Friday, January 22, 2010


We're wrapping up our fantastic Bandit Invasion week with Suzanne Welsh, Anna Campbell, Tawny Weber, and Anna Sugden. They are writing vignettes centered around this picture, "The Staircase." Who or what is waiting at the top (or bottom) of the staircase? Commenters, your job is to finish any (or all) of the vignettes. Put your very vivid imaginations to work and have fun!

As always, there are fabulous prizes to be had!  Today's winner will receive Captive of Sin from Anna C., Going Down Hard and Coming On Strong from Tawny and a box of Godiva chocolates from Suzanne.

Vignette #1 by Suzanne Welsh

At the second floor landing, Vaudine pulled the slip of paper from her coat pocket and read the missive once again in the dim lamplight illuminating the gilded wall-papered stairway.

The St. Charles
Suite 25
10:00 P.M.

How had her life come to this? When she left home with Henri, she’d dreamt they’d be happily married now, living in one of the homes in the French Quarter. But life had a way of making a mockery of foolish, headstrong heiresses.

Henri turned out to be Henry, a cardsharp opium addict, who quickly ran through her inheritance and left her homeless in a saloon. For a week she’d supported herself as the saloon’s singer.

Then tonight, he walked in. Tall, dark, dangerous.

Mr. Walker.

With Henry’s signature on an IOU slip, claiming she was the payment.

Swallowing hard, back straight, she walked to room 25 and knocked briskly on the door.

Hmmm...I can't wait to find out what happens in Room 25 with the tall, dark and dangerous Mr. Walker! *g*

Suzanne Welsh is a registered nurse with 30 years experience in Obstetrics, which gives her a unique insight into the human psyche that she uses throughout her writing. Her latest manuscript, THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN, is the winner of the 2008 Unpublished Beacon Contest’s erotica category. You can sample some of Suz’s writing at her blog,
Rocky Mountain Romance.


Vignette #2 by Anna Campbell

He was waiting.

Marianne had known he would be, no matter how she’d insisted he stay away. No matter how he broke every rule society held dear by appearing now, here, in her father’s house after midnight.

Her heart pounded so frantically, she was sure he’d hear it, as she nervously descended the last steps to the landing. With a shaking hand, she raised her candle and peered through the shadows. In the dark alcove, he slouched with elegant nonchalance against the scrolled wrought-iron balustrade.

“I swore I wouldn’t meet you,” she said in a furious whisper, even as her skin tightened in inevitable awareness of his nearness. It had been like this since he’d swept her into his arms in that crowded ballroom and whirled her away in a dizzying waltz.

“Yet here you are.” His voice conveyed not an ounce of surprise.

Devil take Lord Farnham. He was far too sure of himself. Her chin rose and her hand tightened on the railing as she prepared to put him in his place.

Oh, I'm wondering exactly how Marianne will put Lord Farnham in his place and who will write the winning finish to Anna's vignette!

Australian Anna Campbell writes multi award-winning historical romance for Avon. Her latest release is CAPTIVE OF SIN, chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of their best 100 books of 2009. Watch out for MY RECKLESS SURRENDER in June, 2010.


Vignette #3 by Anna Sugden

The blood had long since been scrubbed from the marble steps. The plaster, chipped by the bullets, had been filled, then repainted with vibrant swirls that made it impossible to tell where the damage had been.

Unless you knew.

Melinda Bennett, sole survivor of the bloodbath twenty years ago, knew.

Unease skittered down her spine like a scurrying spider as she climbed to the third floor landing. Even in the golden glow of the lamps, the murderous evil from that night seemed linger in the air. As if malevolence had permeated the very fabric of the space; from the mosaic floors and decorated walls, to the ornate ironwork banisters and heavy velvet drapes.

Why had she agreed to come here? Why hadn’t she insisted on meeting the mysterious caller somewhere else? Because the need to know the truth, finally, had outweighed her common sense.

Steady footsteps, climbing the stairs, made her heart slam against her ribs. Though her palms were damp with nerves, she squared her shoulders and prepared to meet the one who’d promised to give her the answers she sought.

She gasped as the caller came into view. The last person she’d expected.

The suspense is killing me! Who is it??

Two-time Golden Heart finalist Anna Sugden writes heart-warming contemporary romances and heart-pounding romantic suspense, with an English twist. To find out more about them, especially her sexy hockey hunks, please visit her website.


Vignette #4 by Tawny Weber

Some nights were made for fantasies-come-true, and this was one of them. Giddy, like she’d guzzled an entire bottle of primo champagne, she stared at the staircase and shivered with anticipation. There it was, a slow, steady climb with the promise of ecstasy when she reached the peak.

Could she handle it? Hell yeah, she was wearing her lucky lace undies. She was ready anything!

Still, tension built with each step. It wound tighter and tighter until she tingled from her sexily tousled hair to her strappy, do-me stiletto’d toes. Oh yeah, baby. She was so ready she was about to explode.

She reached the landing. Anticipation zinged through her system like some new kind of sex toy as she took that final step, pushing the bedroom door open with two fingers. Eyes huge, the roaring of her own heartbeat drowned out the sound of her shocked gasp.

“Sven,” she exclaimed. ...

Lucky lace undies? Stiletto heels? Sven? Sounds like it's about to get very hot and steamy in here!

Tawny Weber is usually found dreaming up stories in her California home, surrounded by dogs, cats and kids. When she’s not writing hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze, she’s shopping for the perfect pair of boots or drooling over Johnny Depp pictures (when her husband isn’t looking, of course). For more information about Tawny and her books, visit her at her website.



  1. Oh yes - did I win the Golden Waiter? (or is it gold-wrapped chocolate?)

  2. Hey, Donna, JUST BEAT ME!!! I heard the Golden Waiter give a sigh of relief. Sheesh! Nobody appreciates a good polish these days and I tell you he's really shiny now - especially in some special places!

    Wow, what fabulous vignettes, my fellow invaders. I loved them all. Tawny, Sven? I think your heroine will be all loosey goosey after doing whatever she plans to do with our handsome masseur! And the lucky lacy undies? Snork!

    Suz, I really, REALLY want you to write this book. That's so intriguing. I think Mr Walker might be a real goer! Yum!

  3. Oh, and Anna, our suspense person! You just left me IN SUSPENSE!!! Wow, what an opening to a story. Honestly, I'm absolutely stoked that I'm with three such brilliant writers today. And all out of a bit of a cast iron staircase! Who knew?

  4. Oh, these are WONDERFUL! Did you all plan to sweep us from sub-genre to sub-genre? It seems like each day we've had a different tone to the stories. Today: suspense! And of course: romance! And . . . Sven??

  5. Loved the vignettes! Amazing how one photograph can inspire so many threads.

    Suz - can't wait to see the form of payment. I imagine tall, dark and dangerous just doesn't want to play dominos.

    Anna C. - I've always loved a confident man. Lord Farnham is no exception. Makes me think of Clark Gable.

    Anna S.- Bullet chips and bloodstains - now that's a nice twist on this decorative staircase. Can't wait to see how this one is wrapped up.

    Tawny - Too much fun! And Sven no less! We're talking a hands-on sex-capade.

  6. You know - it's kind of sad to see these come to an end (sniff).

  7. These are all such fun! When do we see the books?!

  8. Hey, Sven's romantic, Becke! Especially after a hard day in the deepest, darkest writing cave in the lair! So glad you've enjoyed it - and thank you to you, your continuations have been absolutely brilliant!

    Hey, Donna, I must say I have a soft spot for a confident man too. He can climb my staircase any time. Thanks for saying you enjoyed the vignette! I have a feeling he has hanky panky in mind!

  9. (Jumping right in)

    Vignette #4:


    Her jaw dropped. She tried to form words but only succeeded in repeating herself. "Sven?"

    "Clio, I can explain --"

    Clio raised her eyebrows. "This ought to be good."

    Sven's glance bounced around the room as if he hoped to find inspiration in the peacock-printed wallpaper.

