Genres: Erotica, Horror, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published by Ballantine Books on October 23, 2007
Source: the library
Also by this author: Lunatic Café, Bloody Bones, Killing Dance, Dead Ice, Crimson Death, Serpentine, "Wounded", Fantastic Hope
I am Meredith Gentry, princess and heir apparent to the throne in the realm of faerie, onetime private investigator in the mortal world. To be crowned queen, I must first continue the royal bloodline and give birth to an heir of my own. If I fail, my aunt, Queen Andais, will be free to do what she most desires: install her twisted son, Cel, as monarch and kill me. My royal guards surround me, and my best loved — my Darkness and my Killing Frost — are always beside me, sworn to protect and make love to me.
But still the threat grows greater. For despite all my carnal efforts, I remain childless, while the machinations of my sinister, sadistic Queen and her confederates remain tireless. So my bodyguards and I have slipped back into Los Angeles, hoping to outrun the gathering shadows of court intrigue. But even exile isn't enough to escape the grasp of those with dark designs. Now King Taranis, powerful and vain-glorious ruler of faerie's Seelie Court, has leveled accusations against my noble guards of a heinous crime — and has gone so far as to ask the mortal authorities to prosecute. If he succeeds, my men face extradition to faerie and the hideous penalties that await them there. But I know that Taranis' charges are baseless, and I sense that his true target is me. He tried to kill me when I was a child. Now I fear his intentions are far more terrifying.
Sixth in the Meredith Gentry erotic urban fantasy series revolving around a half-human faerie princess and her Merry Men.
The joys and miseries continue to accumulate as Merry’s magic continues to bring back powers that were lost and rouse jealousy within the queen as she fumes over the loss of her guard to Merry’s side, about the bright flavors that Merry causes to arise in the Unseelie Court, and the rumors flooding back to the Unseelie Court from the Seelie.
Andais is so angry she would be willing to “condemn all of faerie to death because it is not the faerie she wishes it to be”.
There are so many beautiful truths in this story. Truths about love, one’s heart, and caring with some tremendous events occurring: the creation of a new sithen, a king’s madness, sacrifice and renewal, and a sense of prophecy.
Ooh, boy. I was curious to see how Merry and her accused men would get out of this charge, and it went in directions I would have never foreseen. Too exciting for words with all sorts of potential problems for the Seelie Court. Yes!!
I enjoyed the encounter(s) with all the lawyers. They were an ambitious lot with Shelby and Cortez more interested in how the case could help their careers. Veducci was a sly dog, both helpful and a bit harmful for Merry with all the unexpected knowledge he has of the fae. He did at least play fair, although it was touch-and-go there as Hamilton slid us in and out and all around the issues of illusion and what was purposeful and what was not. He had a good explanation of the presence.
It’s a lot of give-and-take with careful tiptoeing around to avoid lying while answering truthfully, for there is much that cannot be said, although there seems to be too much information that should have remained unknown floating around that conference table.
Nice point by Merry that the fae have no connection to Christian religion. I liked the note Merry makes about the still dead beauty of the Seelie Court. Ooh, and a bit more background detail on the separation of the courts into Seelie and Unseelie.
Then there are those Anitaisms: how she likes oral sex—just like Anita, her enjoyment of a man’s scars—just like Anita. Thank god she’s more relaxed about sex than Anita.
Oh, crack me up! The whole sexual aspect of Merry and her men arises with the humans dumbfounded even as they dwell on the more prurient aspects while Merry still doesn’t understand the human fear of sex. The questions about celibacy are fair enough—there are sixteen men vying for Merry’s bed. Six of them were once part of Prince Essus’ Cranes who were co-opted by Prince Cel.
I will do my best not to take offense, except where it is given.
Oh, god, Andais threatens Merry with the loss of her guard! Then I cried over Frost’s story of how he came to life.
Hmmm, I wonder if there’ll be a court revolution with the lesser fae turning the tide.
Kitto’s fears about Merry’s other men come out, and Merry discovers that Kitto sees her as his new master, happy that he belongs. Lovely moment between Kitto and Rhys. We also discover that Rhys had asked Essus if he would consider him for a fiancé for Merry, but Essus had a preference for life.
And this one always makes me cry…
It’s a first for Taranis, to use human law for his own ends. And it’s the beginning of his end, when he uses the ambassador and confronts Merry and her men in the lawyers’ office. He is so desperate and so full of belief in his own godlike glory that he has no clue how he’s opening himself up.
Taranis’ own Court is opening in wonder at the old magic that is returning to the fae with envy for the growth that has come to the Unseelie and the sluagh.
