Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Conflict, Chapter 33

Instead of grading student papers or posting depressing trans-related thoughts, I will instead…post about the truly depressing last chapter of Key to Conflict.

If only it were depressing on purpose.

Gillian, Trocar, and Aleksei are going back to “Oscar Gray’s” place to fetch Tanis and Luis. Aleksei is all pissed off. Gillian tells him off, but he doesn’t respond, presumably because he’s too occupied with his jealousy boner. This is exactly what I want from a romance book, a hero who is a 400-year-old petulant child.

Tanis and Luis are apparently being guarded by two people or creatures or something. Gillian and Trocar prepare to attack when…

Aleksei grabs her arm.

What the actual fuck? Not only is he a petulant child, he’s just as much of a tool as Gillian, grabbing someone with a fucking firearm.

special kind of idiot

Before they can make a move, the vampire in front of them gets set on fire, and yet another one of Gillian’s team members pops up: “her former arsonist, or rather demolitions expert, Jenna Blaise.” Hurr durr, Blaise, get it?

Jesus fucking Christ. Has Gillian made a SINGLE move on her own? I’m trying to remember the last time she actually did harm to an enemy, much less killed one. Has that happened in the entire goddamn book? She’s been pinned or otherwise out of commission for every single fight that I can remember. Every fight with her is like


Only, unlike Leia, Gillian stands behind everyone waving her gun while they actually do shit.

Jenna and Gillian re-unite rather loudly in the middle of a dark forest while on a goddamn rescue mission until Gillian suddenly remembers Trocar is off by himself. Ah, but don’t worry, because Trocar appears with Tanis and Luis, completely unharmed. We needn’t have worried about them at all, it seems, because they’re totally back to normal.

Aleksei seems to want to tell Gillian something–oh, could it be something important??

probably not

So everyone goes back to the hotel, blah blah, absolutely nothing of consequence. Then Gillian’s other boss, Daedalus, who she calls “Daed.” He tells her the Marines want her to get her merry band of psychos together to deal with a Russian earthquake and a child-trafficking ring–




Earthquake? Child trafficking? Russia? AM I READING THE SAME BOOK??

Daedalus gives this excuse:

“The Feds, the Corps, the Joint Chiefs and Interpol are concerned about the bad PR that Paramortals are getting lately with all the deaths and kidnappings. It looks like some sort of a turf war is going on, wouldn’t you say? It will be bad for the economy if folks start revoking the new laws and talking PMs out of the global economic pool.”

I…what… what the fuck does this have to do with anything paranormal? Is he implying that people think paranormal people are behind the earthquake and child trafficking? HELP ME UNDERSTAND

trying to confuse you
Gryphon, while cackling maniacally.

PS, apparently Daedalus is also hot. This book is just chock full of mutual sexual objectification, innit?

The team is apparently “ready to rumble.” The detectives (remember them?) still want Gillian to answer questions, but she refuses on the grounds of being special forces, and she flounces off smugly. They go off in search of Daedalus again and ask him why they were picked. He says it’s because the team has become so high profile….because it totally makes sense to send in a special forces team that’s well known in an attempt to be sneaky.

don't make sense make dollars

Gillian basically says, “I DO WHAT I WANT,” but she agrees anyway. Apparently she hates Daedalus, which we haven’t been given any indication of in the whole damn book.

Aleksei offers his help with the situation and Gillian says, “It would help if you could take Tanis and organize some sort of a grass-roots campaign back in Romania. Make the people aware that even Humans they know can be monsters.”

Aleksei replies, “I will contact Osiris and determine if there is any way we can better establish who is ‘on our side,’ as you say.”

Dude, that reeks in an unintentionally frightening way of McCarthyism. And the protagonists are advocating for this shit? FORESIGHT, YOU HAVE NONE.

Tanis says goodbye to Gillian and calls her some more Italian endearments. The others leave Gillian and Aleksei alone. We are at 98%. Am I missing like half the book here?

Aleksei grabs her. She’s not sure she wants to start a relationship, but “good thing he was decisive, even if she was hesitant.”


Aleksei assures her he respects her, which I assume is meant to erase every act of disrespect throughout the goddamn book. Then he kisses her: “his lips warm silk, his tongue a hot wetness flicking over her mouth.”

wriggling eel

I’m with Tiger–don’t describe kissing. Presumably most adults know what kissing is like. Especially don’t describe what tongues are doing. UGH.

Yeah, so they’re making out. Apparently he “[fits] perfectly against her despite the difference in their height.” Now, he’s 6’7″. She’s 5-something. Probably the same size as Anita–so we’ll say 5’3″. That’s 16 inches’ difference between them. To give you an idea of how much that is, the average adult’s forearm (elbow to wrist) is about 16 inches. Now lift your arm straight above your head. Look up to your wrist. That will give you an idea of Aleksei’s height in relation to hers. The only way they fit together “perfectly” is if his behemoth dick is crammed against her diaphragm.

Now they’re dry humping, and I’ll spare you the play-by-play, though I’m happy to inform you that he’s “rock hard, large, thick, aggressive, his blood surging to completely fill the erectile tissue

disgust dexter

Protip: if you can find it on WebMD, don’t use it in a sex scene.

Aleksei and his erectile tissue are being all romantical.

“Open for me, cara mia. Open your mind and your heart. Let me in, Gillian.”

She felt his deep, urgent whisper in her mind like an erotic wind.

I’m imagining a hurricane of dicks awash in a monsoon of pussy juice. How about you?

That’s…wow. That’s enough of that.

She comes and he doesn’t, so she offers to get him off. He refuses, and she says, “I can’t leave you like that, it’s not right.”

Oh, here we go, some pseudo-selfless bullshit where Aleksei is supposed to be a good guy because he wanted to “give [her] something before [she] left.” That means she can stay a good girl, because she doesn’t have to do something filthy like blow him or anything. Ain’t he something? Gillian says, “Men. Jesus. I will never understand men.”

No, honey, it’s not men you’re confused by. It’s your author’s hideous construction of gender and gender politics.



Apparently that’s the end of the book.

wait what


A while back, I glanced through the publication dates on the first three Gillian books. They were all published the same year, within months of each other. (IT SHOWS.) I can only assume this is a ploy to get people to read the next one, because God and all the angels and saints know the author has provided absolutely no motivation to do so for any other reason.

This is sincerely the worst ending to a book I have ever read. NOTHING. HAPPENS. There’s no sense of climax, other than Gillian’s “shining orgasm,” no tension, no satisfaction whatsoever. I’m actually disappointed because the last chapter didn’t even give me anything to giggle or roll my eyes about. I just kept staring and scratching my head and being faintly confused as to why the progress marker on my Kindle kept rising but absolutely no forward momentum was being established.

Also…Russia? Earthquake? Children? What?

Where the fuck is Dracula? Why were they allowed to escape? What happened to Jack?


My reaction as this book slithered to a close:

just shittier

And yet…I find myself strangely compelled to read the next one, if only because I’m morbidly curious to see how much worse this could possibly get. Will I fall into a bottomless pit of character and author incompetence, random uses of the wrong language, repulsive sexual politics, world building ripped off from everyone under the sun, and occasional famous author ass licking?



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