    Clio crossed her arms and waited to hear what cock-and-bull story he was going to come up with. When one minute spun into two, she began tapping the heels of her stilettos in irritation.

    Sven's eyes strayed to the strappy, sequined stilettos. "Manolo? Nice."

    "Yours?" She studied the stunning snakeskin open toed platforms Sven had crammed his hairy feet into. "Jimmy Choo? Very nice. Zappos?"

    He looked smug. "Nordstrom's after Christmas sale. Thirty percent off."

    Clio tried not to look impressed. "Seriously? What about the dress?"

    Sven gave her a little twirl. "Stella McCartney. Isn't it to die for? But does it make my ass look fat?"

    "No." Clio answered truthfully, but Sven's ass wasn't the issue. Honestly, was he blind? If he must go commando, someone should tell him to do it in a longer dress.

    Clio thought of the fifty bucks she'd wasted on her sexy undies. She wasn't about to let Sven see them now -- his ass was definitely too fat for the delicate lace, and she knew he'd insist on trying them on.

    "Clio . . ." Sven's voice raised in a forlorn plea.

    She sighed. Oh what the hell, her evening was ruined anyway.

    She dropped onto the bed and began to unfasten her shoes. "Promise you won't stretch them out."

    The sexy cabana boy crouched in front of her, staring at her shoes with a look of pure hunger. He'd never looked at her that way.

    She winced as she slipped off the shoe and handed it to him. Honestly, the man was a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

    She stepped out of her other shoe and stood, barefoot, as the suntanned mass of muscle tottered across the room in her stilettos.

    Oh well, it could have been worse. She knelt down and picked up a snakeskin shoe, turning it this way and that. Nice.

    Yeah -- that would have been worse. He could have worn a smaller size than she did.

  10. Hey, thanks for swinging by, Kandy! Hasn't it been a fun week. I'm a bit like Donna - sad to see it all come to an end.

  11. Oh, Becke! That's fantastic! ROTFLMAO! Sven the cross dresser! Actually I've always been a bit worried about the gladiators in their inky dinky skirts and now Sven's in on the act! Priceless!

  12. I think I'd better save the others until tomorrow. I think the muse has gone off a little, um, half-cocked tonight.

    I'm so sad the week is winding to a close!!

  13. Okay, two tonight, two tomorrow. I'm working my way up from the bottom.

    Vignette #3:

    "Oh please, my dear -- not that old saw. The last person you expected? But the scene was positively riddled with clues."

    Melinda froze, at a loss for words. Surely she hadn't spoken her thoughts out loud. It was almost as if her nemesis knew what she was going to say next. She shook herself. No, that was ridiculous.

    The well-bred voice continued as if Melinda wasn't there. "And the red herrings? Pah! More like pickled herrings. Anyone could have spotted them. Anyone but you, Melinda. Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless."

    "Hello? Standing right here. No need to talk as if I'm invisible."

    But that's just what happened. The elderly woman continued her rant, her soft, British vowels seeming to strain at a volume they were unaccustomed to.

    "Mysterious stairways, bullet holes. Why not just add a tiny nail hole to the mix? Cover it with varnish, or perhaps add a mirror at the top of the stairs?"

    The woman's veined hand clutched the stair rail as she gingerly went back down to the elegant foyer. She looked up the stair well, her gaze going over Melinda as if she weren't there.

    It was enough to rile even the most even-tempered young lady, and Melinda was far from even tempered. This woman was responsible for the slaughter of countless innocents -- no matter that she'd destroyed a fair number of villains, too.

    Melinda ducked into a shadowy alcove as an elderly man shuffled out of an upstairs bedroom and leaned over the railing. "Come up to bed, Agatha," he called down. "I'll get you some Milk of Magnesia. You should know better than to work on your plots before bedtime."

    The elderly woman sighed. "All right, Max. I'm sure you're right." Her sharp eyes suddenly focused on the alcove where Melinda was hiding. "It's no good, dear. You might be a lovely girl, but you'll have to go. It's all fodder for that annoying Belgian. I've never known such a one for murder."

    The woman clung tightly to the stair rail, muttering to herself as she climbed up to the landing. "Why I made him a Belgian, I'll never know."

  14. Firstly I would like to thank the Dishes and The Bandits for an awesome week Ladies you have all excelled.
    Here goes my try for today
    He answered the door and he was really tall dark and handsome her heart fluttered what would he ask of her and could she give it. Vaudine looked up into his eyes beautiful eyes that held no scorn was that understanding she saw. Mr Walker stepped away to allow her entry offered her tea and asked her to sit. "I will get straight to the point you are payment for money owed to me I have a son that needs a governess and you will be that governess no strings attached just look after my sone. Vaudine took a deep breathe total relief but there were sparks between them was this the start of something great.

    Lord Farnham you have got to leave me alone this is against all society rules why are you doing it to me? Lord Farnham smiled at Marianne and her stomach quivered he was so handsome and made her shiver inside. You know I want you Marianne you are the only Lady I want. Well I don't want you I have been promised to someone else you must leave or I will ste the dogs on you. He turned and started to walk away but them he looked back at Marianne and said this is not the end I will have you.

    You I thought you were my friend you have supported me all these years why? It was time you learned the truth you have always treated me as a friend and I wanted more back then as well there is a reason you are the sole survior. She sobbed I can't believe that my best friend is a murderer.

    Sven smiled at her and welcomed her in her whole body was jittery with anticipation she needed to get her clothes of and Sven's as well she needed it now her lucky lace unders were really lucky.

    Oh well that is my try

    Have Fun

  15. Helen, I'm awed how you manage to do all four at once. You are a genius!

  16. Oh, man, and now we've had a guest appearance from Agatha Christie! How utterly brilliant! Yay, Becke!

    Helen, you turned Mr. Walker into a knight in shining armour. Didn't see that coming! Well done!

    Ooh, "I will have you!" That works for me. That devil, Lord Farnham!

    Oh, man, her best friend is a murderer! How cool is that?

    Looks like lucky lacy undie lady got lucky. And try and say that a hundred times really fast!

    Helen, these are great. Thanks so much for playing this week!

  17. *G* Wow... I'm on the company of greatness (as usual).

    I love these!!! Wonderful, fabulous and amazing.

    Off to read again and sigh.

  18. #1

    He bade her enter, this man. He stood by the fireplace, holding a brandy. He was tall, well over 6 feet by a few inches, long, luxurious hair resting on broad shoulders, the color of mahogany wood, Eyes as green as summer grass.
    Dimples carved in a face only seen on the statutes of Greek Gods, on either side of the most sensuous, full lips she had ever seen on a man. "I did not think you would come..." He drawled.

    He did not waste anytime, sitting his brandy on the mantle he pulled her close, giving her a deep, devastating kiss.
    The assault from his full lips was so swift and unexpected, she gasped aloud.
    After her initial surprise, Vaudine found herself returning the kiss, grabbing onto his muscular back and shoulders for dear life. Already, her heart was fluttering, her whole body throbbing.
    "Mo Muirnin.." he whispered huskily. He began to undress her, until she was standing only in her see-through chemise. He was bare-chested, next she opened her eyes. Muscular, golden...beautiful.

    His hand felt every inch of her skin, exploring slowly, touching every part of her. He took his time, he wanted to savor this, commit it to memory. For he would never have this perfection again. Her particular perfection.
    He stroked her cheek. He can't let her do this. As much as he throbbed and ached all over for her, wanted her with every fibre of his being,he could not.

    "Go home mo muirnin. The IOU is paid."
    "Mr. Walker..."
    "My name is Lorcan...say it."
    ' don't want me?" She said softly.
    "Look down darlin'," he murmured. He brushed his thigh next to her, releasing a small moan from her lips. " I want you. But I won't take you, not in payment."

    OK, Ladies, I am off to bed, and I promise a cold shower before I begin tomorrow, LOL!
    And I had to sue the name of one of my Irish houseboys...

