An excerpt from What She Says With Her Eyes
“Marie, do you know who that man in grey is?” Zephryne asked.
“Cherie, he’s the very one you came here for!” Marie’s gold-bronze curls bounced as she turned a curious gaze at her friend. “That is your mysterious Monsieur Mardour; the Englishman who seeks dear Françoise’s hand.” She studied the subtle change in Zephryne’s bland expression. “Do you fancy him?”
“No!” Zephryne sputtered, indignant. “I saw him earlier, and he– He looked at me rather cruelly and…”
“And now his disdain has excited you?” Marie gave a cheeky grin. “Has his antipathy sparked your desire? He dislikes you, so now you want him! What a delightful game to play, the chase.”
“It’s nothing like that,” Zephryne denied, the words sounding unconvincing to herself.
“Don’t lie to me, amie. Despite your occasional lapses into prudery, you’re a woman still.”
“Nonsense! Unlike a slattern like yourself, my lovers have not numbered in the hundreds…but to call me a prude? You see how Pierre adores me.”
“Yes, and you tease him quite mercilessly! You have no appetite for what offers, yet you dangle him about like an uneaten sausage!”
“You exaggerate,” Zephryne said, not daring to acknowledge Marie’s truths. “Nor do I want anything to do with that Englishman!” She calmed with herself a deep breath. “My aim is to remove him entirely from Françoise’s life.”
Zephryne regarded him from afar as he approached a group of elegantly clad gentleman at a table to their left. Since she knew he was a former military man, it was evident in his bearing and figure. Broad shoulders and large arms filled the charcoal-grey jacket, the cloth stretching at his chest. The simple cut of his clothes and the demure nature of his dress marked him different from all those around him. There was no lazy, indolent air about him as the others displayed. His body was rigid; his hands close to his sides, in particular to the sword at his left hip. He appeared tense and on guard as if he expected violence to break out at a moment’s notice.
“So that is the attaché to the English ambassador?” There was an unusual timbre in her voice, one that Marie did not miss.
“Yes. Rather plain individual, isn’t he?” Marie’s all-seeing eyes again perused Zephryne’s face. “He seems so reserved. It’s as if he has something to hide.”
“He does, the fiend! He preys on young, innocent girls to wheedle their fortunes from them!” Zephryne snapped.
Marie threw her head back and laughed. “Françoise? Innocent? Oh, how humorous!”
She continued to laugh, so much that she had to dab her kerchief to her eyes to stem the tears of mirth. “Ma petite, I understand you tried your best to raise Françoise, but you were a child yourself!”
Zephryne could not look away from him. There was an air of mystery about him, a strange reserve that hinted at hidden depths.
A plan, heretofore half-formed, was now clear in her mind.
She would seduce him away from her former step-daughter by whatever ever means at her disposal: with lies, with false hopes, and, yes, with her body.
Zephryne with her lush, round figure, lovely dark eyes, and small, pouting lips had no difficulties in attracting the admiration of males. Moreover, she had been raised to know just how to entice a man.
Her beauty had brought her to the attention of the Comte d’Aubèrge, but it was her intellect that had made her his second bride.
If Zephryne wanted a man, she knew she could get him.
…Coming Winter 2021…