Monday, August 22, 2016

Second Impressions...Amy George


Available at Amazon
Today is my time for the Blog Tour for Second Impressions by Amy George. We had a bit of a mixup on the dates so my post is coming in a bit late today. For that I apologize to all of you, dear readers. 

Ms. George has shared an enticing excerpt with us and there is a giveaway. Don't forget to pop in at all the stops along the tour.

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     Elizabeth gasped in shock and waited for Kitty to continue. Instead, her sister suddenly lamented Mr. Riley’s absence, and Elizabeth’s attention drifted elsewhere to the ghost of the man from whom she had fled.

     Darcy was still tall, of course, which assisted in maintaining that air of haughtiness she had so disliked, but his pale skin and longer hair diminished the frightening assurance he once conveyed. He looked up, and their eyes met.

     Elizabeth quickly looked away. Her mouth was suddenly dry, so forgetting Kitty entirely, she went in search of a glass of punch. While looking for refreshment, she decided it would not be productive to dwell on Mr. Darcy’s presence, to dwell on what could have been. She had been so close to wanting to call him friend at Pemberley, so close to falling in love with the tenderness she saw in his eyes and the ease he had displayed there and nowhere else. There was no way to go back and change anything, and it was time to accept it.

     She had almost reached the refreshment table when she spotted Mr. Darcy standing just beyond it.

     Any attachment between them was not meant to be, Elizabeth reasoned, but if that were the case, why did the gentleman keep appearing before her as though he were a lion and she were some hapless prey?

     “Miss Bennet, would you do me the honor of dancing the next with me?”
Unable to find an excuse quickly, Elizabeth nodded mutely and felt her heart flutter at the small, shy smile that alighted on Darcy’s lips. He offered his hand and tucked hers through his arm, walking slowly to the floor where they awaited the next set to start.

     Find something impersonal to talk about! Elizabeth’s brain wailed at her.

     “It has turned rather cold this evening. I was outside with the twins earlier, and we were driven back to the house by the wind. I fear winter has finally descended on us full stop.”

     “It would appear so.”

     “At least it did not snow. That would have made travel difficult.”

     He nodded. Darcy’s heart swelled to be standing next to her, touching her. He had dreamt for so long of the moment he would see her again that he nearly felt as though he were sleeping at that moment. She was a beautiful, gauzy illusion—and she was staring at him sternly.

     “I apologize, Miss Bennet.”

     “Mr. Darcy, I do not believe you are even aware of the reason for your apology.”

     “My thoughts wandered while you were speaking. I did not hear what you said.”

     Amusement lit Elizabeth’s eyes, and she blessed him with a tender smile. “Then I apologize for jumping to conclusions, sir. I should not have spoken so.”

     He was half-tempted to tell her she could speak in any way she wished to him as long as she kept conversing with him. Her voice was like a salve upon his wounded soul. Instead, Darcy nodded slightly in acceptance of her unnecessary apology.

     “I fear we shall spend the evening giving offense so the basis of our conversation will be nothing but regrets.”

     Elizabeth looked down at his hand covering hers and felt a powerful energy run through her. It was as though she had too much wine. Her head flew up as the music ended, signaling that their dance would soon begin.

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 Blurb:

Once, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet were foes, then tenuous friends. After Elizabeth discovers Darcy is engaged to another woman, she flees to Boston to seek solace with her cousin, the brash and worldly Emeline Poston.
When she returns to England after years spent abroad, Elizabeth must face the man who shattered her heart, and she is shocked to find the proud man she once knew drastically altered. Does she have the courage to seek out the man with whom she fell in love—whatever the cost?
Fitzwilliam Darcy has spent his days regretting what might have been and his nights being tormented by the decisions he has made. His life in tatters, he can barely face the once-respectable man in his mirror or the baby girl in Pemberley’s nursery. Now that Elizabeth has returned, will he atone for his mistakes and win her heart for good?
This alternate path reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is recommended for adult readers

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Author Bio:

Amy George is a middle-aged woman who hates her "old lady/grown-up" car and refuses to listen to its radio at a reasonable volume, especially when the Beastie Boys or the Violent Femmes are playing. She lives in a town in the middle of the country where the county fair is one of the biggest social events of the season and everything is fried. Her household consists of a dog, a cat, a man, a hermit, and stubborn soap scum.

She has been writing since she was a child and was a frequent contributor to the Hyacinth Gardens, a popular but defunct JAFF site.

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Author Links:

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Second Impressions Blog Tour Schedule:
8/15: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
8/16: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaway 
8/17: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club 
8/18: Guest Post & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
8/19: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
8/20: Review at Liz’s Reading Life
8/22: Excerpt & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged 
8/23: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
8/23: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time… 
8/24: Review at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
8/25: Guest Post & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
8/26: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
8/27: Review at Just Jane 1813
8/28: Author Interview & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm

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Giveaway: Please note that the giveaway is different from all other giveaways Meryton Press has done. ONLY contiguous United States residents (the lower 48) will be eligible to win paperback copies. Paperbacks are no longer available for international winners. International winners can still enter for a chance to win an ebook (Kindle copy). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I hope you all enjoyed the excerpt for Second Impressions by Amy George. It was just enough of a teaser to make me want to read the 'rest of the story'. That's the whole idea of an excerpt though, isn't it! :) Thanks so much Amy George for sharing it with us. I must admit to being quite fascinated with this story from what I have read so far. I will be reading it as soon as possible.

Dear Readers, be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway and take note of the changes in the giveaway of paperback books. Good luck to everyone. I hope you will have a chance to visit all the participating blogs along the way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sarah Johnson, Whispered Kisses and Coloring with Jane!


Sarah Johnson is back at More Agreeably Engaged and she has some good news to share with us! (and a giveaway, too) She's writing too, so that is very good news! To get back to her present projects, I'll turn the floor over to Ms. Johnson. Take it away, Sarah. :)
Thank you so much, Janet, for having me back at More Agreeably Engaged! I have been busy writing in my spare time, and I hope to have another book out soon. For now though I have a few other projects to talk about. 
The first project is one I hope everyone will enjoy for years to come. One past-time I enjoy is coloring, and especially with my kids. So one night when I was searching the internet for coloring books with 
quotes, and my oldest daughter asked me why I didn't create one with Jane Austen quotes. After thinking about that for a while, I decided I should. So I chose my favorite Jane Austen quotes and went to my large stash of 18th and 19th Century artwork to make the frames. It was such a fun project to create, and I would love to share that with you. Janet will give details below about the giveaway. "Coloring with Jane: A Mind Lively and at Ease" is available in regular coloring book format through Amazon, and available in downloadable and printable PDF format through Etsy.

