Wednesday, November 18, 2020

North Fanger...Jayne Bamber


 It's great to have Jayne Bamber visiting today. We've had a hard time getting together with Jayne's last two books, so I'm happy we were able to make this post. Welcome, Jayne. 

This sounds like a different book and an interesting one. I confess, I'm quite intrigued by the cover. What do you think, Readers? Don't you like it? Have any of you read it yet? If you have, we would love to hear from you.

Jayne has an excerpt for us and a giveaway. Be sure you enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post. 

Excerpt:

Darcy knocked on the door to the chamber where Elizabeth had taken his sister. She bid him enter, but made no other acknowledgement as he joined her beside the bed where Georgiana had been laid. The silence did not bother Darcy - what was a man to say to the woman he loved, after they had just covered up the murder of his relation and hers, a murder committed at the hands of his own sister?

Elizabeth was perched on the bed at Georgiana’s side, and Darcy took a seat nearby, content to watch Elizabeth’s curious ministrations. She was slowly unwinding her silver chain from around Georgiana’s wrists, which were marred with blistered red burns. Georgiana’s jaw was clenched and her countenance belied her pain, but she was silent and almost serene as she held Elizabeth’s calm, confident gaze. She was also, inexplicably, covered in a thin layer of dirt across her chest. 

Georgiana’s eyes landed on Darcy and her face twisted in despair. “Oh, William, I am so sorry. You must hate me!” She shifted uncomfortably as the last of the silver was pulled away.

Elizabeth reacted at once to Georgiana’s agitation by repositioning herself to sit on top of Georgiana’s legs. She laid her hands on Georgiana’s shoulders, her fingers slowly rubbing in the dirt. “Close your eyes, Georgie. Remember what we practiced? You do not need to breathe, but you can go through the motions of it. Good. Just like that. Feel the cold earth on your skin. Can you feel my heart beating?”

“No.”

“Good. Eyes closed. Inhale, exhale, you remember that.” Elizabeth continued to massage the dirt into Georgiana’s chest, but turned to look at Darcy. “She is technically dead - her body wants to be in the ground. A little soil will keep her grounded - forgive the jest - it also obscures her ability to sense our heartbeats. She will eventually be able to control her impulses better without it, but for now….”

Darcy leaned back in his chair with an overwhelming heaviness, fighting the impulse to recoil from his sister. If Elizabeth could be so brave, so magnificently poised, he was determined to match her resolve. “She is technically dead,” he repeated stonily. “She does not look dead - she looks very well indeed.” 

In truth, the sight of Georgiana, even covered in dirt and blood, even after what had transpired downstairs, was still better than what he had begun to fear since her disappearance. He let out a long, slow breath, considering a painful truth: that he could reconcile himself to what he had witnessed this night, and what Georgiana was now, more easily than he could bear to lose her. It was a terrifying prospect, but he would conquer this. 

“I am a monster,” Georgiana murmured.

Elizabeth slowly lifted one of Georgiana’s arms, displaying her wrist to Darcy - the marks left by the silver had already begun to heal. “You are not a monster, dear girl. You are quite remarkable.”

Georgiana opened her eyes and peered up at Elizabeth before turning to look at Darcy. “Brother?” 

“I could never hate you,” Darcy said earnestly. He glanced over at Elizabeth for reassurance before slowly taking Georgiana’s hand in his. “I was so worried - you disappeared, and I feared the worst.”

“And this… is not the worst? You have seen what I am.”

Darcy struggled to formulate his reply. “What you are is safe. You are returned to me; that is enough right now. Whatever must be done, you must know that I would do anything for you.”

The trace of a smile formed on Georgiana’s lips.  “Lizzy said you would be kind to me. I was afraid you would be disgusted - I am disgusted by what I have done - what you have had to do to conceal it….”

Darcy again looked to Elizabeth when words escaped him. She smiled warmly at him, tears in her eyes, and he instinctively handed her his handkerchief. She accepted it and silently dabbed at her eyes for a moment before sliding off of Georgiana’s legs. When Georgiana made no sudden movements, Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief and began to stand. “I fear you have long been desiring my absence - I will leave you now.”

“No,” Georgiana cried, as Darcy echoed the same reply. In a frighteningly swift movement, Georgiana latched onto Elizabeth’s hand, and then released it. “Good God, I hurt you!”

