—-and changed her mind.
“I forgive you, milord.”
His smile was dazzling and intimate at the same time. “That means the world to me, ma lisse.”
There it was again, and this time he had used the endearment out loud!
Stop calling me that, she told him, recovering.
But it was the marquis’ turn to ignore her. Instead, he said in a low voice, “Your sister told me everything.”
Curse you, Fleur.
“Oh?” She worked hard to sound unaffected.
He squeezed her knee, murmuring, “She says you’ve known I was the one since you were fifteen.”
Double curse you, Fleur.
It took her a while to answer, Soleil not wanting to sound breathless as she asked, “Does it matter, milord?”
She was stunned at the sudden tautness in his voice.
“How is it that you even knew about it before I did?”
She could appreciate why he was genuinely perplexed, and she asked him in her mind, Father has told you about me, hasn’t he?
How he came to bring you up, yes.
Apparently, my otherworlder parent has demon blood, and whatever I inherited from him – or her – sort of leapt in recognition when I saw you.
“I see.” He was grimly silent for a moment. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Her dimples flashed in a playful smile, but her eyes said something else as she said lightly, “You mean why didn’t I beg you, right? Why didn’t I throw myself at you? Because that’s the only way you’d have noticed me, do you not think…my one?”
The last words would have sounded sweet to anyone’s ears, but she and the marquis knew that it was her way of mocking him, of asking why a powerful half-demon like him hadn’t known she was near.
I’m sure you are.
Irritation flashed in the marquis’ eyes, and it was obvious he was not used to having women not falling over everything he said.
What more do you want?
Nothing, milord. It was pure agony, ignoring the way his hand on her knee made her feel, but she managed to as she continued, I wasn’t the one who looked for you—-
Is this about pride, milady?
Not at all, she answered, but she knew she was lying. It was a bit about pride, and surely that was understandable?
He should have noticed her. She was his heartkeeper, curse it. So why hadn’t he? Why?
He told her in his mind, Liar.
She let her eyes go wide. Oh no, the big bad wolf’s found me out. Please don’t eat me—-
His eyes blazed, and his nostrils flared.
Too late, she realized she had chosen the worst thing to say.
His mind connected with hers, and she saw what he was imagining.
Him pushing her legs wide apart as he sank to his knees.
And then he was eating her—-
She choked, her throat drying, and she quickly grabbed the glass of water, gulping it down—-
Under the table, she felt his fingers crawl up.
She choked on her water. Milord!
But the fingers continued to move.
She slammed the glass down on the table before she could accidentally drop it, and the patrons near their table turned to her in surprise.
Curse it! Curse him!
She managed a weak smile. “I apologize.” But she couldn’t say anymore, his fingers finding the edge of her crotchless drawers.
Their eyes locked with each other, his silver eyes feral in its hunger while hers was pleading and confused.
His jaw clenched.
I’m sorry, ma lisse.
But I have to.
You can’t be serious. Her tone was incredulous and hysterical, and she found herself gripping the edge of the round table. She needed something to hold on to, in case…things happened.
His fingers moved inside and grazed her inner thigh.
Her breath hitched. We’re in a cake shop, milord!
It’s okay. His voice was harsh, but when she looked at him, he looked entirely relaxed. And then he called for a waiter—-
Are you crazy? Her manners completely failed Soleil now, she was so aghast at what he had just done. She was frozen in her seat as the waiter came to them, and all she could think about was the marquis’ fingers stroking her inner thigh, just inches away from the suddenly aching flesh between her legs.
The marquis ordered a cup of coffee for him and asked for today’s papers.
“Right away, sir,” the waiter said eagerly.
But he didn’t leave.
Dear Lord, why wasn’t he leaving?
“Yes?” The marquis raised a brow.
“May I just say, sir, you have been my idol since I was a schoolboy,” the waiter declared fervently. “I am terribly honored, terribly, milord, to serve you.” He bowed. “Terribly.”
Stop him from bowing, she cried out. He might see what you’re doing under the table!
The marquis’ lips suddenly compressed, as if repressing a smile.
Ilie cleared his throat. “I am humbled by your, err, devotion. Thank you—-”
“But your real name is?” Most employers required their employees to call themselves Henry, for expediency’s sake.
Ilie almost winced, and despite everything, Soleil had to fight back a smile, too. Godfrey. It had to be that name, which meant ‘peace of God.’ Someone named after God, devoted to a half-demon.