It’s just a little over a week until the release of my new Spindle Cove book, A Lady by Midnight! I’m so excited, and I’ve brought with me to the Ballroom today the book’s hero–Corporal Samuel Thorne, now acting lieutenant of the Spindle Cove militia.
But as I bring him into the Ballroom, two things are immediately clear. First, Thorne’s not happy to be here. Second, Lady B’s not happy to see him.
I draw our hostess aside for a quiet conversation.
Tessa: Why do you look so wary, Lady B? I know he’s a bit fearsome-looking, but believe me–
Lady B waves a hand. I am accustomed to fearsome-looking men. It’s just that your heroes tend to be so unmanageable, Miss Dare. Remember the time that Lord Payne flirted with every young lady in the ballroom?
Tessa: Oh, yes. I remember it well. But never fear, Lady B. Thorne is a very different sort of hero from Colin. He’s a military man with a dark past, a strong sense of loyalty…
Lady B’s ears perk. Do go on.
Tessa: And he’s known for being exceptionally taciturn. He hardly ever says a word.
Lady B: Even in ballrooms?
Tessa: Especially in ballrooms. I tell you, Albert is more talkative.
Lady B: Perhaps Corporal Thorne just hasn’t met the right hostess yet. I shall see about this.
Lady B approaches Thorne. Thorne, being a well-trained officer, bows deeply and mutters something that is probably “my lady.” He’s clearly uneasy in this environment, and for a moment I feel a bit guilty. But then I remind himself that he’s seen battle and destruction and worse. Surely he can handle a few hours in a ballroom.
Lady B: It’s my pleasure to make your acquaintance, Corporal Thorne. I trust you’re enjoying yourself thus far?
Thorne turns a testy glance around the ball. To use modern parlance, this isn’t his scene. I can sense that he doesn’t want to be honest and offend his hostess with a “no”, so he’s trying to find something, anything, that he can genuinely claim to be enjoying. His gaze drops to his cup of ratafia–which I, of course, have liberally spiked.
At last, he speaks.
Thorne: Yes, my lady.
Lady B: Do you come often to Town?
Thorne: No, my lady.
Lady B: Well. Then I’m gratified that you’ve made the journey just for us. Do you have the opportunity to attend many balls in Spindle Cove ?
Thorne, after a prolonged pause: Rarely.
Lady B: Well. ” Rarely” is something more than “never”, isn’t it? I do hope we can coax you into dancing this evening.
That question doesn’t even receive a syllable of response. Merely a cold, impassive glare.
Lady B, whispering: My goodness, Miss Dare. You weren’t joking. Can the man ever be coaxed to utter more than one word at a time?
Tessa: I don’t know, Lady B. I think he might…but the lady would have to just ask the right questions.
Lady B: That sounds like a marvelous challenge for the right heroine.
Tessa, smiling: I think Miss Kate Taylor would agree.
But today, it’s a challenge to you, dear guests! Thorne will come by in comments later. See if you can ask him a question that he’ll be forced to answer with more than one word.
Additionally, feel free to make note of your own favorite strong, silent heroes. Or do you prefer the chatty rakes?
Side Note: Are you on Goodreads? Just today, I’ve opened a Q&A group to chat with readers as we get ready for the release of A Lady by Midnight. If you’d like to join us, please do!