“You, there. How do you ask a woman to dance?”
The blacksmith shrugged. “I don’t. I don’t dance.”
Finn’s hand shot up. “I know! I’ve heard Sally saying it to the mirror. ‘May I have the pleasure of this dance?’” He affected a flourish and a bow.
“Wrong,” Colin said. “All wrong.” He lifted his voice. “Every man, repeat after me. ‘I believe this dance is mine.’”
The men mumbled the words back at him.
Colin drew out his double-barreled pistol, cocked it carefully, raised it level with his shoulder, and shot it into the air. The resounding crack caught the group’s attention. “Say it with conviction. ‘I believe this dance is mine.’”
The men cleared their throats and shuffled their feet, saying, “I believe this dance is mine.”
“Better. Try this. Your hair is a river of silk.” When he got only puzzled stares in return, he explained, “The first line gets her in your arms. If you’re going to woo a woman to your bed, you need a few more pretty words. Now repeat after me, damn it. ‘Your hair is a river of silk.’”
“‘Your hair is a river of silk,’” they echoed.
“Now we’re getting somewhere.” He paused, considering. “Now this one. ‘Your eyes sparkle like diamonds.’”
They repeated, with a bit more spirit this time.
“‘Your breasts are alabaster orbs.’”
“What?” Rufus objected. “That’s stupid. I’m not saying that.”
“Do you have some better suggestion?”
“Why can’t you just say she’s got a fair set of titties?”
Colin looked to Keane. “Vicar, cover your ears.”
The man actually did it.
Colin groaned. Leaping down from the crate, he approached Rufus. “Now listen, lad. You don’t go speaking speaking of titties. It’s crude. The ladies won’t like it. Not unless you’re well into the heat of things. Then, depending on the woman, she may like it well indeed. But when seduction is your aim, you can’t go wrong with alabaster orbs.”
“That’s all sorts of wrong, that is.” Thorne crossed his arms. “Alabaster’s cold and hard. Don’t know what kind of teats you’ve been suckling, but I like flesh-and-blood women myself. Don’t you have something better than that?”
“Of course I do. But I’m not wasting my best lines on you lot.”