The Marquis's New Clothes(4)

By: Lila DiPasqua


Adam touched the silk sleeve. “Not this one, Laurent,” he said. Too bold.

The man, ten years his senior, returned the gold overcoat to the armoire.

“Really, Adam, I don’t understand your interest in all these clothes.” Reclining in a plush chair, his fingers laced behind his head, his friend Robert, Comte de Senville, smiled.

“I like the finer things in life. Fine clothes. A fine château. Fine women.” Aimee de Miran was by far the finest he’d ever laid eyes on.

“How is this, my lord?” Laurent held before him a red justacorps.

Also bold. “I don’t think so.”

He was looking for something more understated. A quiet elegance. Just like Aimee.

“All this trouble for a tumble. Don’t think I don’t know you’re planning on seducing Aimee de Miran. And it’s about time, I say.” Chuckling, Robert crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head. “Six years . . . Dieu!”

Adam placed his hands on his hips, cursing the night he’d gotten drunk last month and let it slip to Robert about his longtime fascination with their dead friend’s wife.

Ignoring Robert’s irksome remarks was easier than ignoring his own hardened cock—his body’s natural reaction at the mere thought of the lovely Comtesse de Gremont.

From the moment he’d met her, during her betrothal to Marc, he’d been fiercely attracted to her. He’d spent a ridiculous amount of time famished for this woman.

Merde. He could make no sense of this incessant, unbreakable pull to her. His desire for her plagued him. Haunted him. The longer it went on, the more it tormented him.

The stronger it got.

So she was beautiful, elegant, graceful, and intelligent. There were others who shared those qualities. So Marc had boasted that his wife was passionate and sensual and highly receptive to his husbandly rights—a woman who saw her marriage bed as enjoyable rather than as a duty.

So what?

There were other women who enjoyed sex. He’d fucked scores of them.

Nothing he did got golden-eyed Aimee de Miran out of his head. Out of his system. Not time. Or women. He was tired of wanting her—and worse, comparing other women to her. It drove him to distraction.

Jésus-Christ. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d bedded a woman when Aimee hadn’t intruded into his mind, where he didn’t fantasize it was her he was buried inside.

For the last six years, Adam had kept his distance from Marc’s beautiful wife for two reasons. First and foremost, Aimee was in love with her husband, and he never poached where real feelings were involved. Second, Marc was a friend—one who was completely undeserving of his wife’s affections. Marc knew full well he’d stirred her heart. He’d laughed about it and found it “adorable,” and without discretion of any kind, bedded every woman who crossed his path.

“What about the blue, my lord?”

Adam scrutinized the blue-gray justacorps held out before him.

It was of the finest cloth, yet not boastful. And a fine cut, too. “Perfect.”

“I think the lady will be most impressed, my lord.” Laurent smiled as he handed him the matching vest—Laurent’s usual statement whenever he sensed Adam had a new conquest in mind.

Adam slipped on his vest. “Do you now, Laurent.”

“I think you overestimate your charm.” Adam could hear the humor in Robert’s tone.

He glanced at Robert. “I think you should leave the lady to me and concern yourself with the King, and whether or not he’ll approve of our drawings and ideas.” Adam slipped on the justacorps with Laurent’s assistance.

A member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Adam was recognized for his engineering expertise. Over the years, he’d worked on a number of projects for the Crown—particularly, the fortification of strongholds in case of attack. Now with the country at peace, at least for the time being, Louis had turned his attention to his prized palace.

Versailles.

Unhappy with the water pressure of his fountains, His Majesty had asked Adam to offer a solution to rectify the deficiency the original engineers had produced.

Robert stood and walked over to him, grinning. “It’s far more fun watching Adam de Vey fail for the first time with a woman.” He placed his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “In all seriousness, the lady doesn’t much care for either of us. Marc broke her heart. She sees us as being no different than her late husband.”

That much he knew.

But Adam wasn’t looking for her love. Or to replace Marc in her heart, if he was still there. He was looking for a few hours of shared carnal pleasure. He simply wanted to, no—had to—put an end to this inexplicable mental and physical torment. And there was only one way to kill the longing—and that was to have Aimee every which way he could to sate his lust for her.