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The French Maid

Short Fiction

The French Maid

New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries offers a sizzling short story featuring a mysterious French maid who mends marriages.

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Lady Eleanor Langston has a problem: her husband Henry, prime-minister-in-the-making, is too caught up in his work to notice her. It takes a wily French lady’s maid–and a bit of work from Eleanor—to unleash her inner siren and change her life.

Henry was about to walk out the door when he heard footsteps at the top of the stairs. He whirled around. “Damn it, Eleanor, I said—”

He broke off as a strange woman descended into view. No, not a strange woman, but his wife! Or at least he thought it was his wife. He’d never seen Eleanor like this, looking so out of the ordinary and yet somehow still herself.

He couldn’t put his finger on what was different, but she seemed to… glow. Yes, that was it. Every part of her glowed, from her translucent skin to her rich chocolate hair. And when had her hands changed from capable to dainty? How could he have missed that little detail?

Not to mention something no gentleman should notice—a certain increase in her… er… bust. Did he imagine it or had his wife suddenly acquired an arresting pair of bosoms?

He only realized he was ogling her when a slow, sensuous smile curled up her lips. It fired his senses—and something lower, too, which astonished him.

Eleanor had never been like other women, dressing to entice him, expecting compliments on her attire, tempting him to go to extraordinary lengths to keep her happy. Eleanor was comfortable, easy to manage, and undemanding. That was one reason he’d married her—because she wouldn’t draw him from his career.
There were other reasons, too—her father’s political connections, the longstanding friendship between their two families, a certain sense that she would make him a good wife. And he did like her. But he didn’t think of Eleanor in terms of passion and longing.

No, that was not entirely true. There were some nights when he sank inside her and wished he could stay there for an eternity, wrapped in her warmth, secure in her affection. Nights when he wanted to confide in her, to probe her opinions, to share more than a bed.

But then he usually fell asleep. Besides, he couldn’t spare the time to explain himself to his wife and open that Pandora’s box. Surely she shared enough of his activities to know his thoughts—what need was there to discuss them? Once he was gone from her bed, he forgot about his mad impulses or squelched them until he could make the time to explore further. Unfortunately, that time never seemed to come. Indeed, he was lucky if he could make the time to bed her once a week.

She neared him now, and an exotic scent wafted under his nose, tickling his imagination. It suddenly dawned on him that tonight was Wednesday, the day he’d fallen into the habit of joining his wife in bed. The thought made him grow all the more randy.

He didn’t have to wait until tonight, did he? She was his wife.

I wrote this story as part of a multi-author e-series about the seven deadly sins. My assigned sin was sloth, and for a while I scratched my head over how to make that romantic. Then Babette showed up in my imagination, and everything fell into place. The story isn’t related to any of my other series, but who knows—one day I might decide to do another tale about my French maid and her magical ability to help couples in trouble find love. Hope you enjoy it!