Seduced by Moonlight (Meredith Gentry Series #3)

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Overview

I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. and Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Fairie.
Now there are those among me who whisper I am more.
They fear me even as they protect me. And who can blame them?
I’ve awakened the dazzling magic that’s slumbered in them for thousands of years. But the thing is, I can’t figure out why.

My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, is no longer ...

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Seduced by Moonlight (Meredith Gentry Series #3)

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Overview

I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. and Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Fairie.
Now there are those among me who whisper I am more.
They fear me even as they protect me. And who can blame them?
I’ve awakened the dazzling magic that’s slumbered in them for thousands of years. But the thing is, I can’t figure out why.

My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, is no longer distracted by her usual sadistic hobbies. Her obsession has turned unwaveringly to me. The mission to get me pregnant and beat my cousin Prince Cel to the crown is taking longer than expected. Even though I spend each night with the Queen’s Ravens, my immortal guards, no child has come of our decadent pleasures. But something else is happening. My magic courses through me uncontrollably. And as I lock my half-mortal body with their full-Sidhe blooded ones, the power surges like never before.

It all began with the chalice. I dreamed of it, and it appeared, cool and hard, beside me when I awoke. My guards know the ancient relic well—its disappearance ages ago stripped them of their vital powers. But it is here with us now. My touch resonates with its force, and they’re consumed with it, their Sidhe essences lit up by it. But even as they cherish me for this unexpected gift, there are those who loathe me for it. Me, a mongrel, only half fey and part mortal. The Unseelie court has suffered for so long, and there are some who would not have it weakened further by an impure queen. My enemies grow in number every day. But they do not know what I am capable of. Nor, for that matter, do I. . . .

In Seduced by Moonlight, Laurell K. Hamilton brings the dark, erotic reign of the immortal fey to a startling new depth. Full of sensuality and the consuming anticipation of latent powers unleashed, this world of gods, shapeshifters, and immortal souls is unveiled in all of its supreme magnificence and its treacherous deceits.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“SEXY . . . MERRY’S ADVENTURES ARE ENGAGING AND KEEP THE READER TURNING THE PAGES.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“STUNNING . . . STEAMY . . . AN EXCITING AND ORIGINAL WORLD.”
—San Jose Mercury News

“A sizzling new series that blends supernatural fantasy with detective adventure . . . Memorable characters and wicked wit make it all delicious, ribald fun.”
—Publishers Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
Considering all the complications, sexual and otherwise, that Merry Gentry, heir to the faerie throne, endured in A Kiss of Shadows (2000) and A Caress of Twilight (2002), it's no surprise to find the start of Hamilton's third book in her erotic fantasy series weighed down by attempts to conversationally recap earlier convolutions. Even readers of the first two books might have problems sorting out exactly why Merry is messing with the goblin king via magic mirror. Though the author maintains interest through such devices as an imaginative sex scene involving Merry, two of her sidhe studs and a doll-sized, winged, blood-sucking demi-fey, it takes a milieu switch from L.A. to St. Louis and the Unseelie court for the plot to take off and become a page turner. Merry confronts faerie politics that make Machiavelli look like a rookie, while her aunt's sadistic madness leads to what must rank as one of the bloodier scenes of fictional slaughter. Since Merry's previous role as a private eye has almost completely disappeared, nefarious deeds require magic to solve rather than detection. Hamilton's trademark mix of the personal and emotional along with the sexual will as usual delight her fans. Add yet another tour de force ending, a new final total of 16 lustful sidhe male immortals with whom to couple (or triple or...), and a fair future is assured for Merry for at least another few books. (Feb. 3) FYI: Hamilton is also the author of the bestselling Anita Blake vampire series (Cerulean Sins, etc.). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Meredith Gentry, half-mortal Sidhe princess, is engaged in a contest to produce a child before her cousin Prince Cel does. The stakes are high: the winner will be heir to Queen Andais and the throne of the Unseelie Court. A powerful artifact mysteriously appears, and Merry becomes a trigger for the goddess Danu to restore long-lost powers of Celtic godhood to any Sidhe who has sex with Merry. In addition to sex, there is interminable conversation and explication about who, where, why, and how to have sex. Almost no plot movement takes place until late in the book, when situations at the court become graphically violent. Any listener unfamiliar with the two earlier episodes in this series may be confused, while fans might be impatient with the lengthy explanations. Hamilton does provide sensual erotica, faultlessly performed by Laural Merlington. Recommended only for large collections that include adult material.-Janet Martin, FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Pinehurst, NC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Third entry in Hamilton's series about p.i. /Faerie Princess Meredith Gentry. Meredith, she of the moonlight skin and blood-auburn hair, handles supernatural cases for the Grey Detective Agency while involved in endless faerie court politics. As we learned in A Caress of Shadows (2002), the now-mortal Meredith will replace her aunt as the Queen of Air and Darkness only if she becomes pregnant, a state she chases hard with the help of her many bodyguards and lovers, including thousand-year-old assassin Doyle, a celibate creature of absolute blackness and a member of the Queen's Ravens. But Prince Cel hopes to assassinate her and become ruler himself by providing an heir before Meredith can deliver a child. The series background is Hollywood, whose tabloid media and paparazzi pursue Meredith for photo ops. Merry first comes up against Siun, a nightmarish bloated black spider the size of a large German shepherd, with eyes everywhere, a head, hands, and breasts. Then Maeve Reed, the golden goddess of Hollywood, who looks 20 but has been top star for 50 years, tries to seduce her. Can Merry's ultimate orgasmic lovemaking reawaken Maeve's true godhead of lost power? Can Merry's body return his lost godhead to oceanic Barinthus? Will she sink into Adair and into "the power that lay in the muscles and meat of him"? Given all the rolling around beforehand, it seems only right that at this novel's climax, Meredith finds herself abed with 16 males. Steamy embraces wispily laced together by moonlit shadow-webbing. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz/Writers House
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345443595
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Series: Meredith Gentry Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 127,167
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell K. Hamilton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Meredith Gentry novels: A Kiss of Shadows, A Caress of Twilight, Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight, Mistral’s Kiss, as well as fifteen acclaimed Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, novels. She is a full-time writer; she lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.

Biography

The vampire genre has enthralled readers ever since Bram Stoker introduced a certain Transylvanian count over a century ago. Since then vampires have been used as vehicles for everything from romantic novels to erotica to humor to the expected tales of terror. However, very few writers have combined all of these facets of the never-say-die vampire quite the way that Laurell K. Hamilton has.

Hamilton has not always been under the spell of undead things that go bump-and-grind in the night. When she was a young girl, her literary tastes were a bit more on the traditional side. "I wanted to be Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women, because I had never read any science fiction, fantasy, or horror," she confessed in a podcast on Mayor Slay.com. "Then at 13 or 14 I found Robert E. Howard's short story collection [Pigeons From Hell]. It was the first horror, the first heroic fantasy, the first science fiction I'd ever read, and the moment I read that I knew that not only did I want to be a writer, but this is what I wanted to write."

