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Source: Review copy from author

Anngela Schroeder’s new Pride and Prejudice-inspired Christmas novella, An Unexpected Merry Gentleman, is a delightful, heartwarming story for the holiday season. Mr. Bingley invites the Gardiners and the Darcys to Netherfield for Christmas, and while there, he hopes to find out for himself whether Jane Bennet really does have feelings for him. Mr. Darcy is a little ruffled at the change in his holiday plans, mostly because he’s spent much of his time since the Netherfield Ball trying to forget Elizabeth Bennet. But it’s not long before he’s spending all his time trying to change her opinion of him.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth can’t believe the Mr. Darcy who is so playful with her rambunctious nieces, Victoria and Emily, is the same Mr. Darcy who denied Mr. Wickham his livelihood. But Christmas at Netherfield gives them the opportunity to get to know each other and get past their first impressions and misunderstandings.

I absolutely adored this book, so much so that I read it in one sitting. I loved how Victoria and Emily Gardiner are the spitting images of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and I especially loved Emily; what a spitfire! And it’s so cute how Mr. Darcy is so taken by Emily, recognizing that she is like a “Little Lizzy Bennet.” The presence of the children not only brings joy to Darcy’s sister and helps him realize that she’s no longer a child, but it also enables Darcy and Elizabeth to bond over their childhood escapades. I just loved their tender interactions and how their feelings evolved over the course of the book.

An Unexpected Merry Gentleman is a must-read for your Christmas list. Anngela recently stopped by my blog to talk about the painting that inspired the story and to share an excerpt, which is my favorite scene in the book with Darcy and Emily. To check out the excerpt and enter the giveaway for a Kindle copy of the book, click here. (The giveaway ends December 16.)

Disclosure: I received An Unexpected Merry Gentleman from the author for review.

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Source: Purchased

A modern-day Pride and Prejudice-inspired Christmas story? Check. Cute cover? Yes! So of course I had to add Unwrapping Mr. Darcy to my list of Christmas reads for this year, and I wasn’t disappointed! L.L. Diamond’s novel is funny, sweet, sexy, and a complete page-turner.

Elizabeth Bennet takes a job as a lawyer at Darcy Holdings. She is excited about the job, until she overhears her boss, William Darcy, being a complete jerk on her first day. Her sister’s boyfriend, Charlie Bingley, convinces her to stay. It’s not long before William realizes his mistake, but he doesn’t know how to apologize.

A simple “I’m sorry” isn’t good enough for William, and he takes his job as Elizabeth’s Secret Santa up so many notches that Elizabeth begins to wonder whether she has a stalker. One gift at the office party doesn’t say “I’m sorry and am mad about you” as well as 25 thoughtfully planned gifts in an Advent calendar fashion. Meanwhile, he tries to convince her that he’s not the person he seemed on her first day at the office, but Elizabeth can hardly stand to be in the same room with him. Is that because he intimidates her, or is it because of her attraction to him?

In true Pride and Prejudice fashion, Unwrapping Mr. Darcy is filled with misunderstandings, awkward interactions, and heated conversations. Elizabeth’s personal assistant, Charlotte, provides plenty of comic relief, and Elizabeth’s cat, Grunt, provides plenty of mischief. I liked that Diamond gave some complexity to William’s character, but there were times that I thought Elizabeth went a little overboard in her reactions toward him (like running out of the room instead of talking to him, even if she didn’t necessarily want to), but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. I especially enjoyed William’s take on Secret Santa; that he truly listened to her and got to know her, that he put so much thought into each gift, and that he gave her the gifts not to impress her but to bring her joy warmed my heart.

Unwrapping Mr. Darcy is a lighthearted romance, with just a touch of angst, and is a delightful escapist read for the busy holiday season. It was the perfect way for me to spend a chilly day, curled up in my chair with a cup of coffee, a hot Mr. Darcy, and a troublemaking cat for some laughs.

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Source: Purchased

When I heard that Christina Boyd was releasing another Jane Austen-inspired short story collection, that it was Christmas themed, and that the proceeds would benefit the Chawton Great House, I knew I had to get my hands on the book. When I saw that they were all Pride and Prejudice-inspired stories, a mix of Regency and modern (a huge plus because I love the modern variations), and that the stories were written by some of the best authors of Austen-inspired fiction, I knew I had to read it right away. With all that is going on in my life right now, I haven’t had much time or energy for reading, but I didn’t want to miss out on my annual December month of holiday books, so I turned on my Kindle, started Yuletide, and the next thing I knew, I’d finished the book! It was the right mix of stories, and they were just the right length to get me back in my reading groove.

