Our guest today is Miss Megan Mulry, who has brought the hero and heroine of her new release A ROYAL PAIN to meet Lady B. I adored A Royal Pain and so did many others. As Hester Browne, New York Times bestselling author of Swept Off Her Feet, put it. “Megan Mulry’s vivacious Bronte is every Englishwoman’s nightmare—the straight-talking, hot-blooded, all-American girl who bags the Duke! Now, if only all English aristos could be as delicious as Max… “ To read an excerpt visit Megan’s Website.
Welcome to The Ballroom, Megan. I’m thrilled to have you here. I can’t wait for you to meet Lady B.
Megan: I lied to Max and Bronte and told them it was a Regency costume party in modern-day Mayfair, rather than a time-travel affair that would transport them back to Regency London through the coat closet. Don’t tell!
Lady B: Welcome, Miss Mulry. Introduce me to your companion.
Megan: Thank you for inviting me to the Ballroom, Lady B.
Megan curtsies and whispers to Miranda, “Pssst shall I tell her now or later that it’s Ms. Mulry? Hasn’t Gloria Steinem visited the Ballroom, yet?” Miranda inconspicuously kicks Megan in the shin.
Megan: [wincing] Please allow me to present Maxwell Fitzalan Heyworth, the Duke of Northrop and…[looks around for Bronte]
Miranda: Your Grace.
Max: Please call me Max. It’s true that I’m a duke, but these days we prefer to keep a low profile.
Lady B: Miss Neville! You have brought an impostor into my Ballroom. This man is not the Duke of Northrop. I know the duke well. In fact Bernie is in my card room now. I shall send for him and prove it.
[Megan continues to look worriedly around for Bronte, then notices a commotion at the entrance of the ballroom as the 21st-century Duchess of Northrop, neé Bronte Talbott, attempts to fling her arms around the neck of the man she believes to be her husband. Cut to ballroom entrance.]
Bernard Heyworth, 12th Duke of Northrop: My dear, you are quite alluring, but I fear you have mistaken me for someone else.
Bronte: [removes arms from his neck and fists hands on hips] Max! It’s me, Bronte! Mistaken you for…wait a minute, when did you change your costume?
Bernie: Well, let me think. [ taps his sideburns] I returned from riding in the park, then went to my club and then for a hand of cards, and then here, so I probably changed into this attire at half past six. How does that signify?
Bronte: Max! Why are you talking like that? You sound so poncy and stuffy, like the hero in that Miranda Neville book I was telling you about!
Bernie: Aaah, very well then, so we do share a mutual acquaintance after all. Miss Neville is across the ballroom speaking to Lady B. and introducing her to–my word! What am I doing over there?!
Bronte widens her eyes then plows through the ballroom, tugging the 12th Duke behind her.
Bronte: Max! Where have you been?! Why is it so hot in here? All these candles are ridiculous! Why don’t they turn on the air conditioning? Why didn’t you tell me you had an identical twin? And Megan, I thought you said this was going to be a costume party, not a torment!
Megan: Bron, about that—
Bronte: And this dress is an atrocity! What woman in a million years would let herself be hog-tied with her chest falling out. [tugs at her corset and tries to tuck her bosom back into place, then slowly looks around to realize the entire ballroom has fallen into silence.]
Miranda: Lady B., please allow me to present Bronte, Duchess of Northrop.
Lady B.: Bernie, dear, I thought that tawdry divorce with Elizabeth Bingham was finalized years ago—
Bernie: [feigning disinterest and glancing at his gloves] Yes, Heliotrope. Last I heard my former Duchess had become the Countess of Lucan and decamped to Paris. I have not remarried, thank God.
Lady B.: [resumes waving fan vehemently] Then who, pray tell, is this?! [snaps fan shut and uses it to point at Bronte.]
Bronte: [standing up straighter] I am the wife of the 19th Duke of Northrop! Who, pray tell, are you?!
Lady B.: Miss Neville! Really! Remove this virago from my presence at once!
Miranda: She’s from the 21st century.
[A murmur of whispered gossip begins to spread around the ballroom as the band begins to tune up for a waltz. Bronte clasps her hands together excitedly.]
Bronte: Oh, Max! I love this song! Let’s dance! [Turns to Bernie and gives him a kiss on the cheek.] Sorry for the mix-up before!
Max: [smiles at his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather as Bronte pulls him toward the dance floor]: Let’s have a drink on the terrace after this set and meet properly.
Lady B.: Well! If this an example of 21st century manners I am sorry for you. Ladies ordering men to dance with them. And touching their bosoms in public. And tugging a man on to the dance floor! I never have any trouble getting Lord B to do what I want, but I assure you my methods are far subtler.
Miranda: [mutters] I haven’t noticed Lord B doing a lot of dancing.
Megan: I am so sorry to have caused any offence, Lady B.–
Lady B.: Sorry indeed! You are the one who created such a foul-mouthed guttersnipe?
Megan:[blushing] I suppose I did. But she has a good heart and she loves Max, so that must account for something.
Lady B.: Love. Pish-posh. [stares out at the dance floor where Max swings Bronte through the dance] I suppose there are worse things…
Megan tugs at Miranda’s gown and whispers. “Let’s go! I can’t handle this kind of scrutiny! Max and Bronte can find their own way back to the 21st century through that coat closet!”
Miranda: We must be off, Lady B. Thank you for inviting Megan and her creations.
Lady B.: Yes, yes. [dismisses Megan and Miranda with a light lift of her fan]
[Back hall near the time-travel coat closet]
Megan: Miranda! I am so sorry that was such a disaster! Now do you see why I had to put all of that Regency goodness into the 21st century? None of my characters would survive an hour around here! [Dives head first into the coat closet.]
Do you think you would be a social pariah or a diamond of the first water if you time-traveled back to Regency London? And if you met your ancestor, what would you ask him/her? Megan will send a copy of A Royal Pain to one lucky commenter.