Full disclosure: I have written these sorts of scenes myself. It's a thing that happens. But it's like whenever LKH doesn't know what to do next, she drops another one of these in to the mix. For example this one is about Belle Morte.
Belle Morte is not in any sense of the word an effective antagonist. She's too removed from Anita's daily life. She never does anything particularly clever. It's not that I mind her style of attempting to manipulate from the shadows. She is an ancient vampire, after all. It's sort of their thing. But even her direct agents are idiots, easily defeated by bullshit like a knife in the ribs or a cross on the door. See, in Anita's world magic and magical creatures have always existed, so you'd think by now the humans and the vampires would have a hojillion ways to get around each other's protections and traditions.
Belle Morte has beautiful black hair, "honey brown" eyes, and "moist red lips." She's wearing a gold dress and it brings out the color in her eyes.
Belle Morte beckons to Anita, probably because she wants to get bisexual cooties all over her. I am in support of this because it would probably make Anita spontaneously combust. Turns out that Anita is wearing a fancy dress similar to Belle Morte, and despite not having a mirror and never wearing this type of getup before she knows exactly how it affects the look of her hair and eyes. Of course it makes her sexier.
Belle refers to Anita as ma petite and tries to boss her around, because "everything that belongs to Jean Claude is mine." I can understand Belle Morte being rather old fashioned and eccentric, but I don't understand why a vampire so interested in the outside world is so completely ineffective. There's being anachronistic and there's being pathetic. Don't the vampires in this series know how to use the Internet?
Belle Morte has a bowl of "old fashioned roses" at her elbow. What in the hell is an old fashioned rose? Does she mean a cabbage rose? Also these roses are named after Belle Morte. I want us all to commemorate this moment, because it is one of the only times LKH has gotten a detail like this even remotely close to right because according to Wikipedia: "the forerunner of the rose garden as we know it today was planted by empress Joséphine de Beauharnais at Malmaison, France in the years between 1799-1814."
So fine, LKH you win this round. It's sad that in the span of almost three books now, this is one of the only details that is even remotely plausible.
Things in Anita's body tighten so I assume this means she either thinks Belle Morte is hot or she has appendicitis.
Belle's breasts are "mounded" which makes me think they're made of mashed potatoes (my partner said "mounded? That makes me think one breast is stacked on top of the other one."). Her skin is "gleaming" which means she's an animate Thanksgiving dinner from the Twilight universe.
"I took two handfuls of the long skirt..."
As opposed to what? Does Anita only have one hand since the other one seems inexorably drawn to whatever faintly penis shaped object drifts by? Are there tentacles coming out of her vagina? I guess those would technically count as hands.
And hey wait just a goddamn minute. Remember the beginning of this book? When Harlan the hitman comes to hire Anita so she'll raise his ancestor? What the fuck happened to that plot?
If that gets answered by the end of this book I'll have a goddamned heart attack.
Anita is running in high heels (!) down a dark darkity dark hallway filled with monsters, except they're not monsters, they're a bunch of vampires fucking. No, seriously.
"Flesh pale and dark..." (I thought only white people get to be vampires?)
Now if those examples aren't bad enough, shit gets truly incomprehensible immediately thereafter:
"Blood gleamed down the pale flesh, vampires raised fangs to the light, and humans clung to them, begging for more."
The thing that sticks out the most for me is that the construction of this ahem, 'sentence', makes it seem as if the humans are clinging to the fangs themselves, not the vampires attached to said teeth. Also staccato information like this can really work when properly used. Spoiler alert: it isn't properly used.
Anita is wearing a "tight, upright" corset that is hard to run in, and the skirt makes her "struggle" against. You know, unlike the famous floppy sideways corsets popular at the Ministry of Silly Walks.
So, Anita again describes her plight to run from Belle, past all of these "carnal nightmares." The scene is complete with a door at the end of the hallway that never seems to get closer. Yet the next paragraph? Opens with this bullshit:
"There was nothing too terrifying happening in the alcoves."
So all that shit she just described to me as psycho sexy is now not at all scary, she just doesn't want to be touched.
She gets to the door and it's locked. By the way, can I just take a second to point out that this is THE most generic nightmare I have ever fucking read about?
Belle Morte asks Anita to come to her willingly, which is really rich considering Anita is obviously not interested. Belle's voice is like "sex sliding across my skin." What the hell does that feel like? All I can imagine is a sort of primordial slime.
Belle's voice is so good Anita "spasm" s against the door. It makes me sad that Anita doesn't understand the difference between a spasm and an orgasm, which I presume she's currently having. Belle Morte says some bad guy stock dialouge about how Anita will "feed them" whether she wants to or not.
Anita turns around and Belle Morte is standing there, backed by all the naked vampires. There's some writing that makes this sound sort of scary I guess. Belle delivers some cheesy bad guy lines about how Anita can choose whether to feed her willingly or not. Anita quite reasonably points out that choices offered under duress aren't really choices. Belle says, "then your choice is pain!"
The naked flesh mob rushes Anita and she wakes up. She is gasping "in to" poor Nate's face.
