I’ll try to keep a promise to complete this
Good breeding and years of practice helped Victoria keep the thoughts from showing on her face. As it was, she fluctuated between the desire to bare her teeth and the need to roll her eyes. The scraping and bowing of the sychophants attempting to catch her hand was enough to make her scream.
“My lady, you are absolutely beautiful this evening. Have I told you how stunning you are in that dress and the way you glide along the floor when you dance?”
This particular… Toad… had been laying it on thick since she’d been forced to accept his bid for a dance. His clammy hand in hers and the slight waft of garlic overshadowed any possible attraction she may have felt. The pinch of his face and the narrow spacing of his eyes gave him the look of a rat. And the slight stutter… Maintaining her decorum in the face of his fawning was proving to be difficult.
“Princess Victoria, if I may be so bold, I would be honored to call upon you after this evening and deepen our acquaintance.”
He brought her just a little closer on the next turn around the floor so she felt every inch of him. The man believed in cod pieces, as was the current fashion. His was large, but Victoria wasn’t fooled at all by that show. She’d sized him up the second he’d taken her hand to escort her to the floor. There was no stopping her eye roll at his sloppy attempt.
“I’m afraid I’m much too busy at the moment, but I’ll keep your request in mind for the future.”
Blessedly, the music ended, freeing her from his clutches and allowing her to glide out of reach. She heard him stuttering out behind her and took secret pleasure in leaving him scrambling on the polished floor.
It was time to depart this ball before she fell into a screaming fit out of frustration.
She approached her mother, careful to keep her face passive. The woman could spot mutiny a mile away and any defiance on her part would be met with massive resistance. If she wanted to slip away she’d have to play the game carefully.
“My Queen.” She bowed, full of flourish. “How fare thee?”
The raised eyebrow told her she may have piled it on too thick, but she couldn’t stop that or the hint of sarcasm coloring her voice.
“Victoria.” She straightened up and gave her mother a smile she hoped was convincing. “Trying to beg off already?”
Her smile faltered, her eyes narrowing on her mother. The woman’s face was marble smooth, but the twinkle in her chocolate eyes gave away her mirth.
“Not that I can blame you. You seemed to have been swarmed by a particularly noxious bunch this evening. Your father must have been feeling ill-humored.”
“Truly,” Victoria mumbled. “I was beset upon by frogs.”
The tinkling of her mother’s laughter lightened her mood. The two of them were far too similar, which made her father ill-humored often when they decided to defy whatever edict he’d put in place.
Her mother grew serious after a moment, her steely mask back in place. “You’ll have to choose, Victoria. Whether you wish to or not, you’ll have to pick a suitor to appease your father as well as the kingdom.”
That squashed her good spirits. Appeasing for the good of the kingdom. Next to rule, but not without a man by her side. Bitterness churned in her gut at that fact. Archaic and exacting. A fact that wouldn’t have mattered if she’d been born a boy. Victoria pushed her irritation away.
“The day is coming, but today is not that day.” Squaring her shoulders and plastering on her smile, she curtsied again for her mother. “I will take my leave now while there is still time.”
She turned with a sweep of her gown and made her way across the ballroom. Head high, she nodded and smiled as she passed but made it clear from her pace that she would not stopped. Would that she could run her entire life with such an attitude.
The quick climb to her room allowed her to work off some of her irritation. Her belly gave a protesting growl as she crossed the threshold into her suite. A reminder that she’d skipped dinner in order to be squeezed into the impossible dress she wore.
Her chamber maid surged to her feet at her entrance. Victoria waved her off. “Have Patrece fill up the bath and bring a small tray for me. You can take your leave after you’ve unlaced this God-awful bodice.”
“Yes, mistress.” The girl sprung into action, releasing her quickly from the dress and aiding her in stripping down to her shift.
When the girl departed, Victoria breathed a sigh of relief before parking herself before the vanity to unpin her hair. It was a chore, but one that never failed to relax her. Pins collected like fallen soldiers in front of her as she took down her locks, her eyes closed in concentration. She let her fingers comb through the strands as they lay over her shoulder, unknotting both her hair and her mind.
A brush of lips along the exposed nape brought her back to the moment. She met Patrece’s eyes in the mirror. The way they glowed with want sent heat through her veins.
Eyes so blue they sparkled regarded her from just behind her shoulder. She watched as blunt, calloused fingers traced the spot behind her ear before trailing down her shoulder. His hand reached around to cradle the curve of her belly and she felt surrounded by his heat. His lips tickled her ear, warm breath ghosting along bare skin as he tasted her.
“Ah, my Princess. A rough evening for you?”
His accent, a hint of something totally foreign to her own, made her shiver almost as much as his lips. She dropped her chin, giving him access to her neck. The slide of his lips continued a path down until they latched on to the pulse pounding at her throat.
“God, you have no idea.” Her hands clenched in the thin fabric of her shift, trying desperately to wait for his leading. “It was unbearable.”
He hummed softly. “I’m sure it was. I know a bath and some food will make it better.”
She needed more than that. Her breath was coming in pants and he’d barely touched her. If he left her in such a state, she feared she’d expire.
“Come, let us set our princess to rights.” The graze of his teeth over her pulse made her shudder with need.
His other hand grasped the bottom of her shift, pulling it up inch by agonizing inch. Baring her to the waist, he released his hold on her stomach to part her legs. The cool air hit her heated parts and she bit back a moan.
“Is that what you need, Victoria?” The way he whispered her name… The way he spoke as though he knew exactly what she needed. He did. “Would that make you better?”
Before she could answer, he was cupping her gently. She gasped then, unable to hide behind a mask when he touched her body like that. Her eyes fluttered closed, but a tap on her thigh opened them.
“No, no, my Princess. You must participate always with me. No hiding. Now watch.”
He swept her shift up and over her head so nothing could shield her eyes from what he did to her. One large palm cupped her aching breast, teasing her nipple to a hard point. And between her thighs, she watched as he parted her nether lips and circled her button. Victoria wanted to fall back against him as the pleasure unfurled, but she knew looking away would stop his sweet torture.
“They don’t know how good you are, do they, Princess? They don’t know how you moan and squirm and beg for my cock when I touch you just right. They’re beneath you because you were made just for me, a peasant, a servant. Yes, Princess?”
He pressed one thick finger inside her and she bit her lip. It was impossible what they had. Dangerous even, but she couldn’t deny him. Her hips circled as he played her body, her mind muddled by his ministrations.
“Mine.” He pinched her nipple hard and she arched as the pain streaked through her. “All mine.”
As her body continued to quicken under his knowledgable hands, Victoria could only surrender.
“Yes, Patrece. Just for you.”
She felt his smile against her skin as he sank another finger inside her, determined to drive her to the edge before they continued. “Just for me.”