Horatia Cavendish has been caught out while riding her father's stallion dressed as a groom. She must now continue the masquerade while sheltering from a snow storm with an injured Frenchman.
“You look most uncomfortable.” He lay down with his hands clasped behind his head. “Aren’t you going to take off your coat and hat?”
“No. Too cold and the hat keeps my ears warm,” she mumbled, aware that her breasts showed through her shirt.
“No man wears a queue these days. You should get your hair cut short like mine. Short hair is de rigueur.” He ran his hands through his hair, and a dark lock flopped over the bandage on his forehead.
Frenchmen were far too concerned with their appearance. Fops, many of them, she thought, warming to the idea. It was uncharitable of her and possibly unfair, but it helped her
keep her distance.
“I don’t think so.” She wished her voice didn’t sound so strained. The gruff voice made her throat hurt.
He raised his head to gaze at her with those blue eyes, his well-defined lips stretched into a grin. “You do not know?”
She shook her head.
“Even in this poor light I can see your cheeks are smooth as a juene fille. I take it you are not old enough to have enjoyed feminine company?”
Horatia shifted her gaze to the cobwebs on the ceiling as she tried to think of a way to extricate herself from this mess of her own making. “Old enough yes ... but no.”
His deep laugh made her catch her breath. “We men are always old enough, nous ne sommes pas? You have much to enjoy when you do throw a leg over. Ah, mademoiselles.” He gave an appreciative sigh. “What would we men do without them? I’ve known some great beauties in my time.”
How boastful! She wished she wasn’t so intrigued.
“You must become a good lover, my friend. It is a skill that requires much study to perfect.”
“In what way?” Oh why had she asked that? She’d just invited him to tell her. She bit her lip, half wanting to hear it and half fearful of what he would say.
“By listening,” he said, surprising her. “What she tells you gives many clues.”
“And if she tells you nothing?”