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Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

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  1. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Partners In Rhyme | Tuesday 10 pm

    Little sounds of pleasure whispered from Anne-Elisabeth’s lips as Dorset removed each pin. When he was finished, she undid her braid so that her raven curls tumbled down her back and over her shoulders, all the way down to her waist. The young Countess was not a classical beauty, but she had been told many times that she had an absolutely stunning head of hair ... thick, silky, and luxurious. She shook it out and it flowed around her, gleaming with red and gold highlights in the glow of the candles. “Then you must remove it at once!” she exclaimed as if appalled. Of course there were no mites on her jacket. She kept her clothing and her body fastidiously clean. In fact, she had taken a bath strewn with rose petals right before she had donned her male clothing. But she would play along. It was getting rather hot in the parlor anyway. Anne-Elisabeth shrugged out of it with his assistance and turned to face him. “Thank you, my lord,” she breathed. “I feel so much better now.” Dorset suggested they go outside and select their stars. Most of the largest ones had already been named in ancient times, but there were still thousands of them that weren’t called anything in particular. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a couple of bright ones to name after themselves. Anne-Elisabeh was about to advise consulting her star charts first, when he stood up and proposed another, much more intriguing, course of action. Flames licked through her nubile young body when she beheld his wicked smile. “I suppose I do need to learn how to undress like a man,” she mused, a slow sultry smile curving the corners of her lips. She rose and once again stood before him. “You can tell me how. I am a very quick study. And you are wearing breeches. You can demonstrate how to remove those when we get to that point.” Her smile transformed into a cheeky grin. “For educational purposes only, of course,” she repeated.
  2. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

    “I think you will find my garden quite delightful,” she replied. After Lord Silverbridge picked up the bottle, Anne-Elisabeth took his other hand and led him through the corridor and out the door that led to the garden. From peering into her neighbors’ yards through her telescope, she thought that her garden was a bit larger than most and certainly the most creative use of space. Tall toparies in the shape of mythological creatures dominated the area, giving it a mystical air. Colorful flowers, some just beginning to bloom, surrounded each bush. The flowers had been planted after she bought the house, and a fountain had been placed in the center. Continuing the mythological theme, It featured a statue of a mermaid holding a giant shell from which water sprayed into the circular basin. It was also surrounded by beds of bright blooms. Two more benches had been added as well. One was not enough since Anne-Elisabeth planned to throw parties in the garden. She led Lord Silverbridge over to the one that sat in front of a topiary scupted to resemble a three-headed hydra. The heads loomed over the bench, shading it from the sun. Sitting down, she patted the space beside her. “You should see this place at night,” she said, downing the rest of her rum and holding her glass out for a refill. “It looks quite magical in the light of the moon.”
  3. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Partners In Rhyme | Tuesday 10 pm

    “If you visit me on a clear night, you can look through my telescope and pick out your own.” Anne-Elisabeth grinned. “Or, if you trust me, I can select one for you.” Which would, of course, be close to her own. As impatient as all young people, she had planned to participate in every walk the King took. Dorset’s wise words make her rethink that idea. It was true that the rarer something was, the more one valued it. She remembered her promise to herself when she had first come to court … to be mysterious and intriguing. That should be her plan concerning the King as well. “Very true, my lord,” she agreed. Dorset didn’t have to ask her twice. Anne-Elisabeth had been standing in front of him and she immediately sat down beside him, turning her back to him so that he could remove the pins from her hair. The double-entrende in his words sent a white-hot thrill dancing down her spine. “If you do, I shall be eternally grateful." It was not a witty comment ... it was hard to be witty with imaginary ants crawling on your scalp ... but it was sincere and punctuated by a smile thrown over her shoulder that managed to be appreciative and saucy at the same time.
  4. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

