Seducing the Saint (Melissa Schroeder in Charming the Snake) – Chapter One

Before we get started – be thankful that I left out the dedication, which is like one page long. At least her chapters seem to be reasonably sized.

We’re in a sleazy bar, filled with scumbags. Liberty Wainwright (no, I’m not making this up) enters and looks for Brady St. Jamey (and I’m not making this one up, either). Brady’s six foot four, which has to be important because it’s mentioned before anything else about him, except his name. Somebody laughs and Liberty figures that it’s Brady’s fan club, so she heads in this direction.

Carefully, she walked through the room, avoiding eye contact but keeping a close eye on hands, tentacles, and other appendages. Throughout the area people drank, played kinos, and danced. The all-horn band’s techno beat [an all-horn band can have a techno beat? Maybe I should tell my cousins and uncles who are in one…] had several people out on the floor, but most of them were too wasted to dance. They were here to forget, because most of them lived lives to be forgotten. [Oh, how deep… I’m touched. (just in case: that was sarcastic. No, really.)] So they would drink, they would smoke, and they would forget the other life forms they’d killed. Or would kill. Even tonight [Even tonight what? Is tonight a special not killing night? Like the future and alien version of Peace Day or something?], she thought as she kept an eye on a group of Awsarians. Short, round, and purple, the race was known for their love of killing for pleasure. Or for a price. [Those bastards. Human would never do that.]

Well, Libby [thank you, please keep on calling her Libby, so that I may forget that her name is actually Liberty. Wainwright. I feel like in a bad western.] is nervous but she “will[s] herself not to sweat”, which is an amazing superpower. Almost as good as being able to fly. Wish I could do that. [Maybe it’s a future thing? A chip implanted in your brain, which makes the unconscious body functions into conscious ones? That would be interesting. And probably deadly.]

But thankfully, Libby is armed. Because Sterling Wainwright hadn’t raised a fool.” [Yes, Sterling. No, still not kidding. I guess her mothers’ name was Pound. Or Silver Dollar. Or something.]

Anywhichway, Libby arrives at the group crowding Brady and, of course, there are more women than men listening to the total awesomeness of his being. Doesn’t matter that those women are mostly badass mercenaries, they still react like teenage girls at a Backstreet Boys concert [sorry, I know that example isn’t really up to date – but is there another, current, screams-inducing boyband around? I wouldn’t know…] and immediatly want to kill Libby, the competition.

So, Brady is telling a story about some mines, where he totally kicked ass, except he didn’t, because it was actually Libby, who did. [And btw, Brady’s obviously afraid of the dark. What an adventurer!] So, she decides that the best way to get to him, would be to steal his show.

“I think you have that wrong, Brady. You didn’t want to do the jump, remember?”
All conversation stopped around the table, and a chorus of curious eyes swung her way. [The eyes must be on tentacles that they can swing her way. Or else it should be the head swinging around… Well… probably the head shouldn’t be swinging either…] The group parted in front of her, and she felt a wave of satisfaction, however snarky, that she had stolen a bit of his thunder. She ignored the fact that her pulse had jumped and her mouth had suddenly gone dry. Long ago, it would have heralded another stuttering fit, but she’d gotten over her infatuation with the idiot. [Obviously. Completely over him. No doubt about that. She doesn’t find him attractive at all.]

 So, she parted the group of admirers, much like Moses and the Red Sea, waits until a yellow alien steps out of her way and finally sees Brady the man. He of course greets her with a condescending “If it isn’t little Liberty Wainwright”, making him more and more like an asshole by the second [and reminding me that her name’s Liberty].

Libby’s reaction is just, but a little over the top:

“I see you’re still holding court in bars, Brady. And that’s Dr. Wainwright to you, dickhead.” [First sentence is great. Second sentence… not so much. First of all, you’ve known him quite a long time, you’ve worked together, you were in love with him, you probably slept together – Dr. Wainwright? Are you shitting me? There’s other methods to keep you distance… And then you came to search him, probably because you wanted something, so I’m thinking that dickhead is not the right thing to call him, deservedly so or not. Try Dr. Dickhead!]

After this sentence, which is totally not “I’m covering up my love for you with anger” and Libby’s successful attempt not to hit Brady where it hurts, they get down to business. Sterling [*cringe*] disappeared – nobody has heard from him in months. And Libby wants Brady to help her find him.

