Ana introduces the assassin, Tanzi de Faral, from her time travel WIP.
Betia is Lady Angelique's maid. So is Setia, her twin.
Thonon and Louis Cachan are the the past-life heroine's cousins. Thonon is in love with Lady Angelique, but she was betrothed to his father at birth.
His father's forth wife committed suicide to escape his sadistic bedroom pleasures, and Angelique will have to marry him soon. The old Angelique looked forward to going to Court in Paris and dancing every night.
The heroine, Angel, is searching for the man who summoned her back in time and it could be de Faral.
However soon she will realize he is in the Baron's employ--and if she doesn't run with the hero, she will become the Baron's fifth wife and be stuck in the past forever. And when they run, de Faral will hunt them down and kill the hero.
An ermine-trimmed shortcloak draped the man’s shoulders. Colorful ribbons supported silk lavender hose. Around his neck, a ruby scarf. The sheath of his rapier bore a noble insignia, identifying him as a man with connections, if not of means.
“Tanzi de Faral,” Thonon said with palpable distaste. “I should have known he’d fall in with my brother. Stay clear, maid. He fled Paris after mortally wounding one of the King’s advisors in a midnight duel.”
“Dueling? Over what?”
“They say he demanded intimacies from the courtier’s wife in payment for gambling debts.”
“Ooh,” the maidservant squealed. “They are coming toward us.”
“Good night to a fine night,” hailed Louis Cachan. “Tanzi, mon ami, there are those among us who properly labor. I choose not to be one.” He dismissed his older brother’s scowl with a shake of his curls. “May I present my revived cousin, Angelique Eugenie Angevin Valois.”
“My honor, Lady Angelique.” Tanzi clicked his boot heels and bowed. His dark goatee gave him an Italian air. “You are as fair as your dance tutor described. Already the courtesans at court loathe you.”
Angel forced the memory to surface. “How fares Monsieur Accorso?”
“Just back from Venice with new steps for the bassadanza.”
“Do you dance, Monsieur de Faral?”
“As well as I breathe.” He executed an intricate dance sequence that ended with a full voltatonda turn and extended his hand. “Isn’t it delightful? Ensemble? Together?”
“No,” Thonon snarled. “She is betrothed.”
“To our noble père, Baron Godefroy.” Louis Cachan snickered. “And this is her gentle maid, Betia Ragnuel.”
“Enchanté.” The maid sank in a fluid curtsy.
“Betia.” Tanzi clasped one hand over his heart. “Service has no sweeter name. What little I have in this provincial hellhole is yours.”
“He forfeited his mount in an unfortunate turn of the cards,” Louis-Cachan whispered loudly.
“My lady would be served by news of Paris.” Betia giggled. “We will be going there soon.”
“A trade, then,” Tanzi said. “Gossip in exchange for a friend’s tour of the castle. Thrice now I have been directed off course by pranksters I shall not credit by name.”
“I could be free after my Lady retires.”
“Then I pray your lady finds reason to retire early.” He made a crude gesture with his scabbard.
“De Faral.” Red-faced, Thonon pulled his saber. “Lady Angelique is pure as a rose. Affront her and suffer the consequences.”
"Don’t play games, Captain.” Tanzi whipped out his rapier. It glinted like a frozen flash of lightning. “I am not here to take your life.”
His words sent shivers down her spine.
Thonon advanced until the tip of his sword was an inch from Tanzi’s face. “Apologize.”
Breathing heavily, both men stood their ground.
What if Tanzi was the man she sought?
“Thonon,” she cried. “He is but a displaced soul who seeks haven in a simpler land. Surely he meant no offence.”
“Your lady is as astute as she is beautiful.” Tanzi nodded. “I apologize. Retire your weapon and I will retire mine.”
Thonon lowered his sword. “Next time I will teach you a lesson.” He whirled around, barked the command to mount and led his patrol out at a fast trot.
“That was amusing,” Louis Cachan said. “Now I crave sleep and a drink, but not in that order."
“Until tonight, fair Betia.” Looking back, Tanzi allowed Louis Cachan to pull him toward the main doors of the castle.
“I could bring my twin,” she called.
“You would have me see double? I must be in heaven.”