Monday, September 16, 2019

The Journey Home to Pemberley...Joana Starnes

Welcome to More Agreeably Engaged, Joana. It's so exciting that you have a new release! The excerpts that you have been posting really made me want to read more! :) I've been anxiously awaiting your visit today and everything you have in store for us! 

Dear Readers, Joana has written a special treat just for us. Aren't we lucky! It is lovely, but I will say no more for now, except...! OH MY! I swooned! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Before we get to the vignette, let's take a look at the trailer.

Isn't it lovely! Wow! I keep watching it again and again. What do you think about it?


Do you want to know a little more about Joana Starnes?
Not only is she an excellent writer, she is also a lovely person. 

Author Bio:

Joana lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats – physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst – but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination, and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine.

She is the author of eight Austen-inspired novels (From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of PemberleyThe Subsequent ProposalThe Second ChanceThe Falmouth ConnectionThe Unthinkable TriangleMiss Darcy’s CompanionMr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter and The Darcy Legacy) and one of the contributors to the Quill Ink anthologies (The Darcy Monologues, Dangerous to KnowRational Creatures and Yuletide). They are all available at Amazon in Kindle and paperback, and some in Audible too: Joana’s Amazon Page.

You can connect with Joana on:


Are you ready for the vignette? I am, so here you go! Enjoy!

Thank you, Janet, for welcoming me here today on the blog tour for my latest book, The Journey Home To Pemberley, which was released a few days ago.

I’ve been posting some excerpts at Austen Variations since the beginning of August, and there was another one in the cover reveal post at Austenesque Reviews last week. In those excerpts we see what Elizabeth is thinking and feeling (and how her thoughts and sentiments take her by surprise) when she finds herself tending to an injured and barely conscious Mr Darcy. But what – if anything – is he thinking at the time?

How about a vignette from Mr Darcy’s point of view? Please follow the links above if you’d like a quick reminder of just where we left our favourite couple – or rather how we left them 😊 – then pray read on:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It made no sense at all that he should be shivering uncontrollably while his mouth felt parched and his body was on fire. Wave after wave of fire and throbbing pain washed over him. Pain in his head? His body? He could not tell, nor did he care.

It made no sense either that he should hear her voice. Mr Darcy! Good heavens, Mr Darcy? Time and again he fancied he could hear this – now a shocked cry, now a barely audible whisper. Senseless fantasies, of course. The sound of her voice was but a forlorn echo in his imagination. Just as she was but a phantasm now – in equal measure a comfort and a torment. Nothing but a phantasm that came to him in dreams.

But that made no sense either. She had never called him Mr Darcy in his dreams.

Fogged with pain, his mind refused to grapple with the unsolvable conundrum. So Darcy allowed himself to drift into dizzying darkness, even as an intermittent cool sensation on his brow brought temporary comfort. Yet it also brought the aching wish to believe it was her healing touch that soothed him.

It could not be. And with that lucid thought, he sunk into oblivion.

* * * *

The ice seemed to have lost its grip on him. It was melted – gone. But the heat had not subsided, and as it swirled and trapped him in its heavy folds, the dreamy haze around him acquired an increasingly poignant quality. For the treasured phantasm was still there, somewhere in the haze, almost as substantial as a physical presence.

He could have sworn he could detect her scent. Jasmine and gardenia. Her scent, and hers alone. He could have likewise sworn that the cool touch on his temple was hers. Hers too, the fingers that seemed to stroke his hair. And when he reached out blindly, searching blindly, he could have sworn it was her hand he found and clasped.

It slipped away, the phantasm’s hand, and he winced when the illusive succour vanished.

“Elizabeth…” he whispered in his dream, and at length the phantasm was willing to indulge him. He was permitted to feel the clasp of cool fingers yet again, and her voice, brought forth from the deepest recess of his memory, spoke the words he wished to hear. Spoke gentle words – as only a conjured phantasm would – urging him to rest and promising she would not leave him.

A dream, as always. It must be. Yet it felt more comforting than ever, and he could only pray he would not wake anytime soon and find the sweet illusion shattered.

She was but a phantasm, as he knew full well. But he answered her as if she were real:

“Thank you, my love.”

As if her promise to remain beside him were something that he could depend upon.

* * * *

The perfect dream had not vanished yet – extraordinary! – but recent recollections gradually emerged from the haze, as did faint wisps of sanity. He must have hit his head when the skittish beast, his uncle’s mount, had thrown him, Darcy reasoned. So now his addled mind was playing tricks on him. For, instead of signalling that he was lying in the rain by the side of the rough track, it sought to convince him that he was somewhere else. That he was abed – and safe – and warm.