Furthering Hamilton's burgeoning fascination with the fantastic, she discovered Anthony Masters's The Natural History of the Vampire at her high school library. Coupled with the ghost stories her grandmother had told her when she was a child and heavy doses of Hammer Horror movies from Great Britain, Hamilton was well on her way to creating a character that would only be rivaled by Buffy in the field of vampire slaying.

Hamilton first introduced vampire huntress Anita Blake in her third novel Guilty Pleasures. Blake is an unlikely combination of action hero, federal marshal, "necromancer," and lusty dame. Her exploits between the sheets and in the graveyard won Hamilton a rabid following hungry for something new in the well-traveled vampire genre.

Along with the kinds of scares normally associated with vampire stories, Hamilton's books are notable for their unflinching eroticism. Vampires have had a sexual lure since Stoker, but Hamilton particularly draws that aspect to the surface of her work as one of her creatures might draw blood from a victim. "I [want] a kiss to be so believable it gives the reader shivers," she says on her website. "Two things I do well are sex and violence, but I don't want gratuitous sex or violence. The sex and violence is only as graphic as need be. And never included unless it furthers the plot or character development."

Another unlikely trait of her books is humor, vampire tales classically being of the more solemn sort. However, a writer weaned on a book titled Pigeons From Hell is not likely going to shy away from wit. Consequently, her books have been consistently entertaining and fun, as well as creepy and sexy.

Hamilton has also brought her delicious combination of sex, humor, and frights to another series, this one more ingrained in dark fantasy than horror. Her faerie princess/P.I. Meredith Gentry made her debut in Kiss of Shadows in 2001 and has since sparked her own crowd-pleasing sword and sorcery meets pulp series.

Increasingly, the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry books have added more sexual content to their story lines, classifying both series in a new hybrid genre that blends romance, erotica, and paranormal fantasy. To judge from Hamilton's consistent appearance on the bestseller charts, readers find the mix spellbinding.

Good To Know

One thing you will never find in a Hamilton novel is a cliffhanger. She believes that cliffhangers unfairly tease readers who would then have to wait six months to a year to have some sense of resolution. As she said during an interview with Bill Thompson of Eye On Books, "Every book is a full meal. All the way from the appetizer to the dessert, so that you come away feeling that you've had an experience... and at the end you have that satisfied, full feeling."

Before Laurell K. Hamilton made a full-time career of blood, guts, murder, and mayhem, she had more humane pursuits -- she volunteered at an animal shelter where she played with unwanted pets.

In our interview, Hamilton shared some fun and fascinating facts about herself with us:

"I am incredibly stubborn. Telling me I cannot do something, especially if you cite the fact that I am a girl, will make me want to do it more and do it better."

"I am not my characters. We have some of the same traits in common, but we are very different people."

"Everything inspires me. Getting up in the morning, walking the dogs, watching a music video. Inspiration comes from everywhere."

"I love animals. I own four dogs, two of whom are rescues. In fact, Jimmy is with us because they were going to gas him if we didn't take him with us. As an older dog his chances of finding a home were fairly slim. But he has been a wonderful addition to our home."

"I like spending time with my family and friends. Something I often feel I do not do enough of. But there are only so many hours in a day."

"I like to read other people's works. I love reading cozy or historical mysteries when I can."

"I enjoy interacting with fans at planned public events. I enjoy talking to them and have met many wonderful people."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Laurell Kaye Klein (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 19, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      Heber Springs, Arkansas
    1. Education:
      B.A., Marion College
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

A lot of people lounge by pools in l.a., but few of them are truly immortal, no matter how hard they pretend with plastic surgery and exercise. Doyle was truly immortal and had been for over a thousand years. A thousand years of wars, assassinations, and political intrigue, and he’d been reduced to being eye candy in a thong bathing suit by the pool of the rich and famous. He lay at the edge of the pool, wearing almost nothing. Sunlight glittered across the blue, blue water of the pool. The light broke in a jagged dance across his body, as if some invisible hand stirred the light, turning it into a dozen tiny spotlights that coaxed Doyle’s dark body into colors I’d never known his skin could hold.

He wasn’t black the way a human being is black, but more the way a dog is black. Watching the play of light on his skin, I realized I’d been wrong. His skin gleamed with blue highlights, a shine of midnight blue along the long muscular sweep of his calf, a flare of royal blue like a stroke of deep sky touched his back and shoulder. Purple to shame the darkest amethyst caressed his hip. How could I ever have thought his skin monochrome? He was a miracle of colors and light, strapped across a body that rippled and moved with muscles honed in wars fought centuries before I was born.

The braid of his black hair trailed across the edge of the lounge chair, fell over the side, and curled beside him on the concrete like some patient serpent. His hair was the only thing that seemed black on black. There was no play of colors, only a gleam like a black jewel. It seemed as if it should have been the other way around, that his hair should have held the highlights and his body been all one color, but it wasn’t.

He lay on his stomach, head turned away from me. He was pretend- ing to be asleep, but I knew he wasn’t. He was waiting. Waiting for the helicopter to fly over. The helicopter that would contain the press, people with cameras. We’d made a deal with the devil. If the press would just stay away enough for us to have some privacy, we’d make sure that at prearranged times they had something newsworthy to take pictures of. I was Princess Meredith NicEssus, heir to the throne of the Unseelie Court, and the fact that I’d surfaced in Los Angeles, California, after a three-year absence was big news. People thought I’d died. Now I was alive and well, and living in the middle of one of the biggest media empires on the planet. Then I’d gone and done something that was even better tabloid fodder.

I was looking for a husband. The only faerie princess born on American soil was looking to wed. Being fey, especially a member of the sidhe, the highest of the high royals, I wasn’t allowed to marry unless I was pregnant. The fey don’t breed much, and the sidhe royals breed even less. My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, would not tolerate anything less than a fertile match. Since we seemed to be dying out, I guess I couldn’t blame her. But somehow the tabloids had gotten wind that I wasn’t just dating my bodyguards, I was fucking them. Whoever got me with child, got a wedding. Got to be king to my queen.

The tabloids even knew that the queen had made it a contest between me and her son, my cousin, Prince Cel. Whoever got a baby first, won the throne. The media had fallen on us like a cannibalistic orgy. Not pretty, not pretty at all.

What the tabloids didn’t know was that Cel had tried to have me as- sassinated more than once. They also didn’t know that he’d been imprisoned by the queen for six months as punishment. Imprisoned and tortured, for six months. Immortality and an ability to heal almost anything does have some downsides. Torture can last a very, very long time.

When Cel got out, he’d be allowed to continue the contest, unless I got pregnant first. So far, no luck, and it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Doyle was one of five bodyguards, the queen’s own bodyguards, who had volunteered, or been volunteered, to be my lover. Queen Andais had had a rule that her bodyguards gave their seed to her body, or nobody. Doyle had been celibate for centuries. Again, immortality, if it goes wrong, can have some downsides.

