Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey, now you can read online. Croix had known it was going to be her last Christmas Eve, she would have had a third helping of plum pudding. As it was, she was avoiding the drawing rooms. He was tal and thin with a dashing mustache. So many fine gentlemen had fled France during the Revolution that every fine house in London now boasted a French chef.
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Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey, now you can read online. Croix had known it was going to be her last Christmas Eve, she would have had a third helping of plum pudding. As it was, she was avoiding the drawing rooms. He was tal and thin with a dashing mustache. So many fine gentlemen had fled France during the Revolution that every fine house in London now boasted a French chef. Never mind that most of those chefs had never even learned to boil an egg at home.
They certainly did wel enough here. Taking advantage of his momentary distraction, Isabeau shrank back into the shadows of the bustling kitchen. She ought to have known better. Not too long ago she would have begged for the chance. And before that she would have expected it. Spending a year on the streets of Paris had changed her. Silk dresses and pearl earbobs seemed decadent now, and the concerns of fashion and gossip ridiculous. Benoit despaired that she preferred his company to the opera.
But she loved the crackling of the hearth, the heavy scents of baking bread and roasting meat. Tonight there were bowls of oysters, plates of foie gras, a turkey stuffed with chestnuts, almond cream, and tiny perfect pastries in the shape of suns and hol y leaves. Benoit was the only person she could truly talk to. Benoit had lived in Paris during the storming of the Bastil e. He knew. It was a traditional Galette des Rois, served in every French house during the holidays.
She took a greedy bite. The second mouthful revealed the hidden dry bean tucked into the cake. She sucked the fil ing off it and dropped it onto her plate. Now you are queen for the night. It would be rude of her, and she had every reason to be grateful to her uncle. One learned to do as one must while living in the al eys of Paris during the Great Terror. She had confidence only in her abilities to steal food and to find the best rooftops on which to hide when the riots broke out.
She forced herself to leave the kitchen mostly because the thought of the dozens of guests upstairs terrified her so. Before Paris, she had lived on a grand family estate in the countryside. The house had marble floors and silk settees and dusty vineyards where she could eat grapes until her fingers turned purple.
But then her parents had been taken. What was a Christmas bal to the threat of the guil otine? She found her way to the drawing room, where the guests had gathered for the midnight supper. They could al see how thril ed he was to be serving tourtiere and champagne to his friends.
He stood by the main hearth, which was draped with evergreen branches and white lilies from the hothouse. His waistcoat was hol y-berry red, barely containing his cheerful girth. Isabeau concentrated on smiling, on not tripping on the hem of her gown and not wiping her sweaty palms on her skirts, on anything but the curious and pitying eyes tracking her progress.
In Paris she had introduced herself as Citoyenne Isabeau. It was safer. How perfectly awful. We English know the natural order of things.
The woman seemed genuine, though, and she smel ed like peppermint oil.
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