The second project I am so very happy to announce is my second project with Sophie Andrews. She has lent her beautiful voice to my narrate my latest audiobook, Whispered Kisses. I have a few freebies of this to give away as well, and Janet will give details below. If you have not yet read Whispered Kisses, here is what it is about:

Elizabeth Bennet is a romantic at heart—a dreamer and a writer. While in London, she begins receiving flowers anonymously. Her romantic sensibilities are heightened, leading her mind to create an image of who the giver could be. She soon returns to her home in Hertfordshire with only her memories and thoughts as her constant companions. Months go by without anything, and then, with the news of a visitor to the neighborhood, she once again receives a posy of flowers just before the neighborhood Assembly. Will her romantic dreams of the gentleman’s character tell a true tale or just leave her heart reeling for a love only possible in her fantasies?
Whispered Kisses, as well as all of my books, can be read for free if you are in the Kindle Unlimited program. It is available for purchase in print, eBook, and now audiobook through Amazon, and also available in audiobook through Audible.


I have to give a great big Thank You! to Janet for letting me come here today to tell y'all about these two projects. Now I will turn it back to Janet, who can give the details about these two giveaways!

I have always loved to color and spent lots of time coloring with my son when he was small. Now I have had the fun of coloring with my grandchildren. This will be new inspiration for me to enjoy two of my favorite pastimes, coloring and Jane Austen! Thank you, Sarah Johnson.

Your second good news is very exciting. I loved your first audiobook, Snow Storms and Kissing Games. Sophie Andrews's narration was awesome. I felt she captured Jane and Lizzy perfectly. I'll be listening to this one soon! :) Thank you for sharing all your good news, Sarah. 

Giveaway Time! Yay! Sarah Johnson is having a very generous giveaway and it is listed below!
2 audiobooks of Whispered Kisses, international;
2 Coloring with Jane color books, US Only
Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 22nd of August, 2016. Good luck to all!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chaos Comes to Longbourn...Victoria Kincaid

Available on Amazon
Victoria Kincaid is visiting today with a blurb and excerpt from her latest novel, Chaos Comes to Longbourn. She was also kind enough to answer some questions for me.

Victoria, it is so good to have you back at More Agreeably Engaged and I thank you, for indulging me with my questions. The excerpt and blurb made me ready to break out my copy of the book and start reading! 

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Do you have a muse that causes your story to lead you at times or do you use an outline and follow it religiously? What is your writing routine?

The older I get the less time I spend plotting out my books.  I think it comes from having more faith in my abilities as a writer.  I used to write long, involved outlines, but now I sketch out a general idea for a plot and dive right in.  I have faith that I’ll work out whatever problems I encounter along the way.  When I wrote detailed outlines I found that the actual books usually diverged from them anyway, so all that prep time wasn’t necessary.

Outlines and muses aside, what about the Regency era is appealing to you?

One of the things that helps write Regency romance is all the restrictions on male and female interactions.  That might sound contradictory, but it’s true.  Today, it’s very easy for couples to meet, date, fall in love, get married.  There are few obstacles to encounter, and sometimes when writers invent obstacles they can seem rather artificial.  But the Regency barriers to male and female interaction were real and quite strict.  The courtship system wasn’t necessarily set up to allow for people to fall in love (as opposed to setting up arranged marriages) and people rarely say what they are actually thinking.  All of this sets up some interesting obstacles for your protagonists and creates some delicious conflicts.

Oh, those strict rules do make for some interesting situations, I agree. Hmmm, do they play a significant part in your latest? Tell us something about it that you love most. (if you can without giving anything away)

It’s odd.  When I read P&P variations, or almost any other kind of book, I often like those with emotional intensity.  I love angst!  But when I write books, I often find that I most enjoy writing comedy.  This book was great fun to write.   I loved the idea of having everyone engaged to the wrong person and all the chaos that would ensue.  It was such a hoot thinking of stupid things for Collins to say or funny things for Lydia to do.  The biggest creative challenge was making it funny while still keeping it true to Austen’s characters, but I think I accomplished that. 

That sounds like a neat idea. I have a feeling you accomplished your goal as well. What have you learned from writing that has helped you in your daily life?

Too many things to list!  I’ve learned a lot from reading and writing about dissecting people’s motivations – what does someone really want as opposed to what they say (or think) they want?  This is a useful trait when dealing with anyone in real life (or, say, helping a teenage daughter navigate the treacherous waters of high school friendships).  Reading and writing also help you learn empathy.  You spend a lot of time in another person’s head—learning their fears, desires, and motivations.  Even if you don’t always agree with the way someone tries to accomplish a goal, you can understand why they want it.  When you’re empathetic about other people’s thoughts and feelings, you’re more likely to be patient with them and work with them to resolve problems.

Good answer! I like your thoughts but do not envy helping a teenage daughter navigate high school friendships! Those can be very treacherous waters! Now for something less treacherous but very important, we all have our special reasons for loving Mr. Darcy, what are yours?

It’s hard to list them all!  The biggest one is that he’s willing to change his behavior for Elizabeth’s sake.  Swoon!  Wouldn’t every woman like a man to do that?  The fact that he is a rich, proud, powerful man makes his willingness that much more powerful.  He could easily stay the same and marry someone else, but he makes the change for Elizabeth—that speaks to how “violently” he is in love with her. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention why I love Elizabeth.  Of course, we would all like to be Elizabeth and capture the love of a handsome, rich, loving (but flawed) man.  But one of the things I love about her character is that although P&P is a bit of a Cinderella story (handsome prince marries poor, but beautiful woman), Elizabeth isn’t a Cinderella character.  She stands up for herself; she doesn’t sit around pining away for him.  As readers, we’re rooting for them to fall in love, but we’re also proud of her for not just falling into his arms because he has money.  She’s true to herself, but she still gets the guy—what a great book!

I'm glad to read your reasons for loving Elizabeth and Darcy! You give good sound reasons for both! Thank you again, for taking the time to share these and the other answers with us. Now for the blurb and then the excerpt!

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Blurb:

While attempting to suppress his own desire to dance with Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy flees the Netherfield ballroom only to stumble upon a half-dressed Lydia Bennet in the library.  After being discovered with her in a compromising position, Darcy is forced to make her an offer of marriage.

Fearing the Bennets will attempt a similar “trick” with their brother, Mr. Bingley’s sisters convince him to leave Hertfordshire without any intention of returning.  After Elizabeth refuses Mr. Collins, a heartbroken Jane Bennet accepts his proposal.

Having resolved to propose to Jane, Bingley returns to Longbourn; but when he learns of her betrothal, he makes an offer to Elizabeth instead.  She accepts, with the hope that Jane will change her mind if Bingley remains at Netherfield. 