My favorite passage of the book was from the very first story, “The Forfeit” by Caitlin Williams, in which Mr. Darcy finds himself stranded at Longbourn for the holiday during a snowstorm, and he and Elizabeth make a friendly wager. “It was usually her favourite time of year, when everyone was predisposed to laughter, love was limitless, and much joy was to be had from simple pleasures.” That line is the essence of Christmas for me, and I pretty much knew right then that I would love this collection.

“And Evermore Be Merry” by Joana Starnes shows readers a Christmas at Pemberley through Georgiana’s eyes some years after her brother and Elizabeth’s wedding. “The Wishing Ball” by Amy D’Orazio is a modern story in which Darcy finds some Christmas magic via Facebook and yearns for what his life could be. “By a Lady” by Lona Manning depicts an Elizabeth determined to become a friend to Anne de Bourgh. “Homespun for the Holidays” by J. Marie Croft is another modern tale that finds Darcy stranded on Christmas Eve while attempting to find a unique present for his sister, and he must depend on the generosity of the family he insulted in his pursuit of said gift. “The Season for Friendly Meetings” by Anngela Schroeder puts Elizabeth and Jane in Yorkshire for a Christmas ball, where Colonel Fitzwilliam gets Elizabeth thinking that her first impressions of a certain someone may have been based on falsehoods. And “Mistletoe Mismanagement” by Elizabeth Adams depicts a Christmas house party hosted by the newlywed Darcys at which his Fitzwilliam relatives (not the dear colonel, of course) prove to be anything but proper.

This was a fantastic lineup of stories, and I was especially pleased to find a couple of moderns thrown in. There was some magic and mischief, stories where Darcy and Elizabeth are falling love, and stories set during their marriage. Manning’s portrayal of Anne de Bourgh was a pleasant surprise, and I enjoyed the colonel’s sly maneuvering in Schroeder’s story. It’s rare to find a short story collection in which I enjoy all of the stories, but given how much I love these authors, I’m not surprised that Yuletide was an exception. This is a must-read if you love Pride and Prejudice-inspired stories, and it would make a perfect Christmas gift for the JAFF fan in your life.

All proceeds to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.

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The holiday books just keep on coming, and today Anngela Schroeder is here to celebrate the release of her Pride and Prejudice-inspired Christmas novella, An Unexpected Merry Gentleman. This is such a sweet story! I read it in one sitting, in front of my Christmas tree with a cup of peppermint-flavored coffee, and it was just perfect! I will be sharing my review later this week, but in the meantime, Anngela is here with an excerpt (one of my favorite scenes from the book!) and a giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

Anna, thank you so much for allowing me to share An Unexpected Merry Gentleman with your readers this holiday. This little book has been a goal of mine for quite some time, and I was finally able to buckle down, push life aside and get it written. 🙂

I love Christmas stories, and the idea of a ‘warm fuzzy’ quick read on a cold December night, reminds me of the spirit of Christmas. Add our favorite couple and the idea gets even better! But, I was busy. I has just finished Rational Creatures from the Quill Ink Collection, and Christina Boyd asked me if I wanted to be part of Yuletide, a collection of short Christmas stories to benefit the Great House of Chawton. Throw in a husband and 3 sons? There was no way. But, things changed when I opened up an ‘old’ file on my phone.

About a year ago I was looking for pictures for another book I was working on, and I came across the image I used for my cover. I LOVED the little girls, and how one was a blonde and the other a brunette. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be darling if this was Jane and Lizzy as little girls?” That’s when the idea of the possibility of a Christmas story was hatched. However, I wanted it to be short–­–something you could read lying in bed after wrapping presents, or waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven. A story which would show that much growth and development of our two main female characters would take way too long. Plus, how would they meet Mr. Darcy as a child, then transition to adulthood? Nope. The little girls needed to be Jane and Lizzy, all while NOT being Jane and Lizzy. Hence, the Miss Gardiners were born.

