Once upon a time, there was a little girl who did everything she was told. She saw no reason not to. Born into a family of immense wealth and impeccable pedigree, with a face that could launch a thousand ships, she was feted and cosseted and petted, as if she were a doll made of the finest porcelain, and no one ever refused her anything she wanted.
And so she grew up beautiful and spoiled and conceited, believing that she was above most people and deservedly so. She refused to drink tea if the amount of sugar and cream weren’t to her liking. She reprimanded any maid who left a single hair out of place when styling her hair—and her scolding could run anywhere from three minutes to thirty. She once dismissed a servant for failing to give her a parasol when she went out. She spared no expense on clothes, jewelry, or cosmetics, and would not go out without a carriage and a veritable retinue of maids and footmen.
More than that, she was determined that she would marry none but the most eligible bachelor in the kingdom. She would have even gone for the prince if he hadn’t gotten himself engaged to a foreign princess, but since that couldn’t be helped, she settled for the Duke of Montfort, who was young and handsome and, most importantly, possessed a massive fortune. It was said that he was disagreeable and cold, with little interest in women, but that wasn’t on her list of concerns. She didn’t have a sweet personality anyway, so they were even.
So the girl set her goal to ensnare the Duke of Montfort and worked hard to achieve it. She made a point of going to the parties and balls where he was invited and tried to approach him without appearing too desperate. She always took care to dress elaborately and show off her best features—her silky, flaxen hair, her forget-me-not blue eyes, her trim hourglass figure—though in her opinion, every part of her from head to toe was perfect.
So it came as a surprise when the eminent duke did not fall head over heels for her....