Meanwhile, Sir William Lucas is aware that Wickham had actually compromised Lydia in the Netherfield library and blackmails him into proposing to Charlotte Lucas, who is in danger of becoming an old maid. 

Hertfordshire has become a tangled web of misbegotten betrothals.

Although Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, he feels honor bound by his promise.  Elizabeth is also developing feelings for the master of Pemberley, but he has never seemed so far out of her reach.  How can Darcy and Elizabeth unravel this tangle and reach their happily ever after? 

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Excerpt:

Elizabeth dropped the napkin on the tray.  “You cannot flirt with officers now, Lydia.  You are betrothed to Mr. Darcy.”

“I remember, silly!”  Lydia waved away this objection as she shrugged off her night rail and donned her dress.  “I shan’t kiss anyone!  But I must have some fun before I marry that stodgy old man.”

Elizabeth was not an admirer of Mr. Darcy’s, but she would hardly describe him as stodgy or old.  “Engaged women must behave with greater discretion,” she said. 

“I can be discreet!” Lydia declared.  “I shall have discretion shooting out of my ears!”  Elizabeth winced at this image as she laced up her sister’s dress. 

Once her dress was fastened, Lydia flopped back onto her bed.  “Although honestly, Lizzy, I wish I were not engaged to Mr. Darcy.  I agreed to marry him because everyone said I must, but I always wanted an officer.  They are so dashing and so much fun!  Mr. Darcy almost never smiles and never laughs.”

Elizabeth pulled Lydia into a standing position before she could wrinkle her dress.  “I understand, my dear.  But the circumstances last night were…quite bad.  You are betrothed now, and you must make the best of it.”

“That is what Mama said, and she reminded me of Mr. Darcy’s fortune.”  Lydia sighed.  “If only he were more dashing…Although I suppose I shall comfort myself with jewels and hats…”

“Yes, indeed,” Elizabeth said.  She hardly approved of such an obviously mercenary approach to marriage, but Lydia must not break off the engagement.  Her reputation was in tatters. 

“I cannot wait to tell everyone in Meryton about Mr. Darcy’s ten thousand a year!”  Lydia giggled. 

Elizabeth’s righteous anger at Mr. Darcy was gradually transforming into an amorphous regret.  Last night she had been so certain of his guilt, but now…if what she suspected was true, he had been wronged, and Elizabeth had helped to wrong him. 

Moreover, she did not need to learn more of his character to be certain that he was spectacularly ill-suited to be Lydia’s husband; most likely they would both be miserable in the marriage.  Elizabeth rubbed suddenly sweaty palms on her gown.  What can I do?  She had nothing but suspicions and no way of confirming them without Lydia’s cooperation.

“I shan’t let anyone forget I have a fiancé.  A very wealthy fiancé!”  Lydia dashed from the room and down the stairs.  Elizabeth followed at a slower pace. 

At the bottom of the stairs, however, they both encountered Hill, followed by the tall figure of Mr. Darcy.  He bowed to the two ladies.  “Forgive the intrusion at such an early hour,” he said.  “But I was hoping to have a word with Miss Lydia.”

Elizabeth’s first reaction was alarm.  Surely he was not suggesting she leave them alone!  But then she recalled that they were betrothed, and it was appropriate for betrothed couples to enjoy some privacy.  Although she could not imagine what two such different people would say to each other.

Lydia pouted.  “I am bound for Meryton with Kitty!”

Elizabeth barely refrained from chastising her sister.  How could Lydia treat her fiancé so rudely? 

Mr. Darcy looked affronted.  “I shall be departing from Hertfordshire within the hour.”

Lydia heaved a great sigh.  “Very well, I suppose I have time for a brief conversation.”

“Thank you for making time for me.”  Mr. Darcy’s tone was so dry that Elizabeth could not discern if he was being sardonic.

“I suppose I must, for I am your fiancée!”  She gave Elizabeth a sidelong glance and giggled.  “Isn’t that such a grand word: fiancée?”  Elizabeth rolled her eyes, but Lydia mistook the gesture.  “Don’t worry, Lizzy,” she patted her sister’s hand, “I am sure someday a man will want to marry you as well.”

Mr. Darcy regarded the sisters with a carefully blank expression.  Did he also believe Elizabeth would be lucky to procure a husband?

“You are too good,” Elizabeth murmured to Lydia.  Mr. Darcy made a strangled sound that turned into a cough. 

“I know.”  Lydia tossed her head so her curls bounced.  “Mr. Darcy, shall we retire to the drawing room?”

He nodded mutely.

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Poor, Mr. Darcy! I cannot imagine the mess that he is in. I believe Meryton and Longbourn are in complete chaos! My, oh my, what a tangled web of betrothals? Thank you, Victoria Kincaid, for giving us such a delightful sounding novel. It will be much fun to discover how you untangle this mess that your characters have made.  

Ms. Kincaid is offering 1 eBook of Chaos Comes to Longbourn to a lucky reader and the giveaway is worldwide. Please leave your contact info in the comment. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 17th of August. Good luck to all.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Story of a Duke and His Duchess

The Duke and Duchess of Sleepy Hollow
By Janet Taylor

If you will all gather round and take a seat, I am going to tell you a story about a Duke and his Duchess. This Duke loved the Duchess with all his heart and they were blessed with many children. Life was not perfect and had, in fact, been very cruel, but it was what they knew. With their deep and abiding love, they had clung together for strength and support.

One fateful day, for reasons still unknown, the Duke, his Duchess and their children were delivered, with no opportunity to make their plea, to the gaol, awaiting imminent execution. Their world in turmoil, they were incarcerated separately -  to their utter despair. Fate stepped in, and a couple of magistrates from two distant villages saved them from execution. They would be transported together but later torn apart. The Duke was to go to one place and remain under house arrest. The Duchess, with their children, went to the other magistrate’s rule, to also be under house arrest. Bitter as was this betrayal, at least they would live to see another day.

I know little of the Duchess and her children during the time of her house arrest, other than they were well cared for. The magistrate went about finding good homes for each of the little ones. The Duke’s story, I can continue to relay. Although he lived and breathed, his heart was broken and he felt little reason to go on. His grief was overwhelming. He did not relish his meals and he only did what must be done. His heart and soul were in despair and there was little joy in his life.

The Duke was allowed some freedom during his days. His caretaker and other helpers would visit with him and allow him outdoors for fresh air and a little exercise. During one of those excursions with a helper, the Duke decided to make an escape. He hoped beyond hope his Duchess and children were somewhere nearby. That was not the case. They were quite a distance away in another village, and his search was in vain.