Princess Meredith “Merry Gentry” NicEssus is in a race against time to become pregnant. Proven fertility—Rhys tells her of “some of the women of her mother’s line … goddesses of fertility, love, lust … a warm lot … in that good earthy way”—will put her on the throne instead of her insane, sexual sadist of a cousin, Prince Cel. Her father, Prince Essus, was of the Unseelie Court, the queen’s beloved brother, and he was murdered. A pregnant Minnie and Mungo are Merry’s fae dogs. Besaba is Merry’s unloving Seelie mother. How unloving you may ask? Besaba’s Bane is one of Merry’s names in the Seelie Court.
Her Merry Men
Captain Doyle is now Merry’s Darkness and the captain of the princess’ guard with his pack of hellhounds. He and Lieutenant Frost, a.k.a., the Killing Frost, who fears he is not sidhe enough, are those whom Merry loves most. Galen is a greenman, a symbol of fertility who has already proven his ability; Sergeant Rhys is Cromm Cruach, a god of death, who truly loves Merry even though he knows she doesn’t love him the same—at least his many terriers love him; Abeleoc had been Accasbel, the god of intoxication, the original party boy who opened the first pub in Ireland and once made kings, queens, gods, and goddesses; Usna is almost more cat than human-like with all the calico spots his skin sports, and his mother is a favorite at the Seelie Court; Aisling could have been king if not for Taranis’ treachery, although he still wields a treacherous power of his own; Kitto is her lover from the goblin court, a snake goblin who has become sidhe and will aid Merry any way he can; Amatheon had been a deity of agriculture; Adair is both solar deity and oak grove; and, an angry Onilwyn is still with them, angry as Merry refuses to let him in her bed.
Biddy, one of Cel’s guards, is pregnant with Nicca’s child. Fred has been Maeve Reed’s human driver for thirty years. The formerly wingless fae followed Merry into exile, but thanks to Merry’s magic, they now sport wings and are led by the twins Penny and Royal.
Hafwen is a healer, finally allowed out of her killing guise. Dr. Sang is a human doctor who refuses to allow Hafwen access.
Andais is the Queen of Air and Darkness and Merry’s aunt, a goddess of war and destruction who is serial-killer crazy. Andais abuses horribly those guards left her including Crystall and Mistral.
Taranis Thunderer, a sky and storm god, is Merry’s great-uncle, the King of Light and Illusion, who is pressing rape charges through the human police against Rhys, Galen, and Abeleoc. Ambassador Stevens is the official human ambassador to the courts of faerie, and he’s been tricked for years. Lady Caitrin is the Seelie who claimed rape. Sir Hugh Belenus, one of the king’s personal guard, is a Seelie firelord leading a faction who wants to depose Taranis. Lady Elasaid wishes Merry’s help with her own fertility plan. A Cu Sith is finally in the Seelie Court due to events in Mistral’s Kiss, 5, protecting those who need it. Shanley, Barri, and another are the guards Merry must get past. Quinnie is the healer who helps Merry. Doctor Vanessa Hardy is the human who will help.
Kurag is the Goblin King who desperately wants out of this alliance; Ash and Holly are fraternal twins, feared by most goblins. Half-sidhe and half-goblin, they want Merry to bring them into their power. A Gally-trot is a ghost dog. Jonty leads the Red Caps who all seem to have been brought into their power by Merry’s hand of blood.
Sholto is King of the Sluagh, the Wild Hunt, Lord of That Which Goes Between.
Michael Shelby is the U.S. Attorney for Los Angeles; Ernesto Bertram is his assistant. Miguel Cortez is the District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Pamela’s boss; Assistant D.A. Pamela Nelson is much too taken by the fae. Albert Veducci, a man who still believes in the law and knows too much about the fae, is the U.S. Attorney for St. Louis; Grover is his assistant. Simon Biggs and Thomas Farmer are partners in Biggs, Biggs, Farmer, and Farmer, and they are Merry’s lawyers hosting the meeting in which statements will be taken.
Officers Brewer and Kent are quite happy to have more guards at the hospital. Rose is the child with second sight who saw Jackie Frost and inspired him to life, the magic of love; her mother is still a cook at the shining court. Maeve Reed, the fae-turned-Hollywood goddess, is hiding out in Europe. Major Walters is the St. Louis PD fae liaison between humans and the Courts. Special Agent Raymond Gillett is the FBI agent who kept in touch with Merry after the investigation into her father’s death was stopped.
The turquoise blue cover features Frost’s naked back against a rain-streaked window, the open palm of his hand facing us through the glass and beginning to send out the hoarfrost for which he’s named.
The title is about the Cu Sith created that night in the ballroom, a fae dog with a lick for all, but not A Lick For Frost.