    “I think that 'Tiger' would be more appropriate for a male orange tabby.” Anne-Elisabeth knew next to nothing about cats. If she had, she might not have specified ‘male’ since about eighty percent of such cats were, indeed, male. Nor did she know that the color of their fur was known as ‘red’ instead of ‘orange.’ “But she is certainly acting like one, attacking that bowl of meat.” She had believed the kitten to be a gentle soul, but perhaps she was more ferocious than she looked. Lord Silverbridge gazed at her mouth as well, and she couldn’t resist teasingly running her tongue across her upper lips. It seemed to her as if their surrender was going to be sooner rather than later, which was perfectly fine with her considering the stunning sensations that were shimmering through her body. She had hoped that he would choose the garden. The young Countess nodded, assuming that he was asking his permission to kiss her. She pouted a bit as he stepped away from her and poured drinks for the two of them. As Lord Silverbridge handed her one of the goblets, she made sure that her fingers brushed softly against his. The servant looked at her for confirmation. Again, she nodded, and the maid set the bottle on the table and left, taking the tray of food with her. Perhaps she realized that it was not food they hungered for. Anne-Elisabeth took a sip of the coconut rum, savoring its sweet taste as it slid down her throat. Her eyes met those of Lord Silverbridge and she grinned playfully. “Shall I show you the garden now?” If his answer was yes, she intended to take his free hand and pull him to the door that led outside.
  5. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

    Anne-Elisabeth found the way that Lord Silverbrige pulled at his collar rather endearing. She doubted that the fire blazing in the hearth had made him too warm. Flames of desire were burning through her as well. If the kitten had not decided to scale the mountain of her skirts, she might be leading him into her bedroom by now. Her heart was still fluttering with anticipation. He must also be flustered if he wanted to call the little feline in her arms ‘Kitten.’ He was intelligent and clever and certainly didn't lack in the imagination department. “We wouldn’t name our child ‘Child,’ would we? She deserves her own special name.” The dark-haired Countess set the white ball of fluff back on the floor. The bowl of cream was completely empty. “Perhaps the perfect name will come to us later.” A sultry grin. “And yes, we must teach her not to come between us.” The maid returned with a tray full of hastily concocted hors d’oeuvres that both looked and smelled delicious along with a bottle of coconut rum and two glasses. There was also a small bowl of raw finely-minced meat for the kitten. Anne-Elisabeth plucked the bowl from the tray and set it down. The kitten pounced toward it and immediately started devouring the meat, growling and hissing as if she was afraid that the humans would try to take it from her. Anne-Elisabeth stepped closer to her handsome companion, her dark gaze lingering for a moment on his lips before rising to his eyes. “Perhaps we should leave her here and take our refreshments out to the garden? Or we can stay here if you prefer.” The maid awaited her mistress’ instructions.
  6. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Partners In Rhyme | Tuesday 10 pm

    Anne-Elisabeth didn’t want a secondhand stage costume that only looked good from a distance. She wanted a few sets of authentic gentleman's clothes. She didn’t believe that Dorset would have her dress in a costume either, Perhaps he knew of where to find ready-made outfits that could be altered to fit her. “Gentleman’s clothing is never as snug as a lady’s,” she agreed. “Gentlemen don’t have to wear corsets.” She had foregone hers tonight, of course, and she could breathe so much more deeply. It often seemed to her that corsets was the reason some ladies’ voices sounded so breathless. As the young Countess had a naturally narrow waist, she had never laced hers too tightly. Yet it was constraining all the same. “I think people have been charting the stars for thousands of years.” The ancient Greeks had discovered and named the constellations that could be seen with the naked eye, after all. “It is true that not all of them are named yet, so I suppose we could just pick a couple of them out and call them after ourselves. If we speak of them frequently, everyone else will use those names too.” It did seem like a fun and daring thing to do. Anne-Elisabeth barely kept herself from wincing. It felt like ants were crawling around on her scalp. Ants had never been remotely close to her scalp, but she imagined that they would feel like the itchiness that she was now experiencing. “We can look through my telescope and choose two of the brightest and I can write their names on the star chart that I’m making. How does that sound, my lord?” She concentrated on Dorset’s advice to take her mind away from the annoyance of her periwig. “So far I think I have done quite well, but I doubt he thinks about me when I’m not around. I believed your kidnapping scheme might be an opportunity to amuse him again, but it seems to be a gentleman’s only occasion. I suppose I should join his morning walks more often so that I become ingrained upon his memory. Getting up so early … Oh!” The young Countess could stand it no longer. She pulled off the periwig and tossed it toward the door with all the strength she possessed. “How do gentlemen stand these things? They make one’s scalp itch dreadfully!” Anne-Elisabeth’s thick raven hair was braided, coiled at the back and top of her head, and fastened in place. “I wish I could let my hair down but I can’t see the pins and they might prick me if I try.”
  7. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    An Unexpected Visitor | Tuesday 8 pm