Roaming the countryside, the Duke pillaged food and water wherever he could find it, and received help and kindness from anyone willing to give it. Although he stayed out of reach and out of sight, as much as possible, he enjoyed the efforts of those few.

At last he was spotted by his caregiver, who had been diligently hunting for the Duke these many days. The caregiver began leaving food and water in the area where Duke was seen. Those efforts paid off! The Duke was drawn to the food, and lingered nearby. He remembered the kindness and growing love of his caregiver, but was not yet willing to go back to house arrest.

Finally, the magistrates from the two villages reached a settlement. It was decided to allow the Duchess to visit in the hope that the Duke would surrender. There had been four days of searching, before his Duchess finally arrived. The first evening was unfruitful as the Duke had already gone back into hiding. The next day was a different story. The Duchess was outdoors, walking with her temporary caregiver when the Duke spotted her. All fear of capture was gone! His only thought was to see and be with his Duchess, which brought about a deliriously happy and jubilant reunion. Their reuniting was so touching that the caregivers and all helpers were crying tears of joy for these two soulmates. It was unlike anything this narrator has ever witnessed. Telling about it these six sennights later, still brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.

One issue still troubled the local magistrate. What if the Duchess had to be taken away again? What would that do to the Duke? How unfair and heartless would that be to use the Duchess to capture him only to have her stripped away again! This kind and gentle soul worked diligently to reach the other magistrate. Then wonder of all wonders, Duchess was released to the custody of the local magistrate. How amazingly marvelous was that decision and it was received with delighted cheers and many tears! The only condition was that the children stay behind, as continued house arrest was not a good option for them, and other arrangements were continuing to be made.

A surgeon and apothecary were summoned to see to the welfare of the Duke and Duchess. Special care was given to each and they have grown stronger and healthier. With time, trust will return too, as love is triumphant.

Most of the children have now found good and loving homes where they will be well cared for. As of the telling of this story, two are still awaiting their new family. It is hoped that their wait will not be long and that they will soon start the journey of their new life.


As for the Duke and Duchess of Sleepy Hollow, well, I can personally attest to their happiness. You see, I am their caregiver.

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"Angelmama & Duke & Duchess of Sleepy Hollow"
written by Tomilyn Head



Song written
by Tommie Lynn Head
Timid & frail, poor boy been through Hell
Now he's the Duke of Sleepy Hollow
Ragged & thin, so excited to find a friend
Now she's the Duchess of Sleepy Hollow.

"Heartaches they've endured, I can't even fathom
Abuses they've suffered, I can't bear to imagine"

Well, the Good Lord did surely show mercy
He sent a bright Starr to save them
& guide them to sweet Angelmama
Angelmama of Sleepy Hollow

"Heartaches they've endured, I can't even fathom
Abuses they've suffered, I can't bear to imagine"

Within my heart they'll stay, Never shall I forget
Angelmama & Duke & Duchess
& the first day we met
Sweet Angelmama & Duke & Duchess
     of
      Sleepy Hollow

  By Tommie Lynn Head 08/08/2016
     
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The Duke and Duchess of Sleepy Hollow – The Rest of the Story

Duke, Duchess and their eight babies were surrendered to a Corpus Christi, Texas, kill shelter, no questions asked.  All were to be euthanized the next day. Thankfully, some of the people there try hard to save the fur babies that are brought in. One of them contacted Starr Lockwood, the Lago Vista Rescue Network. (I say, ‘the’ because Starr is it!) The male, a yellow lab, was tagged to go to Starr. The female and eight babies were tagged to go to another Rescue Network.

Duke
Duchess
Corpus is a little over a five-hour drive from here and arrangements were made to get Duke to Lago. Starr called and asked if I would foster Duke. I readily agreed. Duke, Duchess and the babies began their long journey to new lives.

When Duke was separated from Duchess and his children, his heart broke. Everything was unknown and he was terrified. Although he had been badly abused and starved, it was what he knew and he had his family. Now all of that was gone and he didn’t know what to do. In the beginning, Duke was extremely fearful. He flinched involuntarily if anyone made an attempt to touch him. He only looked down with his head hanging and his tail fixed firmly to his tummy as if glued there. He was a pitiful sight, starved and dejected, with little will to live.

Eventually I could touch his head gently and then his shoulders but he would not accept touching of his back or flanks. He flinched and backed away- still terrified. As I worked with Duke, I tried to help him feel safe and secure. He began to allow more touching and I was able to pet and stroke his back. The flinch was still there but it was lessening in intensity.  He was beginning to realize I was okay and all humans were not mean. The biggest factor with Duke was his loss of Duchess. It was still great and he grieved much.

A couple of days later, one of my helpers was walking Duke. He bolted and pulled out of his collar, running into the woods, in search of Duchess. There was no catching him. He stayed nearby for a couple of days but would not let anyone come near. Everything was now on his terms. Any movement toward him and he would run. He ventured farther away but stayed in the general area. After four days of searching, sightings and many calls from neighbors, I spotted Duke. I started leaving him food and water in the area. He remembered me and my voice. He would come eat and drink, at a distance, but was still not ready to give up his search for Duchess.

Starr had been trying to reach the administrator of the other network, in hopes that Duchess would be allowed to come to Lago to aid in the rescue of Duke. An agreement was reached. Thursday, when Duchess arrived, Duke had already taken shelter for the evening. Duchess was allowed to walk around and leave her scent behind.  We prayed that would let Duke know she was close, thereby giving him hope and keeping him in the area.

Friday was the game changer. We got a call from Marie Schiller with a Duke sighting. I took off for the area and Duchess was brought in. Success! When Duke spotted Duchess, he went immediately to her. The reunion of the two was awesome. There were three grown women in tears at the sight of these two as they nuzzled and gave licks. They were ecstatic to be together again. Duke would have followed Duchess anywhere and he did! I led Duchess to the fenced yard of a nearby network member, Dana Herring. Duke followed. Once inside the fence and the gate closed, they were given food and water. The temporary foster of Duchess, Denise Simmons, was able to leash Duke. Hooray! Then after a bit, both were loaded into my car, with hesitancy on their parts, and taken to my place. Once we had them inside, we all rejoiced! It had been a long and hot five days!

The agreement was for Duchess to stay for the weekend. Then what? Would she be torn from Duke again- to break his heart a second time? That seemed so cruel and once again, Starr Lockwood began calling the administrator of the other network. On Sunday, care of Duchess was relinquished to Starr and the Lago Vista Rescue Network. I would be fostering both and they would be staying together at last! Wonderful news!

