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.



We left off last week with Kitty musing how she and Mary were often the 'forgotten' ones in relation to their other sisters. Jane, the beautiful one;  Lizzie, the witty one; and Lydia, their mother's favourite. Kitty is confined to bed from her injuries after nearly being run over by Lord George Kerr and his horse, Buttons and Mary has brought up tea and scones.

This week's excerpt:

She'd been the silly sister who followed after Lydia, while Mary was the pious sister who put a damper on most of their activities. Well, not her activities, per say, but mostly Lydia's, which Kitty had happily engaged in until... until George Wickham entered their lives.
Once Lydia met him she became even more untameable. None of the family knew how many times she snuck out to meet him. Kitty begged her to behave in a more circumspect manner, but Lydia then only teased her that she was becoming more like Mary. Angry and hurt that her closest sister was abandoning her, she'd retorted she'd never become like Mary.
Cruel words and not for the first time she'd had to ask forgiveness for such an unchristian attitude toward her sister - a sister who didn't deserve those cruel and unkind words.
"I'm so glad we have this moment of peace together." Impulsively, she reached out and grabbed Mary's hand. "At times I feel we are strangers living under the same roof."
There you go. Kitty is healing the breach.
To check out other authors who participate in Weekend Writing Warriors, and for the rules of how to partake, if you decide you'd like to join, click HERE.

Always in love,
Sue B


I'm back!

I took a little hiatus. My physical condition is exasperated by stress, so I decided to step away from writing and my self-imposed deadline. Sorry, faithful readers, CATHERINE will probably not get published prior to the end of the year, but THE END is in sight, and I can probably have her out by early 2018.

Having said all that, here is my contribution to Weekend Writing Warriors. For a brief run down of their rules and how to participate, as well as to find other authors who also do this crazy writing thing, click HERE.

I've bounced ahead in my story of CATHERINE and thought I'd share a moment between two sisters.

Kitty settled herself against the pillows and while waiting for Mary, turned her thoughts toward the enigmatic Lord George. He perplexed her greatly. One minute she perceived great intellect, similar to Elizabeth and Darcy and then, like a coin turning over, he played the foppish fool. What was he hiding? Better yet, whom was he hiding from? The question played around the edges of her brain until Mary returned with a small bowl of preserves in one hand, an empty tea cup in the other.

Within minutes both of them were enjoying their tea and a scone. Kitty couldn’t remember a time when she and Mary had sat together, other than at church. In some ways, both of them were overlooked. Jane was the beautiful sister, Elizabeth the wit, and Lydia the favorite and when all five sisters lived within the walls of Longbourn, she and Mary had been afterthoughts to most people. 
That's it for this week. As always, stay safe and hug someone you love.

Always with love,
Sue B

SHARP DRESS MAN ~ Video Montage


Well, this is exciting. Weekend Writing Warriors have started something new for readers, and authors (who are readers as well). It goes like this...

Do you want to know what readers think when they read the first page of your book?

Welcome to The First Page Review blog hop happening during the month of October! The idea is simple. Sign the linky list,
HERE, linking your own blog post that contains the first page--NO MORE than the first 1,000 words of a WIP, a manuscript, or a novel, published or unpublished.

This month-long blog hop is meant to answer one simple question for each participant. After reading your first 1,000 words, would a person continue reading it?

If you are so inclined, you can comment about why you would or wouldn't continue reading--in fact, that would be wonderful. If you do, please be professional and show respect for the author. 

This list will remain up for the month of October.

