First Page Friday ~ Melanie RACHEL

I am thrilled to have Melanie Rachel visit my blog today. I devoured her Drawing Mr. Darcy books (two in total) and anticipate this upcoming trilogy will keep me as enthralled.

Blurb:


A few months after teaming up with Major Richard Fitzwilliam to thwart a terrorist attack in Europe, USMC Staff Sergeant Elizabeth Bennet is back in the States as a civilian. Her training in cyber-security makes finding work easy, and she’s learning to fit into her new life. But there is lingering fallout both from the attack and her life before it that she's not yet prepared to face. Complicating matters is the major’s handsome cousin.

Co-owner of Darcy Acquisitions, CEO of FORGE, and guardian to his younger sister, Will Darcy is stretched to his limits. When Richard sets up an interview at FORGE for his friend Elizabeth Bennet, Will insults her instead of hiring her. In making amends, Will falls for the witty, troubled Marine with long legs and fine eyes.

Falling in love is easy, but do these two very different people have what it takes to make love last?



First Page:
He was late.
She’d arrived early at De Roos and grabbed a booth tucked behind the wooden front door. She tapped the heel of her boot on the floor, turned to count the large field stones used to build the long bar on the back wall, and tried to guess where each of the customers had come from. Local? Tourist? Embassy?
At last, fifteen minutes past their meeting time and just before she stood to leave, Elizabeth Bennet saw him. Standing a few feet away, hands on his hips, canvassing the room before spotting her behind him, was Major Richard Fitzwilliam.
“Staff Sergeant,” he said amiably.
“Sir,” she replied with a grin.
He raised his hand to attract the attention of a waitress. When a buxom redhead wearing black pants and a tight t-shirt turned and saw him, he held up two fingers and she disappeared behind the bar.
“You made me wait,” she chided, showing the display on her phone. “Hardly the way to say, ‘Thank you for saving my life.’”
Major Fitzwilliam shook his head. “Last meeting ran long.” He tossed his sunglasses down on the table. Elizabeth noted the tailored fit of his brown khakis and dark green polo shirt—casual wear that appeared expensive. Everyone looks so different out of uniform, she thought. He slid into the booth opposite her.
“A regular, I see,” Elizabeth teased. She stretched her toes out in her boots, feeling comfortable at last. She’d spent her shift working on the embassy’s computer network, including carting away some truly ancient desktops and swapping them out for newer models. Then she’d needed to update the software. The assignment was way below her pay grade and boring as dirt. But it was easy enough, and it meant she was stationed in Brussels, so she wasn’t complaining.
Elizabeth had found the major surprisingly good-natured for an officer in the months since she’d arrived in Europe. She’d worried a bit at first that he was flirting with her, but it turned out he teased just about everyone. She knew now that Major Fitzwilliam was too dedicated a Marine ever to break the regulation on fraternization. That being the case, Elizabeth felt safe enjoying his friendly banter. It was a bit like having a charming and sarcastic older brother.
The major ran a hand through his sandy hair in a gesture that indicated a long day. “I am, but I’m not a lush, if that’s what you’re implying,” he said flippantly.
“Well, sir, it would explain how you managed to purge thirty significant documents from your computer . . . don’t you officers know how to back up files?”
“I’m still not sure how that happened.” He exhaled dramatically and tossed his hands up in frustration. “The entire program for the conference next month, including the papers, and the translations, all in the correct formatting. I could have gathered them all again, but it would have taken forever to redo the translations. You didn’t save my life, Staff Sergeant, but you sure saved my weekend.”

About the Author:
Melanie Rachel is a university professor and long time Jane Austen fan. She was born in Southern California, but has lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Arizona, where she now resides with her family and their freakishly athletic Jack Russell terrier. Her previous novels include Drawing Mr. Darcy: Sketching His Character (Book One) and Drawing Mr. Darcy: A Faithful Portrait (Book Two) as well as Courage Rises and Courage Requires. She plans to publish Headstrong, a modern P&P adaptation, as a trilogy--all three books will be published in quick succession.


P.S.: As I created the graphic for social media I noticed the small details on the cover that only come from looking at it up close and personal. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE it. Well done, Mel!