I continue to work with Duke and Duchess with the help of the Rescue Network member, Tomylin Head, who has been with me through thick and thin. She helps me walk them at least twice a day. She went with me to take them to the vet and pick them up again after their surgeries. I could not have done this without her help. Thank you, Tomylin. Thank you, Starr, for your support and for supplying all the food.

The story of Duke and Duchess captured the hearts of many in the area. Due to the generosity of some, both were able to visit the vet, be neutered and spayed, then get all their shots. They had a full checkup and healed without incident. To those that helped financially so Duke and Duchess could be vetted, I say a special thank you for allowing them that privilege. They needed the safe environment of a vet’s office. Thank you to Crossing Animal Clinic for providing it for them as well as the discounted services.

Duke and Duchess are beginning to fill out and look healthy and cared for- rather than starved, neglected and abused. They are eagerly sitting for their treats and learning a few basic commands. Their spirits are coming alive and their personalities are emerging. I am seeing a playfulness and liveliness in Duke that had not been evident since his arrival here and it is rewarding to see. Duchess has always had more spunk and exuberance than Duke. She is a lively playful girl. She is social and wants human contact. I think she needs it. She loves to be brushed and ‘loved on’. They are quite the pair.




These two dogs truly love one another and are extremely close companions. I recently read that dogs do fall in love. It is not real common as most people only have one dog. The article said that when there were two, they could and often did form a close bond, and even loved each other. That is truly the case with Duke and Duchess. They never want the other to be too far away. When we are walking them, if they are not walking side by side or one behind the other, they are looking around to be sure the other one is in sight! It has been amazing to witness their love.

Playing and hugging
As for the eight puppies of Duke and Duchess, six have found new homes. As far as I know, two are still waiting for their ‘fur-ever’ home. I hope they will find it soon.


The Lago Vista Rescue Network and other rescue networks are always needing fosters. Financial help is also very much needed and appreciated. Starr runs her network by herself. There are members of her Facebook page but Starr is the network. If you or anyone you know can help foster, adopt or even help financially, please contact Starr Lockwood at (512) 665-5264 or you may contact me by private message, email or phone, (512) 740-5855. I know, personally, how much these donations helped with Duke and Duchess and their vet care. Hopefully, we will also be able to purchase a kennel soon, thanks to the discount offered by Renee, from Tractor Supply Company, in Cedar Park.

Please consider being a foster, adopting or helping financially. There are many fur babies that need someone to make a difference. They need you.
















~~~~~~~~~~

Lago Vista Rescue Network Facebook Page:


Lago Vista Rescue Network is just that, a network of people who rescue animals, nurse them back to health and find forever homes for them. 
We who rescue these animals do so out of the kindness of our hearts for the love of the fur babies and out of our own pockets. We are dedicated to the welfare of all animals small and large and will do our best to find the forever homes they deserve. 
We welcome donations to help with veterinary care and for the spay and neuter expenses that we have with each rescue. You can private message me (Starr Lockwood) for details on how to donate. 
From all of us who give our time and money to care for these animals we thank you for your support. 
If you have an animal that you can no longer care for please message us so we can help. 
Thank you to everyone for sharing this group and helping us to care for our local fur friends.

Special Thanks to:

10700 Anderson Mill Road
Austin, Texas 78750

Tractor Supply Company  (Miguel, Store Manager and Kevin, for giving us a discount on a kennel and donating dog food)
2000 North Bell Blvd.
Cedar Park, Texas 78613

Starr Lockwood
Tomylin Head (mommalin according to my youngest granddaughter)
Angela Livingston
Marie Schiller
Denise Simmons
Dana Herring
April Davis Urbanek
Karen Reeve and other neighbors who called with Duke sightings, many of whom are network members
My family, especially, Emily, and friends (Diane) who have helped


Thank you to each of you who take the time to read my tale of 'The Duke and Duchess of Sleepy Hollow'.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mr. Darcy's Pride & Joy with Monica Fairview

Available at Amazon US and UK
Welcome back to More Agreeably Engaged, Monica Fairview! It has been too long since your last visit and I for one, am glad you are here with the latest release, Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy, the last in 'The Darcy Novel Series'. Thank you for sharing an excerpt with us from this novel and the enticing blurb.  I'm certain my readers will enjoy them as much as I did! 

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It’s always a pleasure paying another visit to Janet’s colorful blog, especially since it gives me a chance to ogle her romantic portraits of Mr. Darcy kissing Elizabeth! Over the years, Janet has hosted so many JAFF authors, so it’s great to be part of the group again. Thank you for the opportunity to be here, Janet!   

My latest novel, Mr. Darcy’s Pride and Joy, is the concluding novel of The Darcy Novel Series, which starts with Mr. Darcy’s Pledge. The series is a humorous exploration of Darcy’s feelings after Elizabeth turns him down at the Rectory in Hunsford, as he gradually begins to understand that his attachment to her is too strong to be discarded. It’s the first time I’ve written an interconnected series, and it took much longer than I expected, but now that it’s over I’m glad that I had the chance to do it, because I really love the journey Mr. Darcy makes over the length of three novels. I feel that, like a miniseries, it gave me the opportunity to explore and elaborate much more than a single novel could do.
For More Agreeably Engaged, I’ve chosen an excerpt that reflects a crucial moment in Mr. Darcy’s Pride and Joy. It starts at the point when Elizabeth and Darcy have finally reconciled their differences and are ready to get engaged and is told from Elizabeth’s perspective.

From Chapter Five

A pale wintery sun was rising over the rooftops, slowly turning the white facades of the buildings on Gracechurch Street into a warm peach. Opening the window, Elizabeth drew her shawl close and leaned out, gazing down the street to where the cold fog on the river was changing color to reflect the sun.
Today Mr. Darcy would be coming, and a new chapter of her life would begin.
She shivered with both cold and excitement and closed the window. Unable to contain her delight, she did a hop-step-step-jump as she hummed a tune. She stopped when she recognized it was the music for the country dance she had danced with Mr. Darcy at Netherfield. How odd it was, to think that she had no idea as she prepared for the ball that day what her future would hold. Her only concern had been to see Wickham. Yet here she was now, about to marry the man she had held in contempt, and now even remembered the music of their dance. What a strange thing love was!
Too impatient to wait a moment longer in her room, she rang for the maid to help her dress and do her hair. She wanted to look her best on this important day and it took her some time to decide what to wear. By the time she was ready to go downstairs, she was in a fever of anticipation. In a short while it would all be arranged and she would be officially engaged to Mr. Darcy. Her happiness knew no bounds.
She was in the breakfast room nibbling on a roll when, to her surprise, her father came in. Considering the state he had been in last night, she had expected to have to send someone to wake him up.
“You are up early, papa,” she said, with an indulgent smile.
“I prefer to keep country hours rather than fashionable hours. I refuse to adopt the slothful ways of the townsfolk.”
“It is only because you did follow fashionable hours last night that I am surprised that you are awake. It was at least past three o’clock when you came in.”
“True. And was it my imagination, or were you not also awake at that very hour? Yet here you are before me.”
She smiled and conceded his point. “You know very well I have good reason to be awake.”
“As do I. It is not every day that my daughter receives an offer of marriage. If Mr. Collins is to be believed, it is unlikely that such an offer will be repeated again.”
“I cannot promise anything,” said Mr. Bennet, chewing on the roast kidneys and washing them down with some old-fashioned ale.
Elizabeth knew her father was being as vexing, as usual. He would do the right thing, of course. He just wished to derive some entertainment from her discomfort. He would never be the instrument of her unhappiness.
“If that is all,” she said, with a confident smile, “then I am certain Mr. Darcy will acquit himself well.”

~~x~~

Elizabeth was pacing the library at the Gardiners. Every now and then she would pause to look out of the window to the street below.
“I wish you would stop pacing, Lizzy,” remarked Mr. Bennet, mildly. “If you are not careful, you will wear a hole in the carpet and I suspect it is Oriental and therefore too expensive for me to replace if your uncle demanded it. Besides, you are blocking my light. It is quite impossible for me to concentrate on my reading with your shadow roaming back and forth on my page.”
“You are determined to make a joke of it, I can see, papa,” said Elizabeth, frowning, “but you must believe me serious when I say this marriage is something I wish for more than anything else in the world.”
“Make a joke of it?” said Mr. Bennet, taking off his glasses to peer at his favorite daughter. “Do you really think I would treat my favorite daughter’s feelings as a jest?”
Elizabeth smiled and came to sit on the arm of her father’s chair. “I think you would make a jest of anything if you could. How often have you said, ‘What are we here for but to make fun of our neighbors’?”
“Ah, but that is quite different,” said Mr. Bennet. “I was speaking of neighbors, not of daughters. I rather think I shall make an exception in your case, even if I do not entirely approve of the whole matter. Now if you’ll allow me to continue with my reading while we await the arrival of your young man and I suggest that you would be better occupied reading than pacing.”
Elizabeth sighed and, choosing a random book from her uncle’s shelves, she sat down to read. Her thoughts very quickly went to Mr. Darcy, however. What could be taking him so long? He had been so adamant about having the Bennets delay their journey, yet it was now almost noon and he had not made an appearance. She went over everything he had said. Had she mistaken the time? Had he not said he would come to speak to her father in the morning? She had particularly noted it because it was not the fashionable time to come calling. She looked towards the clock that graced the mantle-piece. Perhaps there was something wrong with it and needed repairing. As if in answer, a little figure emerged and a single chime resonated loudly in the room.
“In my experience I have generally found it easier to read with the page right side up,” observed Mr. Bennet.
Elizabeth realized that she was indeed holding the book upside down. She shut it loudly, noticing the title for the first time. It was A Treatise on the Game Laws. Setting it aside before her father could comment about the title, she jumped to her feet and went to select something else.
A long silence followed in which the clock seemed to make a point of ticking as loudly as possible. She did her best to absorb herself in the book, which was a collection of poems, but the words meant nothing to her. Another glance towards the clock showed it was now almost the quarter hour. The relentless ticking continued until finally the butler came to announce that luncheon was being served.
Elizabeth was in no mood to eat. If she ate a single morsel, she was sure it would stick in her throat and choke her. Hoping against hope, she remained in the library while her father rose to take lunch, almost afraid to leave in case Mr. Darcy called.
An hour later, Mr. Bennet reappeared. Fortunately, Mr. Gardiner was not around and Elizabeth and her father could continue to use the library since her uncle did not need it for his work.
“It appears your suitor has changed his mind,” said Mr. Bennet, as he settled down in his favorite armchair and took up his book again. “Never mind, I am sure you will find another. It is good for a lady to be crossed in love now and again.”

***

I hope you’ve enjoyed this extract. I’d love to hear your thoughts after you read it. 