So - here is my First Page Review from CATHERINE, a work in progress.
The drawing room was quiet, save for the shuffling of papers and every now and then a soft, yet impatient sigh. “Darling, as much as I love our trysts, I’m feeling a trifle neglected.”
Lord George Kerr lifted his gaze from the documents spread before him and glanced toward the beautiful woman.  Lady Evangeline Anstruther, better known as Madame Reauchard, was currently draped in a seductive manner on the settee. He appreciated the way the crimson brocade couch acted as a perfect foil for her exotic features and raven hair.
“Evangeline, you know our agreement. I attend your exquisite establishment and you whisk me away to your drawing room, whereupon I gather information for King and Country.” He grinned at her sultry pout. “Now, be a pet and make some noise. Otherwise the servants will think I’m not a satisfactory lover.”
“If you only knew how envious my maids are. They remain convinced you are Casanova reincarnated. How they would laugh if they knew we only drink tea and talk.” She arose from the divan and glided behind his chair, combing her fingers through his hair, the scent of her perfume a heady aphrodisiac. “Could I not entice you, just this once?”
He stilled her hand and brought her palm to his lips. Pressing a kiss against the soft skin, he turned slightly to face her. “While I admire your tenacity, I cannot give what you ask. The only woman I will share a bed with will be my future wife.”
“I did not say we had to be in a bed.”
“Evangeline,” George warned in a low voice.
“Very well,” she purred, turning aside with an elegant shrug of her slim shoulders before she stopped and glanced toward the door. “Someone is coming.”
She moved swiftly to the divan. Without questioning her instinct, which had proven itself time and again, George laid his coat on top of the papers and joined her, positioning his body so that his head rested against her soft lap. He placed his left foot on the couch, knee slightly bent, and stretched the right leg to the floor. She glanced down at him, her exquisite features tight with concern.
“Prepare yourself, Lord George. In order to facilitate our ruse, I must expose more than you would like.”
“I believe I’ll survive,” he replied in a dry tone.
She slipped the filmy gown down one arm and it puddled gracefully against his cheek. The door to her boudoir burst open and her lady’s maid, Colleen, the only one who knew of their true connection, trembled within the door frame. Behind her stood two men with hardened faces and loaded pistols. It may have been the way the candles reflected against his features, but George thought the eyes of the smaller man widened when his gaze fell upon the two of them.
“What is the meaning of this?” Evangeline demanded with a perfect Parisian accent. She tugged the gown back onto her shoulder while George remained where he lay, a deceptive picture of languor and satisfied coitus.
“I’m sorry, Madame,” Colleen began.
“Quiet, slut.” The larger man backhanded Colleen and she stumbled to one side.
Still semi-reclined, George slid a hand down his leg toward his boot. Meanwhile, Evangeline pushed George’s head off her lap and arose in an apparent state of agitation. She intended to clutch the divan as though frightened, which allowed her to retrieve a hidden weapon strapped to the back of it.
George was familiar with this ruse because she’d done it to him in France.
“Please don’t hurt me,” she begged and stumbled, steadying herself by gripping the back of the divan. “Why are you here?”
With both men distracted by her nervous display, George was able to unsheathe the knife and palm the deadly weapon. Colleen inched away from the two men who now advanced further into the room.
“Make sure they don’t move,” the smaller man said, moving toward the table. “Shoot the prancing dandy first.”
“With pleasure, Reggie.”
It was only through years of conditioning that George didn’t betray concern that Reggie would discover the smuggled documents. If he escaped with the knowledge of their clandestine operation, then many courageous people died for nothing. It was time for him to act.
He arose from the couch like a sleepy giant.
“You hafta wait your turn,” he slurred out, weaving on his feet as though drunk. “I paid a lot of money for her favors. You can have her when I’m done.”
“How dare you pass me off to these… these ruffians!” Evangeline raged and stomped her foot, the pistol hidden against her side.
Her tantrum had the desired effect. The man momentarily shifted his attention from George to Evangeline. Without hesitation, George whipped the knife toward him. Surprised, the thug glanced down at the hilt of the knife protruding from his chest. Then, a dark red stain slowly spread across his dingy shirt. In a matter of seconds he sank to his knees, dropped the gun and crumpled to the floor.
At the sound of his accomplice hitting the floor, Reggie turned, but before he could even point his weapon Evangeline had raised her arm and with deadly aim made sure he never breathed again. George eyeballed the bullet hole in the assailant’s forehead.
“Remind me to never challenge you to a duel, Madame Reauchard.”
She lowered her arm and cut him a sideways glance. “You are most fortunate I adore you, Lord George. Otherwise that may have been you on the floor after hinting I’d be your peace offering.”
“It was a means to an end.” He took hold of her free hand and brought it to his lips, murmuring against her skin. “I am forever grateful you did not shoot me in France.”
“Bah, Cavendish was right. You are a terrible flirt.” She tugged her hand from his light grasp and signaled to Colleen. “Let us find out who these two Cretans are.”
There you have it, and it's exactly 1000 words - Not Bad.
Would love to hear your comments.