  19. I'm tied, I meant "USE" the name, not "sue"...LOL! Nighty night.
    Excuse any other mistakes!

  20. Oh, wow, I love the atmosphere and tension in all these vignettes!

    And Tawny, I ROARED when I read your last line! I bet she wasn't expecting Sven!

  21. Becke

    Yours are fantastic WOW I am not a writer LOL and it is still early over here only 7-00pm as I type this but it is still around 33c it reached 41c here today and will be 43c tomorrow thank heavens I have air con.
    I gotta say I am having lots of fun though

    Have Fun

  22. Anna

    Your heros have got to be knights in shinning armour even if they don't start off that way LOL.

    Have Fun

  23. Helloooooo Mr. Walker!

    Wooo, I can't want to see how Vaudine handles him :-)


    Go Marianne!!! You put him in his place... then make him beg :-D


    Well?????? C'mon, who is it? Whose the last person Melinda expects to see?

    Like I said - Wow. These rock!!!

  24. OMGOMGOMGOMG tears are rolling, Becke!!!! That is so hilarious *g* So so hilarious.

    Poor Sven ;-)

  25. Just popping on before going to bed and am very impressed with my three friends' vignettes!

    Anna C: I have to wonder what plans Lord Farnham has for Maryanne and will she foil them or succumb to her desires?

    Anna S: Melinda is a brave lass indeed! To return to the scene of a blood bath? I've seen my share of blood, but I'm not sure I could do that.. And is this mysterious person the hero or the villan?

    Tawny: Could our Sven be the sexy new toy that will keep your heroine happy or perhaps lead her to darker passions?

    Good luck all you commentors...Can't wait to see what you've cooked up while I sleep!

  26. Morning all - it's a nasty, rainy day here in Cambridge, so it's lovely to be here in the warm and wonderful Romance Dish house!

    Congrats, Donna - is he gold-wrapped or gold-dipped?!

  27. Once again, a fabulous array of vignettes - I'm in the company of some awesome writers - but you all knew that, didn't you? And don't you just love all the different voices?!

    Suz - fabulous! Can't wait to see what Vaudine and Mr Walker get up to.

    Anna C - Another yummy hero in Lord Farnham and another feisty heroine in Marianne!

    Tawny - no-one writes fun, flirty, hot and sassy like you do! I hope Sven can rise to the cahllenge *g*.

  28. Becke - you know us better than that! Plan? As if!

    I think this is so much fun because we all have such different styles and voices, and I really think you can see the Banditas at our best.

  29. Thanks, Donna - isn't it funny how differently we all see the staircase and the role it plays in our minds?!

  30. LOL Kandy ... you mean we have to write more?! Wouldn't it be fun to have these as books that started on the Romance Dish - or maybe a Romance Dish collection of Bandita short stories?!

  31. I was LOL with Anna's comment about a hunk climbing her staircase and then I got to becke's cross-dressing Sven ... OMG! You owe me a new monitor, Becke!! Simply brilliant.

    I do wish the powers that be would bring back romantic comedy!

  32. Wow - an appearance from Agatha in my very own vignette. Becke - you are fabulous! What a fantastically clever ending. Brava!

    I'm so looking forward to reading your books - soon, I hope.

  33. Helen! Look how far you've come! Amazing how once you wouldn't have attempted these vignettes and now you're jumping in like a pro! I love the way you've added twists to these openings ... especially the villainous best friend!

  34. Oooh Drew - what a hot way to leave Vaudine and Mr Walker! Delicious scene!

  35. Thanks, Tawny - what? You mean you want me to have done some plotting? LOL

  36. Hi Christine - isn't it amazing how the simple picture of a staircase can elicit so much tension?!

  37. Hi Suz - you know what they say - sometimes you have to face your worst nightmares to achieve your dreams *g*.

  38. While you all are sleeping - I've got to pop out and do some chores *uggh*. Back later - can't wait to see what you all come up with!

  39. Anna said: Thanks, Tawny - what? You mean you want me to have done some plotting?

    Oh no, never that!!! Plotting?? Would I ask that of you? *g*

  40. Christine said:
    And Tawny, I ROARED when I read your last line! I bet she wasn't expecting Sven!

    LOL -well to tell the truth, I wasn't expecting him when I started writing that, either. Isn't it fun what great twists these stories take?!

  41. I can't wait to see how these turn out, work today for me of course. I hate 10 hour days!

    Agatha Christie herself! I can just picture it, I so love reading.

  42. Wow! I get up at 5:45am and there's already 42 comments! There's a party going on in here!

    Donna, congrats on winning the Golden Waiter! Hope you didn't have to hurt Gannon when you wrestled him away from her. :)

    FoAnna, Tawny, Suz and Anna S: Thanks for another fabulous round of vignettes. I'm so glad you chose this photo. I fell in love with it on first sight. Can't wait to see what our creative posters do with your unfinished stories!

    Okay, off to take the dogs out then read the comments.

  43. Good Morning.
    Busy writers at work here last night.....haven't had the time to write follow throughs on all of the awesome vignettes (all of the fabulous authors have provided for us), but have enjoyed reading what everyone else has comeup with.
    Becke--started my day off the right way reading about cross dressing Sven! Thank you for putting a smile on my face this morning.

  44. Morning ladies! Looks like you all got an early start with this one! I can't believe it is the last day of the invasion. I have missed so much just because I need a paycheck :)

    The vignettes are outstanding today. Tawny, I am happy to see Sven making an appearance here at The Romance Dish!

    Looking forward to reading all the comments and finishing lines when I return to work. Yep, another day paper pushing! I will see you all again in about 13 hours.

    Have fun!

  45. Wow! It's barely light outside and the party is already hopping! Of course, I'd expect nothing less with the Bandits in the house!

    Donna, feel free to "polish" any parts of the Golden Waiter that you'd like! *g*

    Suz, Fo, Anna S., and Tawny, your vignettes are brilliant! Thanks so much for coming over and playing here today. The entire week has been so much fun, like Donna, I hate to see it end! This must become a yearly tradition!

  46. Becke, I'm eternally grateful that I didn't have a mouthful of tea when I was reading yours! ROFLMAO!!! I never saw that one coming and obviously Clio didn't either! :-D

  47. And Agatha Christie, too?! Wonderful, Becke!

  48. Fantastic, Helen! I love that Mr. Walker is indeed a knight in shining armor. *sigh*

    I'm not sure I could have a go at all four vignettes at once. Yay, you!

  49. Wow, Drew! It's definitely getting hot in here! *g* I think your mission is to have us all running for a cold shower. LOL

  50. I'm going to be scare this morning. I just got a call from a realtor who wants to show my house at 11:30. It hasn't been shown since before Thanksgiving so, consequently, there are things to be done!

    I'll try to pop in this morning when I take a breath and should be here all afternoon and evening. Party on!

  51. I just got a call from a realtor who wants to show my house at 11:30

    Good luck, PJ!

  52. PJ - Getting ready to have strangers walk through your house is the most stressful part of selling it. Good luck!

    As to Sven and Agatha, what can I say? Strange thing happen when I write late at night. (*she says with a huge yawn*)

    Anna - A Bandita anthology based on the vignettes? I LOVE that idea!!

    But I'm glad I saved two for today. I don't want this to be over yet.

  53. Anna - A Bandita anthology based on the vignettes? I LOVE that idea!!

    Yes, please!

    I don't want this to be over yet.

    Neither do I, Becke!

  54. Congrats, Donna, on winning the Golden Waiter...question is what are you going to order??????

    Fabulous job, Banditas. Amazing what a set of stairs can inspire. Just wondered if Sven was free tomorrow?

    Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

  55. Good morning, my dear Banditas and Dishes!! I apologize for my absence yesterday. It was one of those days where everything went wrong and I just wanted it to end. :)

    Wow, what great vignettes we have today!!

    Suz, love how Vaudine is the payment. Rowwwr!

    Love your historical take, Anna C, and I look forward to seeing how the posters will help Marianne put Lord Farnham in his place!