One of my favorite things about writing this story was little Emily Elizabeth Gardiner, and how she was a younger and less refined version of her cousin Elizabeth. I love how she says things we are certain Elizabeth said at a young age. Well––we actually hope Lizzy would have said. It was fun crafting scenes where she interacts with the Darcys and to watch her insight as a child blossom on the verge of adult comprehension.

It was difficult choosing an excerpt to share with your readers today, as I wanted to give them a taste of Darcy and Lizzy together, but still highlights the precociousness of Emily and the sedateness of her sister Miss Victoria (Tory) Gardiner. I hope they enjoy this little ‘Christmas gift’ from An Unexpected Merry Gentleman.

He could tell the girls were attempting not to bubble over with enthusiasm, especially the younger who most resembled Elizabeth. And with her chocolate curls, she could be a childhood portrait come to life. Miss Mary asked his sister about her music preferences and he noticed Elizabeth’s curious eyes on him.

“What are you looking forward to the most during this holiday season, Miss Emily?” he asked.

“Oh, to be sure, the stairs at Netherfield.”

“The stairs?”

“Oh, yes,” she said with eyes that mirrored Miss Elizabeth’s. “Cousin Jane tells us Netherfield is such a beautiful home and there are two sets of long stairs. I have never slid down banisters before.”

“Emily,” Elizabeth said, gently reproaching the girl.

“But it is true, Lizzy,” she whispered back. “We only have one banister, and Longbourn’s banisters are not long enough. I’m sure it is a jolly time.”

Her innocent face looked up at him, and it was all he could do to not tussle her hair. “If I might make a confession, Miss Emily,” he said, leaning in and lowering his voice, “my home, Pemberley, has four banisters.”

“Four banisters?”

“Yes.” He glanced at Miss Elizabeth and winked. Watching her start, he continued, “And I have slid down all of them.”

“All of them?” the young girl asked with adoration in her eyes. “Would you slide down them with me at Netherfield?”

“Emily!” Elizabeth said, reaching for her hand to stifle the eagerness of her cousin. “I believe it is time you and Tory return to the nursery.”

“That was not ladylike, was it?” she whispered to Mr. Darcy.

A small smile edged at the corners of his mouth. “My sister and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with you and Miss Gardiner.”

“Thank you.” She curtsied and ran out of the room, little Miss Gardiner following at a demure pace.

I do hope the excerpt has enticed you to check out the full novella of An Unexpected Merry Gentleman available on Amazon, and on Kindle Unlimited. I have also included the opportunity to win a Kindle version of the book, which is open internationally. Have a Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday!

Giveaway

Anngela is generously offering a Kindle copy of An Unexpected Merry Gentleman to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway is open internationally through Sunday, December 16, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Anngela, for being my guest today. I hope my readers enjoy An Unexpected Merry Gentleman as much as I did! I can’t wait to share my thoughts later this week. Stay tuned!

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I just love seeing how many Pride and Prejudice-inspired holiday books have been published. They’ve certainly been keeping me busy every December for the last few years, and this year is no exception. Today, Victoria Kincaid is here to share an excerpt from Christmas at Darcy House to celebrate its audiobook release, and there’s a giveaway as well. Please give her a warm welcome!

Hello, Anna, and thank you for having me back to visit!  I love just about every part of the Christmas season (except for the crowds when shopping), and one of the most fun parts is writing and reading Christmas stories.  I published Christmas at Darcy House last year—after long imagining what would happen if Darcy and Elizabeth encountered each other in London after the latter fled Netherfield.  This year, I am pleased to announce the release of an audiobook version of Christmas at Darcy House, narrated by Julia Eve.  I hope you enjoy the excerpt below! 

Mr. Darcy hopes Christmastime will help him to forget the pair of fine eyes that he left behind in Hertfordshire.  When Elizabeth Bennet appears unexpectedly in London, Darcy decides to keep his distance, resolved to withstand his attraction to her.  But when he learns that Wickham is threatening to propose to Elizabeth, Darcy faces a crisis. 

For her part, Elizabeth does not understand why the unpleasant master of Pemberley insists on dancing with her at the Christmas ball or how his eyes happen to seek her out so often.  She enjoys Mr. Wickham’s company and is flattered when he makes her an offer of marriage.  On the other hand, Mr. Darcy’s proposal is unexpected and unwelcome.  But the more Elizabeth learns of Mr. Darcy, the more confused she becomes—as she prepares to make the most momentous decision of her life.