“No,” Elizabeth said quickly, but she rubbed at the place where Georgiana had grabbed her. “I will stay, if you wish it, but you must practice your movements. Slow and soft. You do not know your own strength.”

Georgiana visibly relaxed. Elizabeth remained at her side, and began making slow gestures with her hands. “Mirror me, like this. It will feel natural with practice, and in time you will be quite proficient.”

Darcy watched Elizabeth in awe. He had teased her for not being afraid of him, but she had every reason to fear his sister. “Where did you learn this, Miss Bennet?”

She kept her voice neutral and her eyes on Georgiana, who had begun to mimic Elizabeth’s simple gestures. “My Uncle Silas is something of an expert concerning vampires.”

Darcy’s whole body clenched. He knew, but he had not been ready to hear the word spoken aloud. His mind rejected what he had seen - such creatures were the stuff of stories - and yet before him was proof to the contrary. “How can this be possible?”

Elizabeth lowered her hands and glanced over at him, giving Darcy an arch look and a shrug of her shoulders. “I cannot say, sir, but I find it fascinating.”

“That is one word for it.” Darcy, Elizabeth, and Georgiana all looked up at once as Richard strode into the room. “But I should like to hear from my cousin exactly how such a thing came to be, and why we have had to endure such a night as this.”

***


Georgiana had been too distracted by Elizabeth's calming presence to notice Richard come into the room, and his severity was a harsh surprise. Once again her agitation took hold of her, and Georgiana fought against her impulse to fly at her cousin. There was a weight on her legs as Elizabeth perched there once more, but it was her gaze that stilled Georgiana at last. 

Richard made no secret of his disgust at what she had become, and a glance at William told Georgiana that her brother was only doing a better job of concealing his revulsion. Only Elizabeth was truly at ease in her presence; this woman was a stranger to her, while William and Richard were her family. And so was Lady Catherine. 

“I am sorry, I am so sorry,” she moaned, afraid to meet anyone’s eye but Elizabeth’s.

Georgiana could sense her new friend’s annoyance, but realized that it was directed at Richard. She followed Elizabeth’s gaze over to William, and the snarly feeling of anger faded into something softer; Georgiana did not understand it - indeed, she understood little of what had passed in the last four months, but as the tension of the moment abated, she felt ready to speak rationally at last. “I will tell you whatever you wish to know.”

Elizabeth seemed pleased by the evenness of Georgiana’s voice, and after asking Richard to sit, she slid off of Georgiana’s legs and once again perched on the side of the bed. Georgiana entwined one hand with Elizabeth’s, and with her other hand she softly touched the dirt on her chest. It was an odd treatment, but stranger still was the realization that there was still a great deal Georgiana did not understand about herself. 

“I have been made a vampire,” she said, the statement nearly a question. “I have seen and done such horrible things - I cannot bear my own existence!” She began to sob, and again Elizabeth rubbed the dirt into her skin.

“Who did this to you? Tell me,” Richard thundered. Both William and Elizabeth sent him matching looks of warning, and he drew back in his chair. “Please, Georgie. I only wish to understand.”

Georgiana wrung her hands; she knew herself to be a vicious, bloodthirsty demon, but she was suddenly more frightened than anybody in the room. She could not bear the censure that would inevitably come. It was devastating enough to recall the events that she had endured - her abduction, transformation, captivity, and months of starvation - yet it hurt more deeply to consider that her family might cast her off after all. 

“I am so ashamed,” she whimpered, trembling as she leaned into Elizabeth’s shoulder. She was immediately drawn into an embrace; she made herself savor the human warmth of it, and not the heartbeat that sang to her. 

William slowly rose from his chair, his movements careful as he came to sit on Georgiana’s other side. He, too, wrapped his arms around her, and after a moment the faint smell of fear turned into something much sweeter. She looked up at his face and an incredible feeling washed over her. “Oh,” she murmured. “It is love. I did not know the smell of it, before.”

With a pained smile, William stroked her cheek; Georgiana closed her eyes again and let the warmth and affection wash over her, until William’s voice pulled her out of the brief reverie. “Was it Wickham? Did he do this to you, Georgie?”

