A Midnight Dance

By: Lila DiPasqua
Glossary





To my grandmother, Lila DiPasqua.

I’m proud to be named after this amazing lady.

She was a woman with great strength and sharp wit.

The heroine in this book in many ways mirrors her.

Had she been in Sabine Laurent’s shoes, she would have

demonstrated the same loyalty, love, and courage.





To my grandfather, Nicola DiPasqua—a decorated soldier,

known for his bravery, strength, and kindness,

and the greatest grandpa ever.

Birthdays aren’t the same without having you there

to share my cake with.

Thank you both for being my guardian angels,

aligning the heavens, and making this book possible.





To my parents and brother, because you’re the best.





And to Carm, Julia, Christian, and Olivia for making my life complete.





A Historical Tidbit

Long before Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, there was a French writer by the name of Charles Perrault. He was the author of The Tales of Mother Goose, and started the beloved genre of fairy tales. He lived in seventeenth-century France during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Louis was a lusty king. His glittering court was as salacious as it was elegant.

During this most wicked time period, Perrault wrote stories that have delighted people for centuries: Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, and Bluebeard—to name a few.

The following is based on his most famous fairy tale of all . . . Cinderella.

Happy Reading!





Lila





Prologue



May 1650—Paris





“I have a plan!” Isabelle Laurent announced the moment she yanked Sabine inside the costume room at their father’s grand theater and slammed the door shut.

Elaborate costumes and colorful plumes, wigs, and props for the latest comedy, The Foolish Wives, filled the space. The very play that could be heard faintly, the actors’ voices seeping into the silence.

Sabine frowned. “What plan? What are we doing here?” Her ire was stirred. Mischief shone in her twin’s eyes. Sabine wanted no part of her sister’s scheme. Whatever it was. The play was almost over, and she wanted to spend the remaining time watching her dark-haired prince from behind the stage. The only place Father allowed them to be when at his comedies.

Unseen and out of the way.

Her Dark Prince was in attendance tonight. And it was all because of her lucky new shoes. Covered entirely in glass beading, Isabelle referred to them as “the glass slippers.” The last three times Sabine wore them, her Dark Prince had attended the play, her father’s theater drawing royalty and aristocracy alike.

Though he wasn’t really a prince, he was the firstborn son of the powerful and prominent Marquis de Blainville.

Jules de Moutier. He was nineteen.

And without a doubt, the finest male she’d ever seen in all her fifteen years. And oh how exceptional he looked . . . Tall. Beautiful. With dark hair. Mesmerizing dark eyes. And when he smiled or laughed—a rich masculine sound that was music to her ears—he had the most attractive dimples near his mouth that made her heart melt.

Always the center of attention, he had such commanding presence, drawing all eyes in the room to him. But he never noticed her. Never glanced her way. Not with so many silly females vying for his attention, all but giddy when they captured it.

Oh, but he’d definitely notice her next year, when she’d be introduced to society. And Sabine already knew what she’d wear—a golden-colored gown.

And of course, her lucky glass slippers.

She was counting the days. Had dreamed of their meeting at the ball. Their dance. The moment he’d declare his affections. And their first kiss. She was going to give him his best kiss ever! Better than any of the females she’d seen him kiss on those heart-sinking occasions, when he thought he wasn’t being observed.

She could barely stand the wait.

“I’m leaving.” Sabine turned, anxious to get back to Jules.

“Fine. Go. I’ll get close to the handsome Moutier brothers all on my own.”

That stopped Sabine dead in her tracks. Isabelle had a tendre for Jules’s younger brother, Luc. And a rash, impetuous nature. She adored her sister, loved her with all her heart. They couldn’t be any closer even though they were as different physically as they were in spirit.

“How are you going to do that?” She couldn’t stop herself from asking, despite being much more levelheaded and less adventuresome.

Isabelle smiled. “I’m going to slip out that door.” She pointed to the one at the opposite end of the room. “And run up the alley to the front of the theater. The audience is about to leave and I’m going to brush past Luc.”

Sabine’s mouth fell agape. “You’re not!”

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