It’s a Yuletide season of love and passion as your favorite characters enjoy Christmas at Darcy House! 

Elizabeth hurried to the edge of the terrace, leaning against the balustrade to better view the Marlowes’ extensive garden.  Naturally, nothing was in bloom at that time of year, but the bare tree branches and ornamental bushes were decorated with a delicate covering of new snow.  Torches had been placed at intervals along the garden paths, providing a gentle golden illumination.

“How enchanting!”  Elizabeth sighed.  “A fresh layer of snow can make anything lovelier.  Do you not think so?”

Mr. Darcy regarded her with a most peculiar expression on his face; his lips were slightly parted and his eyes wide.  He appeared, for all the world, as if he gazed upon a most wondrous and unusual sight.  But he was staring at Elizabeth, not the snow.

“Is the snow not beautiful?” she prompted again.

“Oh yes, yes!”  His eyes shifted toward the snow-covered garden below them.  “Yes, it is quite pretty.”

“Pretty” was a completely inadequate word to describe such a sight, but Elizabeth was not of a mind to quarrel with him.  She turned her gaze back to the garden and the snowflakes illuminated in the torches’ glow.  Fortunately, the terrace was protected from the elements by a roof of sorts, and she was only struck by an occasional wayward snowflake.  “I wish I could have a painting of such a scene!” she exclaimed.  “It is altogether charming.”

“Indeed,” he breathed. The wonder on his face would have been more appropriate if he had never before seen such a sight.  “Do you know, Miss Bennet, I do not believe I fully appreciated the beauty of snow before this moment.”

At least he was finally gazing at the snow.  Why was the man so vexing?  Most of the time he seemed so distant, but occasionally he would demonstrate how he was not only attending to what Elizabeth said but also taking it to heart.  And it was most frustrating.  It complicated her propensity to dislike the man and caused her to rethink her opinion of him.  As she grew better acquainted with him, the more he puzzled her.

Only when Elizabeth felt a chill did she recall why they were outside: Mr. Darcy had professed a desire to say something to her.  What could it be?  Customarily there was only one reason a single man would ask to speak privately with a single woman.  Her momentary panic was quickly quelled.  Mr. Darcy would no more think of marrying Elizabeth than he would consider marrying his cook.

Now she was quite curious about the topic of his desired conversation.  And quite cold.  “Mr. Darcy, you wished to speak with me about something?” she prompted, wrapping her arms around herself.

He started as if in a reverie and slowly focused his eyes on her.  “Yes.  Yes, I did.  I…”  His voice trailed off as his eyes fixed on her…lips?  What an odd man.

Still, Elizabeth could not help noticing that he cut a fine figure in his well-tailored coat.  And a wayward dark curl over his forehead gave him a completely undeserved rakish appearance.  I could brush it away from his forehead.  How would it feel beneath my fingers?  Merciful heavens!  How could she entertain such thoughts about Mr. Darcy of all people? Her eyes sought the safer sight of the garden.

Giveaway

Victoria is generously offering an audiobook code for Christmas at Darcy House to one lucky reader! To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Saturday, December 15, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer Redlarczyk back to Diary of an Eccentric, this time to celebrate the release of her Pride and Prejudice-inspired Christmas novella, A Holiday to Remember.

Every year, I look forward to choosing a few Christmas books to read throughout December, and this is one of the books on my list, so stay tuned for my thoughts. 🙂 In the meantime, Jennifer is here with an enticing excerpt and a giveaway. Please give her a warm welcome!

Happy Holidays! Thank you, Anna, for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be back visiting your blog with A Holiday to Remember. In this modern P&P variation, Elizabeth Bennet is a dedicated choral director and teacher at Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts and William Darcy is the aloof CEO of Darcy Enterprises. The two of them met when unfortunate circumstances brought them together during a summer music festival in Chicago where tempers flared and unpleasant words were exchanged. Find out what happens when their paths cross again in December. Will their animosity continue, or will their reunion turn out to be A Holiday to Remember?

****

From Chapter One

 

Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts

Monday, 4 December

Present day 

“Liz Bennet! Please tell me I didn’t hear what I just thought I heard!” Charlotte Lucas burst through the doors of the choir room and marched straight to the keyboard where Elizabeth was working out the final arrangements for A Holiday to Remember—part of the music academy’s final showcase before the winter break.