We’d chosen one of the most persistent of the tabloids and made our arrangements. Doyle thought it was rewarding bad behavior; the queen wanted us to show positive images to the media. The Unseelie Court of the sidhe has a reputation for being the bad guys. We can be, but I’d spent my fair share of time at the Seelie Court, the bright and shining court that the media think is so perfect, so joyous. Their King Taranis, the King of Light and Illusion, is my uncle. But I’m not in line to that throne. I had the bad taste to have a father who was full-blooded Unseelie sidhe, and that is a crime for which the glittering throng has no forgiveness. There was no prison that I could go to, no torture I could endure, that would cleanse me of this sin.

They can say that the Seelie Court is a beautiful place, but I learned that my blood is just as red on white marble as it is on black. The beautiful people made it very plain at a young age that I would never be one of them. I’m too short, too human looking, and, worse yet, too Unseelie looking.

My skin is as white as Doyle’s is black. Moonlight skin is what I have, a mark of beauty at either court, but I am barely five feet tall. No sidhe is that short. I have curves and am a little too voluptuous for the sidhe—that pesky human blood, I guess. My eyes are tricolored, two shades of green and a circle of gold. The eyes would be welcome in the Seelie Court, but not the hair. It’s blood auburn, sidhe scarlet, if you go to a good salon and get the dye job. It’s not auburn, and it’s not human red. It’s as if you took good red garnets and spun the jewels out into hair. It has one other nickname among the glittering throng—Unseelie red. The Seelie have red hair, but it’s closer to human red, orangey, golden, true auburn, or true red, but nothing as dark as mine.

My mother made sure that I knew I was less. Less beautiful, less welcome, just less. She and I don’t talk much. My father died when I was younger, and there is rarely a day that I don’t miss him. He taught me that I was enough, beautiful enough, tall enough, strong enough, just enough.

Doyle raised his head, showing the black wraparound sunglasses that hid his own black eyes. The light glittered off the silver earrings that graced almost every inch of his ears, from lobe to pointed tip. The ears were the only thing that gave away the fact that Doyle wasn’t pure Unseelie sidhe. Contrary to popular literature, and every wanna-be fey with ear implants, real sidhe do not have pointed ears. Doyle could have hidden the ears and passed for pure sidhe, but he almost always wore his hair back so that this one imperfection showed. I think the earrings were so you wouldn’t miss them.

“I hear the helicopter. Where is Rhys?”

I didn’t hear anything yet, but I’d learned not to question Doyle; if he said he’d heard something, he had. His hearing was better than a human’s, and better than most of the rest of the guards. Probably something to do with his mixed heritage.

I sat up and looked back toward the wall of glass that led into the house. Rhys appeared in the sliding glass doors before I could call for him. His skin was the paleness of mine, but there the sameness ended. His waist-length hair was a mass of tight white curls framing a face that was boyishly handsome and would be forever. His one eye was tricolored blue, cornflower, and winter sky. His other eye was gone, lost long ago. Sometimes he wore a patch to cover the scars, but once he realized that I didn’t mind, he seldom bothered. The scars trailed down his face but stopped short of his kissable, pouting lips. For sheer shape of the mouth, his was the prettiest. He was five foot six, the shortest full-blooded sidhe I’d ever met. But every inch of him that showed was muscled. He seemed to try to make up for the lack of height by being in better shape than the rest of the guards. They were all muscular, but he was one of the few who really took the weight lifting seriously. He was also the only one with washboard abs. He had the towels he’d gone for, in front of those abs, and lower, and it wasn’t until he dropped the towels beside my chair that I realized he’d left his bathing suit in the house.

“Rhys! What are you doing?”

He grinned at me. “Bathing suits this small are like lies. It’s a way for humans to be nude without being naked. I’d rather just be naked.”

“They won’t be able to print the pictures if one of us is nude,” Doyle said.

“They’ll print my ass, just not my front.”

I looked up at him, suddenly suspicious. “And just why won’t they be able to see the front of your body?”

He laughed, head back, mouth wide, a sound so joyous it seemed to make the day brighter. “I’ll be hiding myself against your gorgeous body.”

“No,” Doyle said.

“And are you going to do anything picture-worthy?” Rhys asked, hands on his hips. He was totally comfortable nude. His body language never changed no matter what he was, or wasn’t, wearing. It had taken two days worth of arguing to get Doyle into the thong bikini bottom he had on. He’d never participated in the court’s casual nudity.

Doyle stood, and the front of the suit was tiny enough, and close enough in color, that I could see Rhys’s point. If you didn’t know how magnificent Doyle looked nude, you might think this was it, at a glance. From the back he looked almost as nude as Rhys.

“I am wearing this, and I am in public view.”

“You’re cute,” Rhys said, “but if we want the tabloids to stop trying to snap pictures through the bedroom windows, we need to play fair with them. We need to give them a show.” He spread his arms wide when he said the last, turning his back to me so I got the full view of the back of his body. The view was better without the bathing suit to break up the clean, muscled lines of him. He still had a wonderful ass, unlike some bodybuilders, who’ve taken the lack of body fat to a point where there is nothing soft on their bodies. You need a little softness to hide the lines of muscles, or it just looks wrong.

I could hear the helicopter now. “We’re running out of time, gentlemen. I do not want to go back to having the photographers camped out in the trees outside the wall.”

Rhys glanced back at me. “If we don’t give the first tabloid a good show, they’ll tell the rest that we lied, and we’ll have them climbing all over us again.” He sighed, and not as if he was happy. “I’d rather flash my ass to the entire country than have another photographer break his arm falling off the roof.”

“Agreed,” I said.

Doyle took a deep breath in through his nose and let it out slowly through his mouth. “Agreed.” How little he liked it showed in the lines of his body, the way he stood. If he couldn’t act better than this, Doyle would have to be excused from future photo opportunities.

Rhys came to the foot of my lounge chair and knelt on all fours, with his hands on the chair arms. He was grinning at me, and I knew he’d find a way of enjoying this. It might be duty, and he might prefer to just shoot the helicopter out of the sky, but he’d play fair, and he’d find a way to make it fun, if he could.

I gazed down his body, because I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t not look at him dangling there, close enough to fondle, close enough for so much. My voice was a little less than steady when I asked, “Do you have a plan?”

“I thought we’d make out.”

“And what am I supposed to be doing?” Doyle asked. He sounded disgusted with the entire situation. He loved being my lover, loved the possibility of being king; he hated the publicity and everything that went with it.

“You can take one end, I’ll take the other.”

The helicopter was close now, perhaps hidden only by the line of tall eucalyptus trees that bordered the estate. Doyle flashed a smile, white and sudden as lightning in the darkness of his face. He moved with that liquid grace and speed that I could never match, and was suddenly kneeling beside my shoulder. “If I must, then I would have the sweet taste of your mouth.”

Rhys darted a quick lick across my bare stomach that made me writhe and giggle. He raised his face enough to say, “There are other tastes just as sweet.” The look in his eye, his face, held a heat and knowledge that stole the laughter from my throat and sent my pulse racing.

Doyle brushed his lips across my shoulder. The movement brought my gaze to his, and there was that same dark knowledge. A knowledge born of nights and days of skin and sweat and bodies, of tangled sheets and pleasure.

My voice came a little shaky. “You’ve decided to play. What made you change your mind?”

