Lady B: What on earth is that racket?
I look up from where I’ve collapsed on the ground amidst a pile of luggage and tote bags.
Lady B: Ah, I see you have returned. It is about time.
She looks irate. With me. And I have no idea why. After all, I’ve only just come back from the Romance Writers of America conference.
She’s standing there, arms akimbo, and glaring.
I struggle to my feet so that at least she has me at less of a disadvantage. I take a stab at figuring out what is bothering her.
Sabrina: I promise, I don’t have any trips scheduled for at least a fortnight.
She doesn’t look appeased.
Lady B: While you’ve been off cavorting at soirees with half-garbed men, do you know what that Captain Martin of yours has done?
Sabrina: Captain Martin?
H.G.J. Martin? Hero of The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe, which, releases tonight, at midnight, like some sort of reverse Cinderella story?
A beautiful young woman—preferably one with no connections, who won’t ask too many questions—to spend two weeks in the North of England with an obstinate, aloof, and utterly handsome man.
Must love dogs, fixing up crumbling castles, and gorgeous and complicated war heroes who may or may not be hiding hearts of gold under their gruff exteriors.
Must not, under any circumstances, fall in love . . .
Simpering misses need not apply.
Lady B: Yes, Captain Martin! It was bad enough that when he visited my ballroom last, he was taciturn and ungracious, but now he has committed a travesty!
I cannot imagine what he could have done. After returning from his time helping the war effort as one of the Royal Engineers, the poor man has hidden himself away in his crumbling castle for nearly a year.
Sabrina: I am certain whatever has been done can be undone.
I look for my pencil. The one with the extra powerful eraser. After all, I am the writer. I am in charge, right? Except…I’m back in the ballroom now, and somehow these heroes always seem to confound us authoresses here.
Lady B: Undone? If he had only left it undone, all would be well. Have you seen the castle on our Yorkshire estate lately?
Lady B: It looks of recent construction.
Sabrina: Naturally, after all I know Lord B and you take excellent care of your properties.
Lady B: That we do, but Lord B painstakingly designed this castle as a replica of the ruins of my great-great grandfather’s home. It is supposed to look not dissimilar to this:
Sabrina: Oh. That is a problem.
It’s sort of funny, too, but I don’t think I’ll be mentioning that to Lady B.
Lady B gives me that look.
Sabrina: I do apologize Lady B, but at least, in just a few hours, he will be loosed upon the rest of rest of the world.
Lady B: Lord B was quite put out. And you know how difficult it is when one’s husband is not content. I hope he doesn’t decide that authoresses are far too much trouble.
Uh oh. Time for serious damage control.
Sabrina: I certainly hope not! Especially as I am so excited about this story in particular. It incubated here at the Ballroom, starting with this very first post, Advice Desired Most Urgently, in which I read my cousin Mary’s desperate letter to you and asked everyone for advice. This novella would not exist without the input of your guests.
Lady B: I certainly expect that you have brought a copy of this for me?
Here at least I can satisfy our hostess!
Sabrina: I have.
Lady B: Excellent.
So let me know, if you could build a folly to resemble anything, what would it be? A ruined castle like Lord B? A Greek temple, a space ship? In celebration, I am giving a copy of The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe to one commenter.