    Anne-Elisabeth listened avidly to Lord Ranelagh’s advice. Had some of his crossdressing lady friends been ostracized because they had gone too far when impersonating a gentleman? How far was too far? She was a natural risk-taker and had pretty much ruined any stellar reputation she might have earned on her first night at court. While she didn’t care what holier-than-thou fools thought of her, she certainly didn’t want to get on the wrong side of the King. She didn’t like being reminded that she was young (and therefore had a lot to learn), but it was true. “I will be careful,” she promised. And she would remember his words to her whenever she felt she was close to crossing the line of propriety. “In most situations, it is more advantageous to embrace my femininity. Science, unfortunately, is not one of them.” Anne-Elisabeth stood up when Lord Ranelagh said he had to leave so that he wouldn’t miss an appointment with the King. “Of course,” she acknowledged with a genuine smile. “I apologize for taking up so much of your time with my questions. Giving a lady advice about posing as a gentleman was not the reason you came. “I promise that I shall not breathe a word about what happened yesterday morning.” Her smile turned into an impish grin. “Because nothing happened at all, and I was asleep in my bed until long after the sun came up.” Ranelagh would certainly know that lying was sometimes necessary to protect those you cared about. “Shall I walk you to the door?”
  8. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

    Anne-Elisabeth could feel the sparks growing stronger between them, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before they succumbed to it. Lord Silverbridge’s beguiling smile told he that he knew it too. But would their resistance crumble today or would it happen on their trip to his estate? And which one of them would give in first? He seemed more pleased with the idea of being the kitten’s father than she though he would be. She was both surprised and touched that he offered to provide for its care, just as a proper gentleman would if he found out that he had sired an illegitimate child. Though she couldn’t see the needs of a kitten putting a strain on her finances, she decided not to protest because it would mean she would see him more often. Maybe he would even decide to stay longer in London. Anne-Elisabeth already knew she would miss him when he went back to the Colonies, even if it was just temporarily. She held his gaze until the servant returned. “Then rum it shall be.” As Lord Silverbridge took her arm to help her up, a jolt of pure pleasure careened through her bpdy and she trembled slightly. His hand continued to linger on her tanned skin and he was close that she could feel his warmth and smell the pleasing scent of him. His lips was only a hairsbreadth away from hers, his eyes darkened with desire. She wanted nothing more than to lean forward and kiss him. Just before her lips met his, she felt a pull on her skirts. Looking down, she saw the kitten climbing up the coral silk. Well, that’s one gown ruined. Maybe she’s going to cost more than I thought.. Even worse, the intimate moment between her and Lord Silverbridge was ruined as well. At least for the moment. “I think she’s jealous,” she laughed, bending down to gently unhook the kitten’s claws and lift it into her arms. “We should name her. We can’t keep calling her ‘kitten’ forever.”
  9. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Partners In Rhyme | Tuesday 10 pm

    Though Anne-Elisabeth wanted to impersonate a gentleman so that she could discuss science and politics, she supposed it would be amusing if a lady tried to seduce her. She understood the appeal of the unknown and many ladies would be curious about a mysterious young gentleman in their midst. “The next ball, then, which will hopefully be this season. We certainly need some entertainment after four days spent in Church. “I will need another set of clothes, though. My maidservant made this ensemble for me and I doubt it will pass a gentleman's inspection. Would one of your costume designers be willing to make a gentleman’s suit to my measurements?” She knew better than to ask Dorset to recommend a tailor. A tailor would be appalled to make male attire for a woman. They were quite a snobby lot, judging by the little she had heard of them. The young Countess shrugged. “Maybe the stars have been in the sky since the beginning of time, but I don’t think they have all been identified yet. Telescopes are becoming more powerful and eventually we will be able to see them more clearly.” Anne-Elisabeth grinned. “If I can pinpoint one that has not yet been recognized, perhaps I shall name it after you. My telescope is not one of the best, but I am waiting to replace it until they become more advanced.” She didn’t mention that she couldn’t afford one. If she won enough money from the Merry Gang, perhaps that would change. So it was to be that kind of entertainment. Anne-Elisabeth certainly didn’t want to attend a swiving party, and she had no desire to be the King’s mistress, or even a one-night stand. “Never mind then,” she said. “I do want to impress the King, but not in that way. I wish to become part of his entourage, those witty individuals whose company he prefers. Master May has been helping me by bringing me to his attention, and I think I am well on my way, but …” she sighed. “I am not quite there yet. Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated." Her head was itching dreadfully and she feared it would soon be too painful to ignore.
  10. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    An Unexpected Visitor | Tuesday 8 pm

