Excerpt: Lexa vs. The Dress

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Excerpt, Dreamstealer

Lexa is on her way to Teltania to see if their princess is in fact a new dreamwalker. Unfortunately, her cover for this mission is to go as a visiting diplomat of Artasia. And one must dress to fit the part…

~~~

Neil gestured to the gray-toned, crackle-textured trunk. “Mathias left this for you, but he insisted you not open it until the day before our arrival. So, here it is.”

Lexa could tell she was not going to like this. She strode forward, flipped the latch, and swung the lid up. The trunk was full of clothes, it seemed, and dresses at that. She stared at the fitted, maroon velvet gown with a cross-laced bodice on top.

“Hell no.” She slammed the lid down again.

Neil cleared his throat. “I believe his words were something about you being a lady and needing to dress to fit the part.”

No wonder Mathias hadn’t wanted her opening it until the last minute…or while he was still around. She would have strangled him. Yes, she understood the importance of playing the role of diplomat, but did he have to choose such…opulent clothes? If he had given her more time, she would have done her own shopping—which had probably been his plan all along.

Lexa threw the lid open again; the hinges rattled as they quaked under her wrath. She grabbed the maroon dress and lifted it up. It was even worse in full form: puffed sleeves at the shoulder, which tapered down into a tightly fitted cuff at the wrist. Her arms would look like mutton legs in it. She tossed it on the bed. The next dress on the pile was an aquamarine with wide, billowy sleeves and lace around the neck meant to imitate sea spray. Underneath that lay a dark green gown with a loose skirt that Lexa thought she could tolerate, but for the most part, she discarded the various dresses on the bed, her lip curling in even more disgust with each one.

“I’m going to throttle him.”

Neil arched a brow at the mess. “So you two hadn’t discussed this?”

Lexa glowered at him. “Don’t pretend that comes as a surprise. He did tell you to keep this until the last minute.”

Neil rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m not sure I see the problem.”

Lexa gestured to her plain shirt and pants, then at the dresses. “Seriously?”

He quirked a smile. “They would look stunning on you.”

“They’re ridiculous.”

“Perhaps you should try one on first.” He dug under the pile, pulled out the maroon one, and held it out to Lexa. Her fingers twitched, unwilling to even touch the extravagant fabric. But with Neil watching her closely, she swallowed her discomfort and snatched it from his hand.

“You’re forgetting a piece.” He reached into the trunk and pulled out a corset.

Lexa gave it a blank stare.

“It’s all the fashion in Teltania right now.”

“You wear it.”

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