MELJEAN: Here we are. (awkwardly stubs toe in dirt)
MELJEAN: …c’mon, now, you can’t hold this against me! I was really busy!
MELJEAN: I wrote an effing book, you little twerp!
MISSY: Oh, you say that like it’s a big deal. Fatty.
MISSY: While Meljean sobs, I’ll recap. This is where you meet me, Meljean’s younger-romance-reading-self. This is where you find out I like sex in romances. This is where I cry and fall in love with a romance hero. This is my first forced seduction (but not in a yucky way). This is where I like a big ugly cowboy. Meljean shoved me in a closet afterward, and only let me out a couple of times to tell a story with some dumb action figures.
MELJEAN: I should have left you there!
MISSY: I was in there for six months, with only category romances to read! I thought you were going to let me out to read the horse book!
MELJEAN: That’ll come, eventually. Er…but how do you know about non-categories? You aren’t there yet. In fact, today I was going to introduce you to…the SINGLE TITLE.
MISSY: I’ve read some. The heroine always gets carried away to some place and has sex with five different guys, but always ends up with the rugged one who lives in the mountains.
MELJEAN: No, no — this is…Lindsey.
MISSY: That means nothing to me.
MELJEAN: Oh, my sweet child. You will learn. And, now that I really, really think about it: you may name the hero of your first published work after the hero in this book.
MISSY: ….what the hell are you talking about?
MELJEAN: Tender Rebel by Johanna Lindsey. How old are you, Missy?
MISSY: Twelve or something like that.
MELJEAN: And babysitting for a lady? And when the kid takes a nap, you…sneak into her bookshelf?
MISSY: (blushes) Yes.
MELJEAN: Well, you read a lot of romances that summer, Missy, and most of them were Zebras…
MISSY: It has a cool hologram on the cover! And some of them were time-travels!
MELJEAN: …yeah. But this is the one that you *really* remember. And the one that will shape your book-buying habits for years.
MISSY: Oh my god. Look at her hair! She’s so beautiful! I want to be her! Oh my god and he’s so handsome!
MELJEAN: Actually, the sad fact is: I still like this cover. It’s so, so bad…yet so good. Let’s read the back copy, shall we?
THEIR EYES MET, AND DESTINY WAS FOREVER SEALED…
She was an exquisite Scottish heiress with an urgent need for the safety of marriage — her only protection from a villainous cousin and every other fortune-hunting scoundrel who coveted her flame-haired beauty and her vast fortune.
He was everything she’d been warned against — a ruthlessly handsome English rogue whose brazenly sensual blue eyes spoke of pleasure beyond imagining.
How she wished she dared to love such a man… to believe the whispered murmurings of his passionate promise… and to follow the enchanting dream…
MISSY: I’m going to be a flame-haired beauty when I grow up!
MELJEAN: Jesus, kid, look at me.
MELJEAN: How can someone be ‘ruthlessly’ handsome?
MISSY: Because it has no ruth! Shut up! He’s soooo beautiful.
MELJEAN: Okay then. Shall we get to the story?
ROSLYNN: Och! I’ve got a wee bit of time! I canna let me evil cousin catch me! I mun find a husband!
MAID: Speak English, hinny.
MISSY: I want to talk like her!
SOME RANDOM BLOKE: By god, that Anthony Malory and his brother are hot–look at them go at the fisticuffs! A pair of rakehells if there ever was a pair!
ANTHONY: I shall never marry, I’m too much the rakehell. I am the hottest of the Malorys, what with my black hair and piercing blue eyes.
JAMES: I shall only be here until I meet the woman with whom I shall have my own book, because I’m a pirate!
ANTHONY: Oh, bugger, we have to go to some bloody ball at the request of Regan–who is really named Regina, but in her book we beat up her husband and pissed him off by calling her Regan, so we shall prove what great uncles we are by always having a pet name for her!
JAMES: Bah! Let’s go fuck a wench.
MISSY: Oh, he’s sooooooooo sexy. I like him because he has dark hair. I don’t really like James, because he has blonde hair and I don’t like Fabio.
MELJEAN: And you never will, hinny. But you like blondes now. Your current hero is blonde. And with a bit of a language affectation that makes him not unlike these two.
MELJEAN: What? The aristocratic accent helps him get the girls swooning, so he can drink their blood! Every American girl falls for that stuff.
MISSY: Roslynn won’t! She’s not American.
MELJEAN: But you are.
MISSY: Yeah. *swoon* Anthony!
ROSLYNN: Where else to snag a husband but at a ball! Oh, and here’s my friend, Frances, who warns me off rakes for all time!
FRANCES: Rakes are bad!
ROSLYNN: Okay. I will choose someone who’s not a rake.
REGINA: Hey, we’re kind of connected! What a koinky-dink!
ROSLYNN: Do you know any eligible men?
REGINA: Haha, anyone but my handsome cousins, they’re rakes! Ha ha! My husband was a rake before I tamed him, though! Now he’s the bestest husband ever!
MISSY: Does she have her own book? I want to read it!
MELJEAN: No. You don’t.