“Char, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m kind of on a deadline here. Uh … you do remember I have a major rehearsal at six o’clock tonight?” She arched a questioning eyebrow in her friend’s direction before entering the final chords on the master lead sheet in her computer.

“Right, but for your information, Mr. Billy Collins just told everyone in the teacher’s lounge he has a big date with you on New Year’s Eve. He says he’s escorting you to the Pemberley Foundation’s charity gala at Forest Ridge. What gives? Don’t those tickets start at five hundred a pop? Not to mention any woman who would dare to go out with that nutter would have to be a marble short.”

Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and burst into laughter. “Char, do you honestly think BC would actually shell out that kind of money just to have a date with me? The man is so tight he probably wouldn’t spend five dollars on his own mother. Don’t worry. The Vocalteens were asked to perform at the gala and will be doing the opening act right after dessert. Since Reeves will be out of town, I’m making do with Billy-boy to run sound. You’re welcome to join us if you don’t have a date. I can always use an extra chaperone. Plus, after the kids leave, the adults are invited to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. There’s going to be a live band, dancing, loads of food and some kind of a silent auction. It could be fun, even without dates.”

“Sorry, Liz. As a matter of fact, I do have a date.” Charlotte straightened up and fluttered her eyelashes in jest. “And … as much as I’d like to hobnob with the rich and famous, Brexton Denny is taking me to the Signature Room to celebrate the New Year. Who knows, this might turn out to be my Holiday to Remember, if you don’t mind me borrowing the title from your medley.”

“Go right ahead. The Signature Room is pretty impressive. Is there any chance your Mr. Denny might finally be getting serious?”

“Not to my knowledge. Still, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a date with a buff trainer from the fitness club, fireworks over Lake Michigan, and a kiss at midnight.”

“A kiss at midnight,” Elizabeth sighed, kind of dreamy-eyed. “Aunt Maddy says being kissed at midnight by someone special is magical, and although I’ve yet to meet that perfect someone, I believe her.”

“Girl, you’ve been watching way too many holiday romance movies on your favorite channel, if you ask me. I could never be like you. At any rate, if you need an escort, you can always ask my brother. I know Johnny isn’t ideal, but he’s okay in a pinch. On second thought, what about that cute drummer from the music store? Didn’t you go out with him a couple of times? Maybe you can take him.”

George Wickham?! I think not! And no, we never dated. Char, your memory fails you. I only agreed to sing backups for that smooth talker’s band at the Lollapalooza Music Festival last summer because he was desperate. Believe me; dating was not part of the chord chart. Besides, I’m hardly interested in a fly-by-night drummer or any freelance musician for that matter. And I’m definitely considering adding your brother to my no-go list of men. If Johnny stands me up for one more transmission or any other mechanical failure, the man is toast. As it turns out, I’ll probably hand him his marching orders once he escorts me to Charles Bingley’s holiday party on Friday. Who knows, I may end up following Jane’s lead and using her professional dating service after all. I mean, who could complain about Mr. Bingley?”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely! Charles is exceptional. He’s considerate and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he brings Jane flowers, sends her cards, and takes her out to dinner, concerts, company functions, yada, yada…. And to top it all off, it was Charles Bingley who recommended the Vocalteens for the Pemberley gig. As one of the corporate lawyers who work for the foundation, he was happy to submit my PR materials to the marketing director. Mr. Reynolds thinks our Holiday to Remember medley will be perfect for the charity gala.”

“I agree; it’s bound to be a hit. The kids are already looking pretty good, and you still have until next Thursday to pull it all together for the showcase. Speaking of the gala, I hear the CEO of Darcy Enterprises is pretty hot.” Charlotte wiggled her eyebrows as if in the know. “William Darcy has been in all of the tabloids lately. They say he’s some kind of aloof, mystery man—tall, dark, and handsome. I wonder if he’ll be there.”

William Darcy?” Elizabeth frowned. “His sister, Georgiana, was studying piano with Aunt Maddy at the music store until….” Her voice trailed off. “Are you sure he’s connected to the foundation? Mr. Reynolds never mentioned him.”