    Anne-Elisabeth wished that Lord Ranelagh would elaborate on the disadvantages of impersonating a man. She saw none at all, except the possibility of discovery. She might be reviled in proper circles, but applauded in those that were libertine. She had pretty much given up the notion of serving the Queen, preferring to set her goals on becoming part of the King’s entourage and a member of the Merry Gang. Only a week ago, she had thought she could do both, but now she realized that it was next to impossible and might hurt the reputation of her friend Davina, which she would never risk. “If the killer was narcissistic, he might,” she countered, “but it is more likely that he fled.” She and Lord Langdon had found proof that at least one of the murderers had run off, but he had thought there could have been two. Maybe the second one had found a hiding place that he couldn’t leave without being caught and so had been forced to watch the discovery of his victim. . Anne-Elisabeth didn’t miss the fact that Ranelagh used Nicci’s given name. She remembered when she and her friend had gotten drunk on coconut rum. Nicci had said she planned to marry Ranelagh, and the young Countess had wondered if she had become the King’s mistress so that she could marry the Earl. Maybe they had already taken their relationship to the next level, not that it was any of her business. She listened as he outlined the pitfalls in her plan. “Very good points. Though I like to think I can do anything, I doubt I could converse intelligently with a university-educated academic. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to blend into the background and learn from them before I assert myself. I am not afraid of the risk … risks thrill me … but I don’t want to make a fool of myself and ruin my chances of being taken seriously as an astronomer.” Anne-Elisabeth shrugged. “I’ll see how this evening goes before I make any decisions. I still have a lot to learn about posing as a man. Do you have any more advice for me?”
  11. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

    Lord Silverbridge didn’t tell her what he thought of her favorite drawing room. Anne-Elisabeth didn’t generally care about the opinions of others, but for some reason, she wanted him to like it. Did he think it too gaudy? She imagined that most English people would view it that way and he was from the Colonies, which, from what he had told her, was more plain and practical than fanciful and flamboyant. Every room of her house had an island theme. It was the closest she could get to Barbados. He didn’t look displeased either, so she took that as a good sign. Her worries fled when he removed the kitten from his coat and handed it to her. The little feline yawned and stretched and immediately started sniffing the air of the strange new environment she found herself in. Anne-Elisabeth suspected that she had never been inside a house before. “I don’t know much about cats, but she doesn’t look the least bit aggressive. I guess that could change as she grows up, but I think she’s young enough to adjust to new surroundings. And she’s not afraid of people or she would not have let you carry her around in your coat. She’s also not hissing or spitting at me right now.” As she cradled the fluffy creature in her arms, it looked up at her, curiosity in its eyes. Anne-Elisabeth smiled at Lord Silverbridge. “If I am her lady mother, then you are her lord father.” Her dark eyes sparkled with amusement. “We’ve only recently met and already we have a baby together!” The maid returned with a large bowl of cream. The kitten wriggled in her arms, still sniffing the air. She probably smelled the cream. After instructing the servant to place the bowl on the floor, she set the kitten down in front of it and she began to lap it up greedily. There was no telling how long the feline had gone without food. Straightening up, she grinned at the intriguing Baron. “Do you want a bowl of cream too?” she teased and then told the maid to bring them some refreshments. “Would you prefer tea or something stronger? I have some coconut rum that comes from Barbados if you’d like to try it.”
  12. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Partners In Rhyme | Tuesday 10 pm