Guess what? CAN YOU GUESS? THAT'S RIGHT. This entire dream is an excuse for the ardeur to rise. She wants to eat Nate's energy so bad and he almost touches her. She tells him to stop before it can happen, and muses that Nate is the only one of her lovers who would obey a direct request to not touch her.
For once I would just love for Anita to say, "his dick wasn't hard yet. What a disappointment. I like it if my lovers are always ready to give me the kind of dicking I can feel two days later." God, that would be so refreshing. That would be like a cold shower after Burning Man.
Belle is still influencing Anita and thinks one of Nate's positive qualities is that he is young.
Jason shows up as Anita tries to fight the desire to eat Nate up like a bowl of Ben and Jerry's. Jason is wearing a pair of jeans. These jeans are not buttoned or zipped, but because this is fantasy land they just stay up, and their only purpose is to reveal a glimpse of his blue silk underwear. It's as if all the strippers in the AB world are the sexy porn kind that always have perfect makeup and always slink around with their clothes barely hanging on.
Anita banishes Nate from the room since if she feeds off of him again she might kill him. Her only option is Jason, who to his credit is quite sanguine (heh) about the whole thing. And weirdly? It makes me like him. He's a pig at best but when the chips are down and Anita asks to feed from him, all he says is "blood, flesh. or sex?"
She tells him she wants sex, but then thinks that she wants to "avoid intercourse."
Look you know what? Sometimes telling is a good thing. I know that as authors we are constantly told show don't tell, but telling has its place. Why Anita wants to avoid banging a perfectly willing partner like he's a screen door in a hurricane would be one of those times.
Anita crawls over and licks the top of his foot. Seriously.
He likes it.
"I used my hands to crawl up his legs..."
As opposed to her mouth, like she's the front segment of the human centipede.
Anita spends a full paragraph trying to say that she can see the outline of Jason's dick in his blue silk underwear, without ever using a euphemism for penis that isn't "him" or "himself." A man is not his penis. Whenever I see a man buying in to this crap I have to wonder why he prefers to be nothing but a set of swinging genitals. Plus, Anita, you are almost thirty and you can't say cock or penis or dick? I mean really. This is a little bit like if you can't accept that eating meat requires killing animals, maybe you shouldn't eat meat. If you can't accept that in order to have sex genitals will often times be involved and the writer controlling you will have to describe them, well...I am sending Anita AND LKH to the time out room.
Anita refers to Jason's ass as his "butt." Any time a grown person uses the word butt in a sex scene I immediately lose respect for them. You are an adult. It's an ass. Not a butt. Not a no no pillow. Not a marshmallow delight.
Anita is trying to control herself for some stupid reason even though she has a perfectly healthy willing male to feed from.
"I wanted to beg him to take me."
"There was that look that comes on a man's face when he's sure of you, sure of what will happen."
Huh? Is it the same look he gets when he sees a rack of ribs?
She launches in to a prudish speech about Jason's dick. Let's see if we can condense this, shall we?
1) Jason's dick is like, good looking and stuff.
2) She mouths his dick through the silk so that the silk is all slobbery.
3) He likes it.
4) He slides his jeans and underwear off and reveals his dick in all its "graceful, straight, fine" glory.
Anita "spills" her mouth over "the head of him." She then slides her hand in to "cup lower things." This is like the erotica I wrote when I was twelve.
Anita decides to lick "that thin strip of skin between testicles and anus."
So let me drop some sex scene knowledge here, because this took me forever to figure out: the type of language you, as an author, use in sex scenes is entirely dependent on the personalities of the characters involved. It's not out of character for Anita to say testicles and anus given how hung up on sex she is, but it doesn't work for me because I am still shouting WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS. She has NO REASON to be like this, because let's be real she's not a character, she's a paper doll.
Jason picks Anita up and there's some truly gross nonsense about how when they kiss Jason is trying to eat her and he eats her sounds and tastes her screams and excuse me a second---
I hate it when authors describe the mechanics of kissing. Like, it's fine that the characters are kissing but I don't need to hear about their wrestling tongues and stuff. Ugh.
MOVING SHARPLY ALONG.
Jason's hair has "baby silkiness"
Jason starts to fuck Anita while he's still holding here up, then takes her to the bed and starts to fuck her there. This SO BADLY wants to be hot and it almost is. Lines like "most of my lower body still held in his hands" kill it dead.
Anita is a screamer. I think this would be legitimately awesome and hilarious if this were an actual book and Anita were an actual character, instead of a jerk off journal entry scrawled desperately between um, jerks.
LKH hits me with what is probably the most disgusting thing I have ever read in a sex scene. Keep in mind this is trying to be sexy. It's not horror or comedy.
"He found a rhythm that was fast, and deep, and hard, as if he were trying to shove himself out the other side of me. He beat his body in to mine with a thick, meaty sound."
OH MY GOD ANITA SAID ORGASM.
I think this is the first time in two books that she's used a grown up word during sex!
And I am stopping there, because this piece of shit took me THREE DAYS and I am still only halfway done with this NEVER ENDING CHAPTER.