First Page Friday ~ Suzan LAUDER



This is a romantic comedy novella that’s also known as HOT Collins, and having read the book myself I loved how all the ladies in Meryton went a little boy crazy around the handsome vicar. It's so much fun to read variations of our beloved Pride & Prejudice and A Most Handsome Gentleman definitely takes you on a fun ride.

Blurb:

Elizabeth Bennet’s life is uncomplicated until she meets a quartet of new men: the haughty but handsome Mr. Darcy, the pert-with-a-pout Mr. Bingley, the confident and captivating Mr. Wickham—and then there is her father’s cousin, the happy man towards whom almost every female eye has turned.

Mr. Collins is HOT—well, incredibly handsome in Regency-speak—beautiful of face, fine of figure, elegant of air, his perfect clothing and hair matching his Greek god-like form. Unfortunately, when he opens his mouth, Elizabeth wishes he were mute. With affected servility and prideful self-conceit, he capitalizes upon his exquisite appearance and fixes on Jane Bennet as his bride.

Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy form an alliance to stop Jane’s suitors from issuing challenges—and will Elizabeth coax a smile from Mr. Darcy?





First Page:
The carriage jerked into motion while I was not attending, so my head flew back and then forward like a whip. How had we come to leave Netherfield Park without my order? Had Jane given Mr. Hill permission to depart? An agreement to leave would be in contrast to her desire to linger and gape at Mr. Bingley.
A motion caught the corner of my eye. I turned quickly to her side of the carriage and discovered I was correct. Instead of encountering her calm countenance looking forward, the best I could observe was her ear as Jane’s hand rose to wave. Her neck was craned, and a quick glance behind the carriage confirmed that Mr. Bingley stood waving in the drive alongside Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy was half a head taller than his friend. Jane did not see me roll my eyes when I settled back in my seat.
The departure was unfortunate for Jane’s romantic inclinations but fortunate for me. After five days at Netherfield Park, spending another day in the presence of those judging Bingley sisters and their compatriot Mr. Darcy would not be beneficial to my equanimity. Without doubt, as soon as I was out of the room, they would spend their time criticizing Jane and me. They scarcely held back their comments in my presence!
“Miss Elizabeth knows no accomplished women.”
“Miss Elizabeth is not interesting as she only reads and walks. Nothing else amuses her.”
“Miss Elizabeth does not mind if her friends change their plans on a whim.”
“Miss Elizabeth’s friends are common and uninteresting.” No. Mr. Darcy said, “Confined and unvarying.”
Recollection of the mortifying incident made me squeeze my eyes shut while it ran through my brain as if it were a vision. My mother and younger sisters know no bounds when it comes to determining ways to mortify me with their gauche manners. Mr. Darcy’s sketch of my character must be complete. His first impression was that I was not tolerable enough to dance with, and he had little reason to think better of me since the assembly where he had made that comment. My family’s embarrassing display did not support the opposite one whit.
Even though he does not much care for me, I discovered his expression would change beneath the effects of my irreverent humour and gentle teasing. I pride myself in the smile count, and Mr. Darcy smiled at my comments four times more than at Miss Bingley’s whilst I was at Netherfield. His natural appearance is superior in comparison with most men, but when his lips curve upward at my teases, changes occur on his face to render his features magnificent: his eyes sparkle and dance, crinkling at the corners, and some rather fine dimples appear next to his bow-shaped mouth. I admit to baiting him to near laughter at times. What would his chuckle sound like?
About the Author:

Having spent her adult life reading little more than business-oriented nonfiction, it was during an extended illness when Suzan Lauder discovered among her books a dog-eared paperback copy of Northanger Abbey. With no idea how she acquired it, but having recalled hearing that Jane Austen was a good writer, she decided to give it a try. She loved it so much that she gobbled up the remaining books.


Dismayed that there were only six completed novels, Suzan read all the remaining Austen she could find: the juvenilia, the unfinished works, the letters, and biographies. During library searches for more, she discovered the world of fan fiction first in novels and then on the Internet. Her curiosity about the possibilities of other stories related to Austen's work led her to start writing her own, exploring new situations and times in which to take the enigmatic Mr. Darcy and endearing Elizabeth Bennet.

