Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Valentine's Day Literary Ball

A group effort coordinated by Nancy, Jeanne, Jo, and AC

Judging by the babble of conversation coming from the foyer, many of the guests had arrived and were just waiting for the doors to open. Still, that one final check was vital to a perfect presentation. Sven cast a keen glance over the Lair ballroom. Candlelight glittered off the phoenix ice sculptures flanking the bandstand. The string quartet were in place, warming up.

As for the rest . . . Silver candelabra, nine candles each, one per buffet table, lit--check. Tea lights, one per small roundtop, lit--check. He sniffed appreciatively. Donna had authorized the purchase of beeswax candles, a rare extravagance. Flowers--one large arrangement, mixed, with red roses dominant, on each serving table, one nosegay per roundtop--check. No wonder the room smelled exquisite.

Cheese straws, butter mints, petit fours and cheese/fruit platters, one tray each per table--check. Wine stations, one in each corner, stocked and staffed--check. Bar, one at each end of the room, stocked and staffed--check.

The cabana boys cleaned up nicely, some in their usual attire of tanks and loose pants, others wearing, as he did, the bespoke tuxes provided for Lair staff. By the door stood Demetrius, resplendent in gold-on-silver breastplate, crimson tunic and cloak, and knee-high sandals. An ornate, gold-on-silver scabbard sheathed his shortsword. Marcus and Lucian, similarly dressed, lounged in opposite corners of the room. Security--check. This was, after all, an invitation-only event.

As Sven straightened the napkins on the nearest serving table, Marcus strolled down the table's other side, eying the food. "Touch anything before the guests do," Sven warned, "and I'll cut your hand off."

"You could try." Marcus grinned and fingered his sword hilt.

"Sven! Sven!" Paolo scurried across the ballroom, his tie askew.

Marcus rolled his eyes at Sven, who grimaced inwardly. Paolo was a genius with ice sculpture, but his temperament could be a trial. "What now, Paolo?"

"Demetrius says--he says there'll be primitives here tonight. Are we in danger?"

"Not with us gladiators around," Marcus said. "Not to mention the dragon perched on the roof."

"That beast." Paolo sniffed. "Seriously, Sven--he's going to let in people carrying swords."

Fingering his hilt again, Marcus cleared his throat loudly. "That had better not be your definition of primitive."

Paolo glared at him.

Sven ignored the byplay and adopted a patient tone. "Tonight's event is for the banditas' characters and others from American and British literature and for the banditas' buddies. Many of the literary guests are always armed. Those who carry weapons habitually will, of course, bring those weapons. It's perfectly safe."

"What if they drink too much?" Fidgeting, Paolo glanced at the bar. "They might make trouble. If someone is killed, think what that would do to the Lair's image!"

Zach, the head hockey hunk, shot his cuffs as he walked up. "My guys are on that. Relax, Shorty. Everything will be fine."

"There's no need to be insulting." Paolo bristled. "Really, just because you and Marcus thrive on violence--"

"Paolo, check the wine glasses, please," Sven said. "Be sure we have enough champagne flutes. And straighten that tie."

Muttering under his breath. Paolo stalked away.

Zach cocked an eyebrow at Sven. "Don't tell me you didn't already check that stuff."

"He needs something to do." Sven glanced at the bandstand. The conductor saluted with his baton, and Sven nodded acknowledgment. The quartet began to play. "Time to go. Places, gentlemen. I'll inform Demetrius and the guests we're ready."

Demetrius straightened from his comfortable slouch as Sven approached. Together, they opened the ballroom's double doors.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Sven said, "on behalf of the Romance Bandits, welcome. Happy Valentines Day. Please come in and enjoy yourselves."

The first couple handed Demetrius their invitation, gold-embossed on vellum. The stocky, brown-haired man had a mischievous glint in his eye. He wore a frock coat, and his petite, blonde companion wore blue satin with a bustle. They must be from one of the historical novels on the list.

"Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sawyer," Demetrius read.

"Tom and Becky," the woman corrected, smiling.

Demetrius returned the smile and added a nod. "On behalf of the banditas and in honor of the late Mr. Twain, welcome."

Assured matters were well in hand, Sven turned away. What--was that a flash of--oh, yes, blast it, tail feathers!--disappearing behind the band stand. That obnoxious Golden Rooster had crashed the party. He was bound to flirt with all the women--in the smarmiest possible way--and annoy all the men. He had to go.

Several couples were already on the dance floor. He spotted Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, Mr. and Mrs. Rochester, and the Sawyers in the brightly clad assemblage. Amber O'Neill and Kevin Hennessey, from Aunty Cindy's The Wild Irish Sea glided past.

Sven stalked toward the musicians, but Marcus passed him. "On it," the gladiator said.

"Quietly," Sven reminded as guests strolled into the room.

Marcus threw him an I'm-not-an-idiot look. He and Lucian flanked the bandstand. The two gladiators disappeared from view, probably peering behind the skirting. A moment later, they straightened, frowning.

Blast! The rooster had evaded them.

Turning to survey the room, Sven noticed an attractive couple entering. He needed a moment to place the tall man with dark auburn hair and a mischievous grin. Beside him walked a curvy brunette whose hair waved down her back. Her blue eyes sparkled. Where had he seen them? The man wore U. S. Army dress blues-- Ah, yes, Max and Sophia from Tawny's Breaking All the Rules. Sven mentally checked them off.

