“My dear Countess, I agree with you, however I . . . ” Everyone else in his entourage immediately turned to see who had so thoroughly absorbed the prince’s attention.
The first time Prince Alejandro saw her he stopped speaking in mid-sentence.
Ordinarily polished and precise in his presentation of the social graces, Alejandro forgot himself. She was the most entrancing woman he had ever seen. Dark, lustrous hair framed exotic features from which unexpectedly shone eyes the color of the Mediterranean. She was, simply put, breathtaking.
He was surprised to realize that he did not capture her attention in return; he had been fourteen years of age the last time a beautiful woman had failed to return his regard.
She moved forward purposefully, not at all behaving as a woman of society whose every subdued utterance and delicate movement was calculated to win approval. She brought to mind instead a sensuous harem girl who had spotted the sultan and intended to be first in his eyes, displaying all her wiles for him to see.
He had never seen a woman move with more confidence and sense of purpose. She had the air of one who controlled every encounter from start to finish; who belonged to no man.
There is a first time for everything, he thought to himself as he watched the woman in black glide across the floor. He had not failed yet when it came to the fairer sex.
A smile formed on his lips. Perhaps it would not be a wasted evening after all.
No, his first impression was incorrect: she was the bewitching harem girl who had ingeniously spotted her way out of the harem and was taking her life into her own hands without hesitation.
He was suddenly perplexed to realize that her style of dress was not in keeping with the attire of the other women present. She definitely was in possession of the fashionable hourglass silhouette, but even he could see that she was dressed simply by every standard, even taking into account that he was no expert on women’s fashion. And yet his knees went weak as he watched her sway across the room–dazzling in a classically cut black silk dress which hugged her curvaceous figure and was lower cut at the bosom than style allowed, much to his satisfaction. She was draped in an exquisite lace shawl which did nothing to conceal her shape but, instead, only added to her allure.
Indeed, she was dressed with less extravagance than any other woman in the room–and was by far the most dazzling.
He felt his anticipation growing. It was only a matter of time until he would succeed with this beauty.
“Excuse me, please. I beg you will forgive me.” He nodded distractedly to his admirers, making a less than cordial exit, something he never allowed himself. Who knew whom it might offend?
But he had no choice. It was out of the question that he should lose her.
“Who is she?” He motioned to Pancho to keep pace with him. “How is it that I have never seen her before?” He was suddenly aware of being pleased that he had come to Paris, a rare and welcome sense of anticipation.
“I don’t know who she is, your highness.” Pancho shook his head. “Shall I find out?”
His eyes remained fixed on the woman in black who was clearly in a hurry as she moved past the grand staircase towards the box office while he pursued her, their combined movements creating no small amount of interest.
Despite the throng of people who were in the grand foyer, the crowd parted to make way for each of them. Like Moses crossing the Red Sea, it was as if the waters separated in two directions as he hurried towards her. Alejandro smiled to himself as he rushed forward, amused at his unexpected delight in the scene before him.