Suzan lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, with her husband and two rescue cats, who both enjoy cuddling her while she writes.


First Page Friday ~ GEORGIANA

I am near completion of Georgiana: Pride & Prejudice continued... Book Three. Only three more chapters and 'Voila!' ~ The End. Such a long journey and you've been there with me. Thank you. Stay posted for release dates and upcoming blog tour. I'm looking forward to you finally getting to read my story of Georgiana Darcy and the handsome Maxwell Kerr, Fifth Duke of Adborough. I haven't released the cover yet. At least, not fully so all you'll receive today is yet another teaser.

Blurb:
She longs for true love...

A dower of thirty thousand pounds places a hefty weight upon the shoulders of Miss Georgiana Darcy. Her tender heart has been broken before by a cad who cared not one whit for who she was, but what she was - a prize to be won and she fears no man will ever see the worth of her heart.

Duty and honor...

These are the stalwart columns which hold up the life of Maxwell Kerr, Fifth Duke of Adborough. After rescuing Miss Darcy from an inescapable compromise, an offer of marriage is as natural to him as breathing air. When he discovers this is not her first compromise, anger becomes his faithful companion and threatens their tenuous bonds of love and respect.



First Page:
The carriage with its three occupants bumped along the narrow road. At the sound of glass against glass, Georgiana Darcy spared her maid a glance, who clutched a basket of preserves on her lap. The trail, though rough in some places due to the spring storm which trundled through Derbyshire last week, had dried out enough so that Georgiana could visit some long-term tenants before she left for London. The thought of leaving Pemberley and all that was familiar in order to prepare for her first Season caused her stomach to clench. She knew the fear and shyness was irrational, but the thought of meeting so many new people almost made her sick.
“Are you quite all right, Miss Darcy?”
The polite inquiry came from Lord Nathan, better known as Mr. Kerr to the parishioners of Kympton parish. His curly dark hair, broad shoulders and ready smile caused many a young lady to wish he belonged to her but he had no eyes other than for his wife, the former Miss Caroline Bingley.
“I am well, Lord Nathan, thank you.”
As attractive as Lord Nathan was, he didn’t make her heart race. No, that pesky organ only galloped along like a new colt around the vicar’s brother, Maxwell Kerr, the fifth Duke of Adborough. Try as she might, no amount of internal scolding changed how she felt around him.
They hit another bump and her maid straightened her straw bonnet.
“Only one more mile, Anna,” Georgiana said with a smile.
She returned her gaze to the passing scenery. The rolling grounds of Pemberley’s estate. In a few short weeks all this would become a memory. If all went as planned, she’d make her debut, meet a suitable gentleman, fall in love and get married.
Her stomach clenched again.
I have nothing to be afraid of. No one knows about my mistake.
How she longed to capture the carefree girl she’d been before that fateful summer four years ago. Elizabeth, her sister-by-love, cautioned her to move on and forgive herself as she’d been only fifteen at the time, but no one seemed to understand that she’d been more than prepared to become a wife and mother regardless of her age. They all believed her to be a silly girl who’d become caught up in the moment. He’d been a familiar face in a sea of new ones and his ultimate betrayal of her affection cut deep.
She bit back a small sigh and raised her chin, thankful she no longer held a tendrĂ© for him. That notion had been ruthlessly squashed when she overheard a conversation between him and her brother immediately following their discovery. He informed Fitzwilliam, in a condescending manner, that he’d pursued her solely for monetary gain as no man wanted such a dull flower for a wife. The utter contempt in his tone had made her cringe and hang her head in shame.
“You seem rather melancholy, Miss Darcy.” Lord Nathan broke into her thoughts. “Are you sure you are up to visiting the Sprague family today?”
“I am well, truly.” She smiled to reassure him. “I have been contemplating Pemberley and how much I shall miss it.”
“Ah.” The quiet assessment in Lord Nathan’s eyes told her he doubted the veracity of her statement but wisely kept his counsel. “I see we have arrived.”
The carriage slowed to a stop in front of a small cottage. Lazy smoke drifted from the chimney and pretty rosebushes lined the walk leading to the front door, which opened as soon as they alighted from the carriage.

Thank you for stopping by. Remember to hug someone you love today.