Jennifer Redlarczyk visits More Agreeably Engaged for the final stop of her blog tour for her Christmas novella, A Holiday to Remember. Welcome, Jennifer. I'm so happy to have you visit again. I've been reading great things about your novella and that is so exciting. Congratulations!
You have quite an ending for your blog tour and we are the lucky recipients here at More Agreeably Engaged. With all these great photos from your Pinterest page and two excerpts, my readers and I will get spoiled. I'm quite intrigued.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your blog tour and share in this holiday novella! At that, I will turn the floor over to you, Jennifer.
Greetings! Thank you, Janet, for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be back visiting your blog with A Holiday to Remember. In this modern P&P variation, Elizabeth Bennet is a dedicated choral director and teacher at Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts and William Darcy is the aloof CEO of Darcy Enterprises. The two of them met when unfortunate circumstances brought them together during a summer music festival in Chicago where tempers flared and unpleasant words were exchanged. Find out what happens when their paths cross again in December. Will their animosity continue, or will their reunion turn out to be A Holiday to Remember?
From Chapter One
Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts
Monday, 4 December
“Liz Bennet! Please tell me I didn’t hear what I just thought I heard!” Charlotte Lucas burst through the doors of the choir room and marched straight to the keyboard where Elizabeth was working out the final arrangements for A Holiday to Remember—part of the music academy’s final showcase before the winter break.
“Char, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m kind of on a deadline here. Uh … you do remember I have a major rehearsal at six o’clock tonight?” She arched a questioning eyebrow in her friend’s direction before entering the final chords on the master lead sheet in her computer.
“Right, but for your information, Mr. Billy Collins just told everyone in the teacher’s lounge he has a big date with you on New Year’s Eve. He says he’s escorting you to the Pemberley Foundation’s charity gala at Forest Ridge. What gives? Don’t those tickets start at five hundred a pop? Not to mention any woman who would dare to go out with that nutter would have to be a marble short.”
Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and burst into laughter. “Char, do you honestly think BC would actually shell out that kind of money just to have a date with me? The man is so tight he probably wouldn’t spend five dollars on his own mother. Don’t worry. The Vocalteens were asked to perform at the gala and will be doing the opening act right after dessert. Since Reeves will be out of town, I’m making do with Billy-boy to run sound. You’re welcome to join us if you don’t have a date. I can always use an extra chaperone. Plus, after the kids leave, the adults are invited to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. There’s going to be a live band, dancing, loads of food and some kind of a silent auction. It could be fun, even without dates.”
“Sorry, Liz. As a matter of fact, I do have a date.” Charlotte straightened up and fluttered her eyelashes in jest. “And … as much as I’d like to hobnob with the rich and famous, Brexton Denny is taking me to the Signature Room to celebrate the New Year. Who knows, this might turn out to be my Holiday to Remember, if you don’t mind me borrowing the title from your medley.”
“Go right ahead. The Signature Room is pretty impressive. Is there any chance your Mr. Denny might finally be getting serious?”
“Not to my knowledge. Still, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a date with a buff trainer from the fitness club, fireworks over Lake Michigan, and a kiss at midnight.”
“A kiss at midnight,” Elizabeth sighed, kind of dreamy-eyed. “Aunt Maddy says being kissed at midnight by someone special is magical, and although I’ve yet to meet that perfect someone, I believe her.”
“Girl, you’ve been watching way too many holiday romance movies on your favorite channel, if you ask me. I could never be like you. At any rate, if you need an escort, you can always ask my brother. I know Johnny isn’t ideal, but he’s okay in a pinch. On second thought, what about that cute drummer from the music store? Didn’t you go out with him a couple of times? Maybe you can take him.”
“George Wickham?! I think not! And no, we never dated. Char, your memory fails you. I only agreed to sing backups for that smooth talker’s band at the Lollapalooza Music Festival last summer because he was desperate. Believe me; dating was not part of the chord chart. Besides, I’m hardly interested in a fly-by-night drummer or any freelance musician for that matter. And I’m definitely considering adding your brother to my no-go list of men. If Johnny stands me up for one more transmission or any other mechanical failure, the man is toast. As it turns out, I’ll probably hand him his marching orders once he escorts me to Charles Bingley’s holiday party on Friday. Who knows, I may end up following Jane’s lead and using her professional dating service after all. I mean, who could complain about Mr. Bingley?”
“Are you serious?”
“Absolutely! Charles is exceptional. He’s considerate and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he brings Jane flowers, sends her cards, and takes her out to dinner, concerts, company functions, yada, yada…. And to top it all off, it was Charles Bingley who recommended the Vocalteens for the Pemberley gig. As one of the corporate lawyers who work for the foundation, he was happy to submit my PR materials to the marketing director. Mr. Reynolds thinks our Holiday to Remember medley will be perfect for the charity gala.”
“I agree; it’s bound to be a hit. The kids are already looking pretty good, and you still have until next Thursday to pull it all together for the showcase. Speaking of the gala, I hear the CEO of Darcy Enterprises is pretty hot.” Charlotte wiggled her eyebrows as if in the know. “William Darcy has been in all of the tabloids lately. They say he’s some kind of aloof, mystery man—tall, dark, and handsome. I wonder if he’ll be there.”
“William Darcy?” Elizabeth frowned. “His sister, Georgiana, was studying piano with Aunt Maddy at the music store until….” Her voice trailed off. “Are you sure he’s connected to the foundation? Mr. Reynolds never mentioned him.”
“Small world! According to Google, the foundation is run by Darcy Enterprises.” Glancing at the wall clock, Charlotte changed the subject. “It looks like the bell is about to ring, so I’d better head over to my advanced ballet class. Do you still need help tonight with choreography for the opening number?”