Behind them came a tall, dark-haired, handsome man and tall, gorgeous blonde woman--British security consultant Derek Stone and book restorer turned amateur detective Brooklyn Wainwright, from Kate's The Lies That Bind. Sven would bet both of them were armed. Perhaps Paolo wouldn't notice.

Where was that idiot bird?

Across the room, the dashing Golden Rooster adjusted his bow tie as he eyed the room full of lovely ladies. Sure, there were lots of handsome fellas here too, but none of them had his swagger or way with the ladies. He spotted a blond beauty sipping a drink at the edge of the dance floor and made his way toward her.

"Hello, there," he said up at her. He would have waggled his eyebrows if roosters had them.

"Hello. Lovely party, isn't it?"

"Yes, but not near as lovely as you."

"Why, thank you. You're looking handsome too. Nice tie."

He stood straighter. This was going well. "A lovely lady like yourself must have an equally lovely name."

"She does," said a tall, dark-haired man who came to stand close to the beauty's side. "Elly Jackson, my wife."

From Trish's book, Elly: Cowgirl Bride, the rooster realized. He grimaced inwardly, being unable to do so outwardly because he had a beak and not a mouth. But surely all the women wouldn't have such vigilant companions.

"Oh, Will." She swatted at the man's arm, a playful scolding. "We're just chatting." She smiled up at him, and the Golden Rooster knew it was time to scan the room for another beautiful creature, preferably one unattached and ready to shake a little tail feather.

First, however, a diversion was in order. Something to draw away those pesky, hulking males on the staff.

Watching the door a few minutes later, Zach grinned despite the report in his earpice. The rooster might be making trouble, but the new arrivals were just what he needed for rooster takedown.

Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti and the rest of the New Jersey Ice Cats of Anna Sugden's Bad Boy, Good Man entered the Lair. Their team jerseys draped enticingly over their broad shoulders and rugged physiques, while their formal pants clung to muscular thighs. They gaped at the dancing couples in historical costumes. Bandita VA hadn't told them this shindig was freaking fancy dress.

Bad Boy tugged at his tie and ran a finger beneath his shirt collar. “How long did Coach say we have to stay?”

“At least one hour.” Team-mate, Tru Jelinek, squinted at a tall, curvy redhead in a toga and grinned. “One tug and that outfit is history. I can find a way to pass the time.”

“Yeah, and what are you going to be doing for the other 59 minutes and 50 seconds?”

Tru punched Jake in the shoulder. “You’re just sulking because the lovely Maggie refused to come with you.”

“I didn’t ask her.” Bad Boy ignored his friend’s shocked expression. “This is a team gig. No more dating until we win the Cup, remember.”He clenched his jaw and looked for a way to change the subject. “Check out those ‘I’m so dark and dangerous’ dudes lining up at the bar. Which agency do you reckon they work for?”

“Any one of those three-letter gangs – FBI, CIA, DEA. Bet they wouldn’t look so tough with a pair of skates strapped to their feet.”

The gathered players laughed.

Hockey Hunk Zach appeared at Jake’s shoulder. “Hey guys, thanks for showing. I need your help at the rink.”

Jake brightened. “This place has ice? Hot damn!”

“Yeah, but I got a problem. The pesky Golden Rooster has been teasing Ermingarde, the Lair’s dragon and lured her out to centre ice. I need you all to help me move her.”

Bad Boy and Tru exchanged puzzled looks, then shrugged. Whatever. It for sure beat the he … heck out of small talk and dancing to that crappy classical music.

The hockey contingent hustled toward the rink as Donna crossed toward the door.

“Lady Arianne Chambers,” Donna called to a familiar face. “Is your brother the duke going to join us in the lair?”

“William?” Arianne tugged at the green satin of her sleeves. “I don’t think so, but he would enjoy it. Ever since he married his American heiress, he is quite the, how do you say it? Party animal.”

"Give him our best," Donna said. Heading back to the dance floor, she exchanged greetings with Joan's and Suz's guests from The Patrician's Fortune and The Surrender of Lacy Morgan.

“Oh, my,” Julia said on a breath, “Have we stumbled into Cupid’s Temple?”

Damon pulled her against him and smiled as she nestled in when he kept his arm wrapped around her waist. All humor disappeared as he took in the scene. They were in a cave of sorts filled with all manner of strange people. Half clad men, slaves he would assume, though having been one himself he did not sense the underlying despair of such, dashed among sedans filled with lounging women. “More like Bacchus to my way of thinking.”

"I don't know about Bacchus, but this saloon has one hell of a bar," said the man dressed in long lean, leather clad pants with some sort of weapon strapped to one thigh and a large knife attached to his other calf leaned back against the mahogany topped bar, a hat slung low over his eyes, curly blond hair hanging down to his shirt collar and a wicked smile on his face. "And the women aren't too bad to look at either."

"Just as long as you're just looking, Quinn. Although I do enjoy the scenery myself," the russet-haired beauty by the cowboy's side said as she watched one of the scantily clad cabana boys stroll by with a tray of drinks.

The man named Quinn growled and pulled the woman up against his side. "Just remember, kitten, that I only share you with one person."

The woman gave a low, sensual laugh. Leaning past her man, she smiled at the other couple. "This is Marshal Quinn Halliday and I'm Lacy Morgan. You must be almost as new as we are to the Bandit Lair."

“Lair?” Damon didn’t like the sound of that. As spy for a Roman Senator, he’d been in his fair share of lairs and none of them had boded well. He eyed the strangely dressed couple. He looked dangerous, she looked ready.

