“You are a virgin,” she stated.
I blushed furiously, my cheeks hot.
“Yes, I can see by your reaction to that word alone that you are,” she replied, going over to her desk, sitting down at the chair beside it. Her back was straight and she adjusted her full skirts. She might be a Madame, but she had the mannerisms of a lady.
I looked down at the pale blue morning dress I’d donned just this morning. I thought back, realizing Thomas must have laced my coffee with the laudanum. I took it black, so the bitter taste would have been well masked. The last I remember was eating a piece of toast with marmalade in the dining room.
“I suppose virginity is quite a commodity in your line of work. You are a Madame, are you not?” I countered, wanting to confirm her profession. I doubted she arranged for governesses.
She nodded once. “I am. Unlike your Mr. James, I offer you two choices.”
I arched a brow as I waited to hear them. My options, which I doubted were going to be to my liking, might be better heard sitting down, so I returned to sit at the end of the velvet covered chaise on which I awoke.
My mouth fell open at her base language, but I supposed it was relevant to her profession and part of her everyday conversation.
I glanced down at my hands in my lap trying to collect my thoughts. A dull throb filled my head, the lingering after effects of Thomas’s deviousness, it made clear thinking difficult.
“And...the other choice?”
“You can pay off your debt in one evening. Tonight, in fact.”
This sounded appealing, but I knew there would be a high personal price. She might be selling carnal pleasures, but this was all business.
“Oh?” I queried, very nervous about what she would say.
“A marriage auction.”
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