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Catherine de Fouet blends into the background, saving up so she’ll never have to wait on waspish, scheming old ladies like the baronesse again. She has no interest in a resentful gentleman, estranged from his mother, no matter how broad his shoulders or intriguing the wounded soul behind his handsome face. She just needs someone to escort her back to Versailles.
But Catherine is suspected of poisoning the baronesse. She rebuffs a pushy courtier who tries to use blackmail to make her his mistress, and her reputation hangs by a thread.
The chevalier wants more than anything to protect this woman whose prickly exterior hides sweetness and passion. They need his family to help him through court intrigues—almost as much as they need each other.
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Manu smoothed his soft suede gloves firmly over his fingers and grasped the fencing foil’s hilt. Dom took a quick look at the guard on the point, nodding when he found it securely soldered on.
Cédric approached. “What sort of attack does d’Oronte favor?”
Manu opened his mouth to reply.
But his brother snorted. “It’s ridiculous for me to give you advice when you know the man’s fighting style and I don’t.”
Manu nodded grimly. He suddenly wished for his half-brother, Michel, who had worked the most with him with swords. “He favors the Italian style. He’s showy and sometimes loses focus in an effort to look better. But he is quite skilled.”
“Not as skilled as you, eh?”
His brother’s confidence made Manu warm.
“We’re evenly matched, as I said. Not the best, but far from the worst.” He glanced at Catherine and got an uneasy, angry feeling in his belly.
Cédric elbowed him. “You don’t want to lose in front of Mademoiselle de Fouet. Should I encourage her to take Françoise up to my apartments? The fighting might frighten them.”
Manu stared at Catherine, who smiled and dropped her eyes bashfully. “I don’t think she’s easily frightened.”
Cédric chuckled. “Then it’s an old-fashioned tournament, and you’re fighting for your lady’s hand.”
Manu couldn’t take his gaze from Catherine’s pink cheeks. When she lifted her head so he could see her eyes under the brim of her hat, he had a sudden urge to kiss her. “I suppose I am. D’Oronte’s been bothering her.”
About the Author: Philippa Lodge has a hundred stories in her head and a social media addiction. She writes historical romance set in Louis XIV’s France (sometimes with the king himself!); New Adult romantic women’s fiction-type stories set in small-town, small-college, modern America; and contemporary romance with nerdy beta heroes and cranky heroines whose pasts can be healed with the love of a good man. She lives with one husband, two cats, and three kids in the inland valley of California.
Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.
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