The Marquis's New Clothes(9)

By: Lila DiPasqua

Louise’s hands dropped from her face. She sat up immediately. “You will?”

“I will.”

She squealed with happiness and leapt off the mattress to give Aimee a tight hug. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Despite herself, Aimee smiled. “You’re welcome.”

Louise pulled away and wiped her tears from her cheeks. “You might want to check his justacorps tonight if he’s wearing yellow.”

Aimee’s smile died. “Yellow?”

Louise forced a smile, and taking a step back smoothed her skirts. A bad sign. “Yes, you see . . . I was thinking about when I dropped the ring . . . The Hall of Mirrors was so very crowded. I was bumped . . . and well . . . he might have been wearing a yellow justacorps.”

Aimee simply blinked. Astounded. “How, by all that is holy, can you confuse blue with yellow?”

“Well . . . It all happened so fast and with the crush of people . . . the truth be told”—she smoothed her skirts again—“I don’t recall exactly what color he wore.”

Aimee strived for patience. For the first time in her life she wanted to throttle her cousin. “Are you even certain that it was Adam de Vey’s pocket you dropped the ring in?”

“Oh, yes! Of that I am certain! The man does stand out in a crowd—with his good looks and tall form, although I did find Robert de Senville quite appealing. He is very handsome, and he isn’t married. Did you know that?”

“Louise! Focus!”

“Oh, yes, of course. It was definitely Adam de Vey. I’m positive. In one of the pockets in one of his justacorps sits Renault’s ring. We just have to find out which.”

It was like looking for a needle in a haystack given the man’s penchant for clothing.

Aimee’s every instinct warned her to stay away from the Marquis de Nattes. But she was about to approach . . . and get very close to him, indeed.

A rake who sets your body on fire with the slightest effort . . . Good Lord.

She was going to give this another try.

Chapter Three

Music from violins and harpsichords filled the Hall of Mirrors.

By the time Adam arrived, His Majesty’s fete was well under way. Seated on his silver throne at the opposite end of the majestic hall, several carpeted steps high, the King observed those who danced the allemande before him in perfect unison. Onlookers not part of the dancing lined the great mirrored gallery.

Adam spotted Aimee immediately. In a royal blue gown, with a radiant smile on her sweet lips, she danced with grace. He’d looked to the dance floor first, knowing if she were anywhere in the room, he’d likely find her there. Riveted, he watched with pleasure each elegant turn and movement she made. She’d attended many balls with Marc where Adam had caught himself watching her dance. She danced so well, always with that captivating smile that bedazzled him every time.

There was no doubt in his mind—Aimee de Miran was the most beautiful woman in the realm.

Clearly enjoying herself, she made him smile.

He liked seeing her face aglow. Flushed with pleasure. Mental images of her naked in his bed, her soft skin just as pink, just as warm, as he rode her to ecstasy and back, burned through his mind.

His groin tightened.

In all the years he’d known her, he’d never dared to dance with her. He’d never dared touch her while she’d been married to Marc—except to offer her the proper greeting one gave a lady and the wife of a friend. Touching her would only add to his torment, and heighten his desire for a woman who wasn’t his to touch.

Without realizing it, Marc had tortured Adam for years with countless details of his wife’s beautiful body. He hated it that Marc had discussed his wife with the same level of disregard he had for his paramours.

More than he could ever express.

Though Adam couldn’t remember any of the particulars of his friend’s many mistresses, he recalled every single detail Marc had mentioned about Aimee’s lovely body—when he hadn’t wanted to. When he’d wanted nothing more than to forget them. Forget her. Adam knew Aimee had a beauty mark on her inner right thigh and another on her left hip. And he didn’t need Marc to tell him just how gorgeous her tits were. He could see that for himself. The top curves of her breasts were presently visible above her décolletage.

And tantalizing in the extreme.

Aimee pressed her palm to her partner’s raised hand, and turned in a circle in time with the music and dancers around her. Her dark curls were swept up and adorned with tiny blue ribbons; the few cascading down flounced about—so damned adorably—as she moved. He drank in the sight of her. She was breathtaking to behold.