Is He Mr. Right?

Wonderful Vanessa Kelly invited me to interview Corinna Mowbray and Ian Chance, the heroine and hero from My Lady, My Lord, for her readers. Corinna thinks it’s a great idea. She hosts a fashionable, elite salon in London, and enjoys conversing on all sorts of subjects. The trouble is, when we suggested it to Ian, he… well… he squared his handsome jaw and headed toward the card room.

Corinna: Like any barbarian would.

Me: Hi, Corinna! Lovely of you to join us. So, Ian’s decampment gave me an idea. Since you and he are opposite as can be—

Corinna: A vast understatement. You might compare Genghis Khan to Cleopatra and find more points of similarity.

Me: Right. Anyway, I thought I’d give you a quiz to see how suited to each other you actually are, even though you seem so different. You know, whether or not secretly you’d be perfect together. How does that sound?

She stares blankly at me. This does not bode well.

Me: Okay, I’ve clearly caught you right before My Lady, My Lord begins. But if you bear with me I think this will be fun. I’ve found the ideal quiz on the Marie Claire website. It’s called “Is he the one?”

Corinna: The one what?

Me: The one. You know, The One.

There is no recognition in her face. I don’t think she knows. Not yet, at least. But she will. Oh, boy, will she know…

Me: Please, Corinna, bear with me? But you have to answer the questions honestly. Every one of them.

Corinna: Of course. When I feel that I cannot answer honestly to my advantage, I will simply be silent.

Me: Great! Okay, here goes. First question. When you two fight:

  1. It’s like World War III. It takes days for us to start speaking again.
  2. We have arguments like anybody, but we usually resolve things pretty well.
  3. Fight? Please. We’ve never fought about anything.
  4. We tend to have major blow-ups, but our hot make-up make-out sessions are totally worth it.

Corinna: I don’t know what a ‘make-out session’ is.

Me: So I guess we are, in fact, still at the beginning of the book.

Corinna: I beg your pardon?

Me: Oh. Er… Nothing.

Corinna: Katharine, Ian Chance and I have been quarreling for twenty-nine years. Since he is constitutionally incapable of rational argument — or rational thought, for that matter — we have never once resolved a quarrel. Next question?

Me: Second question. How do conversations about your future together usually go?

  1. We haven’t really discussed it.
  2. We both want children. I’d just rather wait a few years, while he has major daddy fever.
  3. We both want similar things in the areas of kids and lifestyle.

Corinna: Conversations concerning the future tend to end in him recommending the convent and me recommending debtors’ prison.

Me: I suppose that means you’ve never discussed children?

Corinna: The notion of Ian Chance procreating fills me with horror. The world has no need of another in his model.

Me: But you think he’s handsome. You can’t deny that.

Corinna: No. I cannot. But males of the species must be physically appealing to attract a mate.

Ian: Talking about me again, Corrie dear? How gratifying.

Me: Ian! You left the card room for us? How nice of you.

Ian: At your service, madam.

He bows to me. Corinna crosses her arms.

Corinna: He knew I preferred to do this alone. He’s come solely to vex me.

Ian: Of course I have. Vexing you is my fondest pastime.

Me: All right, you two. Let’s continue to the next question.What is your couple vacation style?

  1. We haven’t been on a trip together.
  2. We always head to our favorite place: the beach.
  3. I like exploring new places, and he likes relaxing, anywhere and anytime.

Me: Corinna? This quiz is for you, really, so you should answer first.

Corinna: #1 and #3. There is no place in this world I mind being except in the same room with him.”

Ian: You’re free to leave now, Corrie dear. I can handle the remainder of this interview alone, no doubt much more amusingly, too.

Corinna: Answer the question, cretin.

Ian: #1, of course. Though I do wish it were otherwise. Isn’t there a #4 for this question?

Me: Um. No. What would you want #4 to be?

Ian: Anywhere, as long as the ride is long and the carriage closed.

Corinna’s eyes pop wide.

He shrugs.

Ian: Would you have me state a mistruth, madam?

Me: Of course she wouldn’t. Next question! Corinna, what do your friends think of him?

  1. They love him.
  2. They don’t really know him that well yet.
  3. They’re happy that we’re so in love, although they sometimes worry that there might be something better out there for me.
  4. They always seem to be unavailable when we want to double-date.

Corinna: What is this ‘double-date’?

Me: You’re just going to ignore #3, aren’t you? At least the first part?

Corinna: It has no bearing on reality.

For those of you in the audience, Ian’s just looking at her now, and he’s got this look on his face I’ve seen only…

Corinna glances up at him and the expression disappears from Ian’s face.

Corinna: Well, it doesn’t.

Ian: How could it?”

An obvious evasion.

Then I think maybe it’s not actually before the beginning of the book right now. Maybe we’re deeper into the book at this moment than I’d imagined. Because Ian looks like he’s withholding something. Something a little too revealing.


Me: Next question. Corinna, when you’re sick…

  1. He brings me soup, makes me tea, and holds my hair back while I’m throwing up.
  2. I refuse to let him see me any sicker than with a little case of the sniffles.
  3. He mostly leaves me alone, but checks in on me occasionally.
  4. He doesn’t really like to be around me when I’m sick.

Corinna: #1.

Now he has a gentle sort of smile on his face. Her cheeks color up and she rolls her eyes away.

Corinna: Of course. He has enough personal experience with it, the scoundrel.

Now I’m positive we’re in the middle of the book at this point. Because there’s that morning when Corinna wakes up after a late night spent with friends and a lot of brandy, and… Well, let’s just say Ian knows precisely how to take care of her the morning after.

Me: Okay, next question. Corinna, he likes you best…

  1. In jeans and a T-shirt even though I generally prefer to dress up a little more.
  2. In my underwear.
  3. In my pajamas, when I’m just waking up.
  4. In an outfit he chooses.

Corinna: Well— I— What sort of interview is this, Miss Ashe?”

Ian: Perhaps I am the most appropriate person to answer this question.

Corinna: He is not!

Me: Go ahead, Ian.

Ian: #1 through #3.

Note: From the pink of Corinna’s cheeks, it seems that in fact she does know what a make-out session is after all.

Much farther along in the book than I’d thought, indeed.

Me: Okay, final question, Corinna. My fantasy guy is…

  1. The man standing beside me right now.
  2. Someone who fits perfectly into my life.
  3. Tall, dark, and handsome.
  4. Someone who doesn’t let me get away with my own B.S.

Corinna remains completely silent.

Me: #3, maybe?

Ian pretty much fits that bill.

Ian: Definitely #4.

Me: Great! Let’s see how you did. I’ll just tally up the answers here… and… Aha! Listen to this: “He’s Mr. Right! Congrats, you’ve found yourself a great match. It’s clear that the two of you have made it through the tough stuff, and you recognize that a good relationship has its ups and downs. Plus, you have a clear picture of who you’ve fallen in love with and have managed to find that ever-elusive balance of passion, respect, and honesty.’

Ian’s grin widens. Corinna pivots on her heel and strides away. But a little smile lurks at the corner of her lips.

Yes, indeedy. A match made in heaven, proving that the gods have an excellent sense of humor.

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