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

Ever since I started reading this story, I hear Gene Pitney‘s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” in my head. And I take a morbid kind of pleasure to substitute Valance with Wainwright. Will somebody shoot her? I sure hope so… that’s what keeps me going after all.

Liberty is in her hotel room, has her gear ready and packed, washes herself, dresses, has deep thoughts like “Liberty believed in ethics, not fortune-hunting. She believed in study, not adventure.” and is about to see if she can get some sleep (fully dressed so she can leave right away if necessary), when she hears a knock on the door. She takes her stun gun and is prepared to shoot whoever it is coming through that, be it the maid or a pizza delivery or anybody, when Brady declares himself.
[A short question: Who would actually gain anything from killing Libby in that particular moment? I mean, except me. I know an archaeologist and believe me, she doesn’t even own a gun, and it wouldn’t be necessary to own it anyway. Just the fact that you dig stuff up, which more often than not turns out to be yet another piece of a broken bowl, doesn’t mean that the whole world set out to kill you. I can see the point, when those archaeologists are actually treasure hunting, but then it doesn’t make sense to kill them until they find the treasure for you, does it? And anyway, Libby insists that she’s all of the ethics and none of the treasure, so why bother being nervous about opening doors?]

Where were we? Ah yes. It’s Brady and Libby is instantly relieved. Because even though he’s a scumbag and a treasure hunter without morals, he would never shoot her like the rest of the world would, right?

Libby opens the door and trying-for-nonchalantly asks him “Watchawant”.

“What I want…” His gaze traveled down her body and then back up.“Isn’t on the menu. Unless you changed your mind.”
Heat tingled down her spin. Her nipples hardened. “No, I haven’t.” [Bloody hell, she’s easily excited, isn’t she? Or terribly frustrated…]

He enters [her room, you know… I know what just passed in your dirty little minds!], smelling “male, with a hint of soap”. As opposed to all the odd days, where he smells female, with a hint of shampoo.

He tells her that he’s seen Sterling [*cringe*] six months ago, but before he tells her more about that, he wants to know about her ex-husband.

Brady nodded. “Care to tell me who Mr. Doctor Wainwright was?”
His tone was condescending, and for once she was happy she could put him in his place. “Anthony Freemont.”
The smile faded from his face. “Anthony Freemont of Freemont Inc.? The company that finances most of these bloody fact-finding missions?” [What’s so wrong about fact-finding? I don’t get it.]
She could tell he was angry, because his Irish accent had slipped into his speech. [Why do people always need markers like that to tell when someone’s angry? I mean, I can tell when someone’s angry, even if they don’t suddenly talk with a different accent or call me with my whole name.] Brady tried his best to keep people guessing about his background. He took perverse joy in letting people think he was American. Idiot. [Or maybe he took joy in making them think he was an American Idiot?] The only time he lost control of his accent was when he was angry, irritated, or really turned on.
Not a good thing to be thinking about, Libby.
“Yes. Hence our problems, along with a few other areas.” [Hence our problems? I thought she was all about ethics and studying, which usually includes facts? So what’s the problem with him financing fact-finding missions?]

When Brady asks why she married Anthony, when he was such a bastard [I still don’t get what makes him an bastard], she tells him that at first he wasn’t, but then he got sucked into the family business and changed. Cue bitterness.

With that, Brady’s satisfied and tells her about the Snake King business and that he turned down to come with Sterling [*cringe*] because it’s bullshit and he (Brady) was teaching at the time and anyway, he’s “not a dumbass”.

She snorted. “No comment.”
Irritated with her. Irritated with himself. Dammit, the woman had him in knots and he had been in her company less than five minutes. Just hearing her snort sent a wave of heat through him. [Oh, baby, do your sexy snorting. You know that turns me on… Scratch me, bite me, snort!]
[At least, they’re equally easily excited.]

They get back to business. Libby found out that Sterling [*cringe*] hired somebody named Dracon to fly him to Gelwan. Then they grace us with an explanation of the Snake King Legend:

“The legend of an emerald from the Quantanz sector so brilliant that several wars were fought over it. Not for the price, but for the magical powers it is said to posses.”
“To rule without fear of being conquered.” [Is somebody else reminded of The Lord of the Rings?]

And then they’re back on the marriage business. Apparantly, sticking to one conversation topic at a time is too boring for treasure hunters. Now we know that the fight Libby had with her dad was about the Freemont Inc., because he wanted them to finance his expedition and they didn’t want to do it and Libby didn’t want to convince them. Or something. Anyway, Brady goes into full protector mode.

“Ah.” His voice was calm, but the anger boiling in his gut wasn’t. Damn Sterling for treating his daughter like a commodity. Again. Brady flexed his hands and tried his best not to pick up something and break it. The way the man had raised her had been one of the problems that had broken them up. [Why? Did it screw Libby up? How?] The other part had to do with Libby not being able to accept things one day at a time. Always had to have a fucking plan for everything, and it drove him crazy. [That I can understand. But I’m pretty sure that it won’t change, because that’s a rather basic personality trait, not some annoying habit…]

Anyway, that’s why there can be no reward – nobody funded the mission, nobody pays. And they won’t find anything, because the Snake King Legend is only a legend.
Libby rolls her shoulders and the movement “thrust[s] her breasts against the soft fabric of her shirt”, turning Brady momentarily into a drooling stare.