He whispered against my cheek, and just his breath hot against my skin made me shudder. “This is a necessary evil, and if you must parade yourself for the media, then I will not abandon you.” That flash of a smile came again, like a surprise across his face. It made him look younger, almost like someone else entirely. It had only been in the last month or so that I’d known Doyle had a smile like that inside him. “Besides, I cannot leave you to Rhys. Goddess knows what he would do out here on his own.”

Rhys ran a finger along the edge of my bikini bottom. “Such a tiny piece of cloth. They’ll never see it if we’re careful.”

I frowned at him. “What do you mean?”

He dropped lower on the lounge chair so that his face was above that tiny piece of cloth, his hands sliding under my slightly raised thighs until those hands came up over my hips and hid the bright red cloth of the bikini bottom. He lowered his face just over my groin, and his hair spread across my thighs like a curtain.

I didn’t have time to protest, or even decide if I was going to. The helicopter cleared the trees, and that was how they found us. Rhys with his face buried in my groin, his legs bent at the knees, feet kicking slightly over his bare ass, like a child with a piece of good candy.

I thought Doyle would protest, until he pressed his face into my neck and I realized he was laughing. Silently, shoulders shaking. He eased me back onto the lounge chair so that I was lying down again, still laughing, but hiding it from the cameras.

I started to smile and was glad my sunglasses were back in place. The smile started to turn into a laugh as the helicopter circled overhead, close enough to chop the water of the pool and send Rhys’s hair tickling along my skin. My hair flared in the artificial wind like bloody flames.

I was laughing full out now, which made things besides my shoulders shake.

Rhys licked across the front of my groin, and even through the cloth it slowed the laughter, brought a catch to my breath. He rolled his eye up the line of my body, and the look was enough; he didn’t want me laughing. He set his teeth into the cloth and grazed me delicately with his teeth. The sensation made me shudder, spine bowing enough to spill my head backward and open my mouth in a throaty gasp.

Doyle squeezed my shoulder, brought me back into my head a little. I was still shaky and had trouble focusing on his face. “I think we have had enough of a show for one day.” He laid one of the towels across my stomach. He handed the other one to Rhys.

Rhys looked up at him, and I saw the thought to argue cross his face, but in the end he simply began to get up, spreading the towel as he moved so that the cameras didn’t get a glimpse of the bikini bottoms. I’d half expected him to flash the camera, show the joke, but he didn’t. He very carefully covered me with the towel, while the helicopter swirled overhead and the wind beat our hair around us. On his knees, he was fully exposed, and I wondered if there’d be photos with him politely fuzzed out, or whether they’d sell them to the European papers and not worry about it.

When I was covered completely, from thighs to just under the red bikini top, he scooped me up in his arms.

I had to shout to be heard above the sound of wind and machinery. “I can walk.”

“I want to carry you.” He seemed so serious when he said it, and it cost me nothing to let him do it.

I nodded.

Rhys carried me toward the house with Doyle walking a little behind and to one side of us. Doyle was being a good bodyguard, bringing up the rear, but he was also walking to one side, instead of directly behind us, so that he didn’t ruin the photo opportunity.

He stopped at his chair and scooped up a third towel, then moved smoothly toward the house. I caught a glimpse of the gun wrapped in that towel. The helicopter circling overhead never knew that any of us was armed. They also couldn’t see Frost standing just inside the sliding glass doors, hidden by a spill of drapes. He was fully dressed, and very fully armed. I think the reason I didn’t mind the media games so much was that if no one tried to kill me, it was a good day. When that’s your criterion for a good day, what’s a few helicopters and some racy photos? Not much.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

A lot of people lounge by pools in l.a., but few of them are truly immortal, no matter how hard they pretend with plastic surgery and exercise. Doyle was truly immortal and had been for over a thousand years. A thousand years of wars, assassinations, and political intrigue, and he'd been reduced to being eye candy in a thong bathing suit by the pool of the rich and famous. He lay at the edge of the pool, wearing almost nothing. Sunlight glittered across the blue, blue water of the pool. The light broke in a jagged dance across his body, as if some invisible hand stirred the light, turning it into a dozen tiny spotlights that coaxed Doyle's dark body into colors I'd never known his skin could hold.

He wasn't black the way a human being is black, but more the way a dog is black. Watching the play of light on his skin, I realized I'd been wrong. His skin gleamed with blue highlights, a shine of midnight blue along the long muscular sweep of his calf, a flare of royal blue like a stroke of deep sky touched his back and shoulder. Purple to shame the darkest amethyst caressed his hip. How could I ever have thought his skin monochrome? He was a miracle of colors and light, strapped across a body that rippled and moved with muscles honed in wars fought centuries before I was born.

The braid of his black hair trailed across the edge of the lounge chair, fell over the side, and curled beside him on the concrete like some patient serpent. His hair was the only thing that seemed black on black. There was no play of colors, only a gleam like a black jewel. It seemed as if it should have been the other way around, that his hair should have held thehighlights and his body been all one color, but it wasn't.

He lay on his stomach, head turned away from me. He was pretending to be asleep, but I knew he wasn't. He was waiting. Waiting for the helicopter to fly over. The helicopter that would contain the press, people with cameras. We'd made a deal with the devil. If the press would just stay away enough for us to have some privacy, we'd make sure that at prearranged times they had something newsworthy to take pictures of. I was Princess Meredith NicEssus, heir to the throne of the Unseelie Court, and the fact that I'd surfaced in Los Angeles, California, after a three-year absence was big news. People thought I'd died. Now I was alive and well, and living in the middle of one of the biggest media empires on the planet. Then I'd gone and done something that was even better tabloid fodder.

I was looking for a husband. The only faerie princess born on American soil was looking to wed. Being fey, especially a member of the sidhe, the highest of the high royals, I wasn't allowed to marry unless I was pregnant. The fey don't breed much, and the sidhe royals breed even less. My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, would not tolerate anything less than a fertile match. Since we seemed to be dying out, I guess I couldn't blame her. But somehow the tabloids had gotten wind that I wasn't just dating my bodyguards, I was fucking them. Whoever got me with child, got a wedding. Got to be king to my queen.

The tabloids even knew that the queen had made it a contest between me and her son, my cousin, Prince Cel. Whoever got a baby first, won the throne. The media had fallen on us like a cannibalistic orgy. Not pretty, not pretty at all.

What the tabloids didn't know was that Cel had tried to have me assassinated more than once. They also didn't know that he'd been imprisoned by the queen for six months as punishment. Imprisoned and tortured, for six months. Immortality and an ability to heal almost anything does have some downsides. Torture can last a very, very long time.

When Cel got out, he'd be allowed to continue the contest, unless I got pregnant first. So far, no luck, and it wasn't for lack of trying.

Doyle was one of five bodyguards, the queen's own bodyguards, who had volunteered, or been volunteered, to be my lover. Queen Andais had had a rule that her bodyguards gave their seed to her body, or nobody. Doyle had been celibate for centuries. Again, immortality, if it goes wrong, can have some downsides.