    “I can be patient when the reward is advantageous and worthwhile.” Anne-Elisabeth thought she could endure a bit of boredom if a theatrical professional could transform her into a believable man. How much, she wondered, would the process cost her? “And I don’t so anything by halves. I throw myself into everything I do with unparalleled passion. I think I should like to try it when a promising opportunity comes along.” Her dark eyes followed Dorset as he stood and walked to the table and poured himself a glass of whiskey from the chalice that matched her own. She took note of every move he made and memorized the details that she had gotten wrong. Surely there was no better gentleman to emulate than he. When he sat up straight, she corrected her own posture as well and took another sip of her drink. The handsome Earl was certainly not the first person to confuse astronomy with astrology, The two disciplines had only recently diverged paths and the science of studying the physical properties of the heavens was relatively new. “I’m interested in mapping the stars in the sky and observing them through my telescope.” Anne-Elisabeth leaned forward, careful not to spill any of the whiskey. She spoke now in her own voice. “My dream is to discover a new star or even a new constellation. I don’t believe in using them for predicting the future. I believe that one’s destiny is determined by one’s own actions and not by the arrangement of heavenly bodies.” A wicked grin. "Well, not those in the sky, anyway." Had Dorset just given her a compliment? Did he truly think she had proven herself worthy to become a member of the Merry Gang? The young Countess preened inside, quite pleased by his words. Though she had not yet met the woman, she had heard quite a few intriguing things about Nell Gwynn. She seemed to share Anne-Elisabeth’s boldness, her irreverent sense of humor, and her disregard for propriety. Yes, she thought she would get along quite well in the Merry Gang, even if she had to drink and gamble profusely. She was certainly not adverse to the idea. “I’ll give it some thought.” Favoring him with a cheeky smile and a nonchalant shrug, she added: “I don’t give a flying fuck about what other ladies think of me. Many of them believe that all widows who don’t remarry after the mourning period is over are whores." It was true that with everything else going on, the poetry competition might be postponed until the following season. The King had a lot on his mind even without the recent murder in the gardens. Anne-Elisabeth was considering whether to mention it it to Dorset but his comment about kidnapping the monarch distracted her. Her eyes lit up with enthusiasm. “He probably needs a break from his worries.” Rising from her chair, she stood in front of him. “If you didn’t already have a drink, I would pour one for you because now I wish to beg a favor of you. Will you let me come along that night, either dressed as a gentleman or as myself? It could be an excellent opportunity to see how well I fit in with the Gang.”
  13. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    An Unexpected Visitor | Tuesday 8 pm

    Not only did Lord Ranelagh see nothing wrong with cross-dressing ladies, he seemed to encourage such behavior. Anne-Elisabeth had to admit she liked the handsome Earl. “Truly?” she asked. “I hope to be one of those ladies myself. One can do so much more as a man than as a woman.” She grinned cheekily. “And they can get away with more as well.” She nodded. “Even if Mademoiselle Vauquelin did not see him, he might think that she did. If he stuck around, he would have been well hidden by the time we arrived. She is my friend. I would never do anything to endanger her and you wouldn’t believe how good I am at keeping secrets. “If the murderer saw me pull the dagger from the fountain, then I might have a target on my back too. Though it is no longer in my possession, I examined it thoroughly and can identify it if I see it again, even if he manages to liberate it from wherever it is currently being kept.” Lord Ranelagh had no idea who else knew about the murder. The more she thought about, the more sure she was that Dorset was aware of it. He struck her as the kind of gentleman who had spies everywhere. It was probably safe to discuss it with him. There was even a chance he might bring up the subject himself, especially if he had been told she had helped investigate. She leaned forward in her chair as well, favoring Lord Ranelagh with another grin. “You seem to know quite a few male impersonators. In truth, I am rather new at this but I am serious about masquerading as a gentleman. I am an aspiring astronomer with a keen interest in all forms of science and I would like to be able to attend lectures and perhaps become known in scientific and intellectual circles. Do you think that is even possible or do I aim too high?”
  14. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Lead Me Not Into Temptation | Tuesday April 12, 2 pm