“Love,” crooned Julia, leaning against his chest and looking up at him. A look. That’s all it ever took and he was hard as a post."“I think this is a celebration of some manner."

She leaned forward, stopping one of the servants and snatched two glass cups filled with a frothy orange liquid. Julia took a sip then gestured to a man who’d stepped out from behind the woman named Lacy. “My, who is your barbarian friend?"

Lacy laid a hand on the other man's chest, giving him the same sensual smile she'd given Quinn, who didn't seem to mind the intimate way she touched the newcomer. "This is Marshal Dakota O'Keefe, Quinn's brother."

Dressed and armored almost exactly as Quinn, the dark haired man looked nothing like his brother. His long dark hair hung to his shoulders and his features spoke of not only a different father, but an entirely different heritage. He looked deeply into Lacy's face, then fixed his soul searching gaze on Julia. "Very pleased to meet you, ma'am."

At that moment a determined looking woman in a corsett and bucket boots stomped by, followed quickly by a servant who appeared to be carrying a large tray of steaks. "Paolo, do keep up. With all these people at the ball, we have to keep Ermingarde the dragon fed, or she'll be having roasted guests for her dinner. And you know the Goddess Sangria hates it when she does that!"

Meanwhile, two men, one with a deadly glint in his eye, slipped into the main ballroom of the lair. Marcus recognized them from Donna's upcoming release, Redeeming the Rogue. One nodded at Donna as he said, “Good Lord, Phineas. You should have told me it was going to be a Valentine’s ball. I’m not dressed for some hoity-toity ball.”

“From the interested glances of those ladies, Rafferty, I don’t think they care much how you’re dressed. In fact, some might prefer you wore nothing at all.” Phineas laughed and waved at the ladies across the dance floor before tugging at his sleeve to produce a bouquet of paper flowers.

Rafferty shook his head, the motion pushing his long dark hair from his eyes. “I’m here on business, not to play witness to your sleight-of-hand. Barnell’s mistress is wearing a green gown.” He scanned the crowd. “This must be a fancy dress party. There’s Romans, and some strange men with sticks, and – is that a dragon? Jesus, Mary and Joseph, someone is hanging from that chandelier! Do you see anyone in a green gown, Phineas?...Phineas?”

Rafferty glanced to his side but Phineas had already disappeared to entertain some adoring fans with his magic tricks.

Scowling, Zach and the Ice Cats stalked back into the Lair. "That bird must have radar," Zach muttered. "At least Ermingarde has calmed down and is off the ice. Thanks, guys."

"Anytime." The Ice Cats cruised toward the refreshment tables.

Zach started to follow, but those newest arrivals by the door looked very young to be on the guest list. As he started toward them, he saw Marcus already en route. Zach left the problem to the gladiator.

Sydney Banks and Jinx Scribner, Jo’s characters in her young adult manuscript Blood Warriors, had decided to crash the Banditas’ Valentine Ball. They had slipped past armed guy at the door when a guest's question distracted him.

“Oh my holy heck,” Jinx said, gazing around at the gaudy decorations inundating the spacious Lair.

“Shhh, they might kick us out.” Sydney punched Jinx hard with her elbow and nodded toward the open bar. “You know we’re underage.”

Jinx grinned impishly. “No matter, I’m a teetotaler.”

“Uh oh, we’re in trouble.” Sydney nodded toward a huge dude striding toward them with a hard glare and sure purpose.

The young gate-crashers darted behind an ice sculpture, barely missing the couple standing in front of it. Tall and dark-haired, the man clapped a hand to the broadsword at his side.

"They're gone, Geoff." Her blue eyes thoughtful, Lady Maud Sommerville touched her husband's arm. "I suspect they're fleeing that man in the tunic and breastplate. He seemed to be hurrying toward them."

Her husband cocked an eyebrow at her but released the sword hilt. "Better to take precautions than not, sweeting. Especially after that maniacal bird nearly tripped you. No one knocks you down."

There had been a time when someone did, someone he still he wished he'd had the privilege of killing. Their eyes met in shared memory, and he squeezed her hand. "Never again," he said softly.

"Excuse me." The man in the tunic and breastplate stopped beside them. "You're Sir Geoffrey and Lady Maude Sommervillle, from Nancy's novel The Shadow Knight, are you not? Have you seen two very young people?"

"They ran past us, heading toward the rear of the chamber," Maud said.

The man bowed and left them.

Two couples strolled up as the gladiator left. "That was Marcus, wasn't it?" Ana Burton-Bromley asked Lady Maud. "Jeanne told me about him." She wiggled her eyes in an appreciative manner, her eyes following the handsome gladiator.

"I do believe so," Lady Maud agreed in her soft voice, a twinkle in her eye.

"Ana, perhaps you'd be so kind?" Matthew, Marquess of Sheene moved to Ana's side, his Lady, Grace, on his arm so that he could greet his fellow nobleman. Though several centuries apart in time, courtly manners dictated that they be properly introduced.

"Oh, sorry," Ana said. "Maud, Geoff, this is Matthew and Grace, and you know my husband Gates." She gestured lightly to each of the people in question. Gates rolled his eyes at her casual manners.

"Ana, I think they wanted the full introductions." Gates winked at Geoff, and Ana caught the sly grins. It was an "I know that you know that I know" kind of moment between the two men. Since they were both in security, they both probably had dossiers on everyone in the Lair.

