“There…. No, a little to the left…. No, my other left! Goodness, Monty, can’t you get anything right?” snaps Lady B.
A perspiring Monty sets down his end of the edifice with a thump. It looks to be a large and ornate pedestal, lavishly draped with bunting and adorned with bouquets of hothouse flowers.
“Don’t you have footmen for this, auntie?” he appeals.
“Nonsense,” says Lady B, training him with a killing stare through her lorgnette. “Do you want Miss MacLean to think we don’t care?”
Above him, Albert contrives to look virtuous as he tugs at the ribbon between his teeth, as though he means to lift and convey the pillar single-handedly.
Swiping a hand across the back of his brow, Monty casts me a look of mute appeal.
Taking pity on him, I hurry into the Ballroom. “What’s this for?”
I know Lady B had been talking about auctioning off the gentlemen of the Cabal, but I didn’t think she’d meant it literally…. Plus, the pedestal is just a little too small for a grown man, particularly a romance novel hero. They grow them tall and broad-shouldered in Romancelandia.
“Haven’t you heard? This is for my latest trophy.” Beaming, Lady B waves a hand at a banner that scrolls across the far end of the Ballroom.
It reads, LADY B WINS THIRD RITA!
Under it, in much smaller letters, Sarah MacLean, A Rogue by Any Other Name, RITA Winner 2013.
Much, much smaller letters.
Looking, I might add, absolutely glamorous in her sparkly gown—having wisely refused Lady B’s wardrobe tips about “awards garments suitable for young authoresses in my employ”.
“Yes, exactly,” confirms Lady B. She looks fondly at the pedestal, which is ready to receive the golden statuette. “My third RITA. Yes, yes, you girls may do the writing, but, as we all know, I am your wind beneath Albert’s wings.”
<< Hot air! Hot air!>> squawks Albert.
Lady B fixes him with a fierce glare. Albert goes back to innocently gnawing on one of the celebratory ribbons.
Apparently, intermission is over. Lady B levels her lorgnette at Monty. “You! I want that pedestal moved just there—between those candelabra. The light will glow so prettily off my precious…. I mean, off Miss MacLean’s trophy.”
Note to self: warn Sarah not to bring RITA into the Ballroom tonight. She might not get it back.
“I must say,” adds Lady B. “Miss MacLean has truly outdone herself with A Rogue by Any Other Name. That Bourne….” She fans herself with one hand, then looks sly. “I have issued him a special invitation to the celebration tonight. As a surprise for Miss MacLean, of course.”
Yep. Sure. For Miss MacLean. Not because Lady B, like many others, has a little crush on the dangerous marquess.
“In fact,” says Lady B, “I have a few other little surprises planned for the celebration….”
Three cheers for the wonderful Sarah MacLean for her RITA win for A Rogue by Any Other Name!!
What sort of celebratory surprises do you think Lady B has planned for Sarah?
I’ll be giving away a copy of A Rogue by Any Other Name to one person, chosen at random, who comments on this post…. Because one good RITA-winning rogue deserves a reader!