    Ooooo, Anna S, what an excellent suspenseful twist you've put on the picture!

    LOLOLOL, Tawny!! Sven? LOVE it!!

  56. Congrats on nabbing the GW, Donna!

  57. Oh my gosh, Becke, I'm glad I didn't take s sip of my coffee before I started reading your finish to #4!! LOL!!

  58. Great job, Helen!! Totally didn't see the ending for #1 coming. Excellent!

  59. *fans self* Wow, Drew! Talk about hawt! LOL, on the cold shower. Fantastic job!

  60. PJ said: I just got a call from a realtor who wants to show my house at 11:30.

    Oh, good luck, PJ!!

  61. Good morning Romance Dishes and Banditas!

    Here's my attempt..BTW...these were really hard but a lot of fun.

    #1. Swallowing hard, back straight, she walked to room 25 and knocked briskly on the door...

    He was handsome but his dark eyes offered no hint of kindness or cruelty. He slowly circled her as she stood trembling in the middle of the room. Unable to escape his scrutiny, she lowered her head and squeezed her eyes shut. The heels of his expensive boots thumped against the thick carpet with each measured step. She thought of the terrible indignities she'd suffered since Henry left. God, what would this man do to her?

    "Please, sit down." He pointed to a chair at the table.

    Her knees were shaking so badly that she practically collapsed into the chair.

    He set two mugs of coffee on the table. "I own you until your husband's debt is cleared. After that, you're free to go— if you want."

    She swallowed. "Wh—what do you want?" He wore the tailored clothing of a gentleman but he was still a man.

    "You're going to play cards and win."

    She raised her head in surprise. "You mean gamble? I don't know how to play cards."

    He removed a pack of cards from his pocket. His long lean fingers shuffled the deck. "I'm going to teach you. And you'll win because I'm going to show you a few tricks."

    "You want me to cheat?"

    "If you have to." He frowned at her worn calico dress. "You'll be fitted for a new wardrobe tomorrow. When it's ready, we'll leave for San Francisco." He dealt her a hand and a reassuring smile. "I consider myself a gentleman in every regard and I will see to your comfort, however, we'll be traveling as man and wife."

    #2. Her chin rose and her hand tightened on the railing as she prepared to put him in his place...

    "I am here because there are things we must discuss." She set the candle on the carved mahogany table.

    "Discuss?" His mouth tipped into a wry smile as he cast an admiring glance at her bosom. "Go on."

    "I have a fortune of my own and several marriage proposals, some of which are considered a good match." She arched a brow. "What could you possibly offer?"

    He brushed her cheek with the back of his fingers. "Passion. Nights filled with ecstasy that will leave you wanting more."

    Her attraction to him was unnerving but she steeled herself. "And how shall I occupy my days?"

    "With thoughts of me," he said with a low laugh. "I will teach you pleasure and you shall find yourself a willing pupil."

    The arrogant bastard! He was a stallion, indeed. But a stallion was still horseflesh. And horseflesh was something to be bartered. It was a lesson learned early from her father's knee.

    "My lord, you flatter yourself." She smiled demurely. "You are not the first man I have bedded nor will you be the last." She yanked on his neck cloth, pulling him toward her. His conceit tamed, he gaped like a landed fish.

    "Kiss me."

  62. What a great idea! And so stirring to the imagination! Haven't seen a staircase this interesting since Rhett carried Scarlett up one :).

  63. LOL! I love cross dressers! Thanks for that!

    #3. She gasped as the caller came into view. The last person she’d expected....

    "Aunt Prudence?" She almost didn't recognize her. Her lips were bloated, the skin on her face pulled into a taut, unforgiving mask. A YSL tote hung from her shoulder, an array of gold bangles adorned her wrist.

    "I knew you'd be here. You're as stupid as your mother." Prudence set her tote on the floor. A little dog hopped out and growled. "Cuddles! Hush!"

    Melinda frowned at the ugly creature and wondered if the dog and her aunt frequented the same plastic surgeon. "Why are you here? Did you make that call?"

    "God, you're such a simpleton. You win the grand prize on your thirtieth birthday."

    "So?" Melinda was the sole heir to her late father's estate but she never cared about money. She and her father were estranged at the time of his death.

    Prudence reached into her tote bag and pulled out a gun. "Get over there." She motioned to the banister.

    "Aunt Prudence!" Melinda gasped. "What are you—"

    "You didn't read the fine print. I stand to inherit if you don't make it to your next birthday."

    "You're willing to kill me over money?" Besides a decent plastic surgeon, her aunt needed a shrink and a rubber room.

    "I was willing to sleep with your father to get what I wanted."

    "Oh, God!" Not Daddy!

    "He was going to divorce your mother and marry me. It was all going to be mine. I decided to speed things up."

    "You killed Mom and Aunt Clarissa?"

    "I had no choice," Prudence snapped.

    "Did you kill Daddy?"

    "No, he killed himself. The Viagra was hell on his blood pressure." Prudence narrowed her eyes and waved the gun at her. "I've waited long enough! You're going to have a terrible fall from the third floor."

    The dog sniffed at Melinda's ankles and raised his leg. She snatched him up, clutching the animal by the scruff of his neck.

    "Put my Cuddles down!"

    "Drop the gun or your dog's flying economy over this railing."

    4. Tawny... this was sizzlin'!

    "Sven," she exclaimed. "How could you?"

    Sven sat naked on the bed, one arm wrapped possessively around the object of his desire. His eyes fixed to the plump breast before him. "Mmm…" He inhaled the heady scent, savoring every delicate nibble of the succulent offering.

    The promise of an evening of torrid ecstasy evaporated before her eyes. She'd spent hours getting ready for that rat bastard. Humiliation and rage hurtled through her. She stormed over to the bed, seized the bucket of chicken, and flung it across the room.

    "What the hell!" Sven shot off the bed. "Eleven herbs and spices! What was I supposed to do?"

    An anguished sob escaped her lips.

    She never could compete with the Colonel.

    Thanks! :O)

  64. Hi all,
    I loved the vignettes, but ya'll are so wrong leaving us in suspense like that! I can't wait to get the books and find out what happens. Well done ladies!


  65. HAHAHA!! Becke I love your ending with SVEN and his nordstrom deal!! I love how you put present day spin on such an historical staircase.

  66. Pink Peony said:
    "Drop the gun or your dog's flying economy over this railing."

    Pink you owe me a new keyboard, coz I just sputtered Diet Coke all over mine~

    Too funny!!

  67. Helen...

    I hadn't thought that Mr. Walker could be such a good guy! And making Vaudine the governess could lead to all kinds of fun, since she only knew how to vex hers while growing up. Good twist to my plot!

  68. Anna C said:Suz, I really, REALLY want you to write this book. That's so intriguing. I think Mr Walker might be a real goer! Yum!...

    Dear God woman, do not come up with yet another story for me to write. Besides the on line book over at my blog, I'm currently working on 3 at once!!!

  69. OMG Becke! Sven will have a whole new look for his work over at the Bandit Lair!! He has way better taste in shoes than I do, that's for sure!

  70. Becke...You are full of surprises...Agatha Christie? And I always wondered why she made Mr. Poiroit a Belgian, too! hehehe

  71. Ah Karyn/Drew...Mr. Walker is a dangerous man with his own set of principals, eh? I'm thinking Vaudine might want more of his kisses after reading that one!

  72. Pink Peony,

    I love Mr. Walker's plan for Vaudine, although I have to wonder why he'd need her help...Is he planning some nefarious con to get revenge on someone?

  73. Ooooh, Donna, nice grab on the Waiter. What's your pleasure, madame? :-)

    And NICE VIGNETTES, ladies! You all have such marvelously distinct voices! I love the way you've each totally owned the photo & made it your own. Can't wait to see what happens...

  74. Ooo, fun and creepy! Nice work, ladies!

    Anna, I can't wait to hear the ending of this one. You left me shivering!

    Tawny -- a "sex-capade"? SNORK!!