Moreover, it insidiously laboured to persuade him that he was not alone. That she was beside him, her head resting on his shoulder. The warm weight felt impossibly real. So did her scent, as it invaded his senses.

He exhaled. Reality would eventually hit, no doubt, and the illusion would give way to loss. As always.

‘Reality be damned,’ Darcy hazily thought, and allowed his mind to foster the delusion for a little while longer. It was easily done – so easy to imagine that her head was on his shoulder. That her hair brushed his cheek as his chest rose and fell with every breath. He had even fooled himself into believing that the warm softness beneath his lips was her brow, when reality hit with far more force than he had expected.

There was someone with him in the darkness. The stranger jumped and gasped. And the high-pitched gasp was that of a female.

His senses abruptly jolted into alertness, Darcy sought to shuffle up as unmitigated horror washed over him. Surely he had not lost his mind to the point of taking some wench to his bed in a fever-induced haze – in the insane pretence that she was Elizabeth!

He had no recollection of any such debauchery, but that could hardly count as reassurance. His head pounded more fiercely than ever and his throat felt painfully raw as he rasped, “What the devil? Who goes there?”

“Sh-sh. All is well. ‘Tis I – Elizabeth,” the answer came at last in a faint whisper, and it brought no reassurance either.

Instead, the sense of loss swelled, mingled with no little anger at the disembodied voice that chose to mock him so. A sound escaped him, half sigh, half muffled snort.

“Do not toy with me, woman,” he muttered. “I am in no fit state to put up with it.”

What he heard next was a mild chuckle that might have fuelled his vexation, had it not been followed by a softly spoken, “Probably not.”

The air left his lungs in a shocked rush. He must be running stark raving mad if he was patently awake – and yet was still hearing things. Hearing her everywhere!

‘Say something else! Speak to me again!’ he wanted to cry out, yet all he managed was a hoarse, “Your voice! Who are you?”

“We need some light,” she said, and then there was light, as though she had willed it so. Blinding light. Exhilarating.

Darcy stared, scarce daring to believe his eyes.

“Good God! It is you,” he choked out in a ragged whisper.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So what happens next?

They are alone – the best possible chance for them to talk uninterrupted. So they talk. About what? The Hunsford debacle, of course. Things must be said, apologies made – by both of them – and in Mr Darcy’s case the apology turns out to be forthright, if not very articulate.

And where do they go from here?

I hope you will enjoy finding out.

Many thanks for stopping by to read the vignette. Please enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of the 8 Kindle copies of The Journey Home To Pemberley, or a paperback copy, or a P&P and Austen-related goodie bag. The Giveaway is international.

Best wishes, thanks for reading and thanks again, Janet, for hosting me today. It’s always such a pleasure to be here!

Thank you also for sharing this vignette with us. It was delightful! Swoon! Did I say that already? lol It was such a pleasure having you visit my blog again. Best wishes with The Journey Home to Pemberley. Please come back again soon.

Thank you for such a generous giveaway, Joana! There are going to be some very lucky people!
Readers, to enter, please use the Rafflecopter below.
Don't forget to visit all the stops on the blog tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Taste of Peanut Butter...Jennifer Redlarczyk

It is such a delight to have Jennifer Redlarzcyk visit More Agreeably Engaged again. Jennifer always has such wonderful pictures to share with us, as well as a fun excerpt and delicious sounding excerpt! :) Jen also is giving away two eBooks so be sure to comment. Thank you, Jen, and welcome!


Greetings, and many thanks to Janet Taylor for hosting me on her blog with A Taste of Peanut Butter. What could be better than a story preview and a slice of Chocolate Lover’s Pie?

Elizabeth Bennet has a passion for baking and peanut butter is her signature ingredient. In this first scene let’s find out a little more about our aspiring baker, shall we?

O’Hare International Airport
Friday afternoon, late spring

“So, did you have to pay extra to check your overweight bag?” Jane Bennet stood with her hands on her hips and gave her younger sister a quizzical look.

“I did—a total of one hundred dollars to be precise. Can you believe it? My bag was only nine pounds over the limit. Heck, I could have checked in an extra suitcase for that price. If only peanut butter didn’t weigh so much.”

 Jane giggled. “Lizzy, you probably wouldn’t have had to pay a thing if you only left some of your baking pans and that ridiculous Chinese wok behind. Plus you wouldn’t have had to stuff so much in your carry-on and backpack.”

