The Marquis's New Clothes(3)

By: Lila DiPasqua


“Louise . . . There’s got to be another way . . .”

“There isn’t! Oh, please, Aimee. I haven’t anyone else who can help . . . I know you don’t care for Adam de Vey, but think of it this way: You can do something most women cannot. You can easily flirt with Adam, yet resist him, and in the end do what no female has done—rebuff him.”

Now, that did have a certain appeal. Men like the Marquis de Nattes toyed with so many women, luring them with their polished manner, potent sensuality, their false affections. She would definitely love to play him. Lure him. She could flirt a little. Draw close enough to locate the ring and save Louise.

She was likely one of the few women in the realm who’d resist his allure.

After giving herself over to her husband—heart, body, and soul—leaving herself open to the humiliation and heartbreak she’d ultimately endured, Aimee knew she’d never fall into the arms of another rake like Marc again.

“All right,” tumbled from her mouth.

Louise squeaked with joy and threw her arms around Aimee. “Thank you! I knew I could count on your help.”

Aimee sighed. “I don’t suppose you have any idea what he was wearing when you dropped the ring?”

“I do!” Louise was finally smiling again. “He was wearing a blue justacorps.”

“Blue? That’s it?”

“I know how much the man adores fine clothing, and I did hear he had a new wardrobe delivered two days ago, but really, how many blue justacorps could he have in all?”

True. But given the number of knee-length coats he owned, what were the chances he’d wear the same blue justacorps again anytime soon?

Just how mindful was he of such things?

“Between the two of us, we’ll be able to locate the ring quickly and easily,” Louise said confidently.

Aimee couldn’t believe she’d become embroiled in this mad plan. Outfoxing a seasoned roué; locating and lifting a ring out from under the nose of a man who, by his very womanizing nature, was highly attuned to the opposite sex. Reading women was his forte. He knew how to detect signs of amorous interest and sexual desire. Her performance would have to be believable and flawless, despite her limited skills at being a coquette.

Success hinged on her ability to stay focused. The problem was, she hadn’t been touched by a man in over three long, empty years. Though she’d never admit it to anyone, she yearned to have a man’s arms around her. The press of his hard body against hers. His body inside her. Her marriage bed had been most satisfying. Too satisfying. There had been many nights she wished her late husband had never introduced her to the pleasures of sex. That his conjugal visits had been more typical of his peers—brief. Obligatory. For the purposes of procreation only.

Awakening her to physical delights had caused her nothing but suffering.

For many reasons.

But no matter how much she desired a lover, she wouldn’t take a man like the Marquis de Nattes to satisfy her carnal cravings.

For Louise’s sake, Aimee had to succeed. She couldn’t fail. She would best Adam in this cat and mouse game they were about to play.

And she was going to use his libertine nature to her advantage.

*****

Adam de Vey, Marquis de Nattes, surveyed the various justacorps—fitted knee-length coats of various fabrics and colors. He’d had a second armoire placed in his private rooms to hold his recently arrived new clothes.

Doors to both armoires were open wide as he decided on his attire for the afternoon. The news of Aimee’s arrival made his selection a little more important. Made his heart beat faster, and his blood course hotter just knowing she was close by.

Adam couldn’t believe his luck. Just when he’d reached his breaking point. Just when he’d been racking his mind, trying to orchestrate an opportunity to spend time under the same roof with the dark-haired beauty, she fortuitously showed up at the palace. He’d no idea when he’d been summoned by the King for an official meeting that she’d be in attendance at Versailles as well.

It was a good sign. A great sign. Somehow the stars had aligned and he was getting what he’d been wishing for for years. Access to Aimee. She wouldn’t be able to leave anytime soon either. The King took personal offense to brief visits at the palace.

Her stay would have to be no less than half a month. Plenty of time for him to do something he’d dreamed about far too often.

Bed her.

It was going to be a challenge—his very first when it came to seducing a woman.

Dressed in black breeches and a white linen shirt, he watched as his loyal servant pulled out yet another justacorps, this one gold-colored, and brought it to him.