Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Countdown, Day 3

Five days to go until Naughty in Nice is born--it's like the end of a pregancy: expectation, can't wait to get it over, just a little worried....

So here is snippet three from my new book. And keep watching for a contest announcement toward the end of the week....

On the Train to the Riviera where Lady Georgie is heading on a dubious errand from Queen Mary:

I looked down the rows of white clothed tables, their silver and china gleaming in the glow of little lamps. From here I couldn’t see a table that wasn’t occupied and wondered what the protocol was about joining someone on a train and whether I could ever pluck up courage to do that.

Of course the first person I noticed was the handsome Frenchman, sitting alone with another bottle of champagne beside him. He looked up from his soup and caught my gaze. He didn’t smile or nod as would have been usual. Instead he frowned at me.

“You are English?” he asked in French.

I replied that I was.

“Curious,” he replied. He was about to say something else when a voice from further down the car called to me, “I say. Aren’t you Georgiana Rannoch?”

It was a smartly dressed English lady, probably in her late forties. She was sitting with an exquisite and obviously French woman. I agreed that I was.

“Would you like to join us?” the first woman said. “It’s rather full at the moment but we have room, don’t we Coco?”

The Frenchwoman nodded and smiled. “Bien sure,” she said, waving a cigarette holder in my direction.

The Englishwoman stuck out a hand. “You look the spitting image of your father. I used to know him well. I’m Vera, by the way. Vera Bate Lombardi, and I believe we’re related, at least through marriage.”

I sat down on the chair she had pulled out for me. She waved imperiously and a waiter appeared. “My lady will be joining us, so set another place and you’d better bring us another bottle of Veuve Cliquot.”

I wasn’t sure I wanted to dine with a rather bossy Englishwoman who claimed to be related to me, but it was better than standing like a wallflower.

“I actually stayed at Castle Rannoch when you were little,” she continued, “although I don’t suppose you remember me. We went out riding together once. You were a splendid little horsewoman.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I don’t often get a chance to ride any more and I miss it.”

“So do I,” she said. “I’m in Paris most of the year now, traipsing around behind Coco, and one can hardly get a decent gallop in the Bois de Boulogne..”

“You do not traipse behind me,” Coco said in English. “It makes you sound like a dog on a lead. Since you take bigger strides than I, then I am usually running to keep up with you. But you must introduce us, Vera. This very English young lady will not speak to me unless properly introduced.”

I laughed, but Vera said, “Sorry. Bad of me. Coco, this is Bertie’s daughter, Georgiana Rannoch. And this is my dear friend and business partner, Coco Chanel.”

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