“Small world! According to Google, the foundation is run by Darcy Enterprises.” Glancing at the wall clock, Charlotte changed the subject. “It looks like the bell is about to ring, so I’d better head over to my advanced ballet class. Do you still need help tonight with choreography for the opening number?”

“I’d really appreciate it, since I’m going to have my hands full with the pit orchestra. If you can take over while we run through my new arrangements, it would mean one less thing for me to juggle at practice.”

“No problem. I’ll be there. Catch you later.”

“Thanks.”

After Charlotte left, Elizabeth minimized her music program and quickly googled William Darcy, CEO of Darcy Enterprises. “I can’t believe it. It is him! So, Mr. Darcy,” she continued to babble while glaring at the computer screen. “Your Mr. Reynolds booked us for the gala. How was he to know you never wanted to see me again?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the most of it, won’t we?”

****

Well, it looks like our favorite couple had a run in at Lollapalooza which is an annual music festival in Chicago featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and more. Can you picture George Wickham as a drummer? Just for fun, let’s find out what’s going on with William.

**** 

William’s office at Darcy Enterprises

A few days later   

“Bingley, I’ve been waiting on the paperwork for the new contracts.”

“All ready to go, Boss!”

“Do you have to be so cheerful when you come in here? This is work, you know.”

“Can’t help myself, Darcy. It must be love.” He patted his chest with a melodramatic gesture.

“Don’t tell me you’ve already fallen for your latest angel.”

“My Janie? She is an angel, and yes, I’m madly in love.”

William rolled his eyes. “She smiles too much, just like you, I might add. I suppose that makes the two of you perfect for one another.”

“Ha, you should try it sometime! The holidays are practically around the corner, and you could use some diversion. You’ve been nothing but a bear since the end of summer.”

“I’ve had a lot on my plate.” William scowled, directing his attention to the folder Charles had just handed him.

“Speaking of plates, you do remember the holiday party tomorrow night at my parents’ home in Winnetka, don’t you? With Mom and Dad living in Italy for the past year, the house rarely gets used. Caroline has pulled out all of the stops to impress you. She’s having the party catered by some celebrity chef from the city and even hired a jazz trio to play easy listening music before dinner. Hopefully they can move on to some lively tunes afterwards, since Jane loves to dance.” He grinned.

“Humph! Spare me the details.”

“All in all, there should be about sixty or seventy from corporate along with a few other staff members in attendance. And if you’re not into partying, you can always network a little and combine business with pleasure. Say, maybe you can hook up with Jane’s sister, Liz. You know … the music teacher from the performing arts school? You could hang out with her for a while and probably get some useful advice for Georgiana while you’re at it.”

“Her sister?” His brows furrowed. “It should be some party with both your and Jane’s sister in attendance. I feel a migraine coming on just thinking about it.”

“What are you talking about? Liz is nothing like Caro. You might actually like her. She’s unpretentious, intelligent, and a very pretty brunette—quite unlike some of the women you’ve dated in the past.”

“Bingley, you’re wasting your time. I’m not looking for a date, and even if I were, it would not be with Elizabeth Bennet. For your information, we’ve already met, and it didn’t go well. End of story.”

“Suit yourself. Maybe she’ll hit it off with Richard.”

“Right.”

“At any rate, I expect you to play nice. Per Jane’s suggestion, I recommended Liz’s kids to Reynolds for the foundation gala, and whether you like her or not, Ms. Bennet’s top choir from her school is on the bill.”

“Great,” he grumbled, adding under his breath, “Serves me right for not approving the entertainment choices myself.”

“O … kay, I can tell when you’re not in the mood for conversation. Just shoot me a text if you need anything else with regards to these papers.”

“You can count on it.”

Soon after Charles left, William deliberately pushed aside the documents and stepped to the window of his high rise office in the Chicago Loop area. Firmly grabbing one of the window sashes, he aimlessly gazed down on Lake Shore Drive and out over the chilly lake.

“Well, Ms. Bennet, it looks like we’ll be seeing each other again.” He massaged the back of his neck trying to relieve some of the tension he was feeling. “And … I guess it’s about time I dished out an apology for my offensive behavior.”

****

As you can see, William and Elizabeth are obviously not on speaking terms. Not to worry since Bingley’s party will definitely prove to be a turning point in their relationship. Even so, there will be a few obstacles to overcome including one feisty Caroline Bingley.