  75. Okay, for Anna's vignette:

    “Only because if I didn’t, there was no telling where you would turn up next to try to ruin me. A waltz I can explain away, but….” Knowing this devil, he’d climb her trellis next and invite himself into her bedchamber.

    “Your bedroom would be infinitely harder, I agree,” he interrupted. She drew a scalding breath at the thought of his man in her bedroom. His presence was overwhelming here, in the foyer and whole lower level of the house, but to confine his man to a single room with just her in it, impossible! She couldn’t escape him in a huge ballroom littered with people.

    “I was thinking somewhere like Gunther’s or Almack’s, Lord Farnham.”

    He smiled like some great big cat presented with cream. “No, you weren’t. And I wouldn’t get caught in your bedchamber, Miss Worthington, because I have no intention of marrying you. But I do have every intention of collecting on our wager.”

  76. 1-Her palms were sweaty and her breathing irregular. The door opened and a woman? stood before her. She held a black piece of fabric in her hand and reached forward. What is this what are you doing Vaudine started to protest. The woman surprisingly quickly blindfolded her and pulled her in the room. Don’t even think about removing it Vaudine, the deep dark rumbling voice she recognized as Mr. Walkers commanded. And to her own astonishment she obeyed. You will come in, sit down and be quiet. You are dismissed Lila. The woman named Lila ran to the door and quickly left slamming the door as if the devil was chasing her. Another victim, Vaudine thought and it felt like something ran across her spine. Had she just been herself submitted to the devilish Mr. Walker’s whims. She feared and knew this to be so. Now, he said, you know why you are here but let me say it again just for the pleasure of hearing it once again. Your mine, for as long as I want. Because I OWN you. You can’t OWN people she said. Hearing in her voice a trail of fear, no not real fear, grave anxiety. How had it come to this. She was supposed to be living a fairytale. She had been ruthlessly awakened to this nightmare. He came closer towards her. She couldn’t see him but she sensed it. He breathed heavily out and said: now let’s get down to business. I need you to listen, and cooperate is that clear. As of now you will be traveling with me, and be presented to society as my mistress. For that’s what you will be. And most importantly you are going to be smiling, be happy and enjoy every minute of it. She didn’t know how to response but he clearly believed she had accepted his demands. He bend over towards her and when not more than an inch removed from her lips whispered, now you are going to kiss me. He placed his hand firmly on her neck and closed the small gap between their mouths. Scorching her, silencing her and, god help her, making her knees and all the rest of her body grow week.

  77. 2-You know of course, do you not, that I know your secret. Marianne started to say. Yes he said I suspected as much. Interrupting her as usual. I hadn’t finished talking she said in what she hoped was an angry voice. Then you don’t need to pause for so long, for otherwise I’ll just think you are being distracted by my handsome physique and are dying to kiss me he somewhat smirked. I can’t believe, Lord Farnham, that you would think that I consider your mildly tolerable prettiness as attractive or distracting. You are just trying to make me forget why I am here. No, don’t interrupt me again she added. I know! Your secret. I know that you LORD Farnham are the man who has been breaking and entering all the great estates. Taking diamonds and pearls. And that’s not all you have been gathering I hear. Stealing hearts and honorable ladies virtues are among your trophies as well. Shame on you for ruining good women’s reputations. Smashing their hopes and dreams throwing them back in their faces. I know and I am going to share this news with all that are willing to listen. Unless, she thought quickly, you my Lord you’ll give me what I want. If you could be useful to me…. You are quite pretty you know, he interrupted her. Your eyes are a flash of fiery blue and your cheeks as red as my latest required rubies. Let me make a bargain with you my dear Marianne . You keep that pretty little mouth of yours shut and I’ll give you what you want. He leaned towards her and asked what is it my sweet that you desire? I, she stammered, I want to be married. He blinked for a second, his facial expression changing back to casual in no time, leaving her wonder if it ever happened. I wish to be married in a fortnight. My dear he said, I had no idea how deep your feelings were but…. I wasn’t ready yet, she almost shouted. You Lord Farnham, are going to help me find a husband.

  78. 3- Mike??? Cousin Mike? It wasn’t him was it. She felt weak, she felt nauseous. Mike was dead or so she believed him to be. The only survivor was she. And here he stood in front of her. Was he real? Was it her mind playing tricks on her. Making her see thing that were not there. She stumbled forward and started to faint. He stretched his arms out but missed. She collapsed on the floor. Completely out of it. Her head felt weird. She had had a strange dream. She saw Mike, cousin Mike and he was older more handsome, he had a beard. She smiled a bit remembering that. His father had had a beard like that. Always rubbing it when he did some serious thinking. Mike …. Hi Melinda, a man’s voice said close by, she opened her eyes to see who it was. A strange man in her bedroom. … but she wasn’t in her bedroom. She looked up and saw open skies. She turned her head and Mike, he was here??!! How’s your head honey? Mike, that was the only word capable to pass her lips. Mike, he touched her forehead with two fingers and smiled at her. A timid smile that spoke of pain and suffering. I know he said, I had no clue there was another survivor. Always believed to be the one. And then I heard you were alive and well. I had to find you, talk to you, make sure you were ok and tell you what I knew. But all that can wait. You’ve had a shock and we’ve got some time. Melinda smiled faintly and said to herself, I’m dreaming. For the first time since the horror she had a nice warm comforting dream. Her cousin was alive and well. She closed her eyes and dosed off again. Leaving it all for later to sink in.

  79. 4-No it can’t be she thought and yet the man sitting in the leather armchair looked just like him. Hey gorgeous he said. Her mind raised on full speed. Good god, how long had it been since… 6 years ago. Sven the guy that was her first and possibly only love, the guy that she gave her all to, the guy that laughed when she told him how she felt and the guy that walked away, fast! taking her heart and a piece of her soul with him. Leaving her empty, lost and on the verge of breaking down. It had taken her years and countless tears to finally accept and move on. God, how could it be that in a second of seeing him she changed from fame fatale to silly schoolgirl. Shaking, trembling not in anticipation of a night filled with pleasure but of a wound ripped open. She let out a strange short laugh and didn’t know what to say. You look great he said. Yeah she returned. Of course I do. I’m a model. Beauty is my main asset. Don’t he said, don’t what? she replied. Don’t bring yourself down Kat. Down? she nearly screamed. The only one that brought me down was you, Sven! Or did you forget about that? It was a long time ago. Yes she agreed it was, she had changed. The initial anger calmed and she felt somewhat more like herself. Why are you here, she brought out. How did you get in? Some guy let me in. Diego? She asked. Where the hell was he? They were supposed to have been entangled by now, playing out all her secret fantasies and here she was with Sven, feeling like a child that got caught wearing her mother’s clothes and make up. He always did this to her, she remembered. Making her insecure. Not any more, she made up in her mind. She tossed her hair back and licked her lips. Please leave. Katya, I need to talk to you. Yeah well I’m not in the mood for talking. What are you in the mood for, he asked. Looking with appreciation up and down her figure. So he noticed did he that she had grown more into a woman and a damn sexy one at that. He got up from the chair and said, this Diego left cause I said I had something important to tell you. Unbelievable Katya whispered. How would he walk away from a night full of fun with her??. He left, Sven said, Because I told him I was your Husband and we needed to talk. You are not my husband she said with force and you will never be. Wasn’t that what you wanted? No he said it was not what I wanted or what I want right now. Right now I want to talk unless you rather do something else? Like take of that piece of cloth and remember the good old times we always had. She shuddered. You do remember don’t you Kat that I used to do this... he stroke her cheek. And this... he stroke her arm and some of this, he grabbed her close and pressed his warm hungry lips upon hers. A bit forcefully at first but then softer more caressing. She grabbed his hair unsure if to pull him closer or push him of. No she said, no what I don’t remember or I don’t want this. You know you want this Katya, and so do I. Hi kissed her quick and then without warning sweeped her into his arms. Carrying her to the bed and laying her down. Yes she said, I want and yes I remember. Thank goodness her lucky undies were put to use after all.