“What are you talking about? My flat is almost barren when it comes to kitchenware. Okay, I admit I probably could have gotten by without the wok even though I did promise my teammates from the bank that I’d cook Thai when we start working on our hospitality booth for Wimbledon. Believe me, by that time they will have had their fill of my practice desserts. Nevertheless, the bake off is coming up, and I need every single one of those baking pans if I’m going to keep practicing. I have big plans for my babies—chocolate peanut butter cream pie, peanut butter spice cake, not to mention my killer cheesecake. I only hope I don’t run short of peanut butter. The good stuff is like gold in the UK.”

“Now you listen to me, Elizabeth Anne Bennet! With the exception of the contest, you, my dear sister, are supposed to be taking a hiatus from cooking. Your roomy, Charlotte, is absolutely right. You will never get a decent guy to like you for the smart, intelligent, beautiful woman you are if you keep flaunting your cooking skills at every turn. Men aren’t normal when it comes to your culinary expertise. It’s like they’re on drugs or something. I’m tired of hearing about all the bozos who somehow think they’ve struck it rich with their own personal chef while forgetting how to treat you like a real date. I’d like to know, dear sister, when was the last time a guy friend invited you out to dinner instead of having you come over to his place with your apron in hand.”

“Look, Jane,” she huffed. “I won’t stop being who I am. That’s all there is to it. With going to school and my internship at the UBI, I have a very stressful schedule. Not to mention, I have to suffer through a nasty test on derivatives as soon as classes resume. Believe me; I need a diversion after putting in so many hours between the bank and school. Feeding my friends is how I relax.”

Jane couldn’t resist giving her younger sister a big hug. “Okay, I understand. I just wish you would give Charlotte’s plan a try the next time you meet a new guy. How hard could it be to refrain from talking about your hobby on the first date?”

“I know.” She pouted.

“Hey, don’t give me that. I want assurance and a pinky promise that you’ll at least try.” The two laughed as they went through the ritual.

“All right, I promise, I’ll do my best. But if….”

“No buts! Oh, I almost forgot. Here’s my reader. See if you can squeeze it in your bag. I loaded it with my favourite, Pride and Prejudice. Maybe you can take a hint from your namesake and challenge yourself to find a real Mr. Darcy.”

Elizabeth let out a hearty laugh. “Oh, Jane, I love how you have me giving up my cooking passion and meeting Mr. Darcy all in one fell swoop. You are without question one demanding sister!”

“Not really. I’m simply a romantic at heart, just like you. Now, get on through security.” The two sisters hugged, and Jane waved as she rushed toward the exit. “Don’t forget to text me once you get squared away on the other side. Love you!”

“Okay, Sis! I love you, too!” Elizabeth called as she clumsily lugged all of her things to the closest security checkpoint. Removing her sandals and pulling out all electronic devices from her backpack, she quickly filled two grey plastic holding bins and managed to hoist her overstuffed carry-on onto the conveyor belt.

Little did Elizabeth Bennet realise, however, that she was being closely eyed by a very interested party of the male persuasion. Captivated by the perky brunette, he had overheard her entire conversation and was now formulating his own plan.

Curious, I never thought of dating an American. She said that she is an intern at the UBI. I wonder why I haven’t ever seen her there. Of course, there are loads of interns at the bank. He couldn’t help smiling while candidly giving her the once over. Beautiful, long, dark, silky hair, her eyes, great figure and even more important, she cooks. I’ve never dated a woman who liked to cook. Without a doubt, this Elizabeth is different from all the other Elizabeth Bennets I’ve ever met, or any other woman for that matter. She’s so … unpretentious, refreshing and obviously not a part of the corporate set. I wonder. Richard did suggest that I consider stepping out of my comfort zone for a change. Maybe….

Well, what do you think? Will Elizabeth be able to resist tempting you know who with her delicious baking? Now is your chance to speculate in the comments and enter in the giveaway for two eBooks. Thanks so much for stopping by. Jen Red


Thank you again, Jen, for being my guest today. It is always such a pleasure having you visit. For those of you interested in seeing the photos Jen picked for this book, check out her Pinterest page,
A Taste of Peanut Butter and Blame It on the Squash.

Jen's book, A Taste of Peanut Butter is available on Amazon. Jen is also giving away two eBooks of  A Taste of Peanut Butter as she mentioned above. To be entered in the giveaway, tell us what you think. Will Elizabeth tempt a certain gentleman that has been eyeing her or will she not? We would love to hear your thoughts. The giveaway will end on the 16th of September at midnight. Be sure I am able to contact you should you be the winner. Good luck to all and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Victoria Kincaid...Audiobooks

Welcome, Victoria Kincaid. It is always good to have you stop by. Your new audiobooks, with the ever popular narration of Stevie Zimmerman, are sure to be wonderful listening. Congratulations!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and offering an excerpt and double giveaway! That is awesome! I know my readers will be as excited as I am! The excerpt is, well, I'll use Elizabeth's words, "thrilling!" It almost took my breath away in places! Imagine listening to those words as an audiobook! 