"Oh, sorry. I'm not sure who has precedence, but I think it's you, Geoff. So, I'll start over. Sir Geoffrey Sommerville, Lady Maud, may I present my friends Matthew, Marquess of Sheen and his Lady, Grace, from Anna Campbell's Untouched. And you know me, and my husband, Gates Bromley, of course from Jeanne's Deadly Little Secrets."

Geoff laughed as did Grace. "You've made a hash of it, Ana," Matthew mock-growled the words in his deep voice, then laughed his wonderful rich laugh. "But no matter about titles and precedence, we're among friends and in the Lair, so titles hardly matter now do they?"

"No, I guess not," Ana grinned, unrepentant. "Did you see that dragon as you came in?"

"I did indeed see the dragon," Geoff admitted. "They were rare, even in my time. Wherever did they find her?"

Ana looked speculative, and Grace smiled to see it. "Now Ana, I don't think one will fit in your home. This place is rather a big larger than any of our estates, you know."

"And we don't have time to housebreak a dragon," Gates said, smiling as well. "I think we have some work to do in Jeanne's next book."

In another part of the Lair, Zach overtook Marcus near the back door. "Never mind those kids. We can catch them later. First, let's get rid of that bird. I just saw him trying to peer up a guest's skirt. Lucky for him, her heavily armed date didn't notice. I know how we can cut him out of the crowd." Zach explained, and Marcus nodded.

"I have the perfect tool," the gladiator said. "Give me five to bring it from our villa."

Zach nodded. He tipped Sven off to the plan, and the two of them circulated among the guests. Gradually, some of the female guests--only the ones in floor length gowns--drifted toward the bar at one end of the room. Zack grinned to himself. If this didn't draw that arrogant rooster, nothing would.

After a few minutes, he noticed the women looking down, smiling, glancing at each other. Lovely, red-headed Julia nodded to him. A faint sound of clucking carried over the music. The rooster had taken the bait.

Marcus had also arrived. The gladiator stood at the end of the bar holding a net, or retiarius, down by his side.

The women's dates edged toward the bar. Their hands slipped into their dinner jackets or down to their sides, only to reappear holding a variety of firearms. They leveled their weapons on the crowd at the bar as Marcus edged closer.

"Now," the gladiator called.

The women wheeled away, leaving the rooster exposed to their armed companions. Half the women pivoted with weapons drawn, as well.

With no way out--too bad for him chickens couldn't fly--the rooster froze. Marcus flung the heavy net, and it settled over the bird. As the guests cheered, he bundled the annoying feathered party crasher up in the hemp and carted him out.

Mission accomplished. With peace restored, the party roared on through the night.

We have a special AHA bookmark to give away today. Tell us, do you have plans for Valentine's Day--either celebration or avoidance? If you could bring any person, real or fictional, alive or dead, to the party as your date, who would it be, and why? What's your favorite formal or dressy outfit, and when did you last wear it?

(The comment link is below today's AHA updates.)




The healthy heart tip for February 8 is: Visit http://www.shopheart.org/ for gift ideas that benefit the American Heart Association.

And just in case you missed it....

Sign Up for the Go Red BetterU Program and Receive Two Free Romance Novel E-Books

From Feb. 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance novel e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's BetterU Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited-edition magazine (that features this offer) on newsstands and in a grocery store near you.

To sign up for the BetterU program, visit http://www.goredforwomen.org/betteru/index.aspx.
(Go Red For Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books.)

85 comments:

Sheree said...

How fun!

Sheree said...

I don't have any solid plans for Valentine's Day yet. Just a lot of chocolate so far.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WTG, Sheree!
Now please get your Golden prize someplace safe before Marcus and the others decide to make some rooster appetizers!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

And speaking of chocolate...

I do believe Sven has directed a couple of the Cabana Boys to set up a chocolate fountain in one of the alcoves. I'll just go over and do a quality control run with about a half-dozen fresh strawberries...

AC

Jane said...

I don't have any plans, but my cousin just broke up with his girlfriend and I might hang out with him if he's feeling down. We could catch a movie or go bowling. If I were to bring a date it would be Henry VIII. I've been watching "The Tudors" and I think I would enjoy conversing about his love life. My little black dress is one of my favorite party outfits.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jane,
WOW! I'd LOVE to chat with Henry VIII myself! (esp. if he looks like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers on The Tudors -- YUM!) However, know what a womanize he is/was we might need to call Marcus and company for another intervention!

And you look lovely in your little black dress!

AC

June M. said...

I don't have any plans for Valentine's day yet. I would want to take Angus McKay from Kerrelyn Spark's book "Be Still My Vampire Heart". This man is just too good...Scottish Highlander and a vampire. His character is just so sexy!

Kim in Hawaii said...

Thank you for a most magnificent ball! Hubby is literally singing Valentines with his barbershop quartet as a fundraiser ... so the kids and I will watch Hawaii Five O! Hubby and I will go to dinner the following weekend.

While tempted to have a night on the town Alex O'Laughlin (and his fabulous accent), I'm happy with hubby. One the rare occasion we attend a formal event, he looks smashing in his dress uniform!

Helen said...

Well done Sheree and yes I would hide him somewhere safe LOL

What a great post everyone whoo hoo I can't get the smile of my face it was lovely catching up with some "friends" from the books I have read and meeting some that I am sure to get to know soon. Fantastic party.

I am not planning much at this stage for Valentines Day although I do have the day off work so maybe Hubby and I might go out for a nice lunch together somewhere. I do have my romance reader friends lunch on the day before and that is always a great day.

