Tuesday

TUESDAY'S TEASER


The past few weeks I've been posting from the first time Miss Catherine Bennet meets Lord George, and that's kind of unfair as it's not where the book begins - that's Chapter Two. Previously, I've posted the delightful romp of Lord George and Evangeline being assaulted at her place of 'employment' and before killing the two unknown ruffians, George was convinced the one man recognized him. And... on we go.
"I'm afraid your cover has been compromised." Lord Patrick Grayson, Marquis of Chadwick clasped his hands on his desk and peered at George over the rim of his reading glasses. "You're quite useless to us now."
"I'd like to know who sent those men."
George sat in the chair placed directly in front of Lord Grayson's desk. One elbow rested on the arm of the chair and he rhythmically rubbed his lower lip with his index finger. A childhood habit indicating deep thought.
He and Evangeline had searched both men thoroughly, finding no form of identification or written instructions on either of them. The larger man definitely had been a thug for hire, but the cultured tones and soft hands of 'Reggie' hinted at a decent education and no real hard labor. Had he been the leader or following someone else's orders? The same sense of familiarity washed over George.
"I'd like to know as well." Lord Grayson removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "At times, I think there are more people working for Boney in England than in France. Money and a skewered devotion to ancient family ties can turn even the most patriotic away from their King. Look at what happened in our very own country. The Prime Minister assassinated."
"Nasty business, that. I'm still not convinced there wasn't a conspiracy." George rose to his feet and paced to the large Palladian window, clasping his hands behind his back. "So what am I to do? Become another useless younger brother to a Peer of the realm?"
"You do yourself a disservice, Lord George. You family has a proud history. The ton does not know you work for the Crown. For all they care you are their golden boy who sowed more than his share of wild oats. Continue on with your life. Find a pretty girl and get married. It would make the Duke a happy man if you settled down."
"Maxwell would be ecstatic if I entered into marital bliss." George turned to face Lord Grayson. "Unfortunately, I have played the part of a Rake so convincingly I'm sure all the good mothers will hide their daughters as soon as I enter the ballroom."
"As the brother of a Duke, you and I both know your reputation will not stop them from wanting an association with your family."
"All they see are my connections and fortune. I'd like to meet someone fresh and new. Someone who isn't skilled with the arts and allurements used to ensnare a husband."
"Then, look at this as a blessing. Now that you no longer have to look over your shoulder and peer into every dark corner for the enemy, you can enjoy the full social whirl. With your charm and exceedingly handsome visage, you will have no difficulty meeting a nice young lady."
George doubted that very much, but didn't have the heart to contradict his friend and mentor. All this talk of meeting young girls was beginning to give him a headache. He'd take a rough and tumble spy any day over a cunning mother on the hunt for a son-in-law.
AMAZON  |  NOOK  |  IBOOKS  | MAILING LIST

Of Note: Today is my wedding anniversary.
Happy Anniversary, Rob. I love you more than cheesecake.



Friday

FIRST LINE FRIDAY

The object of this exercise is to take the nearest book, open to Chapter One and post the first sentence. As the closest book to me was the Bible, I can tell you the opening line is a good one.
'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.'
Kinda hard to beat an opener like that, but because most of us are romantic fiction readers, I grabbed the next book which happened to be my Jane Austen inspired Regency romance, entitled CAROLINE: Pride & Prejudice continued... Book One.

Without further ado, here is the first line.
'Caroline Bingley descended the grand staircase and proceeded toward the breakfast room, barely acknowledging the footman who'd efficiently pulled a chair away from the table for her.'
This is not a line that jumps out at you, unlike two of my works in progress which begin with:
'When Mama told her to always be prepared for unexpected guests to drop in, Allie never expected they'd come through the skylight of her kitchen.'
or
'When Leah Swanson made plans for her twenty-fifth birthday, dying was NOT on her to do list.'

However, if you are a fan of Jane Austen's novel Pride & Prejudice, you know that Caroline Bingley is portrayed as the self-centered, spoiled sister of Charles Bingley. She has a skewed sense of her own importance, holds those she's deemed as unworthy in disdain, and is determined to marry Mr. Darcy of Pemberley. Based on her character, this sentence captures her personality perfectly.

I decided to write my first Jane Austen Fan Fiction and focused on Caroline. So many fans love to hate her, and lose sleep if she gets a happy ever after, but I've always felt she could be redeemed. Anyone can be redeemed. If not, then none of us would be worthy of God's love and sacrifice, so who am I to judge the saucy Miss Caroline Bingley? Anyway, she does get an HEA, but the road to that happiness is not without some bumps. CAROLINE is available at all on-line retailers, listed below, and you can read about her journey yourself.
AMAZON  |  NOOK  |  IBOOKS  | MAILING LIST

Tuesday

TUESDAY'S TEASER


Lord Kerr picked up a knife and fork and sliced into the meat on his plate. Surreptitiously, she cut a sideways glance to see which cutlery he used. Dash it all, why did there have to be so many forks and spoons and knives lining the perimeter of her place setting? Mama always put up such lovely dinners, but none of them compared to the pomp and ceremony here at Pemberley.

Her stomach rumbled in protest. Lord Kerr turned slightly and smiled again.

"You are famished. Why aren't you eating?"

Embarrassed, she stared at her dinner plate and tears threatened to trickle down her cheeks. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed him tapping one of his knives and when her left hand touched the proper fork he gave a slight nod.

"Thank you," she murmured.

"You're welcome," he whispered back.