We'd chosen one of the most persistent of the tabloids and made our arrangements. Doyle thought it was rewarding bad behavior; the queen wanted us to show positive images to the media. The Unseelie Court of the sidhe has a reputation for being the bad guys. We can be, but I'd spent my fair share of time at the Seelie Court, the bright and shining court that the media think is so perfect, so joyous. Their King Taranis, the King of Light and Illusion, is my uncle. But I'm not in line to that throne. I had the bad taste to have a father who was full-blooded Unseelie sidhe, and that is a crime for which the glittering throng has no forgiveness. There was no prison that I could go to, no torture I could endure, that would cleanse me of this sin.

They can say that the Seelie Court is a beautiful place, but I learned that my blood is just as red on white marble as it is on black. The beautiful people made it very plain at a young age that I would never be one of them. I'm too short, too human looking, and, worse yet, too Unseelie looking.

My skin is as white as Doyle's is black. Moonlight skin is what I have, a mark of beauty at either court, but I am barely five feet tall. No sidhe is that short. I have curves and am a little too voluptuous for the sidhe—that pesky human blood, I guess. My eyes are tricolored, two shades of green and a circle of gold. The eyes would be welcome in the Seelie Court, but not the hair. It's blood auburn, sidhe scarlet, if you go to a good salon and get the dye job. It's not auburn, and it's not human red. It's as if you took good red garnets and spun the jewels out into hair. It has one other nickname among the glittering throng—Unseelie red. The Seelie have red hair, but it's closer to human red, orangey, golden, true auburn, or true red, but nothing as dark as mine.

My mother made sure that I knew I was less. Less beautiful, less welcome, just less. She and I don't talk much. My father died when I was younger, and there is rarely a day that I don't miss him. He taught me that I was enough, beautiful enough, tall enough, strong enough, just enough.

Doyle raised his head, showing the black wraparound sunglasses that hid his own black eyes. The light glittered off the silver earrings that graced almost every inch of his ears, from lobe to pointed tip. The ears were the only thing that gave away the fact that Doyle wasn't pure Unseelie sidhe. Contrary to popular literature, and every wanna-be fey with ear implants, real sidhe do not have pointed ears. Doyle could have hidden the ears and passed for pure sidhe, but he almost always wore his hair back so that this one imperfection showed. I think the earrings were so you wouldn't miss them.

"I hear the helicopter. Where is Rhys?"

I didn't hear anything yet, but I'd learned not to question Doyle; if he said he'd heard something, he had. His hearing was better than a human's, and better than most of the rest of the guards. Probably something to do with his mixed heritage.

I sat up and looked back toward the wall of glass that led into the house. Rhys appeared in the sliding glass doors before I could call for him. His skin was the paleness of mine, but there the sameness ended. His waist-length hair was a mass of tight white curls framing a face that was boyishly handsome and would be forever. His one eye was tricolored blue, cornflower, and winter sky. His other eye was gone, lost long ago. Sometimes he wore a patch to cover the scars, but once he realized that I didn't mind, he seldom bothered. The scars trailed down his face but stopped short of his kissable, pouting lips. For sheer shape of the mouth, his was the prettiest. He was five foot six, the shortest full-blooded sidhe I'd ever met. But every inch of him that showed was muscled. He seemed to try to make up for the lack of height by being in better shape than the rest of the guards. They were all muscular, but he was one of the few who really took the weight lifting seriously. He was also the only one with washboard abs. He had the towels he'd gone for, in front of those abs, and lower, and it wasn't until he dropped the towels beside my chair that I realized he'd left his bathing suit in the house.

"Rhys! What are you doing?"

He grinned at me. "Bathing suits this small are like lies. It's a way for humans to be nude without being naked. I'd rather just be naked."

"They won't be able to print the pictures if one of us is nude," Doyle said.

"They'll print my ass, just not my front."

I looked up at him, suddenly suspicious. "And just why won't they be able to see the front of your body?"

He laughed, head back, mouth wide, a sound so joyous it seemed to make the day brighter. "I'll be hiding myself against your gorgeous body."

"No," Doyle said.

"And are you going to do anything picture-worthy?" Rhys asked, hands on his hips. He was totally comfortable nude. His body language never changed no matter what he was, or wasn't, wearing. It had taken two days worth of arguing to get Doyle into the thong bikini bottom he had on. He'd never participated in the court's casual nudity.

Doyle stood, and the front of the suit was tiny enough, and close enough in color, that I could see Rhys's point. If you didn't know how magnificent Doyle looked nude, you might think this was it, at a glance. From the back he looked almost as nude as Rhys.

"I am wearing this, and I am in public view."

"You're cute," Rhys said, "but if we want the tabloids to stop trying to snap pictures through the bedroom windows, we need to play fair with them. We need to give them a show." He spread his arms wide when he said the last, turning his back to me so I got the full view of the back of his body. The view was better without the bathing suit to break up the clean, muscled lines of him. He still had a wonderful ass, unlike some bodybuilders, who've taken the lack of body fat to a point where there is nothing soft on their bodies. You need a little softness to hide the lines of muscles, or it just looks wrong.

I could hear the helicopter now. "We're running out of time, gentlemen. I do not want to go back to having the photographers camped out in the trees outside the wall."

Rhys glanced back at me. "If we don't give the first tabloid a good show, they'll tell the rest that we lied, and we'll have them climbing all over us again." He sighed, and not as if he was happy. "I'd rather flash my ass to the entire country than have another photographer break his arm falling off the roof."

"Agreed," I said.

Doyle took a deep breath in through his nose and let it out slowly through his mouth. "Agreed." How little he liked it showed in the lines of his body, the way he stood. If he couldn't act better than this, Doyle would have to be excused from future photo opportunities.

Rhys came to the foot of my lounge chair and knelt on all fours, with his hands on the chair arms. He was grinning at me, and I knew he'd find a way of enjoying this. It might be duty, and he might prefer to just shoot the helicopter out of the sky, but he'd play fair, and he'd find a way to make it fun, if he could.

I gazed down his body, because I couldn't help it. I couldn't not look at him dangling there, close enough to fondle, close enough for so much. My voice was a little less than steady when I asked, "Do you have a plan?"

"I thought we'd make out."

"And what am I supposed to be doing?" Doyle asked. He sounded disgusted with the entire situation. He loved being my lover, loved the possibility of being king; he hated the publicity and everything that went with it.

"You can take one end, I'll take the other."

The helicopter was close now, perhaps hidden only by the line of tall eucalyptus trees that bordered the estate. Doyle flashed a smile, white and sudden as lightning in the darkness of his face. He moved with that liquid grace and speed that I could never match, and was suddenly kneeling beside my shoulder. "If I must, then I would have the sweet taste of your mouth."

Rhys darted a quick lick across my bare stomach that made me writhe and giggle. He raised his face enough to say, "There are other tastes just as sweet." The look in his eye, his face, held a heat and knowledge that stole the laughter from my throat and sent my pulse racing.

Doyle brushed his lips across my shoulder. The movement brought my gaze to his, and there was that same dark knowledge. A knowledge born of nights and days of skin and sweat and bodies, of tangled sheets and pleasure.

My voice came a little shaky. "You've decided to play. What made you change your mind?"