Who would I bring to the party so many to choose from but I think I would take Rod Stewart with me this time so as he can serenade me with one of his beautiful ballards in that sexy voice he has. As for dressing up I am such a plain dresser I don't have anything fancy but I am sure I could find a nice pair of slinky black pants and a bright satiny red top to go with it.

Thanks for the party Ladies

Have Fun
Helen

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh how lovely everything is! Sven, if you have a round top tucked up in a bower somewhere that would be very nice. I would bring BF with me, some of the ladies are as dangerous as their males and frankly I am not going to take the chance. Lizzie said she isn't loaning Darcy out anymore.

I would be in my black velvet floor length. The last time I wore it was New Year 2010. I love the way it is made at the top, that is where the glitz is.

Anna Sugden said...

Phew! That is one heck of a ball! So many hunks under one roof - yum!

As a thank you to Zach and the Ice Cats for rescuing her from that pesky bird, Ermingarde has agreed to let them cook burgers using her flames. I think they'll be a bit more relaxed now. I'll just head over there and make sure they're all okay. Keep them entertained. Tough job, but someone has to do it! LOL

Oh man, so many choices for a date - borrowing Roarke for the night would be awesome. Or Beth Andrews' Dillon (from A Not-So Perfect Past) or Brady (from A Marine for Christmas). Or Terri Garey's Sammy from her Nicki Styx series and her upcoming Devil Without a Cause. Or Lorraine Heath's Jack Dodger from Between the Devil and Desire. Or Villiers from Eloisa James' Desperate Duchesses.

I could go on and on!

In the meantime, I'd better keep those hockey hunks in check ;)

Gillian Layne said...

Wow. This post is amazing!

I'd bring Sherlock Holmes, to sort out all the mayhem that's sure to follow such a gathering. :)

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, Valentines--we make heart shaped pizzas with the kiddos. It's fun. A lot more fun than a run of five consecutive Valentine's Days that we spent in the hospital with our oldest daughter--pneumonia, every year. Age is a good thing, she's so much healthier now.

Bring on the chocolate (dark, of course) and the treadmill! I love it that you all are so involved with the AHA, ladies. :)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Oh my, what a lovely party! I see so many of my favorite characters here.

**scanning the room**

Oh there's my trio. Waving @ Quinn, Lacy and Dakota!! Who is that sexy man in Roman attire and his lady beside them? Ah, I see another cowboy, must be Trish's Elly and Will. (Very popular name for cowboys this season...as one is stalking me and begging me to finish his story!)

Who is my date? I think I'll bring Connagher, (a Louis L'amour cowboy as played by sexy Sam Elliot!)

Nancy said...

Sheree, congrats on the bird! Chocolate sounds great. :-)

Donna MacMeans said...

I do love the parties in the lair. They've become legendary - hence so many famous literary characters - you should see the ones outside hoping to crash the gate! Good thing we have armed security forces in the lair.

The dh and I are heading out for a romantic valentine's dinner this weekend - just the two of us. It seems we rarely get to be "just the two of us" these days. If this snow would disappear, I might jaunt out to the mall and look for something red for the occassion. Seems like a perfect red dress month!

Sheree - guard your chocolate from the rooster. He's one bird you don't want on a sugar high.

Susan Sey said...

Ooooh, I do love a party!

Just for fun, I think I'd bring Shia LaBeouf. I understand he's quite the bar brawler, & I'd enjoy seeing him & the cabana boys mix it up.

Well. I guess I'll just wander over to the bar....

Kate Carlisle said...

Thank goodness you caught the wascally wooster! I hope he doesn't flirt too much, Sheree. :-)

Wow, what a party! Did somebody say "chocolate fountain?" Outta my way!!

Okay, I know who my date would be. Derek Stone, of course! I do love a tall, dark, handsome and dangerous man, don't we all? Yum!!

Wait. Maybe I should bring Gabriel, my mysterious stranger. Also TD&H--and dangerous, but with a different sort of edge. More of a risk taker, I guess. He would certainly be able to tame Ermingarde. Oh yes...

But Derek is so ... mmm ... rugged, and ... protective.

I can't decide. I'm bringing them both!

Joan said...

Pfft on the chocolate fountain...Sven is offering a chocolate MASSAGE!!! Hmmmmm...dark if you please.

Kate, while I agree Derek Stone is yummy, Gabriel intrigues. In fact, the Goddess Sangria has requested his presence in the Irish snug...

(thunder)

Immediately!

Joan said...

"I still do not like the way those "cowmen" are looking at you," grumbled Damon, draining his wine cup.

Julia smiled. "Cowboys, my love. I believe they are called Cowboys." She pulled her gaze from the long, dark haired one and focused on her true love. "Put it from your mind. See what that servant gave me. It is called chocolate syrup." She dipped her finger in the dark liquid and held it to his mouth.

Damon smiled. "Remarkable, I wonder...do you think it's use could be as honey?"

Julia smiled, turned and headed for one of the alcoves.

Danielle Gorman said...

jI don't have any plans this year for Vday. My bf works in the restaraunt industry so he always has to work since it's the busiest day of the year. So we will probably just have to date night it another night.

flchen1 said...

No plans for Valentine's Day, although I think the kids may have school parties that day that I may need to assist at. *sigh* ;)

If we had a chance to party, I'd have to get DH to escort me; I wonder if his wedding tux still fits ;)

I haven't gotten really spiffed up in a while; I think I'd have to borrow something from my sister, whose taste far exceeds mine ;) Hooray for sisters!

jo robertson said...

