BEAU [glowers at the announcer through quizzing glass]: Now, shall we greet our next contestants? He’s a decorated war hero recently ascended to a Dukedom! And she’s one of England’s most renowned linguistic scholars! Give a warm ‘hello’ to the hero and heroine of HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE, Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson and Miss Cecily Hurston!
BEAU: Let’s begin. I shall pose a question to each of you, and you are to answer how you believe your partner will respond. Please step away into the soundproof booth, your grace.
LUCAS: I shall go, Brummell, but if anything happens to Cecily while I am gone I will hold you responsible. Someone is trying to kill her, you know.
[CECILY rolls her eyes and shoos him away.]
BEAU: Now, Miss Hurston, if you please. [Looks down and reads the card. Turns red.] I cannot ask her this! It’s unseemly.
ANNOUNCER: Ask the question, Brummell, or your precious snuffbox collection is headed for the nearest pawnbroker.
BEAU: Dash it! That’s blackmail!
ANNOUNCER: Indeed it is. So if you wish to save your boxes, do as I say.
BEAU: All right. All right. Calm down. Apologies in advance for the indelicacy of my question, Miss Hurston, but what is the most unusual place where you have….ehem…
CECILY: Yes, Mr. Brummell? I vow I am on the edge of my seat!
BEAU: Oh, blast it, where is the most unusual place that you and the duke have…um…had…that is to say, engaged in…[he makes a gesture with his hand]
CECILY [eyes growing large]: Oh! Oh, I see. [Takes pencil and writes.]
[LUCAS comes back in and takes the seat next to Cecily.]
BEAU: So, your grace, how do you think your betrothed answered the following question? ‘What is the most unusual place where you and your lady have engaged in…’
LUCAS: Brummell, if you value your life you will not finish that sentence.
CECILY: It’s not his fault, darling. He is being blackmailed by that horrid announcer and I think we really ought to investigate. I’ll tell Juliet and Madeline all about it this evening and we will make a plan.
LUCAS [groans]: You need another mystery to solve like you need instruction in Latin. [To Brummell] You are lucky I have no wish to have Cecily embroiled in another scandal, Brummell. I believe her answer to that question would be “in the same room with a mummy.”
CECILY [beams, turning over her card which reads “in a room with a mummy”]: We are an excellent match, are we not?
LUCAS: I’ll never think of artifacts in the same way again.
[Cecily is hurried out of the room]
BEAU[looks nervously at LUCAS]: Your g…g…g…grace, which one of you was the first to confess your affection for the other?
LUCAS: Don’t be such a ninny, Brummell. I won’t call you out, much though you deserve it. If you’re being blackmailed then I have no desire to get involved with the business. I have enough to worry about. [He writes hastily on his paper. CECILY is called back into the room.]
BEAU: Miss Hurston, how do you suppose your betrothed guessed you would answer the following question: Which one of you was the first to confess your affection for the other?
CECILY: Oh, that’s an easy one! It was Lucas, of course. You see, I had a rather nasty break-up with a fiancée earlier in my youth that led me to…
LUCAS: You don’t have to tell them the entire tale, darling. Besides you know how I hate to hear you talk of that bast…gentleman.
CECILY: Of course! I am sorry. I just hate to think of all those years I wasted on…him when I could have been looking forward to you.
[She throws her arms around his neck and they embrace passionately]
BEAU: Your grace! Miss Hurston! Please! That is to say…! [Shrugs, goes to pick up Lucas’s paper which has fallen by the wayside. He holds it out to the crowd and reads] It says ‘me’ so the Duke of Winterson and Miss Cecily Hurston have answered both questions correctly! Since they are otherwise engaged, I bid you adieu and encourage you to read their story in HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE, available in stores now!
Audience, what are some of your favorites ‘firsts’ for your favorite couples?
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