Someone cleared his throat. Lexa turned and started at Salazar standing at her shoulder. Why did he like sneaking up on her? Just because she was in a dress didn’t make it safe to test her nerves. There were plenty of household items in the room she could turn into a weapon.
Lexa forced composure over her features and nodded to the duke. “Your Lordship.”
His cheek twitched and he held out a goblet of wine. She stared at it.
“Come now,” he said. “We are not enemies.”
If she left him standing there, holding two cups, people would begin to stare. Lexa snatched the goblet from him. Her fingers curled around it, itching to throw the wine back in his bushy face.
“I hope Sir Duram is well. I don’t see him here tonight.”
Salazar clucked. “Terrible what happened to his ship.”
Lexa curled her free hand into a fist. If the duke brought up dreamwalking, so help her, she’d deck him. Not at Taryn’s party.
He smirked and his voice dropped to a husky cadence. “Look at you, brimming with fury. It takes every ounce you have to hold it in, doesn’t it? What might it look like if you unleashed it?”
The duke cocked his head, and in the slanted light his pupils took on a slight sheen. Oh lord, was the man drunk this early?
“Stormy eyes like the sea, a virago to tame the tempest, to crumble the peaks with molten passion. You would wash over the raiders like a squall and snuff them out in one breath.”
“Did you woo your wife with such poetry?” Lexa muttered.
“And a tongue that lashes like lightning!” he concluded with a grin, and tipped his goblet back to drain it.
Lexa pressed a hand over her face. Go away.
“Duke Salazar,” she ground out. “Where is your wife?”
He canted his gaze across the room to Duchess Colette. The woman wore a pomp and puffy gown of a quilt work of colors, hair wrapped on top of her head like a beehive. Her sharp eyes skewered Lexa standing next to her husband. Great, as though Lexa needed any more enemies.
Salazar sighed. “It is unfortunate I do not have a son for you.” He lifted furry brows at her. “You would make an intriguing wife.”
And he would make a fine specimen mounted on the wall. A gold plaque would read, “He pulled the tiger’s tail.”