  80. #2

    Lord Farnham pushed himself from the railing with his long, muscular leg.
    He smiled, the satisfied smile of an arrogant man who had been proven right, damn his beautiful silver-grey eyes.

    Marianne kept her defiant pose. She would not let him see how he was affecting her. But as he moved toward her, with the elegant grace and dangerous sleekness of a black panther, she shuddered, and a warmth enveloped her body.

    "Put the candle down, sweetness. we will generate our own light and heat..."
    He kissed her. Ravished her mouth. His long, masculine fingers cupped her face, as he feasted.
    One hand left her face, and traveled downward,lifting her gown, he wrapped her long leg around his waist, bringing her closer to the part of him that ached. He began to moan....

    "LORD FARNHAM!!! Explain yourself sir, what is the meaning of this!!"

    Lord Liam Farnham sprang from Marianne like he had be doused with a bucket of cold water. It was her father, in righteous indignant rage.
    He was caught.
    Firmly but surely in the Parson's mousetrap.
    He had compromised her, and now...
    Liam turned to look at Marianne, such a smug look of gratification on her pretty face.
    As if reading his mind, she whispered, "Squeak, squeak..."

  81. Donna--you're the early diner today, looks like! Anna C., better luck next time.

    Wonderful vignettes, y'all! But Tawny . . . Sven? Does he know? *g*

  82. Becke wrote: If he must go commando, someone should tell him to do it in a longer dress.

    ROFLMAO! Too funny!

  83. Helen, how fun! I love the governess twist.

  84. Drew, great twist with the parson's mousetrap. :-)

  85. I've been loving these vignettes, and reading the responses all week. You Bandits really know how to put the fun back into an invasion!

  86. Love all these vignettes!! The Romance Bandits show why they are so deep in talent.

    I love how everyone had a different, yet intriguing, take on the scene.

  87. Besides a decent plastic surgeon, her aunt needed a shrink and a rubber room.

    ROFL, Pink! I can picture her perfectly!

    She stormed over to the bed, seized the bucket of chicken, and flung it across the room.

    "What the hell!" Sven shot off the bed. "Eleven herbs and spices! What was I supposed to do?"

    She never could compete with the Colonel.

    That is freaking hilarious!!

  88. Great job, Hellion! I'd love to read more. :)

  89. Kirsten, your Mr. Walker is devilish and very sexy! :)

  90. As if reading his mind, she whispered, "Squeak, squeak..."

    Take that, Lord Farnham! LOL

  91. I'm sorry that my muse is on strike this week, and I haven't been able to participate. But I have been here every day, reading the vignettes and all the continuations--and marveling at the diversity and the talent.

  92. OMG, ladies, these vignettes are brilliant. Tawny, Anna, Vrai Anna, and Suzanne, you've outdone yourselves. What a wonderful way to end the Bandita Invasion!

  93. Oh, man, I am so loving these vignettes and the endings!! Becke, I'll never be able to look at Sven the same way *g*

    Love how you all came up with such terrific stories from a picture of a staircase! You all are amazing

  94. I'm baaack! Did you miss me? *VBG*

    Pink Peony, those are absolutely hilarious! So many great lines!

    Melinda frowned at the ugly creature and wondered if the dog and her aunt frequented the same plastic surgeon.

    "No, he killed himself. The Viagra was hell on his blood pressure."

    "Drop the gun or your dog's flying economy over this railing."

    Then there's Sven and his "eleven herbs and spices." Too flippin' funny!

  95. ROFL! Becke, I'll never be able to view Sven in quite the same way again.

  96. I wouldn’t get caught in your bedchamber, Miss Worthington, because I have no intention of marrying you. But I do have every intention of collecting on our wager.”

    Ooh, Hellion. I love it!

  97. Great job, Kirsten! I love what you did with #3.

  98. Drew, that's terrific! Love the "squeak squeak" of the mousetrap!

  99. WOW to the vignettes and WOW to the add-ons!!
    It's one loaded table of Hot Dishes today!

  100. Vignette #1

    Vaudine rubbed her palms against her thighs as she waited. She swallowed as she heard the tread of male footsteps approaching the door.

    She stared, mesmerized, as the brass doorknob turned. She had a mad urge to run, but she knew it would only arouse him. He'd always enjoyed a chase.

    She lifted her chin in defiance and faced him. She steeled her mind against him, but her traitorous body responded instantly to his heated gaze. She would have crossed her arms to shield her reaction from his view, but -- again -- what was the point?

    Vaudine forced herself to speak. "Mr. Walker."

    It wasn't as cool as she would have liked -- the nervous quaver was far too revealing.

    Too tall, too dark and far too handsome, he met her eyes. A slow smile curved his lips.

    "Vaudine." He took her hand and drew her into the room. The bed seemed to fill the entire space.

    Her breath came in shallow gasps as she tried to guess his next move.

    He trailed his fingers up her bare arm, leaving a fiery tingling sensation in his wake. "Vaudine."

    She sighed, tired of his games. "Charles."

    He pulled her close. "Mrs. Walker."

    "No." Vaudine wasn't aware of speaking the word. "No more."

    "Yes." The pad of his thumb brushed her full lower lip. "I won you, fair and square. There's no escape for you now."

    Vaudine closed her eyes as an odd phrase flitted through her head. "We who are about to die salute you."

    He was killing her. But, oh, what a way to go!

  101. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy! That Lorcan's a hot one, Drew! It's a bit much for a girl's system at 5am in the morning in Australia!

    Christine, I kacked myself laughing when it was Sven at the top of the stairs too! Swedish masseur wasn't on my radar!

  102. Helen, hasn't the weather been awful. I was in the pool a couple of times yesterday. The problem is with these temperatures, even the water isn't that cool.

    Helen, that's absolutely right! I think they're all knights in shining armour in waiting. Some of them don't wait quite so long! I'm currently writing my first really bad boy and he's definitely waiting to show his true shining silver colours! Snort!

  103. Hmm, Suz, a rake lolling nonchalantly on the stairs? My money's on Marianne succumbing! I'm waiting to see what the visitors decide to do with them, though!

    Anna, I can see Marianne giving Lord F a run for his money! I hope they keep it quiet, though. I'd hate her dad to turn up!

  104. Janga, sometimes the muse doesn't show up, which can be SO annoying! But isn't reading these fun?

  105. Dianna, thanks for the kind words about our group.

    I'm loving all these vignettes, too. It's like that exercise some critique groups do--take a setup and write your own first scene, and they're all different.

  106. MORE fantastic vignettes and continuations! I'm really sorry to see the invasion end. We've had so much fun and seen some fantastic ideas and writing all the way around.

    But as Becke's last continuation said, "...what a way to go!"


  107. Cyndi, wasn't cross-dressing Sven a crack up? I'm so glad I wasn't drinking tea at the time! Thanks for swinging by. Hasn't this been a fun week?

    PJ, it's been a fabulous week, hasn't it? Thank you again to you and Andrea and Gannon and Buffie for having us as your guest. Hmm, can invaders be guests? We promise to pillage nicely!

  108. Oh, Buffie, I feel we should invade your workplace and make them let you play on the internet all day!

    Gannon, I think a yearly invasion sounds like a great idea!

  109. PJ, good luck with the viewing! We'll hold the fort for you. No guarantee we'll hand it back, though! Bwahahahahahaha!

    Andrea, my fellow vignetters have outdone themselves today, haven't they? And already the endings have made me laugh and shiver! Not at the same time. Well, sometimes - Sven as a cross dresser was both funny and scary!

  110. Teresa! I was just talking about your time travel books on our home Romance Bandits blog - and here you are! I LOVED them!

  111. PJ - Hope the viewing went well - fingers crosse!

  112. Whooo, Jen, what a twist. I didn't see that coming. Now I want to know what happens next! Whaaaaaah!

    OMG!!!! Marianne as a complete seductress. I didn't see that happening either. Bravo, Jen! Poor Farnham is playing with fire there.

