Irises and Lotuses @katie_tran
Chapter 1

Prologue

She had meant to sneak into the master's bedroom for a little reprieve. As one of the housemaids, her main job for the evening was to serve the drinks and dinner courses for the house guests. There was currently a week-long party at the Château de Kérouzéré.Serving and waiting on around a hundred guests had exhausted her. For someone seen as one of the invisible helps, she was overworked to the bone by the cooks and fellow higher housemaids. The beauty and magnificent splendor of the ballroom, chandeliers, lights and women's gowns were not enough to entice Huong out of slacking on the job for just a moment. That and because the master bedroom looked incredibly comfortable.
She just wanted to have a bit of a taste of the very silky looking comforter and pillows.

Huong snuck behind the couch covered with deep red velvet. The screen she sat in front of hid the king-sized bed. Its designs were hand painted Japanese cranes and butterflies.
What Huong did not anticipate was that in the midst of this fanciful party, she would have company in this room as well; more than one in fact. And they did not seem to be aware of her presence at all. Actually, to her dismay and chagrin, they were a bit too occupied with their current activity for her liking.

The couple were engaging in a passionate tryst.

Huong peeked behind the screen for a guilty glimpse. The woman looked to be one of the female guests; Monica Ricci Toussaint. The wife of the elderly Marquis Toussaint.
Was she straying from her marriage and fornicating with another? Marquis Toussaint was in his seventies and possibly past the age where his animal spirits dwindled but even so…

Huong's eyes then trailed over to the man between the legs of the marquise. With his back turned to her, she could only make out the man's golden hair. It fell in soft waves just above his broad shoulders. The candlelight shown gleams of amber and champagne between the tresses. He was tall. Whilst he was lean, his overall physique, specifically the back and thighs, were well muscled.
The man's dark trousers were loosened down so that the bodily err… essentials were available to perform the current carnal deed.

What really caught Huong's rapt attention, however, were the well sculpted buttocks she could clearly see. The skin, so sun bronzed, showed every curve and angle. She admitted that it was a beautiful pair of buttocks. Huong had to glance away before the torrid and sensually appealing sight caused her own body to heat up any further.
Squeezing her eyes shut, she could still hear the loud pleasured noises from the marquise and the quiet grunts and soft laughter from the male partner. His well-aimed thrusts gently rocked the bed.

Huong's face could not be more aflame. Why oh why was she so aroused by an obvious affair and debauchery? It was time she let the couple know of her presence. Otherwise, should she be discovered by chance, it would certainly be all the more awkward and disastrous.

"Ahem…"

She tried coughing. She built the nerve to leave behind the couch.
No reply.

"Ahem!" Goodness. Were they so immersed as well as deaf? In a fit of impatience, Huong leapt out.

"Hey!"

Her foot toppled one over the other, pushing the clothing screen. It fell forward on the tupping couple in the process.

Monica shrieked and quickly scurried back holding on to her skirts and petticoats.

"What the hell-" The blonde man straightened from behind the screen after setting it to its proper place in the room. His annoyance at being interrupted during sex shown on his face. He then casually turned around to glance back at Huong's mortified shock.

She had never met anyone so shameless as to not even look the least bit embarrassed to be in such a trouser-less state in front of a stranger.

When faced towards her, she could finally make out his features. The sun-kissed skin extended to his facial complexion. Evidently, this was a man who spent majority of his time out of doors. His clear blue eyes under heavy brows were tilted in a way that seemed to always look tired. Only he could make that trait look erotic. There was just the slightest crook in his nose that otherwise would have been perfectly sculpted like a Roman statue. A hint of a five o'clock shadow surrounded his full lips. Overall, the man was uncompromisingly handsome and well, he knew it.

"Oh? And who's this?" He drawled, slowly giving her a small, slim form an unimpressed once over.

Heat swept to her cheeks and she gave him the most indignant expression a servant could dare to give.

"I am one of the maids of this house," She kept her head slightly downwards.
"Sir, you are making a ruckus and the guests downstairs would appreciate it if you kept the volume of your activities to a minimum!"

The man's mouth gaped a little in mild surprise. Then the quirk of his mouth transformed into a wide smile.

"What an outspoken little maid you are!" He looked at her speculatively. Who knew the little mouse in front of Francis could have such a sharp tongue. It was palpable to him she did not recognize his identity and the position he carried in this estate; Château de Kérouzéré.
There would be much fun and pleasure to come for when she learned.

Huong looked up and straightened her back with as much dignity as she could muster.

"It is proper etiquette," She insisted. She tried her best not to let her eyes roam down south of the man's body. His starch shirt which hung below his narrow hips concealed only most of the tantalizing crudeness of his manhood underneath.

Monica who was silent up until now, huffed and muttered something in her native Italian language. She gathered her hair, put herself to rights and fled her spot.

"I had better go before my husband arrived," She told Francis. He replied something suggestive to her in French and bit gently at her neck.
She giggled and kissed his cheek amorously before leaving the room.

While the man busied himself with tucking his shirt and fastened his trousers, Huong discreetly tried to leave too.

"Oh no, you don't." With quick reflexes, he used his foot to shut the door and blocked the exotic Asian maid's path.
He backed her against the bed post. His posture the definition of predatory nonchalance.

"You have caused me my chance to climax with Madam Toussaint. Lovemaking and bringing pleasure to a woman happens to take a lot of work. You interrupted, rather rudely I'll have you know, my chance to orgasm after working out a good sweat," He said softly, but there was no malice in his glinting eyes. "My lady."

Huong cringed at the sardonic "lady."

"Whom do you work for?" He asked.

"I told you. I am just a regular housemaid here," She answered steadily. It was partially the truth. For all her outward calm, she suspected this man's piercing gaze saw through her bit of dishonesty.

"Is that right?" He smiled. Those eyes still took her in thoroughly. She shivered.

"Yes," She repeated. "Now may I please leave, my lord? You wouldn't want someone to catch us until a scandal broke out do you?"

He shifted closer until their bodies were nearly touched. She hitched her breath. His proximity was too close and intimate for her comfort. The air still smelled of sex, perfume and leftover cigar. His breath against her ear smelled of wine. She tried not to think of his buttocks that thrust ardently into Madam Toussaint a few minutes ago. The moans might as well have been her own had she been in the Madam's place.

"My dear, you seem to have mistaken my character if you think I am the sort of man with decent morale. I don't give a damn about scandals or heaven forbid, propriety," His mocking whiskey voice was the Devil's whisper.
"What's your name, girl?"

Gritting her teeth, Huong shoved at his hard chest and ran out the door before the stranger could say anymore.

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