Châteaux and Shadows Book 5
Lucas de Granville—pious, respectable, impoverished, lonely—will do nearly anything for the godfather who raised him, even though his godfather doesn’t seem to want to do anything for him.
Melisande—mundane, illegitimate, dirt poor, lonely—will do nearly anything to make sure her mother and brother have shelter and food, even though they are critical of her lack of magical talent.
When Melisande’s father, a pious comte, sends his godson Lucas to bring her to Versailles and help him train her to be a fine, staunchly religious lady, their attraction is immediate, but so is their distrust.
Her eagerness to get as much money as she can as quickly as possible gradually changes into a wish for something higher, better, and holier. Something that Lucas can help her achieve: love.
Page Count: 222
Word Count: 56225
“Is everything all right?”
The man’s voice made her jump and clutch her gown more firmly around her.
“Did I startle you? I’m sorry, Mademoiselle.” Luc stepped from the long shadows cast by the single dim candle in the hall. He bowed slightly. “Is there anything I can help you with?”
She saw the moment he realized she was in a dressing gown, because his eyes shot up to stare at the wall over her head.
Her cheeks heated in a deep blush. “I need to call Blandine for help.”
His breath caught on a gasp. His eyes skimmed down to where her fingers dug into the dressing gown before flicking to the side. He cleared his throat. “I will help you.”
She could feel the pulse pound in her neck and a blush burning her face as his eyes flicked back to meet hers, and then she was falling into the brown of those eyes. Mélisande reached out a hand and touched his. He grasped it and raised it to his lips, placing what should have been a chaste kiss on her fingers.
Chaste, if he hadn’t lingered so long, his breath warming her bare fingers as he brought his gaze up to look into her eyes again.
The heat spread from her face and down into her belly and legs, melting her knees until they wobbled.
Luc stepped closer to her and turned her palm to rest against his cheek, scraping against the stubble there. He covered the back of it with one fiery hand. Emotion blazed so strongly it coursed through her arm and constricted her lungs.
His other hand traced from her ear and across her cheekbone with a feathery touch. When he touched her lips with one finger, they both gasped.
He stepped closer still and bent toward her, then paused, his eyes suddenly wary. “May I?” he whispered, the rush of his breath across her face sending a shudder through her entire body.
“Oui,” she tried to whisper, but no sound came out, only a half of a breath.
He closed the two inches between them slowly and pressed his lips against hers.
They both gasped again, and he eased away only slightly, staring intently from so close that she couldn’t focus on both his eyes at the same time. She dropped her gaze to his lips, which he wet with his tongue.
She rose on tiptoes and followed his tongue with hers, tracing his lower lip as shiver after shiver ran through her body, her heart beating hard.
“Mélisande.” His whispered voice was pleading as his expression turned almost angry.
She rose again and slid the hand from his cheek around behind his neck to hold him in place for a firmer kiss.
Even though she had only kissed two boys when she was much younger, she seemed to know more than he did. As she settled back onto her heels, his head followed hers, and he dragged his tongue across her teeth, then angled his head to the side to swipe his tongue against hers.
She lost track of the hallway, the house, the prayers, the worries, the people, the world, everything except for Lucas de Granville and the way he pulled her body roughly against his, pressing his hardness against her waist as she nibbled on his soft lower lip. His hand was suddenly on her bottom, burning her through the thin layers of her dressing gown and her wispy underskirt. She pushed her breasts more firmly against him and gasped.
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