by Martha Wells
Read by C.S.E. Cooney
Originally published in Realms of Fantasy
We reached the landing above the Hall. Below, Electra’s husband, Mr. John Dearing, was personally receiving a guest, a young man in the act of handing his greatcoat to the butler.
There were no guests expected, and just before the dinner hour is not considered an appropriate time for casual calls, yet Dearing was greeting this presumptuous fellow as a prodigal son.
He was a striking figure. (The guest, I mean. Dearing is a stout bewhiskered muskrat of a man, a fit mate for Electra.) Blond curls, broad shoulders, a chiseled profile. I felt a feather of unease travel down my spine; old instincts rousing, perhaps. His garments, though somewhat the worse for travel at this rainy time of year, were of fashionable cut and fine cloth.
Frowning, Electra caught the attention of one of the footmen stationed at the bottom of the stairs, and called him up to her to ask, “Why, William, whoever is that?”
“Madame, they say it’s a foreign Duke, the son of the King of Armantia.”
“I see,” Electra dismissed the man and looked to me, her mild dove eyes vaguely troubled. “Oh, dear. A prince.”