He whispered against my cheek, and just his breath hot against my skin made me shudder. "This is a necessary evil, and if you must parade yourself for the media, then I will not abandon you." That flash of a smile came again, like a surprise across his face. It made him look younger, almost like someone else entirely. It had only been in the last month or so that I'd known Doyle had a smile like that inside him. "Besides, I cannot leave you to Rhys. Goddess knows what he would do out here on his own."

Rhys ran a finger along the edge of my bikini bottom. "Such a tiny piece of cloth. They'll never see it if we're careful."

I frowned at him. "What do you mean?"

He dropped lower on the lounge chair so that his face was above that tiny piece of cloth, his hands sliding under my slightly raised thighs until those hands came up over my hips and hid the bright red cloth of the bikini bottom. He lowered his face just over my groin, and his hair spread across my thighs like a curtain.

I didn't have time to protest, or even decide if I was going to. The helicopter cleared the trees, and that was how they found us. Rhys with his face buried in my groin, his legs bent at the knees, feet kicking slightly over his bare ass, like a child with a piece of good candy.

I thought Doyle would protest, until he pressed his face into my neck and I realized he was laughing. Silently, shoulders shaking. He eased me back onto the lounge chair so that I was lying down again, still laughing, but hiding it from the cameras.

I started to smile and was glad my sunglasses were back in place. The smile started to turn into a laugh as the helicopter circled overhead, close enough to chop the water of the pool and send Rhys's hair tickling along my skin. My hair flared in the artificial wind like bloody flames.

I was laughing full out now, which made things besides my shoulders shake.

Rhys licked across the front of my groin, and even through the cloth it slowed the laughter, brought a catch to my breath. He rolled his eye up the line of my body, and the look was enough; he didn't want me laughing. He set his teeth into the cloth and grazed me delicately with his teeth. The sensation made me shudder, spine bowing enough to spill my head backward and open my mouth in a throaty gasp.

Doyle squeezed my shoulder, brought me back into my head a little. I was still shaky and had trouble focusing on his face. "I think we have had enough of a show for one day." He laid one of the towels across my stomach. He handed the other one to Rhys.

Rhys looked up at him, and I saw the thought to argue cross his face, but in the end he simply began to get up, spreading the towel as he moved so that the cameras didn't get a glimpse of the bikini bottoms. I'd half expected him to flash the camera, show the joke, but he didn't. He very carefully covered me with the towel, while the helicopter swirled overhead and the wind beat our hair around us. On his knees, he was fully exposed, and I wondered if there'd be photos with him politely fuzzed out, or whether they'd sell them to the European papers and not worry about it.

When I was covered completely, from thighs to just under the red bikini top, he scooped me up in his arms.

I had to shout to be heard above the sound of wind and machinery. "I can walk."

"I want to carry you." He seemed so serious when he said it, and it cost me nothing to let him do it.

I nodded.

Rhys carried me toward the house with Doyle walking a little behind and to one side of us. Doyle was being a good bodyguard, bringing up the rear, but he was also walking to one side, instead of directly behind us, so that he didn't ruin the photo opportunity.

He stopped at his chair and scooped up a third towel, then moved smoothly toward the house. I caught a glimpse of the gun wrapped in that towel. The helicopter circling overhead never knew that any of us was armed. They also couldn't see Frost standing just inside the sliding glass doors, hidden by a spill of drapes. He was fully dressed, and very fully armed. I think the reason I didn't mind the media games so much was that if no one tried to kill me, it was a good day. When that's your criterion for a good day, what's a few helicopters and some racy photos? Not much.

Copyright© 2004 by Laurell K. Hamilton
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Interviews & Essays

Inteview with Laurell K. Hamilton


Q:Can you give readers a foretaste of what to expect in Seduced by Moonlight?

Laurell K. Hamilton:I don't give hints about what is in a book. I have had to stop answering these kinds of questions, because I always give away something major without intending to!

Q:This book plunges more deeply than ever into the sexuality of your characters and their culture, to the extent that there is scarcely a page that doesn't feature some variety of sexual transaction between two or more characters, some of it quite dark and violent. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of sex to the fey?

LH:
I take exception to the term "sexual transaction." That implies prostitution or something else equally tawdry, and there is nothing tawdry about any of the sex in Seduced By Moonlight.

It is not that sex is so integral to fey culture, but more that they do not have the same cultural bias against it that American culture seems to have. Sex isn't sinful or bad to the fey. The second reason for the apparent obsession with sex is that whoever can produce an heir for the throne, gets the throne. I would think that would be incentive enough for anyone!

Q: I'm intrigued by the various hands of power manifested by the sidhe. Is there a mythical basis for powers like Merry's hand of blood, or did you invent them? How do the hands of power differ from the "ordinary" magical abilities of the sidhe, such as glamour, and what awakens them? Finally, are these abilities possessed, at least potentially, by all the fey, from sidhe on down, or only some of them?

LH:The hands of power differ from ordinary magic in that you have to have at least some Sidhe blood in order to manifest them. They are really the beginning of the power that sets the Sidhe apart from the rest of the fey. So no, all fey do not have them. But the fey can do other things that the Sidhe cannot. Many of the lesser fey are better at what we would call telekinesis but used to be described as Brownies moving things around the house.

The Sidhe were supposed to have all kinds of amazing abilities, if you go back and read the mythic cycles for Ireland. Some of them were supposed to be giants who could walk from one land mass to another in a single stride or be able to tow boats. I have actually toned down the magical abilities they were supposed to possess. I couldn't figure out how to work it with actual biology.

Q:So many of the Seelie and Unseelie sidhe were once gods, yet they all, apparently, had gods of their own: Danue and her nameless Consort. Who or what are these powerful beings? Are they sidhe themselves, or something beyond the sidhe?

LH:
Danue is the ancestral goddess of many Celtic peoples. She may by the same as Anu in Ireland or Don in Wales. What most people don't understand is that the Celts were tribal, which means almost every 20 miles you might have a different pantheon with similar jobs but different names or different spellings. Why Danue then?

First, because I though it would confuse the reader if I kept switching names. Second, because the Tuatha De Danaan are what the Daoine Sidhe originally were before they were forced underground and became the fey. Tuatha De Danaan means Children of the Danue. It is traditional, especially with Irish and Welsh myth and folklore, that the gods and heroes acknowledge a power, or powers, greater than themselves. They pray to the Great Goddess or God depending on the tribe and how cleaned up the monks who came later made it.

This idea that there is always something greater than yourself I think is central to understanding the myths and mindset of the Celts. It makes sure that you never get too full of yourself, because there is a greater power.

Q:One of the main plot lines running through this series is the gradual loss of power and vitality in the Seelie and Unseelie courts. This stems from long before they came to America, but seems to have accelerated since then. Magical abilities have lessened or been lost altogether, magical artifacts have vanished, and fertility has sharply declined. How much of this dwindling is the fault of the Queen of Air and Darkness and her Seelie counterpart, the King of Light and Illusion? What keeps the members of the two courts from banding together to overthrow their leaders in hopes of restoring the former glory of the sidhe?

