The Marquis's New Clothes(7)

By: Lila DiPasqua

“Yes. His Majesty has summoned me for a meeting. He’s displeased,” he said, still smiling.

Her brows furrowed. “With you?”

“With his fountains. He wants me to fix them.”

She glanced back at the Dragon Fountain that was now silent and no longer spraying water as it had moments ago. “You know how?”

“To fix them? Yes. It’s going to be costly and require work, but it can be done.”

She was intrigued. She thought he—like Marc—didn’t know how to do anything other than indulge in vice.

“What’s wrong with the fountains?” she asked, genuinely curious.

He lifted a brow. “You really wish to know?”

“Yes,” she responded without hesitation.

This was novel for Adam. It was the first time she was actually talking to him, touching him. And for very first time in his life, he was going to discuss science with a stiff prick. In fact, she had him stiff as stone from the moment he caught her looking at him. There was no doubt about it; she’d reacted to his touch and the kiss on her hand.

And that delectable thought tightened his sac and raced his heart.

He didn’t know why, but her interest in the fountains pleased him immensely. Most women wouldn’t have cared to ask more questions, the subject too dull for their taste. He was as delighted about her curiosity as he was by her bold approach and request for an escort. Especially since he’d been sure he was going to have to corner her for any sort of conversation.

Celebrating in the turn of events, he silenced any questions he had regarding her uncharacteristic behavior.

“There are a number of fountains throughout the gardens,” he explained. “There isn’t enough water pressure to have them spout water at the same time and with the majestic height the King desires, so the fountains are turned on and off one at a time as the King approaches and leaves during his strolls around the gardens. But he wants them working all at the same time, in the same way.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed until now . . . How will you fix them?”

“Since the water is presently being rerouted from the Seine—”

“All the way from Paris?” she injected, her eyes widened.

“Yes, all the way from Paris. The distance is significant, and the elevation of the land where the palace is located is high, both factors contributing to the problem. We are going to use a special machine, a pump, to draw the water.”

“Will that work, your ‘pump’ machine?”

“It should. Robert and I have made a number of calculations. I’ve done up detailed drawings. We’ll be showing them to the King later. I think he’ll be pleased.”

“And how is it you know so much about such things?”

Still she hadn’t lost interest or become bored. Those beautiful golden-colored eyes were fixed on him the entire time, giving him her rapt attention.

He stopped walking and turned to face her, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Yet another first. When all he’d ever done was fantasize about bedding her, he never would have guessed he’d derive such pleasure from a simple conversation with her.

Robert and Louise d’Arcy walked on past, involved in their own conversation.

“Science is a passion of mine,” he said, without boasting about his reputation in the area or his achievements that had earned him the esteem of the King.

Mirth entered her eyes. She lifted her chin a notch. “Really? I thought women were a passion of yours.”

One particular woman had become an obsession of his, truth be told.

Adam slipped his hand under her chin and brought it up a notch more, their lips so very close together. She drew in a sharp breath, surprised by his unexpected action. “You hardly know me, Aimee . . . so I will tell you, I am a man of many passions.”

He saw something flash in her eyes before her gaze briefly dropped to his mouth. An excellent sign. His fever for her spiked. Her breathing had increased. Her skin was flushed. Drawing from his experience with women, he knew he was right about his golden-eyed beauty. A sexual encounter with Aimee would be nothing short of raw and intense. She was hungry. Naturally passionate. She wants a lover. It wouldn’t take much to coax her into sex.

As he stared down at her upturned face, her perfect lush mouth, he wondered what she would do if he kissed her here and now. His instincts told him she’d succumb to it, to him, in a sweet surrender, unable to stop herself. The notion was delicious. As delicious as she was going to be in bed. His cock didn’t just ache for her. Every fiber of his being ached for this one woman. Still holding her chin, Adam brushed his thumb across her soft bottom lip with a gentle caress.