THE SWEET MASQUERADE
It was her.
Jack could scarcely believe it, but there could never be two such ladies in all the world. Yet what was she, a lady, a fair flower, doing in a dirty alleyway, dressed like a housemaid, and, apparently all alone? His mind reeled with the possibilities and came up empty. What was she up to? He glanced around to see if she was truly alone, or if her guards were with her. There was no one. He really ought to keep an eye on her—heaven only knew what could happen to a lady alone.
He just opened his mouth to ask her what in Hades she was up to, but she stopped him by reaching for his hand and cradling it tenderly in her two small, soft palms. She stood so close that he could smell the lilac scent of her hair.
She was every bit as lovely as she had been at the reception, but without the trappings of her formal gown and rich jewels, she was no longer as remote as the moon. Her eyes, her skin, her very demeanor were transformed—they glowed and sparkled with life, with energy. She was so close to him he could lean his head the merest inch and take a surreptitious breath of her scented hair, brush his hand on her arm.