“I’d really appreciate it, since I’m going to have my hands full with the pit orchestra. If you can take over while we run through my new arrangements, it would mean one less thing for me to juggle at practice.”
“No problem. I’ll be there. Catch you later.”
After Charlotte left, Elizabeth minimized her music program and quickly googled William Darcy, CEO of Darcy Enterprises. “I can’t believe it. It is him! So, Mr. Darcy,” she continued to babble while glaring at the computer screen. “Your Mr. Reynolds booked us for the gala. How was he to know you never wanted to see me again?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the most of it, won’t we?”
Well, it looks like our favorite couple had a run in at Lollapalooza which is an annual music festival in Chicago featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and more. In this next scene, we find Elizabeth at Bingley's party where she and William will definitely meet up.
From Chapter Two
Bingley’s holiday party
Friday night, later that week
“Shush! Do you want the whole room to know? And for your information, this is not the dress I rented. Take a look.” She began scrolling through her phone. “This is the confirmation and picture of what I should have gotten in the mail.”
“Star in your own show in this classic dress,” Jane read aloud. “The fold-over neckline comes to life in an off-shoulder effect. The bodice and mini-skirt are lined for a flattering fit and perfect for a hot date or night out with friends. Lizzy, the dress they sent you is anything but a mini dress; although I will say the plunging neckline down the back of it is definitely way off the shoulder. So, what happened?”
“Elizabeth Benton who lives in Meryton, Ohio is what happened. She got my dress. Rent the Modern Closet has promised to give me a full refund. With this dress being delivered while I was at school, I wasn’t able to send it back in time to get a replacement for tonight. Nevertheless, here I am in the flesh, so to speak.” She struck a classy pose before playfully breaking into laughter. Elizabeth’s dress was a sleek fiery red, cowl backless V-neck, floor length formal gown with a thigh-high side slit.
“You have no idea what I went through trying to find a strapless, backless, push-up, stick-on bra for this thing,” she whispered. Jane tried to hide her amusement while listening to Elizabeth detailing her dilemma. “It was either go braless or be forced to wear one of my kids’ show choir dresses. Not! Thankfully, Charlotte came to the rescue with a scandalous bra she bought from Cleavage Designs. She says this bra is all the rage on Instagram. Everyone is talking about it.”
“Cleavage Designs?” Jane mouthed—her eyes wide open. “Um … I didn’t think you and Charlotte were anywhere close to the same size. She’s so … willowy.”
“We’re not the same size, but fortunately, there was enough wiggle room to make due.” The two sisters giggled.
“Speaking of your hot date, where’s Johnny Lucas? Is he still parking the car?” Jane scanned the room looking for Elizabeth’s absentee escort.
“Oh, he’s parking the car alright—in Detroit!”
“You’re kidding. You mean to tell me Lucas stood you up again?”
“That he did!”
“What was it this time—a transmission? Someone’s timing belt?”
“Jane, have you no imagination? I’m being stood up for…. And I quote—a Classic 1966 Chevrolet Corvette—350 V8, four-speed Manual, only 96,000 Miles—end of quote. And as red as my dress, I might add.”
“Wow! I can imagine a Corvette must cost a pretty penny, no matter what year it was built. What kind of price tag are we talking here?”
“It was only fifty-one thousand big ones, says Mr. Lucas.”
“Fifty-one thousand—as in dollars?” Jane nearly gasped. “Where does a mechanic get that kind of money?”
“Johnny and his buddy Scott got the loan approved yesterday and headed straight for Detroit after they closed up shop this afternoon.”
“Oh, Lizzy, I’m so sorry. We really have to get you signed up for the….”
“Don’t even say it. I promise I’ll look into your dating service once the holidays are over.”
“Good, I’m holding you to it. In the meantime, take heart, dear sister. With the way you look in this dress, there’s bound to be some attractive single, corporate-type who will be glad to ogle you for an hour or two. Charles says he has a friend from work who is recently divorced, Richard somebody or other. He’s not bringing a date, from what I gather. You never know, this may very well turn out to be your Holiday to Remember.”
“Very funny, Jane. More like A Holiday to Forget! Something tells me I should seriously consider changing the name of that medley when I get back to school on Monday.”
“Alright, I’ll try to keep an open mind.”
So here we have Elizabeth, unescorted, in a scathing dress at Bingley’s party ready to face William and Caroline. Believe me; the rest of this chapter is anything but dull. How about that dress? I have a feeling our girl is going to attract quite a bit of attention before the night is over.
Meanwhile, I’m having a giveaway to celebrate the release of my new book. Please feel free to leave your comments below, as I will be giving away two eBooks of A Holiday to Remember (International) and would love to hear from you. If you have a chance, be sure to check out my Pinterest page where I've posted fun pictures for each chapter. Good luck and thank you all!
Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red) ♫
My Pinterest page for A Holiday to Remember
A Holiday to Remember on Amazon
Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red) ♫
My Pinterest page for A Holiday to Remember
A Holiday to Remember on Amazon
Well, you heard it, Dear Readers. Jennifer Redlarczyk is giving away two eBooks of A Holiday to Remember. Isn't that awesome. Be sure to leave a comment and contact info so I can reach you. We don't want you to miss out on this Christmas novella. Doesn't it sound like fun! The giveaway ends at 11:59 P.M. Central time on the 14th of December.
What did you think of Lizzy's dress? Wow! It is gorgeous! Can you just imagine Darcy's reaction when she walks in wearing that dress? Oh, and Caroline! I bet she was just a tiny bit jealous! Aren't you eager to read how this reunion goes? I certainly am.
Thanks for the entertaining excerpts, Jennifer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. This sounds like such a fun book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks again for visiting and sharing with us today. It is an honor to close out your blog tour.