Even in that moment, she was not certain why she did it. What she did know was that no one had ever looked at her that way. Not ever.
There had been triumph in that look, and – was it admiration? She recalled how he had stood behind her as she prepared to kill Justine, how he had urged her on, encouraged her, and even though she had failed, he had rejoiced in what she had accomplished, even though it had been an accident.
In spite of her moral failings, her soul certainly damned to hell, he had smiled at her. In spite of how clumsy she had been, how she had failed and panicked, he had smiled at her, as if she had done everything right.
Not even her parents had bestowed upon her such a proud look. They had always found some small fault, something she could improve. Annette had been the one for whom they saved their undiluted praise. Of course, Annette had been more beautiful, more talented, before the fire had ruined her. She had been kissed before.
Lucienne did not think most kisses tasted of blood. The coppery tang on her tongue only gave this kiss a distinct flavor. Olivier's body against hers felt hot and alive, solid. She gripped his clothes in order to pull herself closer to him. When his surprise at the touching of their lips had worn off, his arms circled her and held her. The flat of her little blade pressed against her upper arm. It, too, was warm.
What a wonder that death could lead to something so sweet. For the first time this evening, her heart raced not with rage but with passion and desire.
Somewhere behind them, she heard Justine's footsteps run by. "Guillaume?" she called out, and kept running.
The interruption caused Olivier and Lucie to pull apart, ever so slightly. In the shadows, Olivier's eyes were black as night.
"We should return to the party," Lucie said.
"We should," Olivier said.
They looked at each other, their eyes made new by recent events. There was blood smeared around Olivier's mouth, and spattered in an arc across his nose and forehead. His hair had come undone, the curls at his temples loosened, his ponytail frayed and falling around his face.
Lucie was certain she had blood around her mouth, too, and her own hair must be a fright. In Olivier's eyes, however, she felt beautiful and strong and savage.
"You should put this away. Before anyone sees," Olivier said. Lucie felt a rush of cool air against her back, and then Olivier held out her blade.
Lucie took it, and without bothering to wipe it down, she pulled the front of her corset away from her chest and carefully slid the blade between her breasts. Once she was certain she would not cut herself, she dared to look up, and meet the dark eyes watching her. Lucie bit her lip as she settled everything into place. Before she could look away, Olivier lifted her chin, and lowered his lips to hers.
One more kiss, then, before they went.
YOU ARE READING
The Victim's BallHistorical Fiction
HER REIGN OF TERROR HAS JUST BEGUN... When Lucienne Reneault receives an invitation to a Victim's Ball in honor of those aristocrats who have been guillotined, she believes it must have been a mistake. Of two things she is certain, however: she wil...