    And OMG, OMG, OMG!!! Squeeee! Teresa Medeiros is in da house! OK, I need to go and have a good lie down. Sven, take off that skirt and give me a massage. No, don't try on my blouse. Leave my lipstick alone - you know it's not your color. No, you can't borrow my hairdryer. GIVE ME A MASSAGE, YOU MISBEGOTTEN SWEDE!

    Teresa, LOVELY TO SEE YOU!

  113. OMG Pink Peony - I've only just cleared up my monitor after reading Becke's endings! What a fantastic twist you've put on my suspenseful vignette!

  114. Whoo, Jen! The dog flying economy made me snort! What a fabulous suspenseful continuation of Anna's fabulous suspenseful beginning! You know, Miss Jen, you are SUCH a talented writer!

    Oh, poor Sven. He's looking rather upset that nobody is taking his vignette seriously. Jen, you KNOW he only eats healthy Swedish herbal potions and raw fish. He'd never go near all that saturated fat in the bucket of chicken. What a clever ending!

  115. Oh Kirsten - I love Cousin Mike. What a nice surprise for Melinda.

  116. Hi Tawania, I know exactly how you feel. And what's worse is that these vignettes are all written just for the Dishies. There are no books! It seems really cruel. Is Sven a breast or a wing man? Will Mr. Walker walk all over Vaudine? My bet says no, by the way. Will Marianne push Farnham down the steps and her story turn into a cozy mystery? Will Cuddles eat the leftover chicken? These and a thousand other mysteries will never be solved. Bwahahahahahaha!

  117. Tonya, if you get a chance, go back and check out Becke's endings for the vignettes from the previous days. They're all absolutely brilliant. She won the grand prize on Tuesday and I'm not at all surprised!

    Hey, everybody who loved the very sexy Mr. Walker, make sure you check out Suz's serial over at her Rocky Mountain Romance site. It's a great read!

  118. I just want you all to know that my husband came upstairs to see what was causing such a commotion in my office - I was laughing so hard he though the wine had gone to my head!

    Pink Peony's KFC was the latest culprit!

  119. Buffie said: Tawny, I am happy to see Sven making an appearance here at The Romance Dish!

    It was Sven or the Golden Rooster *g*

  120. Susan, the inviduality of the voices has been one of the real delights of the invasion, hasn't it? Everyone has such a different take on each photo.

    Hey, Kirsten, thanks for checking them out.

    Whoo, Helly! A battle of wits between Marianne and the devilish Lord F. Luscious! I love it when the characters swap quips. That's quips, not whips, Sven! After the last few revelations about you, I'm not sure what else is coming!

  121. Janga - as long as you're enjoying yourself, that's what counts!

    Dianna - as always you are a goddess among women!

    Tawania - thank you!! It's been our pleasure to entertain *g*.

    Cyndi - I bet you never thought you'd use cross-dressing Sven in a sentence!

    Vanessa - we do try ;) Glad you think we succeeded

  122. Oh dear - the other Anna is up to her usual tricks! Now, you're the one who owes me a monitor! And the cat some valium!

  123. Ooh, Kirsten, I think the hot weather day just started in Australia! That evil, delicious Mr. Walker! And you just know he's going to be a great kisser!

    Kirsten, snorted at Lord Farnham as a jewel-stealing matchmaker. How incredibly imaginative! I hadn't thought of that alternative either. I thought he's there to steal something, perhaps a kiss, not her diamonds! Bravo, you!

  124. Vignette #2

    Whatever Marianne had planned to say rushed from her head, along with her common sense.

    "Lord Farnham! Where are your clothes?"

    The light of the candles cast shadows on his angular features and emphasized the dark slash of his brows.

    Marianne's pulse raced. By heaven, he was a handsome devil. Only a man with his dashing good looks -- and a Lord, to boot -- could get away with such shocking behavior.

    The brief flicker of humor in his eyes vanished as he cast his gaze over her nightclothes.

    His continued silence unnerved her. Why did he stare as if she were the one flaunting society's rules?

    Apart from the fact that Marianne was in the presence of a man without a chaperone, she was quite decently -- if inappropriately -- covered.

    Lord Farnham, on the other hand, was shockingly exposed.

    His lip curled in the semblance of a grin. "I am dressed, Marianne."

    She sputtered, pointing a shaky finger at his chest. "You are naked, sir!"

    How dare he deny it, when she was about to swoon from the sight of those flat brown nipples and that broad, muscular chest?

    Marianne's fingers clenched as she fought the urge to run her hands through the dark feathering of hair. His nudity was horribly wrong, but deliciously enticing.

    He took the candle from her, hissing when he saw where her trembling hand had been splashed with the hot wax. Ever so carefully, he peeled the wax from her skin and tossed it aside.

    A strange sensation coiled through her as he raised her hand to his lips and kissed the red mark left by the wax.

    "Marianne." His deep voice shot through her, setting her nerves on edge. My shirt is open, nothing else."

    He placed feather-light kisses on her closed eyelids. "If the sight of my bare chest leaves you boneless in my arms, you may be in for a shock before the evening is over."

    Marianne pulled out of his embrace, not sure how she'd let him get away with such advances. Her cheeks were burning as if she had a fever.

    "Whatever do you mean, Lord Farnham?" Whatever he thought, she had no intention of letting him kiss her. Well, perhaps just one kiss.

    "I believe a demonstration is in order." Lord Farnham brought her hand to his chest and lowered his face to hers. "Your first lesson begins . . . now."

  125. Gannon, ladies, this has been so much fun. Thanks for having us. You ladies sure know how to throw a fun party!!

  126. PJ said: I'm going to be scare this morning. I just got a call from a realtor who wants to show my house


    Fingers crossed and good selling thoughts coming your way :-)

  127. Becke said: As to Sven and Agatha, what can I say? Strange thing happen when I write late at night.

    Awesomely strange and clever, Becke *g* I'm so loving the Agatha twist!!!

  128. Kirsten, I don't trust that Cousin Mike. I think he might be a murderer under all that kindness and concern!

    Oh, man, that Sven is a bit of an operator! At least he's not trying on the lucky undies!

    These endings were great, Kirsten! Thanks so much for playing!

  129. Ooooooooooo, Becke...Vaudine and Mr. Walker were married once before? What a twist!

  130. Oh, squeak, squeak! How hilarious! And Lord Farnham deserved to be hoist with his own petard - which is what they call them in polite circles! Now I want the rest of the story! Great stuff, Drew!

    Hey, Vanessa, great to see you. Hasn't it been a hoot of a weak! By the way, congratulations on Sex and the Single Earl making it onto B&N's lists of books to look forward to early this year. Whoo-hoooo!

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  132. Hey, Dianna, lovely to see you. Gosh, we've got all the famous people swinging by to see us this morning! How cool is that? The different takes have been amazing, haven't they?

  133. Other Dianna, so sorry you have to work today and miss the fun. Come and see us when you're free. This party looks like it might go LAAATTTEEEEE!

  134. Suzanne - Twists are so much fun, but you all make it hard! I had to really think about these last two. I find it easier to go with the flow in contemporary settings.

    Sorry, had to repost this. My typos make me insane.

  135. Hey, Janga, sorry to hear the muse has taken off for warmer climes. Clearly NOT my place, snort! Thanks for swinging by!

    Beth and Jo, it's been a stellar week, hasn't it? What fun!

    Hey, Deb, so glad you've been part of this fun week! I'm still astonished that we all came up with such different takes on a bloomin' staircase!

  136. Pink, what a great twist for Mr. Walker. I love his plans for her.

    And Lord Farnham... Oh yeah, she told him *g* Passion, indeed.


  137. Becke, what an absolutely delicious ending to Mr. Walker and the tremulous Vaudine! Mind you, the gladiators perked up when they saw those last few lines! Mr. Walker might have competition!