ROSLYNN: Och, it’s such a crush and someone is bothering me! I shall go outside onto the balcony for some fresh air, and peek inside to make sure no one follows me again, and then run out into the darkness!
ANTHONY: Oh, that chit’s ass is fine! Yes, bend over…what is this? She’s running toward me, where I am standing in the shadows looking very mysterious and handsome, with my face conveniently hidden. I shall look very debonair though…I want her.
ROSLYNN: Oh! Whoops, sorry. (sees his face) Holy shit.
ANTHONY: Yes, I’m way hot. To whom do you belong?
ROSLYNN: No one.
ANTHONY: Belong to me.
ROSLYNN: Will you marry me?
ANTHONY: What the fuck? I’m a confirmed bachelor, a rake! Forever!
ROSLYNN: It’s a husband I’m needing, no’ a lover, and you dinna qualify…more’s the pity. *runs away*
ANTHONY: Oh, I love her Scot’s brogue! She will be mine!
JAMES: She’s a prime piece of baggage.
ANTHONY: Stay away from her! She’s mine.
JAMES: And now I will prove what rakes we’ve been by mentioning women we’ve fought each other for in the past.
ANTHONY braves the ball to go stare at Roslynn.
ROSLYNN stares back, with the help of REGINA, who drops more tidbits from her book.
MISSY: This is the best story ever! Oh my god! What’s going to happen? She can’t marry a rake, and he’s a rake! She has to marry, but he says he’ll never marry! Oh my god!
MELJEAN: *sob* I get sucked in every time. Why? Why? This book must be the definition of “guilty pleasure.”
MISSY: Mun be.
ANTHONY: And now I shall show of my superb equestrian skill in Hyde Park!
MISSY: I love horses! I love them! I love you, Anthony!
ANTHONY: Tell me all about the Scottish chit, Regan. Hahaha! I call you that despite your husband’s protests! That bounder! I am a fine uncle, beating up and forcing that rake to marry you after he compromised you in your book!
REGINA: (Oh, he’s got it bad!) She has to get married. She’s an innocent.
ANTHONY: She’s a friend to the rake-hating Frances. That’s too bad. My friend George and Frances once had a thing.
REGINA: Oh, look, there’s Roslynn on a fiery steed! (aside) Look how he looks at her! It is like my once-rake Nicholas husband looking at me!
JAMES: Hey, Roslynn. You’re way hot. I’m going to pursue you until you make a choice between Anthony and me.
ROSLYNN: Who are you, you big blonde man you! And who is that boy who looks just like Anthony beside you?
JAMES: Oh, that’s my bastard son.
ROSLYNN: Sure he is. That’s why he looks like Anthony. *scoff*
ANTHONY: James, I’ll kill you.
MISSY: I hate James!
MELJEAN: I donâ€™t like him much either, to be honest. He’s supposed to be a charming Alpha in an uber-sexy way or something, but he just comes off as…I don’t know, an effing misogynist asshole. And kind of stalker-ish. That, and he’s Fabio on his cover and that’s just icky.
MELJEAN: You haven’t even seen the cover!
MISSY: Still, he’s icky.
ROSLYNN: Och, I have thwarted a kidnapping attempt by stabbing my kidnapper with a dirk! Now off I go to Regina’s house party! I shall meet many suitable gentlemen–and ignore my attraction to Anthony Malory!
NICHOLAS and ANTHONY and JAMES squabble over the events of the previous book, trying to show who is the more manly man.
ROSLYNN: Okay, whatever. I’m going.
ANTHONY: I’m going to kiss you in front of all these people, or I’m going to kiss you in private!
ROSLYNN: Oh! Okay, I’ll go alone with you to a secluded place, but there will be no kissing!
ANTHONY kisses her.
ANTHONY: Let’s go to your room.
ANTHONY: You’re an innocent!
ROSLYNN: Don’t kiss me again!
ANTHONY bends her over a rail and kisses her again.
JAMES: Rake-hating Frances is coming.
ROSLYNN slaps Anthony and runs away.
JAMES: I’m still going to have her.
ANTHONY: She’s mine!
MISSY: Hey! That was the scene from the cover!
MELJEAN: Yeah. That’s why it looks like he’s about to drop her over a balcony. He almost was.
MISSY: I hope they do it soon! This is so good!
MELJEAN: *sob* I hate myself. But, yeah, it’s quite entertaining.
JAMES finds Roslynn alone and pushes her against a wall and kisses her.
ROSLYNN: (inside, as her tongue is engaged) Oh, he kisses just like Anthony! But he’s not Anthony!
JAMES: Aw, dammit! You want Anthony!
ROSLYNN: I don’t want either of you! *flounces off*
JAMES: I’m going to go find a wench to work out this frustration on!
MISSY: Yay! James gave up!
MELJEAN: …speaking of giving up….
MELJEAN: I have to go write.
MISSY: No! You can’t leave now!
MELJEAN: This is getting to be an extraordinarily long post anyway.
MELJEAN: So I’ll have to finish up and post Part Two later.
MISSY: Noooooo! Anthony! Nooooooooo!
MELJEAN kicks Missy back into the closet.