Dear Ladies, I am so excited to announce that all the gentlemen (ahem) of the Inferno Club are here today to help me celebrate the release of MY RUTHLESS PRINCE.
Drake, Lord Westwood: Please don’t make a fuss. I’d really you rather not–
Max, Lord Rotherstone: Don’t fret, old boy. I’ll do the talking for you if you like. Please forgive our friend. He’s still recovering, you know, from–his ordeal.
Drake: I’m fine. Really.
Rohan, Duke of Warrington: At least he’s not mumbling to himself today. That’s a marked improvement.
Max: Leave him alone, you rotter. He’s done more for our cause than all the rest of us put together. Now, then, my dear author, what was it you wanted to ask us? (Elbowing Drake while mumbling as aside: Tell her how honored you are that she wrote the story of your exploits. They like it when you compliment them, these artsy types with their fragile egos.)
Drake: But I’m not honored! I wish she would’ve left me alone, left the whole thing in the past. Maybe better if it were forgotten.
Max: Nonsense! Then no one would know what glory you deserve!
Drake gives him a longsuffering stare.
Max: What, you don’t care about glory anymore? It used to matter a lot to you.
Drake (dropping into a wingchair with a sigh): I just want to go the bloody hell home.
Max: Too bad, you’ve got to do the junket. It’s Release Week, man! You worked hard for this–you’ve earned this! Now, snap out of it!
Drake: Grrr. Right. So, what’s all this, then? (Under his breath -) Meddling woman.
Gaelen: Well, I don’t mean to put you on the spot -
Drake: Whyever not? You tortured me every other way in that damned book.
Gaelen: It’s all right. Drake and I have been through a lot together over the past year. Actually, Drake, my dear, after all the life-or-death decisions you men have had to make, all the times you’ve basically saved the world from those evil Prometheans–
Max (waving his hands frantically while trying to be discreet): Psst! No! Don’t mention them, whatever you do!
Drake leaps to his feet. pulls out pistol and unsheathes his sword (yes, right in the Ballroom): Prometheans?! Where? Show yourselves, you dogs of hell, and I will destroy you!!
Max (hand over eyes) : Now you’ve done it.
Rohan (going over to calm him down): Easy, there, fellow. No Prometheans here. They’re gone.
Jordan: I daresay. Should we call for Emily?
Beau: I think they’ve got him under control.
Rohan: Don’t worry, mate, I don’t think we’re not going to have to worry about the Prometheans for a long, long time. You saw to that, remember?
Drake: Ohh…right. Damn. Do you have anything to drink here?
Gaelen beckons to the terrified footman, who leaps to fetch hard liquor for our warriors friends before they get riled up again.
Max (to Gaelen): You’re not going to want to mention that again.
Gaelen: I noticed. All I wanted to ask you gentlemen is what you think the New Year might hold for you? Now that the gravest danger has passed, that is. You see, in my world, people make New Year’s Resolutions. Sort of…goals they wish to achieve or new habits they want to create. Since Drake did such a fine job of ridding the world of ::them:: I was wondering, what’s next for each of you?
Drake (cautiously putting his weapons back away, but still scanning the room): Mainly to catch up my sleep. Haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in about a year. No plans or goals, really. I’ve done what I wished to accomplish, now I’m just happy to be alive. Now that I’ve done my duty, I think I’ll just retire to the quiet of the countryside with Emily. She talks of starting a falconry center for injured birds of prey. She is so good at healing wounded wild creatures…
Gaelen: Hmm. That sounds like it will be very relaxing for you. Good. Lord Rotherstone?
Max: No quiet life for me. When all of this is said and done, I’ve got a mind to head off on an expedition to the Holy Land. Hire a team of scientists, scholars, archeologists… see if we can’t dig up some more old scrolls. Who knows what secrets might still be hidden in the sands? Daphne insists on tagging along if I go, which gives me heart palpitations. The desert’s no place for a lady, but on the other hand, it’d be no fun without her.
Gaelen: How exciting! Do keep me abreast of your plans, my lord. Your Grace?
Rohan: Now, don’t any of you lot laugh or I’ll put you through a wall. But at my lady’s insistence, we are calling in some strange former “plumbers” (whatever that is) – known as Ghost Hunters. I’m told they have the specialized equipment to investigate the Gray Lady. I’ve had enough strange sightings and odd noises in the middle of the night! It’s time to find out who or what exactly is haunting Kilburn Castle. Let’s hope it’s merely one of my ancestors.
Gaelen: Oh, dear. So you’re call in Jason and Grant, are you? Well, I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of it.
Gaelen: Lord Falconridge, what are your plans for the new year?
Jordan: Funny you should ask, my dear. Truth is, I’ve give this a lot of thought, and decided it’s time somebody did something about all this gambling in the ton. I’ve decided to start a gamblers anonymous group for all of Prinny’s once-rich gambling friends.
Gaelen: Really? Gamblers’ Anonymous in Regency London?
Jordan: Believe me, I played whist with that group of madmen on a few occasions. I know how they are, bankrupting themselves left and right. The need is dire.
Gaelen: Good luck with that. What about you, my adorable Lord Beauchamp?
Beau: Ahh, I’ve got only two goals in mind. One – man the fort until these lads have cleaned up all the loose ends following Drake’s mission. And two…something must be done about Carissa Portland.
Gaelen: Why is he suddenly staring into space?
Beau: That maddening little minx. I don’t trust her.
Beau: Mm-hmm. I think she’s hiding something. And believe you me, I intend to get to the bottom of it.
Jordan (with a droll look): That poor gel. What exactly do you think she might be hiding, Beauchamp?
Max: Clearly not the fact that she thinks he’s an idiot.
Beau: No. She’s quite open about that, the haughty little shrew. Did you see what she did when I asked her to dance?
Jordan: She laughed at you, tossed her head, and walked away. Priceless.
Beau: On the contrary, IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. No female has ever responded to me that way before in my life. There’s something wrong with her. I think that little redhead may be the devil.
Gaelen: Oh, dear…change of subject, please? Anyone?
Rohan: Tell us your New Year’s Resolutions, madam scribbler. What’s next for you?
Gaelen: I just hope to continue finding heroes like yourselves, whose exploits I can capture with my pen. And lose ten pounds. This, too, is de rigeur in my world, Your Grace.
Ladies, care to share your New Year’s Resolutions? I love New Year’s…making new plans and goals and putting dreams into action. For me, I want to write 1500 words a day this year, earn my purple belt in kenpo, and take a trip to Europe in June. What about you? Any thoughts?
[PS: If anyone wants to read Chapter 1 of My Ruthless Prince, it's posted now at www.gaelenfoley.com. I'm so excited, it just went on sale on Tuesday! More info about the Inferno Club series concept and each of the individual stories is available on my website, as well, under Novels>Inferno Club. Enjoy!]