~~~~~~~~~~

MONICA FAIRVIEW
MR. DARCY’S PRIDE AND JOY

BLURB
A Jane Austen “what-if” novel.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are engaged at last, and Mr. Darcy is preparing to take out a special license to get married quickly. But, just when everything seems to be going just right, he encounters opposition from an unexpected quarter. Then, when his engagement is announced – to someone else – Elizabeth, understandably, begins to doubt his sincerity. 

Perhaps their love is doomed after all… 

Find out more in this third part of the Darcy Novels series.

BIO

Monica Fairview is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen's wit. She loves to laugh, and she is convinced that her cats can understand everything she says. She is the author of several Austenesque novels: two traditional Jane Austen sequels, one post-apocalyptic tongue-in-cheek Jane Austen spin-off, one multi-author novel THE DARCY BROTHERS, featuring Mr. Darcy’s rakish brother Theo, and now the trilogy, THE DARCY NOVELS. She has also written a Regency Christmas novel, A VERY MERRY CHASE, which was published as part of The Regency Quintet anthology and will be coming out soon on Amazon. 

Monica Fairview’s real claim to fame is that she lived in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester as a teenager, in the days when it was faded and neglected, so you could say she has the smog of NORTH & SOUTH in her blood. 

Monica lived in the USA for many years, where she taught literature to captive victims. She has lived in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, California, Washington State, Oregon, and Massachusetts. By some quirk of fate, she now lives in Surrey within the Greater London area, within a stone's throw of Jane Austen's picnic spot in EMMA, Box Hill. She loves visiting historical properties when it isn’t raining.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: www.monicafairview.com
Blog: www.austenvariations.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/monica.fairview
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Monica_Fairview
Pinterest http://uk.pinterest.com/mfairview/

BUYING LINKS 

Amazon: viewBook.at/Fairviewbook3

Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader and tablets: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/645094

 I'm thrilled to announce it! Finally, Mr. Darcy's Pride and Joy is now available on most major platforms. 
A Jane Austen “what-if” novel.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are engaged at last, and Mr. Darcy is preparing to take out a special license to get married quickly. But, just when everything seems to be going just right, he encounters opposition from an unexpected quarter. Then, when his engagement is announced – to someone else – Elizabeth, understandably, begins to doubt his sincerity. 

Perhaps their love is doomed after all… 

Find out more in this third part of the Darcy Novels series.

Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader and tablets: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/645094

~~~~~~~~~~

It's great having you stop by again, Monica. 'The Darcy Novels' have been a favorite of mine. I think I may have to go back to the first and start all over. I'm all anticipation for how Mr. Darcy's Pride & Joy will sum everything up. 

Now to this excerpt that you have used to torment us, what were you thinking? You know it was very unkind of you to leave us in such a state as this! :) My, what are we and poor Lizzy to do? Time, time, time...that's all we need to find out the answer to the dilemma of  'where in the world is Mr. Darcy and why has he not arrived?' Thank you, I think, (lol) for such a tantalizing scene. Great choice!

Monica Fairview is offering one eBook to one lucky reader. The giveaway is international so please leave a comment with all your contact info to be entered. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 8th of August. Good Luck everyone!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Northern Rain Blog Tour Winners

Below are all the winners for the Northern Rain Blog Tour! Thanks to everyone who commented and congratulations to all who won!



Winners for the Northern Rain Blog Tour



Paperbacks:

Kirk:
Sophia Rose:
Eva Edmonds:
BeckyC:


eBooks:

Ceri   
Maria   
Mary   
Anji Doyle  


Audio Books -  Rumours & Recklessness:

anadarcy    
Tita Wyatt   



Audio Books - No Such Thing as Luck:

Katrin Schädl    
Vesper Meikle    







I appreciate all the bloggers who hosted and I especially want to thank Nicole Clarkston for having such a great giveaway. It was a fun time and I loved the guest posts and all the vignettes! :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Impertinent Strangers...P.O. Dixon

Available on Amazon
It is always a good day when P.O. Dixon stops by More Agreeably Engaged. I know we are all in for a treat! Today Ms. Dixon brings an excerpt, a quote from Pride and Prejudice and some of her own thoughts about writing JAFF. Please join me in welcoming back, P.O. Dixon. Don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the page.

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“Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject, was sufficient to draw from her husband any satisfactory description of Mr. Bingley. They attacked him in various ways--with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.”
Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 3

For my part, the beauty of Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) is its license to reimagine Miss Austen’s stories in infinitely diverse yet intriguing ways, whether it be a change in the story settings, the manner in which the various characters meet and become acquainted with one another, and even who says what to whom. My favorite Jane Austen book, by far, is Pride and Prejudice. My favorite characters: Darcy and Elizabeth (in that order).

In my latest novel, Impertinent Strangers, I borrowed some of the words from the previously cited quote in crafting a delightful dance scene between our dear couple. Although the setting is the Meryton assembly, by this point in the story Darcy and Elizabeth know each other very well, having first met in Kent.

I hope you will enjoy reading the following excerpt just as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Chapter 23 Excerpt (Reprinted with Author’s Permission. All Rights Reserved.)
It was quickly decided that between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, the latter bore the most amiable countenance. Mr. Darcy, however, drew the greater share of the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report, which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.

Elizabeth was rather dismayed. What a woefully insufficient measure of such a man as Mr. Darcy, when she knew him to be worthy of admiration for reasons having nothing at all to do with any of those things.

Seeing the manner in which the younger Bingley sister attached herself to Mr. Darcy meant nothing to her. That young woman might as well be his cousin Anne de Bourgh, Elizabeth considered as she sat out the dance watching the two of them move through the crowd. He barely even looked at his dance partner, who, on the other hand, could not tear her thirsty eyes away from him.

This was the first time that Elizabeth had ever had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Darcy dance. His air on the dance floor was everything a gentleman’s air ought to be. With what grace did he move, his noble lineage on full display.

Purposely tearing her own eyes away from him, she commenced scanning the dance floor in admiration of the other couples. Elizabeth espied her dearest sister Jane dancing with Mr. Bingley. What a pleasing prospect, she thought. If ever there existed a gentleman who was perfect for her sister, it was Charles Bingley. True enough, she had only been in company with the gentleman that one time when he called at Longbourn with Mr. Darcy. In Elizabeth’s estimation, Mr. Bingley was almost identical in temperament as well as understanding to Jane. What better recipe for love?

She reflected on her own love life or rather lack thereof. She supposed it could have been merely a coincidence that one of Mr. Darcy’s closest friends—the one whom he had spoken of when they were together in Kent, she rather surmised—happened to let the estate neighboring her father’s, and that Mr. Darcy was in Hertfordshire solely for the purposes of serving his friend in his new role as master of such a large property. Anything was possible.

But what if Mr. Darcy’s being here is no coincidence at all? She knew enough about him to know of his wont to manage things for his own convenience. I refuse to squander another moment on conjecture. I shall see how he behaves, and then I will know what to think.

Upon the completion of the dances with Miss Bingley, Darcy approached Elizabeth to claim her hand. She took her place opposite him on the assembly floor, all the while doing her best to avoid her neighbors’ looks of amazement that he had singled her out from among the crowd of eligible young ladies in want of dance partners.

As this was the first time she had ever danced with him, she did not intend to waste a single moment in polite silence. “You are aware, sir, that you have created quite a stir by inviting the sister of a fallen woman to stand opposite you,” she said when the dance allowed.

“I feel most fortunate to be dancing with the handsomest woman in the room.” They were then separated by the dance—a welcome reprieve for Elizabeth for she had not expected him to be so bold.

When they were reunited, he said, “It is a pleasure I wish to indulge in this evening as much as decorum will allow.”

Elizabeth colored. She almost missed a step. After a slight pause, she said, “Your first dance partner was very lovely.”

He smiled in confirmation. He said nothing.

“Is she a close acquaintance?”

Darcy gave her a look, and once again they were parted. Elizabeth really needed this reprieve. What must he think of my impertinence?

“You amaze me, Miss Elizabeth,” he said when they were united once more.

“Sir?”

“I have long appreciated the liveliness of your mind; however, I am surprised by this particular side of you. Do you talk by rule while you are dancing?”

“Sometimes. I believe one must speak a little, for it would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together. However, if you would prefer silence then I shall do my best to hold my tongue.”

“By all means, feel free to speak to your heart’s content. I would by no means wish to suspend any pleasure of yours.”

Elizabeth made no answer, and they were again silent till they had gone down the dance. It being her turn to say something, she remarked on her enjoyment of balls and assemblies, and she asked him which of the two he preferred.

“I hope you will not be disappointed to learn that I would rather avoid both. Dancing is one particular pastime I am wont to eschew whenever I can help it.”

“But you dance so well,” she exclaimed with energy. “That is to say you are a very accomplished dancer.”

“Accomplished, you say? I do not know that I have ever been described as such—at least not on the dance floor.”

