Meet Armand de Montegue (Character Interview by M.S. Spencer)
Please tell us your name and a little bit about you.
Armand Eneco Cromwell de Montegue (and that’s not my whole name!). I have glossy jet black hair and eyes and a regal nose, inherited from my Puritan ancestors. I am a graduate of Oxford, but my heart belongs to my home, a tiny island in the western Caribbean. I meet my true love Lacey in her backyard, in rather worse shape than usual. After a stint as the prisoner of pirates, I was able to prove my courage and manliness etc. etc. to Lacey, and take my rightful place as Grand Duke.
What is your greatest weakness?
According to Edrigu, my only ally, it’s that I love my brother and cannot believe he is wicked. If I could only get through to him, we could return Paraiso to its former glory. My other weakness is my need to have Lacey at my side, even though I know it may put her in danger. I cannot be the man, the ruler I can be without her.
What matters most to you?
To return to my country and repair the damage my brother and the evil Damiano have done to it. If I must marry my second cousin to accomplish this, so be it, though my heart be broken.
What obstacles stand in the way of your happiness?
Well, mainly my brother, who has all kinds of crazy ideas about transforming the Duchy into some kind of socialist utopia. I can’t seem to get through to him, mainly because he’s been brainwashed by his advisor, who turns out to be much too close for comfort to Lacey, the love of my life. Oh, and this little matter of the requirement that I marry my second cousin. Also the pirates, who I can’t seem to shake.
If you could travel back in time to change one thing in your past, what would it be?
Oh my, I’d definitely have returned to my home sooner, rather than gallivanting around the world doing good deeds. I should have been home to clean up the mess in my backyard!
About Whirlwind Romance
In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on an island on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken to a tiny island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin and a cadre of loyal followers, she and Armand must face down pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue, if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical island to its former glory.
“The first secretary is like what, a vizier?”
“Yes. And treasurer, chief steward, commander of the army—”
Lacey stifled a giggle. “An army of one?”
Armand looked down his nose at her. “For your information, our muskets still work, and both Stefan and Luis are well trained in hand-to-hand combat.”
“Should it ever be needed.”
He turned grave. “I hope to God it never will be.”
It reminded Lacey of their predicament. “Where is Ulisses, do you suppose?”
Almost as if he’d been listening, the door sprang open, and Traficant entered, carrying a coil of rope. “I have an appointment with a man named Damiano.” He put Lacey on the cot and tied her hands to the bedposts. Dragging a chair to the other side of the room, he lashed Armand to it. “Now stay put. I won’t be long.” He left.
They heard the splash of the anchor. A little later, the sound of oars dipping into the water told them their captor had taken the dinghy. Spread-eagled on the bed, her arms stretched painfully, a familiar panic smothered Lacey’s senses. She had never been able to stand having her arms pinioned. She laid her head back and tried to relax, but her breathing quickened and hysteria washed over her. She concentrated on the gentle rolling and pitching of the boat.
“Here, let me.” Warm breath misted the back of her head.
She tried to jerk upright, but the ropes pulled her back down. Her eyes wild, she opened her mouth to scream, but a rough hand went over it. “Shhh, quiet, Lacey! You’ll wake the dead.”
“Armand! You’re…you’re free! I thought…I thought…”
“Now if you will kindly wiggle your fingers.”
Lacey did so and soon felt a loosening of the bonds around her wrists. “How did you manage it?”
Armand held up his hands, free of rope. “Unlike American prep schools, Eton teaches useful skills such as fencing and lock-picking.”
“I bet you’re a big hit at parties.”
“As a matter of fact…” He picked up her hand and kissed the tips of her fingers.
Lacey took a deep breath, and peace flooded back into her body. “So, your degree is in escape artistry?”
“Among other things.”
She rubbed her wrists. “What do we do now?”
“We get off this boat.”
“You mean, swim?”
“If we have to.” He stood up and paced the cabin.
She stopped him, hand to his chest. “You can walk!”
“What?” He looked down as though discovering his feet for the first time. “Oh, yes. The ankle is nearly healed.”
“But you were limping heavily only last night when Ulisses took you.”
“That was for his benefit. If he thinks I’m still lame, he won’t worry about our getting away.”
“I see.” She went to the door and tried the handle. “Locked.”
Armand held up what looked like a needle. “Standard school supplies.” He fiddled with the lock until the door sprang open.