I think I need to hug Heather Long! She opens up about her trials shopping (Been there!) and “That Moment” finding the perfect something. 🙂 We also get a special excerpt from her new book Some Like It Royal. *sigh*
Take a look at Some Like It Royal and get ready to fall for Princess Alyxandretta and Daniel.
The Queen of Tarts
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Dress Shopping in
Some Like It Royal
Alyx trailed her fingers down the length of fabric. The pure silk glided against her skin in sensuous invitation, but one look at the price tag and she moved on to the next dress on the rack. Victor cut in front of her and pointed to the dress. “What’s wrong with that one?”
His six-foot-two-inch frame was more than a roadblock and she sighed. “Nothing’s wrong with it, exactly, but it’s not what I’m looking for.”
“Hmm. And what are you looking for? We need at least four cocktail dresses, two evening gowns, a dozen daytime suits and changes. Specifically, you need a change of clothes for each meal.” He consulted the data tablet he carried everywhere. “Then there will be the shoes.”
Lips pursed, she swallowed back laughter. In his button-down steel-gray suit and hundred dollar shoes, he looked more suited to an executive office—his tense expression said “secret service, stay away.” He constantly seemed to scan their surroundings, aware of everything. Often enough for her to notice. The behavior disconcerted her, but his persistence in encouraging her to shop was too funny.
“They’re expensive.” She lowered her voice, keeping her expression calm and the intonation smooth. Two people could have a knock-down-drag-out verbal match and no one would notice if their voices didn’t raise and their tone didn’t change. “There’s a Goodwill in Santa Barbara that has some spectacular gowns for a twelfth the price—if that.” She could feed herself for a month on real meals for the price of the decadently soft silk dress.
Her escort tapped his fingers against the rack. “You don’t look at the price tags.”
“You never look at the price tag. The price is irrelevant. You are shopping for clothing, to costume the platform you will be performing from. Money isn’t the issue, nor is the price. You look only at color, fabric and effect.” Like her, he never raised his voice, but the hair on her body prickled at the low command. “A princess doesn’t shop at Goodwill.”
Which is the most ridiculous thing ever. How many articles hit the papers about the expenses of the royal families in Europe? When Prince William and his bride visited the United States, comments were made about the number of outfits Kate was photographed in and the concept of excess versus frugality. Some liked her frugal nature, and others didn’t. Rebellion surged through her. Why spend money like that if one didn’t have to? There were better things money could be spent on.
Like feeding people, sending kids to school, paying off bills…
Getting an apartment, which would have saved me this entire adventure because I would have been behind a locked door when Daniel got his crazy idea.
As quickly as the rebellion surfaced, so did the nibble of worry that she may have missed out on meeting the sweet man she’d shared ice cream with the night before. He could be fun and funny. A thrill skated over her skin. The tickling antics delighted her, more than she wanted to admit.
Victor flicked through the rack, then pulled out a dress and held it up to her. The deep blue sheath boasted an off-one-shoulder neckline and tucked fabric that would accent her curves and smooth any flaws in her figure. It fell to just above her knees. “How about we choose a selection, you try them on and if you can’t find fault with how you look, we take it?” he coaxed with his voice and gentle expression.
“Fine.” She nodded. “Do you want to just pick out the dresses and I’ll go start trying them on?”
Disapproval creased his forehead and he sighed.
“Or I could just take a good look at what they have?”
He nodded and she resisted the urge to rub a hand over her face. Fidgeting in public got her chastised once, she wouldn’t do it again. Together, they strolled through the racks, picking out a dozen different dresses. At the dressing rooms, Victor requested the private one off to the side with a stern glance at the clerk. This flustered the young woman attending, but she hurried to help them.
“You know, we have several shoes that would go great with those dresses.” The salesclerk cut her gaze down to Alyx’s feet. “You’re a six, yes?”
At her slow nod, the clerk beamed. “I’ll be right back. Just take your time.” She hustled off and Victor leaned against the wall, taking a position between the changing room and the rest of the store.
“I guess we’re getting shoes too.”
“Apparently.” He nodded approvingly and flicked his gaze to the changing room. Accepting the subtle nudge, she stepped inside and surveyed the dresses. She’d worn a simple, slimming pair of slacks and a blousy top for shopping. Both sported designer labels and both were purchased at Goodwill for less than three dollars each. Amused, she stuck out her tongue at the closed door.
The crushed linen held up well with constant changes and didn’t wrinkle in the car. The pale peach color emphasized her tan and accented the green chemise she wore beneath as well as the dyed-to-match green flats.
If only Victor knew she’d dyed the shoes herself. She’d actually found them at an off-the-rack wedding shop. But she thought that a secret best kept to herself. Hanging her outfit up on the empty hangers, she studied the dresses. She’d worn a bra, but at least two of them would require a strapless variety and she planned to try those on last. Reorganizing the dresses, she started—left to right.
The first, a yellow and orange sunrise of a dress, wasn’t particularly a cocktail outfit but she needed daytime event dresses as well. The neckline plunged between her breasts, but the halter top emphasized her shape. The handkerchief skirt swirled around her legs and she did a little hop-twirl and laughed.
“Find something you like?” Victor’s voice drifted over the stall door, reminding her she wasn’t alone.
2014 © Heather Long