Tiny chill bumps spread over her body at the way he looked at her when speaking those words. Their time at the temple immediately sprang to mind, for it was then that she had seen that same look in his eyes. If she were to live to be a hundred years old, she would never forget that look. Nor would she forget the way her body stirred in its wake.

They were separated once more, and Elizabeth reminded herself to breathe. By the time they reunited, Mr. Darcy’s expression had undergone a decided change.

“Are you happy to be here, Mr. Darcy?”

“I am. Why do you ask such a thing?”

“Your countenance is quite stern.” Indeed, he seemed very much the aloof, taciturn gentleman she had first believed him to be.

“I can only imagine what your thoughts portend. You are probably asking yourself how it is that you find yourself at such an assembly as this,” she said.

“You mistake me, Miss Elizabeth. I assure you that my mind is very agreeably engaged, despite my stern—as you so described it—countenance.” Subtly biting his lip, he added, “How might it be otherwise when I am dancing with you?”

Elizabeth arched her brow a little at this. Her spirits rising to playfulness, she said, “Oh! But you told me you do not like dancing.”

“I trust you will forgive me for saying that, for I believe I spoke too hastily. I am now given to understand that I simply never had the right dance partner; that is to say until now.”

Elizabeth had seen such varying aspects in Mr. Darcy’s character since first laying eyes on him in Kent. At times, she was wont to admit that the gentleman puzzled her exceedingly. One thing was certain, she liked him very much and especially when he flattered her ego so well as he did that evening. Their teasing banter did not abate for the rest of the dance and Elizabeth could hardly wait for their next set.

No sooner was the dance over than Miss Bingley raced across the room and laced her arm through Mr. Darcy’s. Not wishing for an introduction to Elizabeth, the overly zealous young lady said, “Come, Mr. Darcy, I am desperately in need of refreshment, and I require your assistance to navigate through this throng of merrymakers.”

He gave Elizabeth an apologetic look. “Until our next dance, Miss Elizabeth.”

When Miss Bingley felt she and the gentleman were safe, she said, “Mr. Darcy, if I did not know you so well as I do, I would suppose you were quite taken with your dance partner. I have never known you to be so at ease with a perfect stranger.”

“I posit you do not know me so well as you think, Miss Bingley.”

“Not know you, sir? Surely you mean to tease me. You are my brother’s best friend. I have long considered the two of us as very good—dare I say intimate—friends as well.” Here she paused and batted her eyelashes at him. “I cannot tell you how pleased I was when my brother informed me that you had the ideal country estate in mind for him, and how you would spend time helping him navigate the ins and outs of its management. What an excellent time we shall have, even if Charles is determined to associate with the likes of these people. No doubt, he will extend an invitation to each and every one of them to dine at Netherfield in their turn, and, if I know him at all, he will want to have a ball.”

Darcy said nothing in response to these conjectures.

“I can guess the subject of your reverie, sir. You are considering how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings in such society. Indeed, you and I are of the same mind, as we often are. The insipidity, the nothingness, and yet the self-importance of these people! What I wouldn’t give to hear your strictures on them!”

Amid Darcy’s continued silence, Miss Bingley cried, “Mr. Darcy?”

“Pardon,” he said, tearing his eyes away from his former dance partner who by now was sitting with her sisters.

“I do not believe you have heard a word I have said.”

He shrugged a little. “It would appear that I am guilty as charged.”

“What on Earth has you so distracted?”

“I have been meditating on the very great pleasure that a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.”

Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on Darcy’s face. “Pray which lady among us has the credit of inspiring such reflections?”

“My former dance partner and the only woman of my acquaintance whom I ever wish to dance with again. Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet!” Miss Bingley repeated. “I am all astonishment. Surely you could not have known her very long. When, in so fleeting an acquaintance as the two of yours, did she become such a favorite? And when, pray tell, am I to wish you joy?”

That was exactly the sort of question that Darcy had expected Bingley’s younger sister to ask, but he would not gratify her wishes with a response. Besides, the young lady will have her answer soon enough.

Such being the case, Darcy said nothing. Instead he went on listening to her with perfect indifference while she chose to entertain herself in this manner. As his composure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed long. Darcy only had one thing on his mind; that being his next set with Elizabeth.

~*~

Through the course of the evening, Jane and Elizabeth stole away from the others in their party and went outside for a breath of fresh air. Elizabeth could not recall the last time she had seen her sister so happy—so animated. The two young ladies joined hands and gave in to a bout of laughter.

“Dearest Jane, I think Mr. Bingley likes you very much.”

“Oh, Lizzy, do you really think so?”

Elizabeth chuckled. “Indeed, as does everyone else at the assembly, I am certain. Pray what do you think of him? Do you like him?”

As if not wishing to be too eager in her praise of the young man, Jane replied whimsically, “What is there not to like? He is sensible and good-humored. He is lively, and I never saw such happy manners. Mr. Bingley is just what a young man ought to be.”

“That is to say nothing of his handsome looks, which a gentleman also ought to possess so far as it can be arranged. So, there. You have my permission to like him.”

“Lizzy, be serious. A handsome face means nothing at all if there are carefully concealed flaws in one’s character—a lesson that we have learned most painfully.”

With the Wickhams so far away and seldom thought about as a consequence, Elizabeth pleaded, “Pray let us not speak of such misfortunes at such a time as this.”

“Very well. Too much happiness abounds this evening. Your Mr. Darcy is an excellent dance partner.”

“Jane, he is not my Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth said, not unaware that she had put forth the same defense to her friend Charlotte months ago.

“Is he not?” Jane asked, her brow slightly arched. “You need not answer me, for if he is not now your Mr. Darcy, he will be very soon—that is to say unless there is no truth at all in the notion that to be fond of dancing is a certain step towards falling in love.”

Elizabeth smiled in silent acquiescence. Indeed, she had long believed in such an idea as well, which must certainly have explained her disappointment in hearing Mr. Darcy express his displeasure in the endeavor earlier that evening. Then again, he owed his distaste to not having danced with the right partner until now. Did she dare allow herself to hope that perhaps he was in her power?



Contact Details
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Buy the Book


~~~~~~~~~~

What an exciting excerpt, Ms. Dixon! Darcy's teasing manner and bold compliments were quite delightful! I enjoyed the dance and the banter of Darcy and Elizabeth. My thoughts on them and Pride & Prejudice as the favorite of Jane Austen's work is in agreement with yours and in the same order! Thank you for visiting today and sharing this lovely excerpt as well as your viewpoint in writing. I knew, without a doubt, that you would bring along a tantalizing taste of your latest release, Impertinent Strangers. You never disappoint! 

P.O. Dixon has one eBook to give away and this giveaway is open internationally! Leave your contact info in your comment to be sure you are included in the random drawing. If you are like me, you want to know more about this story! The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 1st day of August, 2016. Good luck to all.