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

So, there they are, in the middle of the rainforest and are staring at three Funkais.

The tension between the group of men and Brady crackled. Libby wanted to step in and try to talk their way out of it. Brady would get pissed. [Yes, he would… you don’t take responsibility or try to help. Men can’t handle that at all. You’d just get hit again.]

Almost immediately, Libby goes from “Castrate those bastards, no questions asked” to “Let’s see, what we actually know about them…”
Turns out that they maybe don’t actually deserve all the bad press they’ve been getting. Admittedly, they wander barefoot in a rainforest and don’t wear shirts, but that’s no crime. Yet. And they can’t be that evil, because they’re strictly monogamous and respect it with others.

So Libby forms this brilliant plan (which she doesn’t tell, but which maybe is “I’ll pretend BtA and me are fucking, then they’ll leave me alone because they respect monogamy”. Oh wait… she actually is fucking BtA, so that can’t be the plan, can it?). But it’s all a bit risky because BtA could get pissed and screw it up

In the meantime, BtA tries to tell the group that they don’t intend to stay, they’re just passing through.

“You need our permission.” This was said by the tallest of the group. He broke eye contact with Brady and smiled at her. Blond hair, pale green eyes, and a muscled body made him an attractive man. [Are there no unattractive men in this entire book? Then I’d like to move to this world, please. But only if I never have to meet Libby or BtA.] She found herself returning the smile. [Yes, flirt with the bad guy. Maybe you can persuade him to kill BtA and set you free? Sure, you will mourn for a while. But think of all the freedom afterwards.] Brady stepped in front of her.
“Mine.” [In this case, I can forgive the possessiveness…] His voice was deep and threatening. [Look, either his voice his deep, because he’s aroused or it’s deep because he’s angry. And usually, he’s one of the two things so maybe we can just stop mentioning that it’s deep? The same goes for the Irish accent, by the way.]

Libby asks BtA to keep it cool and to trust her. He grudgingly accepts and they are escorted through the rainforest.

The leader slowed so that she could walk beside him. They were of the same height, especially with her boots on. [What kind of boots is she wearing to walk through the jungle? Do you think she has pencil heels? I bet they’re black leather.]

The leader introduces himself (yes, Libby almost laughs about that). Surprisingly, when Libby says that her name is Liberty, Walter knows who she is. And he knows Sterling *cringe* – he passed through Funkai territory a couple of months ago. She asks if somebody else was there.

“He had an older gentleman with him. And a young man. I remember they argued over something, but they all left together the next morning.”
“A younger man?”
(…)
“Yes, he was a bit of an ass. I have a feeling that he’d never been on a trip like this one. He complained all the time about the weather, the food.”
Her pulse accelerated, her mouth lost all moisture. A shiver of dread crawled down her spine.
“Anthony Freemont.” [Because there can only be one man, who complains about those sort of things and that is Libby’s ex. Who was never characterised like that before.]

*****

They arrive at the village, which is surprisingly modern. BtA is almost insane with jealousy, because Libby had dared to talk to another man. Although he realises that she must have a plan, he can’t help it. Of course the other two (nameless) guys notice BtA’s state of mind.

He snorted. Libby turned and gave him a warning look, then turned back around. What the hell was up with that? Did she think he was some little boy who couldn’t behave? Like he would get them in trouble because he was jealous? [Yes, exactly. And it is exactly what he’s doing, so she might have a point there. what was it about trusting Libby to know what she’s doing a couple of paragraphs before.]
(…)
The urge to grab her by the hair and drag her off so that all of them knew she was his, almost overwhelmed him. [Hello, caveman reaction… So nice to see you again…]

They are taken to a kind of Town Hall, which looks like any Town Hall in the US, where people in suits and dresses work. Now that’s kind of a let-down, if you ask me. Even the rapist tribe from hell in the middle of the jungle has a conservative dress code.

Libby comments on how odd she thinks this is, which is rebuffed by one of their nameless guards with “you only know what we want you to know about us”. [Hello, cliché.]

Then some kind of big shot – noticeable by the tailored suit he’s wearing – comes up, almost undresses Libby with his gaze and introduces himself with a kiss on her hand as Jason Funkai. He already knows who Libby is, so she introduces BtA as her associate.

Funkai already heard of BtA and immediately jumps on Libby’s error – asking if they really were a couple or only associates.

“Now, why don’t we go in and meet the council. With these developments, there might be a longer discussion on the outcome.”
“Outcome?” Brady asked.
“Yes. Walter gave me the impression that you two were together, but since you are just working together… well, there will be some discussion about Ms. Wainwright’s future with the Funkai.”
Funkai smiled at Libby, and Brady knew that he’d meant that he wanted to keep Libby for himself. [Of course, everybody wants Libby. There isn’t one man in all of the universe, who doesn’t find her attractive. Because she’s just wonderful.]

*****

Libby and BtA are sitting in a waiting room, and BtA, all the adult that he is, refuses to talk to Libby.

Finally, BtA breaks the silence to tell Libby that she should have let him speak, because obviously, women can’t do that. And that he was about to have a jealousy fit didn’t matter at all. Oh yeah, and he’s got his Irish accent again, so he’s really angry. [Or he gets off on them being in trouble. Both very likely.]

They start bickering over who should wear the pants and who of the two of them was going to save the situation. Before they can really come to a conclusion though, Walter’s back. This time in a suit. I’m guessing 3 piecer, but it doesn’t say. He calls them into the room, where the council is.

As they walked forward [toward the council made of ten men], Brady took her hand and pulled her closer to his side. He leaned down. “Go along with me on this one, Libby.”
She nodded because she knew that he would have to take charge. [As usual. And she will keep on finding excuses for not taking charge, because she likes him to do it. And that’s a fact.] 

Well, Funkai starts the meeting and says that there are several parties interested in courting Libby. BtA asks them if forcing somebody to stay is courting them in Funkai land. [Very diplomatical.]

“This is not our way. Yes, we have been known to bring women here, but they are never forced to do anything they don’t want. But we do give our men a chance to convince them to stay. We’ve been known to return women, but we like to keep up the idea that we are barbarians, to keep others out.”
They were hiding something. [Of course. Because you can’t want privacy or to be left alone if you have nothing to hide.] The only reason to keep people from coming into their community would be to hide something. But what, if not their strange sexual practices? [Look, ever since you arrived, nobody tried to rape you or play some BDSM games or anything, why are you so sure that they actually have those strange sexual practices?]

BtA continues to insult the Funkai, who don’t kill him, which is proof enough to me that they can’t be that bad. Instead, Funkai explains that they some bondage, but that’s neither the issue nor any of his concern.

Anyway, Funkai insists on Libby meeting some of the men of the tribe.

She inched closer to Brady, not liking this conversation at all. The modern, educated, independent woman in her wanted to scream that she could take care of herself. [Huh? There’s a modern, educated, independent woman inside of you? You don’t say! I’m flabbergasted. I really am.] But there was another voice that just wanted Brady to take care of it all and get them the hell out of there. [Now this I can believe.]

Finally, Funkai decides that he can let them go, if they prove that they are together. Which quite definitely means live porn for the Funkai in the next chapter.

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