Gillian Key: The Hateread – Key to Conflict, Chapter 17 (NSFW)

Another day, another sex scene, so fair warning.

Gillian is being massaged by a”strikingly handsome, naked man” after fencing practice.

Wait…fencing practice? And which man?

It’s Perrin, apparently, and four paragraphs later, we find out that “several weeks”  have passed. What an awkward time transition. We’re given a review of Perrin’s background in the story as if we’ve been asleep for the past several chapters, which…is plausible. Perrin is confident with sex now and everyone loves him. There’s some summary of the bullshit that’s happened off-camera that doesn’t really matter.

Perrin is worried about what his life will be like after his therapy ends because he won’t be able to have any contact with Gillian for at least a year, though he could always bend the very flexible narrative spacetime and make it three or four pages instead. Even if I hate these two assholes, it would be refreshing to see an actual polyamorous relationship at the end of this.

So we slide into a sex scene when Perrin “[teases] her coral nipple.”

pink coral

This is coral.

nipples

These are not.

Protip: when you use an adjective that doubles as a noun that references a plant or animal, use it carefully.

Let’s see how many clinical terms we can find, shall we?

semierect flesh, “battle bridge” (Gillian’s brilliant name for Perrin’s dick), penis enhanced by equidistant ridges, female superior (sex position?), canal, exploding, cervix (ouch)

Ooohhhh dear. He wants to “mate” without a condom. She agrees because narrative tells us she can’t get pregnant because she’s on the pill.

wrong try again

Okay, I can’t believe I’m really having to say this, but yes, you can fucking get pregnant when you’re on the pill. (PS, you can also get STDs!) Did she skip high school health class? I also find it pretty damn irresponsible for an author, especially a romance novel author, to blithely portray false information like this. I mean, no, authors aren’t responsible for readers’ decisions for good or for ill, but this is factually inaccurate and could have real-world consequences for another.

Maybe I’m overreacting, so I’ll just point out the stupidity and move on. Maybe she’ll get pregnant with his gargoyle baby and this will turn to a slightly different genre of romance book. It would be a more entertaining book than the rest of this one is sure to be.

Back to the awkward diction!

dark pink glistening folds, probing, unencumbered flesh, passage, emission of semen, cervix again (OUCH!), semen again, Human cervix (as opposed to what?), fluid

oh nononononono

“Ma passionnée, relax for me. The fluid will open your body to me. Trust me, I would never hurt you.” His voice shook, and his glamour flared, pouring into and over their bodies.

She felt him going deeper, then understood what he meant. Her cervix was softening and thinning, the result of his semen leaking into her. Her newly opening body was taking him in farther with each thrust.

badger nope

nope.gif.pagespeed.ce.otLEa0xjkx

No no cat gif

no darth vader

Incredibly at that moment, her cervix acquiesced to the insistent probing and allowed him complete entrance to her womb. The imperative need to ejaculate slammed into him like a freight train as his ridged cock slipped through the widened opening.

enough

THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKSSSSSSSSS

YOU CANNOT DO THIS IT IS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE

Is it possible to penetrate the cervix during sex? Go Ask Alice

That is going to be in my search history. I did this for you guys. YOU’RE WELCOME.

I’m temporarily speechless, so I offer an interpretation of the rest of the scene in gifs.

louis ck thrusting

92st7g6

They’re apparently “welded together,” which makes me think of dogs getting stuck together after mating. I think adding that to my search history is a bridge too far, so I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Perrin says,

“In a short time, you’ll be ready for me again. Your body will want more sex. A gargoyle’s semen is like an aphrodisiac. It triggers need within the female, opens her to the male and ensures pregnancy.”

warning warning danger will robinson

But, you know, she’s on the pill, so it’s all gravy. She doesn’t even acknowledge the last part.

Perrin reflects on how their arrangement is temporary. Presumably he manages to get out of her “womb” eventually, but we switch scenes before that THANK GOD.

Dear Gillian:

seek medical help

Trocar disposes of Jack’s heart by burning it. It would be nice if I knew why or understood the significance. Gillian is withdrawn, which I understand a little better; she’s been through trauma, after all. Typical of him, Aleksei gives her “a gentle but firm talking-to” rather than, you know, giving her the space to process her emotions. He couches it in terms of being concerned that she’s “shutting them all out” and wants her to share. This is the exact wrong response to someone’s trauma, and it’s abusive as fuck to demand a certain response from a traumatized person.

Working on processing those unfamiliar feelings was unintentionally shutting them out.

Uh. No. Maybe she is withdrawing, but that is completely fucking understandable. It’s not her being an asshole, it’s…you know…her working on processing her feelings. Forcing someone to open up immediately following a traumatic event doesn’t work, and as a mental health professional, Gryphon should fucking know this. I’m starting to wonder if she isn’t deliberately ignoring her knowledge of psychology in order to write this dreck.

The next few pages reestablish that Gillian is emotionally stunted and can’t accept help. After Aleksei calls her a couple more stupid Italian endearments, she opens up about her family background. She was an only child, her family was rich, her parents were preoccupied with whatever, the family dynamic meant that anyone who fucked up was ostracized so she’s determined never to fuck up. This is pretty nuanced without being melodramatic, so kudos for that, but about that fucking up thing.

I don't know how to say this, but

Now, it would be interesting if Gryphon wrote Gillian as someone who was so afraid to fuck up that she constantly fucked up, but that would be a different book.

Aleksei is outraged that anyone would treat their family like that, because apparently one still has an idealized notion of family after 400 years. Basically he’s just a hamfisted stand-in for the reader to understand how terrible Gillian’s family is, as if the reader can’t figure it out for themselves.

I can’t decide whether this is the right place to reveal this. On the one hand, it’s meant to show Gillian’s growing trust in Aleksei (though god knows why she thinks she should trust him), but on the other hand, it would have made it easier to sympathize with her for the last 2.5 books if we knew where her complete inability to interact with people in a normal way came from. I’m not saying her behavior is excusable, but it would be more understandable. I’m all for writing fucked-up characters who can’t figure out how to deal with life. I do it all the time. Sometimes, my characters are not particularly likeable, but at least my reader can understand why they’re assholes. And, you know, they grow out of that.

I’ll just pause here to give you a brief run-down of all the pet names Aleksei has called her within the last four pages. Excuse the Google translations.

  • cara mia (my darling)
  • il mio amore (my love)
  • dolcezza (sweetness)
  • piccola (small)
  • innamorata (in love)
  • angela (angel)

A couple of gems here:

They kissed and he thought. He thought about what she’d said.

see-spot-run

That is some especially awkward shit even for a book full of awkward shit.

Oh boy. Aleksei wants to help her “get over” her feelings about Jack. Apparently he is a fucking therapist now. And Gillian, like the idiot she is, agrees. End chapters.

Takeaways

This one was a doozy from beginning to end. The level of bullshit is rising by the minute. More awkward sexual description? Check. Anatomically impossible sex? Check. More emotionally abusive and inappropriate behavior from Aleksei? Check. Now we’re going to have a “protagonist gets over their trauma in five minutes” scene. Just you watch. Ugh.

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