    Anne-Elisabeth regarded him thoughtfully. “It seems to me that there are more people who wish to work in a noble household than there are positions. I was able to choose my servants from a considerable number of applicants. I also refused to hire any who did not have good references from previous employers. If they try to screw me over, they will be out on the street with no reference at all and I shall spread the word that they are not to be trusted. So it is in their best interests to make certain that thieves do not abscond with my belongings. “Thank you,” she said sincerely. “I will expect a bodyguard to have excellent references as well as your approval.” Lord Silverbridge seemed to enjoy his accommodations at the Red Lion and had already become acquainted with some of the other residents. She’d had no contact at all with her neighbors at St Marks. That they existed she knew from the creaking of their beds at night and their incessant snoring. The walls had been rather thin. Anne-Elisabeth much preferred the spacious house she led Lord Silverbridge into. He must have liked what he saw for a smile curved his well-formed lips. What would they feel like if he kissed me? It seemed he wanted to see all of her house. Even her bedroom? “Naturally,” she echoed. “First, though, let’s get the little one settled.” A maid entered the foyer and curtsied to both of them. The Countess ordered her to bring a bowl of cream to the upstairs drawing room. “It is fortunate that I prefer cream in my tea,” she told her charming companion as they ascended the staircase. “It is not used much in Barbados as it ruins so quickly in the heat. To me, it is still a luxury." The room they stepped into was large, with a window that spanned the length and width of the wall opposite the door. The window gave one a lovely view of the whimsical garden with its creatively sculpted topiaries. The filmy coral curtains had been drawn back and fastened with turquoise ties with seashells strung upon them. Her telescope was set in front of the window, pointed up at the sky. The parlor was decorated in a tropical theme. The other three walls were each painted with a different color … one turquoise, one coral, and one light amber. The paintings on the wall depicted beaches, the ocean, palm trees, flamingos, parrots, and brightly colored flowers. There were several large potted plants set artfully around the parlor and vases full of flowers sat upon small tables next to pretty seashells. At the end of the room sat a fireplace with a low fire burning in it. A rug featuring an underwater scene had been placed near it and a couch and two chairs made of rich dark mahogany were arranged around it with a small table between them. The upholstery echoed the colors of the walls. There was another longer table along one wall, strewn with books and maps of the night sky. The entire house was a bit warmer than most English residences so that it would be comfortable to a lady who had grown up in the heat of the tropics. “This is where I prefer to spend most of my day,” Anne-Elisabeth explained. “Let’s see how the kitten likes her new home.”
  15. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    An Unexpected Visitor | Tuesday 8 pm

    “A very promising evening,” she replied. “And yes, I will be spending it as a gentleman and not a lady.” At least at first. Anne-Elisabeth didn’t know how long Dorset would want her to remain in disguise. She didn’t even know if she would be his only guest, though she hoped that it would only be the two of them. What was it today about gentleman worrying about her safety when she was alone? True, the two situations were as different as night from day. Lord Silverbridge had been uneasy about her living without male protection and Lord Ranelagh warned her about traipsing around London while dressed like a man. She appreciated their concern, but she was able to take care of herself. Still, she hastened to reassure him. “I will be in the company of a genuine gentleman all evening. If any thieves attack us, he will keep me safe.” There wasn’t much chance of thieves breaking into Dorset’s house. The young Countess didn’t miss the casual way the Earl spoke of cross-dressing, as if it were perfectly normal. Among libertines, it probably was. He even knew entire groups of ladies who dressed like men … and probably gentleman who disguised themselves as ladies. His friends sounded like the kind of people she would get along well with. I shall ask Nicci to take me along if he invites her to any parties. She had done much the same when Anne-Elisabeth had mentioned that she knew the Merry Gang. Her heart dripped to the pit of her stomach when Lord Ranelagh told her that he wanted to talk about Nicci. Had the killer tried to assassinate her? She refused to believe that her friend had been murdered. She had the King’s protection, after all. And she was well. The tension left Anne-Elisabeth’s body and she relaxed into her chair. So her charming visitor didn’t want her spreading news of the murder all around court because it might be endanger both Nicci and the King. And the two of us as well, if the murderer had seen us standing around the body. She had considered revealing that she had seen the body to Dorset but maybe it was best that she didn’t. She offered Lord Ranelagh a slight smile. “Don’t worry about it. Dead bodies don’t bother me overmuch. After you left, I stayed and helped Lord Langdon investigate. In fact, I was the one who found the murder weapon.” The Countess had promised the Life Guard that she wouldn’t speak of their discoveries but she assumed that he didn't want her leaking the information to anyone who wasn't at the scene of the crime. Lord Ranelagh did not fall into that category. “If the killer was lurking nearby admiring his handiwork, you and I could be in danger too. My self-preservation instinct is well-honed. I will speak of it to nobody who wasn’t there and then in the utmost privacy. Mademoiselle Vauquelin might want to talk about it when the next time we see each other." Again, she thought of the double Earl she would be meeting later tonight. “Who else knows about the murder?” Dorset was close to the King. If he was aware of it, then she could discuss it with him.
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