What a great post, Nancy. Kudos to you!

Sheree, you'll have to figure a way to get the rooster disentangled from that net if you're going to put him to any good use today!

Yummmmmm, chocolate, the elixir of all wrtiers!

gamistress66 said...

My ladies -- you do know how to throw a party. The wine is devine, the food is fabulous as always and the scenery, particularly the male portion, is well...(waiving hand in effort to cool off) what can I say but "ooohh yea" :) but isn't this just a little elegant for the liar compared to most of your festivities? Not that I'm complaining -- if they must be dressed, er, dressed up ;) then such nice formal attire is indeed pleasing ;)

jo robertson said...

Sorry I'm late to the Valentine Party, gang. I went to bed early last night with a wee bit of a headache. But I'm raring to go this morning.

Good morning, all!

Oh, my, Aunty Cindy, I hadn't thought they'd actually ROAST the rooster. Bad as he behaves, he doesn't deserve THAT fate!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Jane, how sweet to support your cousin.

Setting your sights high with Henry VIII? Be sure he doesn't chop off your head!

AC, I'm sure the chocolate fountain will do fine without your "quality control." Snicker.

jo robertson said...

How are you enjoying The Tudors, Jane? I only watched a bit of it.

Oh, my, June, I'll have to try Be Still My Vampire Heart. Angus sounds like a perfect Scotsman, er, vampire, er, whatever! Can't do better than a man in a kilt, unless he's a vampire too!

jo robertson said...

How fun, Kim! What part does your husband sing in the quartet?

Sounds like you've got Valentine's all planned out.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Fedora,
Bless you for helping out in the classroom. I have fond memories of Valentine parties in elementary. We would decorate brown bags with our name and lots of hearts, then our classmates would put in those funky little paper Valentines. I remember getting Bugs Bunny and Flintstones valentines. I've seen Harry Potter ones, but I'll bet Justin Beiber will be very big this year.

And how LUCKY that you and your sister wear the same size! My sister and I were NEVER the same in anything... well, maybe sox. ;-)

AC

jo robertson said...

Kim, I absolutely adore Alex O'Laughlin, but I liked him much better in the vampire show they cancelled -- damn them all! -- than Hawaii Five-0. I'm afraid his sidekick Danno has taken my heart in that show. He's so darned cute.

Did you get any sitings when they were shooting the show?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Danielle,
I'm sure you'll have a much more enjoyable dinner AFTER Valentine's Day, not so crowded or hectic. That's why we had our Valentine's Ball a few days early, so that everyone could attend! Unfortunately, we didn't count on the GR stiffing up trouble. We should have known!

Thanx for dropping by,
AC

jo robertson said...

Helen said, "What a great post everyone whoo hoo I can't get the smile of my face it was lovely catching up with some "friends" from the books I have read"

Wasn't that fun, Helen! Hopefully, soon you'll meet the characters of our unpubbed Banditas!

Tell us about your Romance Readers Lunch, Helen, sounds like fun! Do you get together and discuss the books you've read? Is it a large group? How long have you been getting together like this?

Inquiring minds want to know LOL!

jo robertson said...

Oooh, Rod Stewart, lucky you, Helen.

I think the red top and black slinky pants sounds just the thing.

jo robertson said...

Dianna said, " I would bring BF with me, some of the ladies are as dangerous as their males and frankly I am not going to take the chance"

I don't blame you at all! Some of those gals are lethal!

Oooh, la la, black velvet sounds delish!

Pat Cochran said...

Valentine's Day for us is usually a birthday celebration for # 1 son,
born on February 14. Valentine's
Day for Honey and I is celebrated
later, usually dinner out.

My guests for the ball would have
to be Honey and my favorite NFL
running back from back in the day!!
I would be wearing my favorite
black, floor-length velvet gown
which I haven't worn in a very
long time!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi gamistress!

You're right, I'm afraid parties in the Lair tend to get a bit rowdy. We HOPED to make this one a bit more elegant, but I'm not sure we are going to pull it off. We've already had one anonymous chandelier swinger, and I distinctly heard Demetrius tell Le Duchess that as soon as he has his break, he'd join her for some shield sledding... (sigh) The Lair WILL BE the Lair...

AC

jo robertson said...

Uh, Roarke, Anna S.?? I don't think so. You know, of course, that once Eve Dallas is finished with him, he's mine, all mine!!

I think a cat fight could ensue in the Lair with everyone fighting over this ice-blue eyed man. Oh, no wait! He's got the face of a poet or a fallen angel WITH blue eyes. Yummmm1

jo robertson said...

Good call, Gillian. It'd take a Sherlock to figure out all the intrigues going on under the guise of a Valentine Party!

How do you make the heart-shaped pizzas? Sounds like a great activity for the kids.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Joanie!

That Roman couple of yours has been in the alcove a looong time, if you know what I mean and I think you do! ;-)

Does Marcus have another net? That seems to be the only way we are gonna catch those teen gate-crashers of Jo's -- Jinx and Sydney!

Sven, be sure to save enough dark chocolate for Aunty's massage!

AC

jo robertson said...

Gillian said, "Bring on the chocolate (dark, of course) and the treadmill! I love it that you all are so involved with the AHA, ladies. :)"

Thanks, Gillian. I had open heart surgery at far too young an age, so although we laugh and joke about drinking and decadent desserts in the Lair, we're mindful of moderation.

jo robertson said...

Suz said, "Oh there's my trio. Waving @ Quinn, Lacy and Dakota!!"

