Chapter 12 : French Exit

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Asher wasn't thinking. Not really. When the words left his mouth, he had a vague notion that he was doing something reckless, something he should have given some thought to before blurting out what he just did.

"I'd like to see you again."

Like him, half her face was covered by the mask. Yet he could almost imagine her eyebrow cocked in amusement as she considered his invitation.

After a long moment, she smiled. "I feel, monsieur, that you would lose interest in me soon after you know who I am."

Would he? He didn't think so. She was... enchanting. Yes, that was the only word that fit her. Enchanting. And sexy. And God help him, sex with her was mind-blowing. There was no one she could be that would make him want her any less. He lifted his hand and grazed her jaw with the back of his fingers. "You're not a serial killer, are you?" he whispered. That was the only deal-breaker his orgasm-fogged brain could think of. If she went around murdering people, he wouldn't want to fuck her. Well, he might, but he wouldn't be very happy about it.

"Non." She pressed her lips together, trying to suppress laughter. "I've never killed anyone."

"Then no, I would not lose interest in you." He lowered his hand down the side of her face and held her chin gently between his thumb and forefinger. He swept his thumb over her lower lip and nearly jumped when her tongue darted out to lick his finger. Exhaling a curse, he encircled her waist with his free arm and pulled her flush against him.

"But, monsieur," she said before he could kiss her, "what if I lose interest in you?"

His cock straining painfully against the front of his pants, he wondered if he could somehow convince her join to him in one of the guest bedrooms. He knew where they were. Charlie wouldn't mind.

"I'll keep my mask on then." When he squeezed her bottom, he was rewarded with a little wriggle of her hips. His cock was practically hammering against his pants now. He swallowed, inwardly fighting to maintain control. "We can both keep our masks," he added, his voice husky with renewed desire.

Genevieve rose on tiptoes and moved her face close to his. When she spoke, her lips brushed the corner of his mouth. "Will we both arrive in masks? Will you throw a masquerade ball every time we see each other?"

"Absolutely not." His breathing was shallow and ragged. "I want you all to myself." He swallowed thickly. "L'hotel Dumas. Tuesday evening."

She leaned back against the circle of his arms and looked up at him, her lips parted in surprise. "You're serious, mon cher?"

"Yes. I'll bring the masks. Just come." He didn't want to sound desperate but it was all but impossible for him to hide his eagerness. God he was practically pleading. He dropped his lips on her jaw, moving it down to nuzzle the side of her neck. "The Dumas values privacy and discretion above all. You can keep your secrets."

"Je suis désolé." At his frown of confusion, she added, "I'm sorry, Asher. I think it's best if we both just look fondly on tonight as a happy memory, yes?"

"Are you sure?" Disappointment was an iron vise around his heart. "Perhaps another day -"

She caught her lower lip between her teeth for a long moment as she considered it. "I don't know, cheri." "Did you..." He gave a wry smile. "Did you not enjoy it?"

She lowered her gaze. "More than I should have, I think."

Hope swelled in his chest - before it disappeared as a thought occurred to him. "Are you married?"

"No."

"Seeing someone else, then?"

She bit her lower lip. Her silence was his answer.

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