When he got his wits back, he thinks about his first meeting with Libby and Sterling [*cringe*]:

He’d known the Wainwrights since he’d been fortunate enough to stow away on Sterling’s hired ship. He’d been fifteen and green. Damn, he’d been lucky he’d picked the ship he did. When Libby found him hiding in the overhead compartment, he’d thought he would be sent back. Sterling took one look at him and saw a comrade. Libby acted as if he’d committed a crime. [Which he did, didn’t he? Being a blind passanger is, as far as I know, illegal. Or did Libby think that Sterling *cringe* committed the crime by not throwing Brady overboard?] He took her place. [Her place as what? Sterling *cringe*’s daughter? On the ship? Or did Sterling *cringe* take the place?]

While we’re on memory lane, Brady reminds Libby on the one time they were on Yentalan and some Sabre Tooths [is it really Sabre Tooths and not Sabre Teeth?] attacked them. Inexplicably, Libby is suddenly cold and says that they should get going.

She stood and started to gather up her things. “Yes, I tracked him to Bulivenia. It wasn’t fun. [Oh, but the other times were, right? I mean, usually searching for disappearing fathers is fun, right?] The last I heard after that was they were headed to Dranirick.”
“Good God.” Dranirick was barely surveyed. Several species inhabited the overgrown rain forest. One was a group of humans who thrived on strange sexual practices. [Now, we’re getting to the interesting bits…]
“Yeah, that’s why I came to find you. I couldn’t trust anyone else.” [You couldn’t trust anyone else with strange sexual practices? Why, thank you… I guess…]

Brady grabs Libby’s arm and asks her what’s wrong. Although there’s no immediate reason to do so, Libby obviously knows what this is about and tells him that it was his mention of Yentalan.

Then she goes to the bathroom and leaves Brady to think it out for himself… [if this was film, we would enter sepia-territory now. Or maybe the picture would get all wobbly and then we would look at Brady with make-up and a different haircut to make him look ten years younger.]

He was twenty-one, she was nineteen, Sterling [*cringe*] was older and they were searching for some artifact. After they found it, Sterling [*cringe*] went to sell it and Libby and Brady got drunk and ended up in a cave. Libby looks all sexy in the campfire, while she expresses her concern at the reckless behaviour they guys show [but as she’s only a girl, nobody cares and Brady goes for the sexy part, thinking about how her freckles “turned his mind to mush”]. Then Libby says that she probably won’t be there all the time to bail them out, as she’s been accepted into training at the Freemont Center, where she can finally really learn. [The whole section is in italics in the book. I’ll stick to the usual “italics are my comments”-mode.]

Panic clawed at his throat. He took a deep breath and reminded himself that she’d threatened this before. She’d never followed through.
(… yaddayadda, would never leave your daddy, yaddayadda, he wouldn’t even notice if I was gone…)
(… she starts to cry, he cups her chin…)

She tried to pull away, but he held her chin firmly. Before he could think twice about it, he leaned down and brushed his mouth over hers. He held her gaze as his tongue darted out and traced the seam of her lips. Her eyes drifted closed and she opened her mouth. Any blood left in his brain traveled south. [What, there was blood in his brain before? Seemed to me like he was thinking with his cock all the time.] He closed his eyes and took possession of her mouth. [Oh, come on! It’s still her mouth and not yours. You can’t take possession of something that will never belong to you… Even if you are a treasure hunter.] Her arms slid around his neck and his dropped to her lower back. In one move, he pulled her forward and covered her body with his. [He pulls her forward and then lies on top of her? How does that work out? I think I need another person to try this, because I don’t really know what’s happening right now…]
The heat between them went from spark to inferno within seconds. [Woo-zah…] All the years they’d been holding back, broke free. They tore at each other’s clothes between kisses. When he’d finally stripped her to her waist, he slowed down. The cool air washed over them; her nipples puckered. [Puckered? I’m sorry, but that sounds like her nipples got curly, and not very sexy… Maybe it’s like this?]
He’d have been a fool not to hear the fear in her voice. “Shhh, lass.” [Remember, he’s Irish. Don’t forget, okay?]
(… he sucks on her breast, she puts her hands in his hair…)
He pressed his cock against her pussy. [YAY!!! SOMEBODY WHO DOESN’T MIND CALLING THINGS BY THEIR NAMES!!!] Even through the layers of clothing, he could feel her damp core. [Core? Are you kidding me?]
(… again she tries to say something, again she’s ignored…)
“Brady.” It finally hit him she was pulling on his hair. [It only took him some minutes plus her calling his name three times until he got it? What if she wants to say, “No, I don’t want that, stop!”?]

She tells him that she’s a virgin.

“Ahh, Libby.” His mind couldn’t function, not without one drop of blood in it. [Although you should be used to that by now, shouldn’t you?] He’d never slept with a virgin. It had never mattered to him before. [But now it does. Because once you taste virgin, you’ll never go back, or what?] Now it frightened the hell out him. It was also damned arousing. “You trust me, don’t you?”

Well, before they can really get to it, we’re back in the present and Libby is back from the bathroom and they get ready to go. [Can I just say here, that her first time must have been pretty gruesome, when she reacts that badly if only the country (planet?) it happened in/on is mentioned…]

Before they can actually leave, there’s another knock on the door. He presses himself against the wall next to the door, Libby too, all bad Cop TV-show like and then they ask who it is.

“Robbie Masters. I heard you were looking for help.”

Which leaves us with the question if we’re going to get a nice threesome or a tiring love triangle…


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