Elizabeth drew in a sharp breath; Georgiana could feel her new friend’s heart quicken. She pulled away and buried her face in her brother’s chest. “Yes, it was.”

***

Elizabeth recoiled and instinctively looked at Mr. Darcy, who met her gaze as he cradled his shaking sister. With a sinking feeling, she recalled their conversation at the Netherfield ball - she had accused Mr. Darcy of cruelty toward the man, when he had tried to warn her. “But I do not understand… he was in the regiment….”

“He left Meryton for London just days before Georgiana disappeared from Matlock House,” Mr. Darcy said. 

Colonel Fitzwilliam swore and pounded his fist against the arm of his chair. “I knew there was some connection there.”

Elizabeth was still struggling to accept this shocking revelation. “Georgiana, are you saying… George Wickham changed you? He is a vampire?”

“He is,” Georgiana wailed, still clinging to her brother. “He is a monster.”

Reeling, Elizabeth attempted to console the trembling vampire; her hand brushed against Mr. Darcy’s and his fingers curled around hers. For a brief instant he looked at Elizabeth with the same intensity as he had done at the pianoforte that evening. She was strangely soothed by the certainty that there was indeed admiration in his ardent gaze, though this time there was panic and tremendous sorrow there as well - and a sense of shared calamity. 

The colonel stood and began to pace. “I do not know how, but I am going to find him, and I will kill him for this.” 

“No,” Georgiana said, finally looking up from her brother’s embrace. “I mean to do it myself.”

Wow! This was quite an excerpt? What did Georgiana do? Who did she kill? I am wanting answers. We know who turned her, but what is the rest of the story. You have piqued the imagination with this scene, Jayne. Thank you for sharing it with me and my readers today.

Dear Readers, if you haven't read the book yet, you can get your copy of North Fanger at Amazon. You might win it too! The giveaway link is the last thing on the post.

Have you visited the other blogs in the blog tour? If you have missed any, the blogs in the tour are listed below. You can also see which stops are yet to come! 


Now for the giveaway - Jayne is giving away one eBook of North Fanger. Use the Rafflecopter link below to enter. Good luck everyone!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01b2829a6/

12 comments:

  1. Ooh – great mashup idea!! I would love to read this :)
    You picked the perfect picture at the top.

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    1. The author requested that picture to go on top and/or be what came up on social media. It is perfect isn't it! Thank you for stopping by.

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  2. Quite the dramatic excerpt. I'm intrigued. The cover is gothic loveliness. Dare I hope with such a title that we have a crossover of stories?

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    1. It sounds like it should be a crossover doesn't it! The excerpt got my attention, too! Thanks for stopping by, Sophia Rose.

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  3. I couldn't link to the rafflecopter; however, I was able to copy the address and go to it that way. Special thanks to Janet for hosting. OMG! Jayne, what an amazing scene. WOW! Poor Georgiana. I knew someone needed to kill that SBRB [scum-bag-rat-bastard] vampire. Now we have even more reasons to kill him. I can't wait to see how you do it. Wow, I am feeling rather blood-thirsty tonight. OK, pun intended. There seems to be more to Elizabeth's story than you have revealed in this scene. What have you not told us? What is Uncle's story? Oh, I can't wait to read this. Blessing on its success. Stay safe, everyone, and healthy.

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  4. I'm sorry to hear that you had trouble with the Rafflecopter, Jeanne, but I'm glad you were able to get there with copying the address. It was my pleasure to host. Thank you for stopping by.

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  5. What an excerpt! You certainly have my attention! Love the cover and all those little details. I'm now officially 3 books behind in your collection! I can't keep up, but I will get there! Hope you are well Janet!

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    1. It is an attention grabbing excerpt, I agree. Thanks for stopping by, Carole. I am well and hope you are too.

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  6. Just reading this... I am captivated by Lizzy's bravery. One for sitting with a vampire who you barely know who killed 2 people, second administering something you just learned (unless she had been practicing it third calmness throughout the rest of this excerpt esp when GD clung to her. Eager to know more.

    Wonder why EB did not sense GW to be a vampire?

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    1. You have an excellent question, Buturot. I wonder why EB didn't sense GW either. I guess we will have to read and satisfy our curiosity. This excerpt had a lot of tidbits that made me think and wonder...

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