    Nancy and AC, it's been a fantastic week, hasn't it? And thanks to everyone who came along and played with such gusto!

  138. Anna, Pink Peony's KFC was classic - just don't tell the Golden Rooster!

    Ooh, poor pussycat, Anna! Give it some of Sven's KFC!

    Ooh, Becke, lucky Marianne! You're turning my rakish Lord Farnham into an absolutely delicious seducer! You wicked thing!

  139. "Drop the gun or your dog's flying economy over this railing."

    OMG ROFLMAO Pink!!!! I love it *g*

    And the Colonel? I'm rolling in my chair here!!! That's hilarious.

  140. #4

    Where was the massage table? The delicious, scented, edible oils Sven was so skilled at spreading all over her body??
    She especially wore her 'do-me' stilettos so she could walk all over Sven's broad, muscular back!

    He walked out of the shadow...he was wearing...what in hell WAS he wearing...Sven was dressed, as a VIKING??

    His glorious, long tawny hair was loose from its usual pony tail, it was long, luxurious and touchable.
    He was wearing nothing but an animal skin around his slim, muscular hips, tight leather gauntlets on his arms.
    A chest, she suddenly wanted to crawl all over, lick into oblivion.
    So much for the massage.

    Hot Viking sex, coming up.


    My thanks to Deb, over at the Bandits blog she mentioned Sven and Viking in the same sentence. I couldn't resist.

  141. Nothing but an animal skin around his loins? OMG, IT'S CUDDLES!!!!!

    Drew, love the idea of Sven as a maurauding Viking. Clearly he's been hiding his true self from us at the lair!

  142. Anna said Nothing but an animal skin around his loins? OMG, IT'S CUDDLES!!!!!


    OH. MY. GAWD! I just spit iced tea all over the monitor and the dogs are running around my chair barking at their crazy mama who's about to fall out of said chair because she's laughing so hard!

  143. Kirsten said: Tawny -- a "sex-capade"? SNORK!!

    LOLOL - Well its gotten a lot more hilariously sexy now that the ladies are finishing up the scene, huh?

  144. I wouldn’t get caught in your bedchamber, Miss Worthington, because I have no intention of marrying you. But I do have every intention of collecting on our wager.”

    Oooooooh!!! Ms. Hellion, intense and powerful.

  145. Whew! Kirsten... hot, very very hot. I'll take an iced tea now, Mr. Golden Waiter. Extra ice, please.

  146. Oh, wow, another big day! I want to thank PJ and all the Dishers for having us on the blog this week! It's been so much fun and I'd also like to thank all the readers who participated. There's a lot of talent out there!

  147. Christine, I'd like to add my thanks to all the Dishers for a wonderful, fun week. It was a great relief for the January blahs!

  148. Karyn -whoa baby, Mr. Farnham is heating things up! Talk about seductive, huh? I wonder how Marianne will handle it *g*

  149. Dianna said: I love how everyone had a different, yet intriguing, take on the scene.

    I KNOW!! Isn't this a fabulous example of how voice really is unique. I'm always so amazed to see the different takes not only on the same picture, but on where the vignettes go once people start adding to them. Seriously, I never imagined Sven as a cross dresser but now that's all I can see *G*

  150. This has been soooo much fun! I tried to stretch out my endings for today as long as I could. I hate for the week to end!

  151. These have all been wonderful, but I have to say, I'm still laughing at the Colonel. LOVE IT!

  152. Thanks to all of the Banditas and all of the posters for a fabulously fun week. So much talent and creativity!

  153. PJ, thanks to all the wonderful ladies of The Romance Dish for inviting us all to your party!

  154. These endings are awesome Ladies keep them coming

    Have Fun

  155. She sighed, tired of his games. "Charles."

    He pulled her close. "Mrs. Walker."

    Whoa!!! What a twist, Becke!!! Awesome :-)

  156. Hola! What a day! I need a mass-ahge with a muscular blond Viking in a loincloth wearing a pair of Jimmmy Choo stilettos and afterwards, I'm going to look for a pair of lucky undies, stuff Sven in my Saab and take off somewhere "quiet". :-) Loved reading all of the fantastic endings...tons of creativity. GR...sorry about the cluck in the bucket reference. Thanks Dishes and Banditas. What fun!

  157. "Your first lesson begins . . . now."

    Mmmm mmmm good!!!

    Finger licking good, even LOL (yes, now I have the Colonel's motto stuck in my head)

  158. Everyone has really outdone themselves with their wonderful writing!

    Thanks to all you lovely Banditas for invading this week and partying with us! Whew! I'm going to need to rest next week. *g*

    Whenever I need a chuckle, I'll just read about the cross dressing Sven or the KFC eating Sven. Still ROFLMAO!!

  159. Hey, I just had a thought -- was there a Day 4 winner announcement?

  160. Hot Viking sex, coming up

    Whoa baby!!! Sven, he's the man *g* Nicely done, Karyn!!!

  161. Hey Ladies, I'm baaaack!!! Te he he.

    At least I made it back for the wrap party, right!

    Off to read some comments!

  162. Anna C. said Oh, Buffie, I feel we should invade your workplace and make them let you play on the internet all day!

    On dearest Anna, I wish you all could have done that very thing. I really needed as the past two days at work have been from hell. It's been rough.

  163. First, I must thank all of the Bandits for spending the week with us here at The Romance Dish. You ladies never fail to entertain, and you always show your genuine spirit of friendship to all. It has been a pleasure having you in our home. I cannot wait to meet you all in person at Nationals.

    Second, to all the commenters this week, you have outdone yourselves with finishing the vignettes. Sometimes you had me on the edge of my seat anticipating the next thing. Sometimes you had me, well, let's just say I needed a cold shower :0 And sometimes you had me laughing so hard it hurt. Thank you for your creativity and thanks for spending the week with us! We sure hope you won't be a stranger.

    And third, thanks to my fellow Dishers -- PJ, Gannon, and Andrea, who pretty much did everything this week. I'm so sorry I couldn't show up more, but the schedule has been awful. Love you gals!

  164. Hey, I just had a thought -- was there a Day 4 winner announcement?

    Not yet, Becke. I'm waiting for the Day 4 Banditas to send me the name of their winner. I can't imagine they're having an easy time deciding. There were some fabulous continuations yesterday! I'll post it just as soon as I know.

  165. I already had my big day, but I wanted to be sure yesterdays rock stars had their chance, too!

  166. Yikes, left out the apostrophe in "yesterday's." For God's sake, don't let my daughter know. She'll set the Apostrophe Police after me!

  167. MANY MANY THANX to the Dishers for allowing us Banditas to "invade." We've had a FAB time and I know I speak for all of us when I say the continuations of our vignettes have been absolutely WONDERFUL! Whether suspenseful, HEA, sexy, or hilarious, they have all been a real joy to read!


  168. Just wanted to thank the Dish Ladies and everyone for having us here this week. All the Bandits have had a blast!

  169. What a fantastic show of talent here today by both the Banditas and everyone who posted their happy endings.

    I was go happy to have gotten a chance to play yesterday. I've made 2010 the year I return to blogging with some fabulous sites and this is most certainly one of them! The second part of my 2010 will be to write more than I did last year. So far it's been a good year on both counts.

    I can't wait to see who won yesterday and today's spots!

    Have a marvelous weekend, folks!

  170. How is a girl suppose to collapse after a long 12 hour day at work with all this BRILLANCE!!!!

    You've out done yourselves...ALL of you...

    Sven and snakeskin SNORK

    The Colonel? SNORK

    Thank you again Dishers for inviting us to hang out with you. It's been a blast!

  171. Hi gang! Sorry I couldn't get back here last night, but our internet connection had a major hiccup.

    Just wanted to say thanks again to the fabulous Dishy Dames for a wonderfully fun week - you ladies are the best! And thank you too to all the Dishettes who took part in our fun - awesome job!

  172. Santa, hope you make your ambition. I know I'll like seeing you around a bit more - I always enjoy your posts. Are you coming to Nashville?