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Philippe was taking a moment of rare quiet in his rooms to read, when the doors were flung open and the Chevalier appeared.

"My darling, you wouldn't believe—"

Chevalier stopped mid-sentence. Philippe looked up from his book.

"There's something different," Chevalier said. "What is it?"

Philippe looked around the room: the sumptuous fabrics, elegant furniture, the perfectly padded bench upon which he sat. "It looks the same to me."

"Well, it doesn't feel the same. Where's your wife?"

"Henriette is in Paris for a few days. My brother, in his great and noble wisdom, has sent her to convert some friends of her acquaintance to the cult of Versailles." He turned the page of his book so savagely that it almost tore.

"You mean we're alone?"

"Until Tuesday, yes."

"Completely alone?" There was an unmistakable gleam in Chevalier's eyes. "Just you, me and your big, soft bed?"

"Yes. I suppose."

"You suppose? Mignonette, what on earth is wrong with you? Are you quite oblivious to the potential of this situation?" He plucked the book from Philippe's hands and tossed it onto the end table. "No interference. No pained looks or long sighs. No spectral spouse lurking in the corner of the room. Just you, and I, and, I suggest, a good deal of wine. Until Tuesday. My darling, the king has bestowed a gift upon us!"

Philippe frowned. "He really doesn't do that."

"Well, perhaps that wasn't his intention, but it is certainly the consequence. And isn't he always asking you to consider the consequences?"

"It's true, he is."

"Come." Chevalier tugged his hands. "Let's get started before he changes his mind and brings her back."

That was just too tempting a proposition to resist.

Philippe allowed himself to be led to his chamber, where he threw himself willingly on the bed, pulling Chevalier down with him. They rolled around a little, freeing themselves of inconvenient pieces of clothing. Philippe's blood rose quickly and he sighed to touch Chevalier's heated skin. He arched up for a kiss, and Chevalier's lips met his for a perfect press of—

"Excuse me, your Highness."

Bontemps. The man was a like a bucket of iced water in human form.

"Yes? What is it?"

Chevalier's hand was down the back of Philippe's breeches, which made it very difficult to concentrate. But Philippe caught the words 'king' and 'urgency', and that look in Bontemps' eye that meant 'if you don't come right now we're all in the shit'.

"Very well," he said. "I'm on my way."

Chevalier groaned into the pillow as Philippe wriggled away.