LH:
I cannot really answer this without giving away parts of the book or early books if someone hasn't read them yet. But I am going with the idea that the King or Queen is tied to the land, and the fertility of the ruler and the land are combined. If the ruler is not doing well, then the land doesn't do well, nor the people do well. I am taking what is supposed to be metaphoric in the feudal system and making it absolutely true.

As to throwing over their leaders, I think, one, they are afraid of their leaders, and two, they argue amongst themselves quite a bit. It is hard to get together and keep a secret long enough. Conspiracies are a great deal harder on a mass scale to put together if you read about actual palace coup attempts in feudal societies. Trying to do this for real is a lot harder than it sounds. You would need some of the people in power to actually help you. You don't really end up overthrowing the leadership; you just replace it with another one that is very similar.

Q:Why can't the sidhe use magic to heal their infertility? Isn't there a hand of power that heals?

LH:
They can heal, but they cannot heal their infertility. I cannot really answer this question in more detail without giving away something that will occur later in the series. Sorry about that!

Q:Merry's cousin and enemy, Prince Cel, is physically offstage for this book—presumably being tortured for his actions in A Caress of Twilight. At the risk of another question you can't or won't answer, will he be back for the next book?

LH:This one I'm happy to answer, and the answer is: I don't know. Whether or not Prince Cel appears in the next book will depend on the time frame and how much longer he has to be punished.

Q:Do you have favorites among Merry's ever-expanding group of fey guardians and bedmates? Are they the same as Merry's?

LH:
I have my favorites, and Merry does as well. I think she makes her choice very clear as to whom she loves, whom she cares about, but she's also royal enough to know that just because you love someone doesn't mean that that is going to be the best person to be King. Merry has been raised to rule. As romantic and wonderful as it might seem to let who you love get in the way of who would be the best ruler, if you knew that your people might die and the person you love might be condemned to a death sentence if you let him rule and he was bad at it, that might be incentive enough not to let your heart answer the question for you.

Q:Will Christianity or any other human religion—or the deities and supernatural beings of those religions—play a more overt part in future books?

LH:
I don't see us getting into the religious issue very much. Many of the deities for the Celts already have followers among human religion. Many of the people who are Wiccan or follow the path of Wicca are Celtic-tradition witches.

Religion is the basis for many forms of culture and mythos. I don't see the clash of particular religions as being a major issue in these books. I think what you'll see in future books is going to be more politics, literal politics, than politics of faith.

Q:What's next for Laurell K. Hamilton? Are there any projects going on that you're particularly excited about?

LH:
I am always excited about whatever I am doing. Seduced By Moonlight comes out in February, and I am perilously close to the end of the next Anita Blake book: Incubus Dreams, book number twelve! I am very excited about that, and it will be out in October 2004. We are working on the Anita Encyclopedia, which will have a different title: right now, the working title is Anitapedia. That is a group effort here. It is an interesting project to look at, kind of a retrospective kind of thing. Other than that, it would be nice to have time to write some more short stories, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 553 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mary Has Graduated From Graciously Lying on Her Back to Joyously Bobbing on Her Knees

    I was enjoying this book until about page 130, when Merry had the great transformation. I simply do not get it. Does Laurell not like Merry's character? Why on earth would she make Merry THE PRINCESS, soon to be queen a huge sperm bank? At one point, Merry is so upset of being deprived the opportunity of swallowing seed, instead of all the men's seed always being used to try and get her pregnant. For goddess sake, it was almost like Merry was swishing it around in her mouth like fine wine. If Merry is the one to be worshiped, especially now that she is a goddess; then why aren't the men worshiping her? The guards are not kings, why aren't they on their knees and putting out to Merry? Why is the princess doing all the menial labor with such shameless eagerness, like the men are doing her a favor by letting her taste? Perhaps if Merry were at least on equal footing between her and her men sexually, I wouldn't be this disgusted. Don't get me wrong, I love reading demented books as much as the next gal but having Merry anxious to please everyone like a love starved puppy is demeaning. Relationships are give and take. Just because someone is eager to be used as a Hoover vacuum doesn't make it right. I've never been so conflicted with a series. The fantasy in this series is phenomenal and like no other. The last 100 pages of this book were so good; I was riveted to each word. However, the sex is just goddess awful and they last for pages upon pages; it's not easy to just skip them. I'm so disgusted with Merry's sex life but I love Merry's character when she isn't draped or drowning in men (and women). I hate myself for saying this but I will read the next book in this series, Stroke of Midnight because sadly enough, I can't wait to see what happens next with the fantasy portion of this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2005

    Faire Princess for sale...slightly used

    Princess Merry Blake--Oops! I mean Vampire Prin--darn it! Can't seem to decipher between the two. Is that my fault. No couldn't be. Could it be the editor's fault? Nooo...maybe the publisher's? No. They didn't write this but SOMEONE that was close to Mrs. Hamilton who had read her previous books, had to have told her that this book was not going to hold water with ANYONE that has read ANY of her books up to Obsidian Butterfly. Two books of this character and now you can't tell her apart from Hamilton's(that's right, I said it! I no longer feel the author has respect for this character to give it proper attention) Anita Blake in her Vampire Hunter series. If this about meeting a deadline or getting the project done to keep in legal bounds with a contract then Hamilton has seriously miscalculated.(in laymen's terms, she f***** up.) Why can't I use that language, she does and quite frequently. Not in this series? That's ok. If not this series then any of the last three Anita Blake books will more than support my choice of expression. Let me slow down. I'm all over the map with what I want to really say.(much like this book. Wait, I didnt describe what my eyes look like. Their bloodshot with crackling red crimson lines along the whites. The iris' outer rim are normal, with touch of toilet bowl green mildew green in them...) Lady(Hamilton)either focus or finish it. Trying to be 'Super Author' and keeping up with another 'well known' author just because he says any author doesnt put out a certain number of books a year is lazy, is pure foolishness. Don't be suckered into that 'Sidhe Pride'(peer pressure) the faire princess harps on so much in this book. Stop selling your characters, take the time and start writing them again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2004

    What happened in this book?

    Laurell K. Hamilton is usually so much fun to read. But, hey, what's happening in the Gentry series? I like the kinky sex scenes as much as the next reader but this books is beyond too much. All sex and no plot. Its just too predictable. And, I am sure there is some magical reason for why it wouldn't work, but really, you don't have to have sex EVERY night to make sure you get pregnant. A good doctor could put you on a schedule. Sheesh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2004

    NC - 17

    On the positive side, Merry is still alive, despite the best efforts of her Unseelie enemies. On the other side, despite her and her macho harem's best work, she is not pregnant. Other things are happening though. Merry's personal magic is growing by leaps and bounds, and her touch is enough to bring back powers others have lost, and then some. Even that does not endear her to the sidhe who see her as a miserable half breed, or worse. Someone is willing to risk the anger of the Queen of Air and Darkness to assassinate the royal heir. They are even willing to bespell the queen herself. When Merry and Auntie Dearest lay aside past squabbles to unite against the enemy for a magical showdown, the duel is one well worth the price of admission. ..................................... **** Merry Gentry is much more intense than the Anita Blake books. Despite having to rely on her guards for protection, Merry does not appear at all weak. At times, your brain will be stretched, trying to picture the fantastic creatures invented for the series, but at their hearts, even the strangest displays extremely human emotions that you can recognize. Be advised, you need to A. refresh your memory on who's who or what in the prior books as the cast continually expands and B. it's definitely NC 17. ****

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2004

    oh, boy! More sex...