Oh, my, Suz, I just started "The Surrender of Lacy Morgan" last night and I'm not sure my poor heart can handle anymore contact with that sizzling trio!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOO LA LA, Pat!
Another lady in black velvet! You and Dianna are tres chic!

I had a royal blue velvet dress I wore as maid of honor at my best friend's wedding many years ago. Oh how I wish I still had the body to fit into that dress! ;-) But, WHAT THE HECK, this is The Lair where all things are possible, RIGHT?!?!

AC
dreaming at the Margarita fountain

jo robertson said...

Getting away with your husband sounds delightful, Donna. Have a great time. But be careful.

My son reminds me of how Dr. Big and I celebrated Valentine's Day many years ago. Said son was born the next day!

jo robertson said...

Susan, Shia LaB is sooooo darling, young but darling.

Kate, you'll have to fight your way to the chocolate fountain. I think Aunty Cindy's blocking the way there, and she has a bowl full of strawberries!

Joan, you lucky kitten, a chocolate massage???!!! I'm soooo jealous. My two favorite things at once.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Danielle, thanks for stopping by. Bummer your BF has to work on Valentine's. But extra chocolate always works. Or at least that's what I hear (snicker).

jo robertson said...

Fedora, I remember the days of making Valentine cookies or cupcakes for school. V-cookies are my favorite!

Hope you work something out with your husband. Time for you to spruce up and get out!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Kate,
You GREEDY Bandita! First you bring not one but TWO YUMMY GUYS, now you're hogging the chocolate fountain!

Okay, have at it. I'm going to see if one of VA's Ice Cats can teach me how to hip-check. I definitely have plenty of hips for it! ;-)

AC
green with envy over Kate's TWO fabulous dates

jo robertson said...

Thanks, gamemistress! Male scenery, hehehehehe. We do like a nice bunch of . . . uh, decorations.

We DO like how our men in the Lair clean up. Men in suits and tuxes, simply divine! When Dr. Big used to dress in a suit for church, I couldn't leave him alone. Oh, yeah!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

And speaking of GREEDY...
WHAT is UP with that Lacy Morgan and her two very different and scrumptious cowboys?!?! (Aunty's eyes glaze over and she begins to drool)

Surely I can convince just ONE of them to take ONE DANCE with yer olde Aunty...

jo robertson said...

AC said, " My sister and I were NEVER the same in anything... well, maybe sox. ;-)"

Me too, Cindy. She's this little slip of a thing, about 5-feet tall, maybe. And I'm wide-shouldered and narrow-hipped, like a boy! If she wore my skirts, she'd stretch out the bottom. Oh, we had plenty of fights over the clothes thing!

BJ said...

Well...it is my wedding ann. but since the hubby has to work....it's not going to be much of anything but him getting up at 230am and not getting hoim until 7pm. Yeah me :(
No Worries...I'll figure something out for the weekend....LOL
As for the party....Hmmmm actually I think I would rather take my sister Dee and just enjoy people watching....I mean heck with all the action...who the heck wouldn't!!!!!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Jo over you and your sister fighting over the clothes.

My sister had these HUGE ta-tas and I was flat as a board. :-( And she had big feet, so no sharing shoes either. But believe me, we found PLENTY to fight about without clothes figuring into it. My poor mom... :-P

AC

Anna Campbell said...

Sheree, dance with that chook! It will keep him out of the wine cellar!

Oh, what a fun post! And what fun to catch up with so many wonderful characters from the Bandit books. Matthew and Grace were so thrilled to be invited - they told me!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HRUMPH!!!!
No sooner do I wend my way over to the bar than Smoov links arms with Dakota and leads him out to the dance floor!

Oh that is just not FAIR! I think I'll go over to the corner and pout!

Paolo! Bring Aunty an industrial-sized mimosa and a half-dozen more choccie strawberries.

AC

jo robertson said...

Hi, Pat! What does no. 1 son think about having his birthday on Valenine's?

As I said, my no. 1 son was born the day after valentine.

And just who would that favorite NFL running back be?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

2:30 am, BJ?!?! In these parts, most of us haven't even gone to bed yet!

Well, I'm glad you and Dee could join us for our party. Mind if I join you in some people watching?

AC

jo robertson said...

Aunty Cindy said, "The Lair WILL BE the Lair..."

Oh, yes, rowdy doesn't begin to describe this crowd. I'm afraid their fine clothing won't last long. Ack, I feel another headache coming on. Quick, bring me champagne!

jo robertson said...

Hi, B.J. I don't blame you. With all those delicious men in the Lair, why should you and your sis bring your own. Just poach one of the others! They're all divine.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Jo,

Was just talking to David,(#1 son)
and he says he has always liked
having a "special" day on which
to celebrate his birthday! His
friends all knew and they thought
it was cool! Thinking back, I've
never known anyone else with a
Valentine's Day birthday.

Pat C.

jo robertson said...

Uh oh, I see Jinx and Sydney hiding behind a potted palm tree. After escaping the clutches of an unspeakable force lying beneath their school campus, I don't think they're going to let a measly net catch them.

But better safe than sorry. Keep hiding, kids!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Anna C.! So glad Matthew and Grace could attend. They're two of my favorite characters!

AC, grab Dakota from the clutches of Susan. He's way too much man for that little thing to handle. Besides, I want to hear HIS story when Suz gets around to the followup to THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN!

jo robertson said...

Pat, I don't think I've ever known anyone else who had a birthday on Valentine's Day, either.

