Also: Scary fucking dragon.
So. Where were we?
Right. Anita went to go take a shower. Only she gets interrupted by Nate because Damian starts freaking out again and for fuck's sake, Laurel, we just did this. You want to write porn. Fine. I can't stop you. But when a plot point is resolved at least let it wash the lube off before you drag it back out for another round. There are five other men in the house. Fuck one of them for a few minutes.
Oh, and this time the emotion is fear, and it's not evil chocolate. It's wet silk, which for some reason Anita is still trying to eat. The oral fixation is getting old. And I don't think it's oral as in sex. I think it's oral as in somebody quit smoking and now has no idea what to do with their mouth.
And it's a fear-memory of Damian's involving some woman who wouldn't let anybody be prettier than she was, and there was a friend (?) with a scar that made him less pretty and...uh.
The only name I heard in my head was Perrin, but I knew that wasn’t right. That hadn’t been his name, anymore than Damian had been mine, ours, his.
Did we forget a few important words?
Nate kneels over Damian and Anita. His hair is undone. He smells like vanilla.
LKH needs a lifetime membership to Cupcakes International. Maybe if she gets free cupcakes she will stop comparing sex to food.
And then Damian throws Nate into the fear-memory of Dude-Named-Perrin (?) and Unnamed Evil Female throws Perrin the Pretty into the sunlight only he doesn't burn (??) and pronouncements are made reguarding this (????) and it's possible that vampires of Damian's lineage can day-walk? Maybe? Except they can't and they burn alive and WHY IS THIS HERE?
And Richard saves them.
I'd use a headdesk gif here, but I think I'd break it.
It turns out that Evil Female is Moroven AKA Nemhain, and what happened to Perrin was so terrible that Damian is reduced to rocking and whimpering to himself on the floor. So of course, he can be comforted by Anita...except before we get to the comfort sex part Damian's maker Nemhain shows up somehow (psychically?) and steals whatever it is that makes Damian Damian (AGAIN) so Anita now has to save him. AGAIN.
End of chapter. Next chapter. Jean Claude contacts Anita psychically again and starts to walk her through the whole "Saving Damian" thing. Again.
Gregory comments randomly that everybody smells like food.
And then the wrongest thing in the series so far shows up:
Jean-Claude’s voice swelled inside me, pushed back the fear enough so I could hear his words. “You must raise the ardeur, ma petite, you must. She does not understand a clean lust, free of pain and terror. Use our Richard, and I will be able to join my powers to yours, and we can defeat her.”
One: I know I've said it every single time Richard gets mentioned, but Anita raped Richard. Specifically while under the influience of the ardeur, when he had specifically told her she is not allowed to use him as food. This will never be okay.
Two: Richard is trying to move on with his life by aquiring a new girlfriend. WHY HE BROUGHT HER TO ANITA'S HOUSE makes no sense, but there you go.
These two points mean that Jean Claude has just ordered Anita to retraumatize her rape victim under circumstances very similar to the rape, so that we can save the life of a third-tier character whose entire contribution to the series, as far as I can remember, was being locked in a coffin for six months.
You know, Cerulean Sins was a slog through hell and back, but at least it was consistent suck. It did not waiver. It did not really bother topping itself. I am beginning to suspect that this book does not come with a bottom to hit. And as much as I enjoy mining for comedy gold, nothing about this is funny. Having to deal with your abuser? Not fun. Being told that you must have sex with your abuser to save the life of an uninvolved third party who just fucked said abuser right in front of you, while you had a presumable flashback to the time she raped you? Not only is that nowhere near sanity, I really can't understand why ANYBODY would be willing to write this.
In other words: What. The fuck. Am I reading?
Anita spends several pages trying to get out of it.
This is the first sane thing she's done in this book...
...right up until we get to the whole "Yeah, but we've just ended our relationship and I don't want to revive that shit anymore" whining. Because, you know, it's all about how Richard has ruined Anita's life.
Hey, A.B? One of you pushed the other one into a fight to the death that ended with the consumption of the loser's corpse, and then ran the fuck away. And it wasn't Richard. One of you said "Oh, yeah, I'll never violate your limits now that you've pointed them out to me in triplicate" and then broke every promise made, and it wasn't Richard.
I know I keep harping on this, but for fuck's sake, couldn't this have been resolved without forcing Richard to have sex with Anita while his new girlfriend is sitting out in the car?
Meanwhile, Gregory still thinks everybody smells like food. Thanks for that.
AND THEN MICAH BRINGS RICHARD'S NEW GIRLFRIEND INTO THE ROOM.
WHAT THE FUCK, LAUREL? I MEAN, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
And she's an itty bitty tiny thing who is Anita's size and who has dark burnette hair--fuck, I was sure she'd be a tall blond--and her name is Clair. And she's a new wolf. So very new that she doesn't recognize what fear is when she smells it.
And Anita and Nate and Damian are all freaking out at Gregory being mostly leopard right now, and at Clair having wolf eyes because I HAVE NO IDEA, NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE.
Oh, and Anita is no longer participating in anything. She might as well be a body pillow on the floor. She is our eyes and ears to let us know what is going on, and what is going on is Micah and Richard talking about just how good their fear smell is.
And oh, hey, I thought this couldn't get any worse. It just did:
I’d seen Richard nude enough times to lose track. The sight of him nude had excited me, made me nervous, afraid in that oh-my-god, where-am-I-going-to-put-it-all sort of way, envious when I’d lost my naked privileges, angry when he was being shitty, or trying to rub my face in the fact that I still found him handsome, but he wasn’t mine anymore. All those emotions, and lust, and love, but never fear. Never that feeling that he was physically so much larger than I was, so much stronger, so much . . . he’d never hurt me physically, and I’d never been afraid of him physically, but I was now. I was afraid the way virgins are supposed to be afraid when white slavers snatch them away. Afraid of being ravished. Afraid of him using that body in mine. Afraid in a way that I’d never been afraid of anyone that I loved.Anita is now afraid of being raped.
I do not know where to start with the fucked up here. This is wheels within wheels of utterly fucked all to hell. If utter human horribleness were distilled down to its basest elements it would be that paragraph right there. I mean
Richard kind of talks Anita back down, and then Damian grabs her and ramps her right back up again...and the chapter ends before we go any further.
I want to know what drugs were involved in this, so that we can get them banned on the manufacturing level. This is not darkety dark. This is just char-grilled stupid.