In honor of the new title releases by the ladies of InfiniteCharacters.com and some of our cool quest bloggers, they let me present to you a week of phenomenal prizes and special treats. InfiniteCharacter.com hosts: June Foster, Mildred Colvin, and me, Vanessa Riley are releasing:
Our fearless blog leader: Connie Almony is showcasing one of her fabulous WIPs: One Among Men.
As much as I love the Regency, I am also a sucker for old Black and White Movies. So join us this week for our version of Casablanca’s Rick’s Cafe Americain. If you have no idea what I’m talking about click here, you youngster. (Stay off my lawn.)
Oh, Rick and Ilse are your hosts. Their voices are in red. Take it away, Rick.
“If you’re here just for the contest, scroll down to the bottom, the back of the cafe. Do what it says to do. Don’t ask questions, and don’t stare at my patrons as you move through.”
“Yah, it’s Rick’s Cafe Americain. Well, it was until it was taken over by some dames on InfiniteCharacters.com. At least, they let me keep the name.”
“Come on in. Here’s the rules. Don’t comment on the misfits that come here. Don’t stare at their outfits. We have a few ‘time-travelers’. Everyone behaves better if you don’t stare. Oh, if you leave a comment you might win some cool stuff and make your trip memorable. Seems the dames like to treat people nice.”
“I’m going to the back of the cafe. But there’s a table up front you might want to go sit at.
I’m going to listen to As Time Goes By on the piano.”
With his leather boots planted on the floor, Dane Stark (Deborah’s Secret ) sits back in his chair. Like his father, his eyes are bright blue and he lets his thick, black, wavy hair lay where it wants. Wearing sturdy dark denim pants and a long-sleeved white cotton shirt, he puts a hand on his wide embroidered suspenders with leather tabs and gazes at his odd companions.
Same table, Jimmy Willmore (Stopped Cold) hides a giggle under a heavy cough. He’s only fourteen, and he snuck into the adult cafe. Jimmy’s wearing a pair of jeans and a light blue oxford cloth shirt with a button-down collar. It sets off his short blond hair and piercing blue eyes. His bangs fall slightly over his forehead. He has on a pair of tennis shoes with navy blue trim.
Across from Jimmy sits Riley Mathis (Deliver Us). His pale blue eyes shift as he studies the door. Being freshly out of prison, he’s wary about anything that can send him back. Riley has short, light brown hair that he parts in the middle. Since everyone here is just as odd as he, he relaxes. The corners of his mouth turn up in a grin. He probably looks as young as Jimmy. Shifting to the guy with two names to his right, maybe he should’ve dressed up. There are grass stains on Riley’s jeans and tennis shoes from mowing the grass at church.
Joel Ryan (A Healing Heart) puts his chocolate brown wool suit jacket on the back of his chair. With just his light blue sweater and jeans, he won’t be on the list for most over dressed. The English fellow with the beaver top hat can win the prize hands down. Joel’s light brown curly hair is cropped very short exposing blue eyes.
Justain Delveaux (Madeline’s Protector) wipes his face, then tugs off his riding gloves. He could try and tell his companions, his new title again. Yes, he’s is Lord Devonshire, but he’d been known as Lord Delveaux all his life. The change in title still hurts. He whips a hand through his dark hair, then straightens his thick freshly starched cravat. Righting his slouched posture, Justain smooths his wrinkled bottle-green waistcoat, then dusts his breaches and onyx boots. Someday he’d avenge his brother. But not today. No clues await him in this foul inn.
Chris Johnson (One Among Men) studies Devonshire. Something is definitely wrong with the man, but Chris couldn’t help but let his gaze drift to the piano in the back of the cafe. His stomach twists. His father played. Chris didn’t love playin’ music anymore. Music stole his father from him. Chris knocks back his shoulder length blond, wavy hair and closes his golden brown eyes. At least he is comfortable in this strange place, wearing a favorite dark-green Henley shirt and worn out jeans. Yet his brown leather Sketchers starts tappin’ to the music.
“Gentlemen.” Justain (Madeline’s Protector) shuffles his boots as he scans the countenances of his table mates. “I’m not sure why we are all here but let’s order beverages from this coaching inn.”
Jimmy (Stopped Cold) cocks a brow. “What?”
Chris (One Among Men) started to chuckle. “Yes, I think he meant a drink. I’ll have a bottle of beer.” He looks at the teen sitting next to him. “Waitress make that two, but could you empty them out and fill ‘em back with water?
Dane (Deborah’s Secret): “I reckon I’ll have apple cider. Long as it isn’t alcoholic, anything sounds better’n milk.”
Joel (A Healing Heart): “I’ll take some tea with honey.”
Justain (Madeline’s Protector): “Brandy. Your finest please.”
Dane (Deborah’s Secret): “Friend, don’t ya think it’s a might early.” He nodded toward Jimmy. “Should be settin’ an example.”
Justain (Madeline’s Protector): “I’m not in that habit of being a role model.” He adjusts his waistcoat smoothing over the scars to his ribs. “Can’t say I’ve had any good fatherly examples except for advice from my coachman, Mason.” Justain looks at the cracks to the floorboards and reminds himself he is on a new path. If he works hard enough, with his own hands and force of will, his reformation will be complete. A rake no more. The Delveaux name will bear no more scandals.
Riley (Deliver Us) grabs a steaming latte from the waitress: “I don’t like to talk about my upbringing either, but I missed having my dad around. It was pretty tough losing him when I was thirteen. Then when Mom married Dexter, I just couldn’t relate to him.”
Chris’s fingers (One Among Men) tighten about his bottle. “What upbringing? You mean my ole man smokin’ dope in the living room and always accusing me of stealin’ stuff? My mom cryin’ and workin’ double shifts to pay rent after he left.”
Dane (Deborah’s Secret) offers a patient smile. “We didn’t have much worldly goods, but Mom and Dad were the best. Still are. They took us boys to church and made sure we knew the right way to live. All seven of us had chores and Dad saw that we did ’em even if he had to use a switch. My brother, Wesley, worked harder at shirkin’ work than any two of the rest of us.”
Joel (A Healing Heart): “My folks? They’re great. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters so my folks put me on ski team. I had a great time and all those bus rides up to the ski lifts, man I had some good friends.”
Jimmy (Stopped Cold): “Hmm. I can’t complain. My mom and dad like for me to do well in school and stay out of trouble. I’ve been doing that. Well, unless you count the close calls Emily, Margaret and I had with the drug dealers as trouble. But, hey man, somebody had to find ‘um. Mom and Dad also insist that I attend church. I’m glad they do. My faith’s important to me.”
Justain (Madeline’s Protector) savors the sting of the amber liquid he pours down his throat. “It’s obvious we are here for a reason. Perhaps, we should linger here a little longer.”
Tomorrow, the gentleman will continue their conversation touching on more of the things that make them tick. In the meantime, leave a comment below to enter our daily prize and grand prize contests. For extra chances to win the Grand Prize: a luxurious Coach Purse with a copy of Madeline’s Protector and Deborah’s Secret inside, click this link.
Today’s Comment: What about your childhood would you like to forget? Add your comment below and win a chance at a $10 Starbucks gift card today. Remember everyday this week you can win a prize and be entered into our Grand Prize. Celebrate these characters with us.