Here you go, everyone! Another lovely little snippet from my latest WIP, which doesn’t yet have a name. Enjoy!

Jeanette lifted herself off of the dirty ground, wiping her palms on her skirts, since they were already soiled from the explosion. Her hair was frizzy, the careful coiffing undone. “I demand to know at once why we are being held prisoner.”

Monti lifted a brow. “You demand? But My Lady, I am pretty sure that you have already told us why you were our prisoner.”

“I did no such thing. Don’t you play your word games with me, Monsieur. I am the daughter of a very wealthy man, and when he finds me it would do you well to mind yourself and perhaps he won’t put you up on the block.”

“There you go. You’ve said it again. See? You make this very easy on us, Lady Jeanette.” Monti left Natalie’s side and strolled across the room. “Please, Ladies, have a seat. I’ll find you something to drink, maybe see if we have a crust of bread for you to share.”

Jeanette put her hands on her hips in frustration. “What am I saying?”

“That you are rich, Jeanette. And a Lady.” Natalie pointed to the chair beside her as she sat. “Just…sit. You are not getting us anywhere.”

“And you are? Where’s that brother of yours? They bring him here as an advisor, and he can’t even be intelligible enough to keep down a petty skirmish.” Jeanette’s words were cold, and as much as Natalie hated her for saying them, she could not blame the other woman for speaking out of fear. Natalie was scared too.

“He was brought here as what?” Monti’s attention peaked. He put the jug of liquid aside, returning back to Jeanette and Natalie. “Say that again.”

Jeanette shook her head back and forth. “Absolutely not.” Nicolai cleared his throat, prompting Jeanette to glance over at him. She shook her head again. “I said no.”

“You don’t need to, Mon Cherie.” Monti pinched Jeanette’s cheek. “I think I caught the general idea. And this is probably where your ever-so-prudent and beautiful friend will tell you to mind what you say from now on before you get her family killed.” He went back to the jug and poured them each what looked to be like water, but was cloudy and foul. “And she doesn’t have much of it to spare, if I recall correctly.”

Natalie took a deep breath and looked away from the group. “I should have never danced with you.”

“No, my darling, you should not have. I’ve thought about it every night, and I know that you probably have as well.” Monti stated his words confidently, not in the least shy about admitting that he thought about her past the night of the masquerade.

She thought of him too.