Lux paused in smoothing his golden hair to stare down at Autumn. Her royal blue gown that fell like a waterfall over her hips and made her creamy skin glow.
“You’re asking me to what? Not charm your Grandmere?”
She cut her gaze across his blue suit. Royals tailors had descended upon him yesterday and produced a marvelously fitted concoction of cream, travelers blue, and gold. He’d been pondering taking them with him when—if—he ever returned to the Empress’s Castle.
Autumn’s full red lips tightened. “If it’s at all possible.”
“Wearing this?” He flicked a hand against his chest and studied his gleaming boots to get his eyes off her trim waist. She’d been bad enough out in the wild, bedraggled by sun and wind. Autumn in full royal regalia was too much. “Impossible not to charm everyone in sight, Duchess.”
“She likes her men silent and respectful. If you want her favor…”
He raised a brow.
Autumn sighed and turned back to the arched doors that led into the throne room. The liveried guards remained at attention. “If you try to charm her, she’ll assume you’re requesting my hand. That’s how it’s done here.”
He let his grin unfurl. “Aren’t I?”
“No,” she hissed. “It’s not a joke. You have no idea what marriage to me would entail.”
He made a considering sound. “So you’re refusing my proposal out of concern for me?”
She spun to face him and he narrowed his eyes to keep them from straying. “Convince her you’re not interested, and I’ll be in your debt. Is that good enough?”
He waved a hand over his face and dropped the smile. “Silence and respect. For you, I suppose I can do that.”
Her shoulders relaxed and she touched his hand, sending a cool shiver up his arm. “Thank you.”
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