    WHile I have enjoyed the 2 previous books in this series, this one was tedious. The plot was sex, sex and more sex. If you condense what interests me about the series (the deities, their hierarchy) into a separate book, THAT plot would have been about 30 pages long. Glad I borrowed a copy instead of purchasing one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2004

    Not enough plot development

    I'm attempting to enjoy the 'Merry' books, but Hamilton's ploding plot development is making it hard. I keep comparing them to the well written, page-turning vampire-slayer books and get disappointed with each new installment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    A plot would be nice

    I have enjoyed this series up to now, but was disappointed that nothing much happened in this installment. Well ... of course lots of sex happened and that's nice too, but a plot is pretty much essential, don't you think? And I agree that Merrie is becoming too much like Anita with all her talk of protecting 'my people,' and the sleeping together in a pile. Anita is a fabulous character. I would rather see Merrie stand alone as a unique character and not be written as an Anita-knockoff.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2004

    Oh, Please.....Come On...

    We know Meredith is a princess and in line for the throne. We understand she is bringing back the powers that have been lost but where is the intrigue, where are the court politics and internal dynamics that really is making it difficult for her to be accepted by both courts. Very poorly written, sex is not going to keep me interested (especially now with sixteen sex partners and more to be added). Granted a sexual act brings back lost power and godhead.... getting to it gets pretty boring. I want a clearer explanation of the deities in the courts, who are they, what did happen to make them lose their powers. Also, if the author is going to rehash court politics......why not provide better insights into each of the (lesser) courts and how their internal politics play into the two (higher) courts, Air and Darkness against Light and Illlusion. Better explanation of the difference between the two and why and how they became two separate courts. Also, about the lesser courts why their loyalities are the way they are. And since Meredith is a child of two courts, why would the Sidhes of both courts be upset over her coming to the throne besides the fact that she is half mortal? Is there something in Sidhes history that says if a mortal becomes ruler what would happen? What about a half mortal? Also, a better explanation about the sixteen royal houses within the court of air and darkness. The only two things that keep me going and interested was what happen in the queen's chambers during her bloodlust and how Meredith became more royal by saving these men.....and Maeve's confrontation on Meredith's right to rule (court politics how its played against the queen's unresolved weaknesses and Meredith's growing strengths). Too many words, no substance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    CRAP!

    I used to run to the book store with every new book. I would buy two copies of each book, so I would not have to share with the rest of my household. I could not finish this book! If I wanted pornography, I would buy it. I don't mind sex, sometimes it moves story, or is a good payoff (Jean-Claude - Killing Dance). This is smut without a story line.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2004

    Sex is not everything!

    While the sex is thrilling, some plot and originality would have been better. The main character of Merry is morphing into the character of Anita Blake, but without any of the wit and comedy. I hope Merry develops her own personality and style in the next installment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2004

    What a waste....

    I¿ve tried to hang on through the second book and was barely able to make it through this one. It seems the more Ms. Hamilton writes about the character and her environment, the less she really has to say. The majority of the book can be reduced to a ¿his eyes were the color of ____ ¿the outer layer was this color, the inner layer was this color, AND then some magic happens. And now his eyes are the color of _____ ¿ the outer layer was this color, the inner layer was this color, AND then some magic happens and so on¿. By taking out the extensive descriptions of the people, their hair, their skin, the tri-colored eyes, the way they move, their power, the rules she has to follow in order to ¿survive¿, endless references to what had happened to someone in the past, behavioral characteristics that really don¿t matter (pouting for example)¿you end up with a book that has less than 2 to three pages of good stuff. Truly, I don¿t care about the sex. If I needed that, I could always go back to the earlier Anita Blake books (better written and easier to follow). But I do care about the direction that Ms. Hamilton is going. The last two Anita Blake books were ok¿but the last one was unreadable. Is this a trend? Has she hit that fictional brick wall? Has the well truly run dry?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2004

    Where's The Story?

    I have always enjoyed Ms Hamilton and couldn't wait for the next book...until now. It's nice that Merry enjoys sex, but not getting out of the bedroom for three fourths of the book makes it repetitive. The last few chapters were back to the 'old' Hamilton and were great. But will I buy the next one? Probably not...unless I check the middle of the book to see if Merry is out of bed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    I thought this book added to the series very nicely. Can't wait

    I thought this book added to the series very nicely. Can't wait until I get paid at midnight to purchase the next one. =)

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  • Posted October 28, 2013

    deliciously evil and seductive

    deliciously evil and seductive

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  • Posted February 14, 2012

    Sex...Sex...and More Sex...

    I will start by saying that I read the first two books in this series, and then stopped. I don't mind sex scenes, but it became so much that the books lost their plots. I wasn't going to read anymore in the series, because this really turned me off from wanting to read further. Almost a year later I happened to get the rest of the series from a friend. I decided to give it another try, since I had just finished the newest book from another author I enjoy. It was really hard for me to get through this book. I don't know why Mrs. Hamilton feels the need to give all her characters an endless supply of men. I understand Merry in trying to get pregnant, but how can we become attached to any male character when they are basically a sex object with no back story. I trudged my way through giving it a chance, and not liking leaving books unfinished. I think the final scene where she has the Fey licking blood from her body was the final straw. I am really done with this series. I will gladly give the books back to my friend, and not read them anymore. They just lack a plot, and an actually story. I feel less and less attached to Merry. A character who has hopes of one day becoming Queen, yet seems to get bossed around by everyone in the guise of "politics".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    One of hamiltons best

    I cant wait to read the next book. The level of fantasy is great and consistent, as if it were real. Truly great.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Meredith Gentry Series if FANTASTIC!

    I highly recommend this series (as well as any LKH book/series). The characters are fun and sexy as always. Another fantastic novel from a creative author.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Meredith Gentry

    I L.O.V.E how Laurell K Hamilton writes. I also L.O.V.E her since of imagination. I L.O.V.E how she escapes you from one world and put you in a world beyond belief.LOL.

    In this book Meredith grows in age, grows in wisdom, and in power. She starts getting more of a feel of who she is and what it means to be Princess.Merry's life gets less annoying in this book and the court intrigue gets more intense, making it an improvement over the previous installment in the series. Sex is a main factor or 3rd main factor in this book lol.

    By the end of the book it is discovered that a spell was used to incite the Queen to murder. The plot was hatched by those amongst the court who feared that a mortal Queen, Merry, would result in the sidhe ceasing to exist!!!

    I really enjoyed this book and give this book a two thumbs up!!! And it is a must read!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

    got all her ducks in a row

    gards finaly folow her orders and cam in to her gifts

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  • Posted November 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another Good One!

    I'm really enjoying this series!!! There were some really cool twists in this book between Nicca getting his wings and Dolye turning into a dog/horse/eagle. Just good cold fun! :) If you like a little blood and lust then this series might be for you!

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