, though it establishes that Anita would be dead meat if the vampires still adhered to the "old ways"
Belle also tries to take over the vampires JC has made. Only JC has cut Belle off from controlling those vampires. Belle is now thawarted dictator level pissed, and she walks up to Asher, who isn't a leopard and is older than Jean Claude and thus, is Belle's own personal meat.
ALL of this has this thick coating of "Anita is a bad-ass". Seriously. Replace every other sentence with "Anita is a bad ass" and you'd have the effect this chapter gives me. INCLUDING the utter fucking disconnect between the tone and the actual behavior of every single person in this story.
The chapter ends with Anita rambling about love and/or evil.
LKH must have a pathological need to end every chapter with a quotable quote, which is fine and dandy most of the time. However, here we have a major character in immediate peril. Anita being quotable is not interesting. It's the internal monologue of a sociopath.
This chapter had no reason to exist.