What’s all this, Miss Dare?
Lady B, I want to introduce you to my friend, Miss Violet Winterbottom. Doesn’t she look lovely, all dressed in green silk?
Quite lovely, I’m sure.
She’s dressed for a Christmas ball, you see. And you’ll never believe this, Lady B. I wanted to bring her to meet you for a very special reason. Violet was born in this very ballroom!
What? Born in this ballroom? I don’t think so, Miss Dare. Why, your guest looks no older than twenty. I’ve been married to Lord B for *mumble* years now, and if ever a live birth should have taken place in this ballroom, I feel certain I would have recalled it.
You see, several months ago, I did another post on wallflowers, and happened to mention that “Some wallflowers bloom at night.” My dear friend Sara Lindsey thought that would make an excellent story tagline. I agreed, and suddenly–Violet’s story just blossomed in my imagination. But it gets better, Lady B! Not only was she born in this virtual ballroom last summer, but I actually set her happily-ever-after scene in the Beaufetheringstone ballroom of 1814!
What? The happy couple have a scene in this ballroom? (Lady B looks around) I know I would have remembered that. Were they hidden behind a potted plant?
No, no. It’s hard to explain unless you read the whole thing. Suffice to say, from start to finish, lobster patties to ratafia, this novella was very much a Ballroom Blog creation. To celebrate the spirit of collaborative inspiration, I thought we would have some fun with polls.
<<Squawk!>>Margin of error!<<Squawk!>>
Albert is right. They’re rather meaningless polls. But who doesn’t love a quiz?
Let me get my quizzing glass.
You see, Miss Violet is a wallflower.
We’ve said time and again, there are no wallflowers in this ballroom, Miss Dare.
I know, I know. And Violet’s about to quickly bloom in the space of one night. But she has very good reasons for being a wallflower, you see.
Just as we’re debating Violet’s wallflower tendencies, there’s a horrific crash. The garden door fly open, and in stumbles a man. He’s large. He’s dripping wet. He’s stumbling straight for us…until he collapses at Violet’s feet, bleeding and shivering and speaking in a strange language.
As Violet kneels at the intruder’s side, Lady B eyes me with suspicion.
Miss Dare. Have you been tampering with the ratafia again?
Whoever he is, he’s making a true mess of my parquet floor. Can she understand him, Miss Dare?
A little. Violet happens to be very good with languages. But she’s also stunned, because this intruder looks oddly familiar. In fact, he very closely resembles a man she’s come to think of as The Disappointment.
You see…. (In the interests of delicacy, I lean over and whisper in Lady B’s ear.)
The bounder! If it is him, she should kick him in the shins.
He’s already bleeding, Lady B.
Just the same.
But it might not be him at all.
What a situation. Whatever is she going to do?
I think we will have to leave the rest of this particular Winter’s Eve to Violet and her mystery man. If you like, you can read the first chapter and go from there.
In all sincerity, I am endebted to The Ballroom Blog for this book, and I want to thank all my fellow authoresses and our guests for being part of its creation! I have it on good authority that this is not the last time the Beaufetheringstone ballroom will make an appearance in one of our books.
As another way of saying thanks, I’m giving away 10 (ten) copies of this e-book (Kindle or AllRomance gift certificate, redeemable for various formats). Since it’s on sale for just $0.99, that’s easy enough to swing! And if you’re a winner but you’ve already purchased the book, I’ll gladly send a copy to a friend of your choosing, as an early holiday gift from you.
To enter, just comment by midnight PST. Winners posted tomorrow!
As for what to comment…? You could suggest an interrogation technique. Or maybe tell me about the worst thing that ever happened at your holiday party. Any party crashers?