Less than two hours later, standing near the French doors which led out to a pretty terrace, Kitty surveyed the rolling grounds of Pemberley. Once Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy exited for their wedding trip, she and Mary could escape to their rooms and talk about the day.

"Miss Bennet, we didn't get to finish our conversation in the dining room."

For the second time that day she gave a small start. For such a large man he moved with much stealth and grace. She turned and gave him a polite curtsy.

"Lord Kerr."

"You may call me Lord George, if you like. Otherwise Nathan and sometimes even Maxwell will answer you."

"Oh... of course."

They stood slightly apart, the silence stretching long between them.

"Are you pleased--"

"How long are you--"

Both of them spoke at the same time.

"Pray, excuse me, Miss Bennet. Please continue." He gave her a quick nod.

"I was going to ask if you were pleased with your brother's announcement at church, after Lizzie and Darcy's banns were read the third and final time."

"You are speaking of his engagement to Miss Bingley?"

"Yes, it came as a quite the surprise to most of us."

"I must admit I don't know the lady, but then I only arrived the evening previous and hadn't time to converse with my younger brother."

"In some ways your brother will become part of our extended family." At Lord George's quizzical expression she explained further. "Miss Bingley's brother Charles is engaged to my eldest sister, Jane."

"Ah, the angel of Hertfordshire I've heard him sigh about."

Kitty stifled a giggle. "Mr. Bingley is quite besotted, as is she."

"How long are you and your family staying at Pemberley?"

"We leave this coming Thursday. With Lizzie and Mr. Darcy away on their wedding trip, Papa made the decision to return home, although I'm sure he'd like to stay longer if only to enjoy the library."

"Darcy has a massive library. Generations of Darcys have contributed to its contents." He gave another one of his beatific smiles. "And you? Will you miss anything from Pemberley?"

Kitty paused and thought for a few seconds. "I shall miss the grounds. I don't walk as often as my sister Lizzie, but I enjoy a ramble every now and then and the gardens are beautiful."

"That they are. I'm staying with my brother Nathan for a few days--"

"Kitty!" Mrs. Bennet called from the doorway, unmindful that the room was filled with guests. For the first time in her young life Kitty became aware of her mother's coarse behavior and felt exposed in front of Lord George.  "Come quickly. Lizzie and Darcy are leaving."

"I must go, sir." Cheeks flaming, Kitty gave Lord George a quick curtsy and turned to follow her mother, faltering only slightly in her progress when she thought she heard him say.

"I shall see you again, Miss Bennet."

AMAZON  |  NOOK  |  IBOOKS  | MAILING LIST

TUESDAY'S TEASER

 
Somewhat of a Prologue
November 1, 1812
 
Pemberley ~ Wedding Breakfast of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet
 
Catherine Bennet, better known as Kitty to family and close friends, could barely eat so consumed was she by nervousness. The multitude of Lords and Ladies gathered around the table made her feel as if they were at St. James Court instead of the formal dining hall at Pemberley.
 
Across from her sat Miss Georgiana Darcy and to her left was Maxwell Kerr, the Fifth Duke of Adborough. Further down the table were the Earl and Countess of Matlock, the Marquis of Dorchester and a host of other nobility. Although the room was filled with members from the ‘first circle’ of London’s society, none of them filled her as much disquiet as the gentleman on her immediate right.
 
Lord George Kerr.
 
Never had she met someone who was so… attractive. Not even Jane, with all her serene beauty, came close. Their Father in Heaven must have been feeling most generous when He formed this man. At that exact moment, to her utter dismay, Lord Kerr turned his attention from Lady Dalrymple on his right side toward her. Unprepared for his direct attention, she froze. Almost against her will, her gaze zeroed in on his perfectly formed mouth, which moved as he said something.
 
Oh dear heaven. He was speaking to her, yet the blood rushing to her ears continued to drown out all sound. Then, that perfectly formed mouth curved into a slight smile. She ducked her head, hoping against hope her face hadn’t flared a crimson red, for then he would think she was a gauche child and not a young lady who had just turned eighteen. When her composure returned, she risked another glance and caught him watching her.
 
Confound the man! Why must he still look her way? Was he not hungry? Did he have nothing better to do than discompose her so completely?
 
With great care she took her spoon and dipped it into the soup. All she had to do was behave as though dining with near royalty was a common occurrence.
 
“Did you enjoy the wedding ceremony, Miss Bennet?”
 
She gave a start and a bit of soup sloshed over the side of the spoon. Even his voice was heavenly, all deep and rumbly and flowed over her like white sauce over a good Christmas pudding. She lowered the spoon back into the soup bowl, willing her nerves to settle.
 
“Yes, I did. I’m very happy for Lizzy and Mr. Darcy.”
 
Trying to ignore the rapid staccato of her heart, she once again attempted to partake of her soup.
 
“As I only arrived last evening I didn’t get to meet your sister until today. She and Darcy seem very well suited.”
 
Kitty once again lowered the full spoon of soup into her bowl. This would not do. At this rate she’d die of starvation. She almost sighed in relief when the footman whisked away her still full bowl and placed in front of her the second course.
 
“Lizzy and Mr. Darcy are very well suited,” she replied. “They both have strong opinions and are not afraid to voice them. I’m sure some of their future breakfasts will be very interesting.”
 
Lord George barked out a laugh at her observation, causing more than one head to turn in their direction. She reached for a glass of water, grateful her trembling was not too visible, and took a sip. Papa always said she was a silly girl and here she was, proving him right by embarrassing herself in front of important strangers.
 

AMAZON  |  NOOK  |  IBOOKS  | MAILING LIST