Married to Whom“Is he angry yet?” Lorelei asked, popping up onto the balls of her feet in anticipation.

“Angry? Why?” asked Tink, the Duke’s jeweler.

“Hasn’t he remarked on my outrageous spending? The diamonds… the jewelry I’ve commissioned…” her eyes sparkled like the emeralds that graced her ears.

“Oh. Outrageous? No no no. Not nearly, Your Grace. I wouldn’t call your spending extravagant. There’s plenty more where these came from.” He casually jingled the sapphire bangles he was working on.

Lorelei was flabbergasted. She had gone out of her way for weeks, abusing her allowance and privileges as the Duke’s wife by commissioning an extravagant supply of jewelry. And he hadn’t noticed?

“What…would His Grace consider extravagant?

Tink paused.

Five long weeks later, she examined her naked body in the dressing room mirror. It had been sorely beaten by one man and overtaxed by another before she was returned to the stranger who was her husband, but it had stood the passage of time well. She was not used to dressing without the foundation garments that were de rigueur, but the occasion called for it.

His explicit instructions had been “dress to impress.” It was a small dinner party, just six guests, but they were people he didn’t like and wanted to rub their noses in his wealth and success.

He couldn’t fault her for what she did.

It took her maids three hours to get her into the dress, and it was terribly heavy. She didn’t care. It was not an evening to dance, it was an evening to be ogled.

The shattering of the glass he dropped in the sudden silence of the room made up for the months of being ignored. From throat to ankle, she was draped in only two things.

Emeralds and Sapphires.

I broke my own rule. I wrote a “story” that is actually an excerpt from a longer work. But it’s a work I haven’t written yet, and this is an exercise to help me get to know my new characters a little better. Steampunk… she was the old King’s mistress until he died. In order to make her presence at court legitimate, he married her off to a nobleman who lived far away. The story To Whom She Was Married begins with the King’s death and her being sent to the strange man who is legally her husband.

This week’s prompt for Write on Edge is sexy… and that was all the impetus I needed to do this.