Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Conflict, Chapter 16

Gillian hasn’t done anything wildly stupid as a therapist lately–comparatively speaking–so I guess it’s time for her to take up her own slack.

She diagnoses Pavel with PTSD. You know, like Dante. I could buy this somewhat better in Pavel’s case, I still don’t really see it. Maybe I’m wrong. Still, not every reaction to trauma is indicative of PTSD. Again, do your goddamn research, and show it. If I had more confidence in the author, I might buy it, but this is how much confidence I have in her:

about this much

So, as I suspected, Pavel’s allergy is a reaction to fur, which stems from the dog attack. She over-explains this in a tone that reads to me as incredibly patronizing, and then she wants to do something, predictably, and hugely, stupid:

She wants to hypnotize the client she’s been working with for, if I had to guess, maybe an hour.


The worst that can happen,” she claims, “is that we fail. You will be no worse off.”

Are you fucking serious here??

She is asking a client who is, by her own goddamn admission, extremely vulnerable, to undergo hypnosis and essentially relive this extremely traumatic event, and she’s saying, no big deal, if this thing goes wrong, you’ll be fine.

What about, I don’t know, serious emotional trauma? You know, the thing that’s your fucking JOB to deal with? For someone who likes to diagnose PTSD and allegedly is so great at dealing with trauma victims because of her “natural empathy,” she sure seems to give zero fucks about potential consequences for her actions.

Oh, wait, maybe she’s come to her senses. She tells him they don’t have to do this if he’s not comfortable.

NOPE. He says he’s not comfortable but he’ll do it anyway.


i have no idea what i'm doing dog

This shit is like the dumbest, most cartoonish version of therapy I’ve ever read. And predictably, it turns out horribly. 

She hypnotizes him, and we switch POVs to Aleksei for no goddamn reason. All of a sudden they hear a “blood-curdling howl.”

Oh, remember the part where Pavel is a goddamn werewolf?

Much to my disappointment, this is not the end of the book, and Gillian does not die in a pool of blood and festering stupidity. Aleksei, Cezar (the alpha werewolf), and Tanis barge in “with blurring speed” to find Gillian facing Pavel down with her gun. The one that’s still probably not loaded with silver bullets. Remember that? Because I doubt the author does. We’re told “That she hadn’t plugged him already was amazing. No one would have blamed her.”


Aleksei moves “with blurring speed” again (don’t you love when authors find cliched pet phrases?) and manages to get himself between Pavel and Gillian. If I could give Gryphon any credit for subtlety here (I won’t), it’s to note that it’s Aleksei, and not Tanis, who makes this move to protect Gillian.

Anyway, Tanis gets Pavel restrained and everyone stares at each other like idiots. Cezar starts apologizing for Pavel, and Gillian whines, “I don’t know what happened. He shifted on me while he was under hypnosis.

little girl crushing soda can in anger



towering rage

You are a goddamn (allegedly) trained therapist who specializes in paranormal creatures. How is a werewolf shifting in response to hypnosis about a shifting-related trauma not a completely predictable outcome? HOW, I ask you? But no, she keeps insisting that she doesn’t know what happened. I know a fair bit about therapy because I’ve researched it, I’ve been in therapy for years, and I live with someone who has a graduate degree in psychology, but goddammit, I don’t think it takes any of those experiences to know that a werewolf might react to trauma by fucking shifting.

Cezar takes Pavel away and the vampires ask her what happened. She worries about breaking confidentiality, except in this case she has an obligation to do so.

Fuck. It’s like someone gave the author a Psychology 101 textbook, only the pages were all ripped out and she tossed them on her living room floor so she could pick out the ones that sounded the most interesting and use the most interesting words from them.

do you even research, bro?

Gillian begs them to tell Cezar not to kill Pavel because it isn’t his fault this happened. YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT IT ISN’T IT’S YOUR FAULT YOU IRRESPONSIBLE ASSHOLE.

Aleksei carries her off to bed because she’s in shock. He wants to send her one of the female vampires because “You do not need Tanis tonight.” I can’t decide whether he (the author, more like) thinks he’s being nice by dictating her needs or whether he’s being a jealous asshole.

He puts her down on the bed and all of a sudden he has an overwhelming urge to bone her into next Thursday. He doesn’t, though, because “she would misinterpret his desire for her as only sexual and that would destroy her trust in him.” I don’t really understand that logic, but shit, at least someone in this goddamn book occasionally figures out there’s such a thing as boundaries.

Aleksei leaves the room and angsts. Maeti, the faceless vampire BFF, points out that she can tell Aleksei has the hots for her and he’s dismayed because she knows. I’m not sure how everyone in the household doesn’t know.

Gillian reads her email/news from the IPPA about more therapist/operatives going missing, being found dead, etc., y’know, the same shit she hasn’t told the Rachlavs about yet. Maeti wisely points out that they need to know because “it concerns your safety and ours.” These are basically the first words we’ve heard from Maeti and already she’s the most reasonable person, aside from Osiris, in the whole goddamn book. Gillian has this to say:

“I haven’t told him for that very reason, Maeti. Everyone is half crazy trying to protect me. Don’t you think these others had protection? It didn’t help them…How will it make a difference if I add more worry into the mix?”



Did you miss the part where Maeti said this also concerns the others’ safety? FUCK.

Strangely but unsurprisingly, Maeti doesn’t insist, nor does she reinforce the “this concerns other people too” part. She just says,

“You do what you want, my friend, but when he does find out, and he will, you will be sorry you did not disclose this when you were able to.”

To which Gillian says, “I know. That’s what worries me.



I suppose I have to be impressed by the level of stupidity in this chapter. In fact, I think Gillian has reached a new height of TSTL. At this point, it’s the stupidity that is carrying the plot in a very literal sense. I’m just betting that if she told the vampires about what the fuck is going on with the other therapists getting murdered, it would be like giving that one tucked-in end of your post-bath towel a little tug so it falls off and your naked junk is on full display. Ain’t nothing to hide at that point, and whatever tenuous threads of plot that are left would fall apart. And I don’t get it! There’s a war on, yes? Why are we mired in this cesspool of stupid subplots and pointless, contrived interpersonal conflicts?

Oh, right, because this is a romance novel, and the heroine has to repeatedly be put in danger so the sex behemoth alpha male can realize his True Feelings for her.

I’ve decided this is my new theme song for reading this book:

Chapter 15 is here. Chapter 17 is here.


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