Happy early birthday to your son! Glad he enjoys the "honor."

jo robertson said...

Emma's gotten grumpy and a bit tired of watching her Elmo dvd and "drawing" on her tablet. This is all her way of saying NAP TIME!!! Which she won't take unless I lie down with her. Hey, I'm not complaining.

See ya'll later!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

What a great post! And imagine, the rooster making a nuisance of himself. How shocking. :)

Beth Andrews said...

Wow, what a party!

I have no plans for Valentine's Day but if I could spend it with anyone (other than my husband) I'd choose my son *g* I won't see him until Easter and I miss that kid :-)

Heading over to the bar!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Have a nice "nap" with your cutie Granddaughter Emma, Jo-Mama!

The wind is blowing and howling here in NorCal today so I doubt either of you will get a lot of sleep. :-P

I can't think of anyone I know what was born exactly on Valentine's Day either... There must be SOMEONE! Besides Pat's #1 son, I mean. My baby bro's birthday is tomorrow and he's hitting a BIG ONE too. Uh oh!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Trish!
Yes, IMAGINE the GR getting into mischief. ;-) Fortunately, your Cowboy Will set him in his place very quickly! Glad you and your charming characters could join us today.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Beth,
How sweet that you miss your son. I'll gladly let you borrow mine for a few days. He's been hanging around my place for a couple of weeks using MY car while he looks for a job. :-P Here's hoping he finds one SOON!

Meanwhile, I think I'll join you over at the bar. I understand there's a dashing gent by the name of Phineas doing some coin tricks...

AC

PinkPeony said...

Hi Ladies!

You know how to throw a party with an interesting mix of people. No V-day plans. Maybe dinner with my husband. I'm tempted to hang out at the florist down the street with my Flipcam around five p.m. to record the panicked looks on men's faces when they're trying to grab a last minute V-day token. :)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Pink!
I'll bet you'd get some really popular YouTube videos down at the florist shop on V. Day. ;-)

Thanx for stopping by today, have a margarita!

AC

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Conagher and I two-step around the room then I see Joanie talking to Jeanne. I whisper in my cowboy's ear and we head their way.

"Joanie, why are Damon and the gladiators giving each other such suspicious looks? I swear I heard him growl at one who got too close to his lady Julia!"

Louisa Cornell said...

What a fabulous party and what a fabulous report from out hostesses!! Kudos to all !!!

Sheree, I see your handsome date is of the feathered variety. You might want to try handcuffs and a muzzle. On the ROOSTER! Sheesh, ladies!

I think I might want to bring Oscar Wilde as my date. Imagine the pithy repartee! Every party needs an incomparable wit and if anyone brings Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans La Campbell will be making other uses of her sharp tongue. VBEG

jo robertson said...

Hi, Louisa, I'll admit that I bit! Handcuffs and a muzzle, oh my! And along with feathers, too!

jo robertson said...

True, Trish! I don't know that any of us expect the rooster to behave, but we always have hope!

jo robertson said...

Suzanne, those damn gladiators are so territorial. Especially with their women!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Beth! I know you're going to miss your son. It's always so hard with the first one leaves home. There's a little space in your heart that wants to crawl into his luggage for a ride-a-long!

I know I love to "play" with my sons too! They're so much fun.

jo robertson said...

You're so right about the wind today, Cindy. It's been horrible up here. The empty soda cans for recycling tipped over and banged all around the back patio. Emma kept saying, "What's that, what's that?"

I finally had to go out and bring them in off the patio and tie up the wind chimes which I'm sure you could hear banging around!

jo robertson said...

OMG, Cindy, I think the bar's running dry. Is that you or that TD&H man dressed like a southern gentleman? The one who keeps making remarks about Scarlett's gown? He's been imbibed quite steadily all night.

jo robertson said...

That sounds hilarious, Pink! If you catch MY husband on your camcorder, give me a shout out! He'd be better off giving me nothing than something he scrounged up at the last minute!

I'm just sayin'.

jo robertson said...

Whew, just got back from the wine cellar! We're nearly out of drinks and mixes. Hmmm, maybe I should send Sven out for some beer. At the rate these dudes are drinking, I don't think they'd know the diff!

Uh oh, the chocolate fountain just fizzled out! I see AC trying to swipe up the last drop.

Several fellows have fallen under the tables, but the women guests are gathered on the dance floor dancing their hearts out!

WTG, women!

Slush said...

What a great party!

@Suzanne- just watched Conagher the other night and yes you chose the right date!

I myself would be on Jensen Ackle's arm. Dressed in a lovely ankle length black dress and my boots (it's a little chilly in February)!

No big Valentine's plans for me, just some time with the man.

jo robertson said...

And thanks for dropping by, Louisa. You know a party isn't a REAL party until you and all our Bandita Buddies drop by!

jo robertson said...

Great pick on Jensen Ackles, Slush! He's always been my fave of the Winchester boys. I love Sammy, don't get me wrong, but Dean -- ummm mmmmm.

Be sure to introduce us, k?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey gang! Happy Valentines Day Ball! WHEEEEEE!!!

Is that a great batch of late night s'mores from Ermingarde's area? I do love that....

I adore the fun in the Lair when we have a party. Oh, my goodness! Is that Shane, out with the cowboy contingent? Oooh.

As you see, I brought one of my own favorite hunks, Caine, from my Dark and Dangerous. We're both married (and happily, of course) but our spouses are both working. We decided to come together. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Sheree, congrats on that rooster nabbing!