Hello Janet and thank you for having me as a guest.  I was lucky that Stevie Zimmerman recently agreed to narrate two of my books, Darcy vs. Bennet and When Jane Got Angry.  She does a great job with the Pride and Prejudice voices and my readers always love her narration.  Below is an excerpt from Darcy vs. Bennet and information about how to enter a double giveaway for copies of book audiobooks!

Elizabeth dearly loved to dance but seldom had she found a partner as accomplished as William.  They moved so well together that it was as if they had been dancing together for years.  Already she regretted that they would not share another set.  But she had sufficiently indulged her whims; she and Louisa would need to leave soon.  What would Jane think if she knew Elizabeth had kept company with a masked man—without any sort of proper introduction?  Elizabeth herself was a bit startled at her own temerity.
She had planned to observe Louisa from the shadows and avoid the other guests.  But then Louisa had abandoned her, and William had appeared as if heaven sent. He had intrigued her at once.  His clothes were almost all black—a common choice for men at a masquerade—and of the highest quality; they displayed his tall figure to great advantage.  What she could see of his face suggested he was quite handsome.  He was gentlemanly and solicitous in his manners.  But what most struck Elizabeth was that the conversation between them flowed so effortlessly; it was as if they had known each other for years rather than minutes.  
She had resolved many times to quit his presence but found herself instead agreeing with his every suggestion.  When he had left her to speak with that other woman, she had felt a ridiculous twinge of jealousy—and accompanying relief when he revealed her identity.  But even in the grip of such a turmoil of emotions, Elizabeth had eagerly awaited his return rather than take the opportunity to escape.
And now they were dancing.  Each touch of his hand thrilled her upon contact—like a special gift reserved for her alone.  Every touch felt so illicit, so naked; Elizabeth actually checked to ensure they were both wearing gloves.  Although she knew it was wrong, she yearned for more contact with him—to touch his arms, his back, his face.  Shivers traveled up and down her spine.  She had danced with many men; why did this one affect her so?
Other women in the set were throwing William flirtatious glances, but he ignored them.  Undoubtedly, they knew his identity.  The quality of his clothes suggested his family had at least a moderate fortune, which was bound to attract feminine attention.  Why does he pay me any attention at all?  He is too high in the instep for me.  Sharply she reminded herself it did not matter.  There was no harm in enjoying his company for this one night, and she would never see him again.
The dance called for them to clasp hands and turn in a circle.  His eyes caught and held her gaze as they turned.  Despite his mask, she could discern he was a handsome man with a fine figure.  But there was something else that stirred inside Elizabeth when she lost herself in his dark blue gaze—almost as if she were coming home to someone she had known all her life.
Then she gave a little shake of the head.  Stop this foolishness! she admonished herself.  The warm air, the torchlight, and the scent of roses are simply casting a spell—enchanting my senses and encouraging flights of fancy.  At the conclusion of the dance, she would thank him, and they would go their separate ways.  It was well past time for Elizabeth and Louisa to depart.  The longer they remained, the greater the risk of detection.
Elizabeth ignored the pain in her chest.  She could not possibly miss a man she had known for less than an hour.  This was not a fairy tale or a popular novel.
He had simply sought her temporary companionship.  Perhaps he was more handsome and charming than most…well, any other man she had met.  But no doubt he would forget her the moment they parted ways.  And she would forget him as well…eventually.
The dance brought them very close for a moment, face to face, and he smiled at her, creating a tingle of excitement that spread into the very core of her body.  The sensation was both exhilarating and frightening.  Would she—could she—ever have these feelings for another man?


Did you enjoy the excerpt? Did the mask make it easier to talk to Elizabeth? What do you think? Have you read this book? I think it would be lovely to listen to the audiobook. How many of you enjoy listening to audiobooks? Victoria Kincaid is giving away two audiobooks. There will be two lucky winners. The winner can pick which audiobook of the two he/she would like to have. The audiobooks in the giveaway are Darcy vs. Bennet and When Jane Got Angry. Leave a comment to be entered. The giveaway will end on the 10th of September at midnight. 

Thank you Victoria Kincaid for visiting and sharing an excerpt with us. We appreciate your generous giveaway too, and we wish you the best with your audiobooks.