Brady assumes that he disappeared after a fight with Libby.

His eyebrow rose and that damn smile returned. “What was it over this time? You thought he was taking too many risks, and he thought you had your panties in a wad about life?”
(…)
“No. It had to do with my divorce.”

 At the word divorce, Brady pushes the blond chick in his lap away and asks the most intelligent question I’ve ever heard: “You’re married?” After establishing that she was married, but isn’t anymore, because that’s what happens, when you get divorced, Brady asks if there was anything in it for him to help her.

Which is a reasonable question, albeit not a very nice one, in my opinion. But Libby gets angry because he didn’t fall on his knees and told her, “Thank you for asking me, of course, I’ll help you find your father, I’ll even pay you for it! I know that it’s my job to get paid for things like that, but, hey, I’m game if you are.”

She sighed. She should have known. Bitterness that she’d thought she left in the past balled in her stomach. The man was always out for number one. The so-called Saint did everything for his own notoriety, not because giving his finds to museums and historical societies was the right thing to do. [Look, sorry, but you gotta make a living. Sure, it’s nice to be noble and all, but you have to be able to afford that. Which doesn’t mean that Brady’s not an asshole, because he totally is as far as I know him, but not because he won’t jump when you say so, but because he’s an insensitive bastard, who could have at least listened with an open ear. Then again, why should he – it’s not like you’re BFFs, are you?] Knowing she was close to begging — and Liberty Wainwright did not beg [Even if her father’s life might depend on it. Prioritising, people, prioritising: Survival BEFORE pride.] — she curled her lips in disgust.
“Tell you what, Brady. I’m staying over at Delorosa’s Inn. You want to hear about it, show up. If not, kiss my ass. I’ll go it alone.”

And with those words, she leaves, cursing herself that she looked ten days for him and cursing him for being a mercenary.

*****

[Yeah, the stars are in the book. I figured it best to keep them.] 

Brady talks to Masters, apparently a friend of his, who asks about Libby [Yeah, they were an item once, when they were younger, yes, she really is Sterling *cringe* Wainwright’s daughter], then Masters remarks on Libby’s hotness, which doesn’t go down well with Brady.

He scowled at his friend. They’d never competed for women. Both of them always had plenty to choose from. Robbie Masters was an inch or two shorter, but the ladies had a thing for that blond hair and those green eyes. Brady really didn’t care if he’d lost out any other time. But Libby was a different matter. No one was supposed to even fantasize about her. [Oh, Jesus H. Christ. Can we please stop virginising or whorifying every woman? It doesn’t make anyone impure to be fantasised about and even if – who the fuck cares?]
His mind drifted back to Master’s comments about Libby. Spice. [So, I’m guessing she’s Ginger Spice? Or probably Scary Spice…] She definitely had that. Six years had passed, and damned if he didn’t have the same reaction the moment he heard that smart-ass comment — instant hard-on. She’d been an itch under his skin for years, growing up right before his eyes. [Oh, that sounds bad. That sounds really, really bad. I mean, pedophilia-bad.] Two years younger and as horny for outerterrestrial archeology as he was. [Oh my goodness… Is this turning into some kind of Indiana Jones in Space thing?] Not many women with mile-long legs understood a dig. She’d aged well in the last six years. She’d let her dark red hair grow. He wanted to know how long it really was, but she’d had it piled on top of her head. And the way those honey brown eyes snapped fire. Hmmm… Brady understood Masters’s attraction.

Goody. Now that we’ve established that she’s hot, Brady marks his territory and tells Masters to stay away. After that, they can finally return to the business at hand. Brady tells Masters that he talked to Sterling [*cringe*] six months ago, about some legend he was looking for.

The Legend of the Snake King. Because the Scorpion King was already TMed I bet.

Anyway, many people already went missing looking for that legend, so Brady pays and leaves, his bad conscious getting the better of him.

“Where you going, Saint?”
“To see an old friend.”
He just hoped he didn’t get his balls cut off in the process.

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One Response

  1. […] their time hunting embezzlers? A universe at your disposal and aliens are mentioned once (in the first chapter) and the rest of the time, it’s human actors, albeit on different […]

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