I hope you enjoyed these excerpts. Now it’s your turn to tell me what you think. Please feel free to leave your comments below, as I will be giving away two eBooks of A Holiday to Remember (International) and would love to hear from you. If you have a chance, be sure to check out my Pinterest page where I’ve posted more fun pictures for each chapter. Good luck and thank you all!

Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red) ♫

****

Thank you, Jennifer, for being my guest today, sharing those excerpts, and offering such a generous giveaway!

To those who enter, please leave your email address in your comment. The giveaway will stay open through Sunday, December 9, 2018. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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I’m delighted to welcome Elaine Jeremiah to Diary of an Eccentric today with an excerpt from Love Without Time, in which a modern-day Jane Austen fan somehow finds herself in Regency England. Please give her a warm welcome, and stay tuned for a giveaway!

****

I was hit by bright sunlight and drew in a breath, blinking furiously. What on earth was going on? I looked around me, not really taking anything in, expecting everything to return to how it had been a moment ago. But it didn’t. When I took another, closer look around me, I saw that I was standing under a tree, on the edge of an immaculate lawn of a large, well-maintained garden.

I gasped. Where am I? I asked myself. Squinting, I shielded my eyes against the relentless sun. Across the other side of the garden, I saw a huge house, a mansion, a place which could easily be Mr Darcy’s home of Pemberley.

There were people on the lawn ahead of me, smiling and laughing. It looked as though they were playing croquet. And they were dressed in clothes which would be the perfect costumes for a Jane Austen-inspired TV drama…

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a moment. Suddenly, my throat felt parched and dry, like I hadn’t had anything to drink in hours. Although thinking about it, it had been a while. I opened my eyes again, hoping that I would be back in the dark, standing by the gate.

I wasn’t. When I looked behind me, I saw that the gate was still there, but now it was in pristine condition. I walked back to it and pushed it open, desperate to get back to the hospital grounds. But walking through it, I was dismayed to find that there was only dense woodland ahead of me, no sign of the hospital.

My breathing became laboured and for some reason my chest felt constricted. The fabric of my underwear felt scratchy. I frowned. Had I put a vest on this morning? I couldn’t remember doing that… But I had better things to think about. Panic rising inside me, I turned around and walked back through the gate, nearly bumping into someone standing in front of me. It was a young woman dressed in a white, sprigged muslin dress. She could have stepped out of the pages of any Jane Austen novel.

I stood there staring at her, my mouth hanging open. She was a little shorter than me; her hair was pulled back into a bun, its golden tendrils curling on her temples. Her blue eyes surveyed me with interest and I surmised that her expression must have been as surprised as my own, because I saw that her brow was furrowed as she gazed at me intently.

I gulped; my heart began thumping in my chest and I felt breathless. I made a move to turn and walk away and almost tripped over a large trunk. It hadn’t been there a second ago, I was sure of it. It was then that I noticed what I was wearing.

Gone were my jeans and favourite heeled leather ankle boots. I was wearing a pale yellow, sprigged muslin dress, very like the one of the young woman standing in front of me, except for the colour. But on top of that I was also wearing what looked like a blue pelisse, or something like a coat to twenty-first century people. No wonder I was so hot.

‘May I help you, miss…’ the young woman began.

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About Love Without Time

When Cassie Taylor meets an ordinary-looking man in a bookshop, the last thing she imagines is the encounter will lead to her time travelling to Regency England.

Jane Austen-obsessed Cassie would love a romantic hero of her own to sweep her off her feet, but meeting Ted is seriously underwhelming. Then everything is turned upside down when Ted saves her life – and she nearly ends his.
Guilt-ridden and panicked into saying she’s Ted’s girlfriend at the hospital, Cassie takes a walk outside at night, loses her way and finds herself in the past. She meets a young Regency woman, Isabella, who takes pity on her, allowing her to stay at the majestic Westerleigh Hall. But not everyone there trusts her and Cassie will find there are many pitfalls to be avoided if she’s to survive in this world.

Can this be real? Is she dreaming? Will she ever get home?

Buy on Amazon | Amazon U.K.

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About the Author

Elaine Jeremiah

Elaine lives in Bristol, South West England with her husband and their golden retriever, Dug. But she was privileged enough to grow up in Jane Austen country, in Hampshire.

She’s always loved writing, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it’s only now with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she feels she’s finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!

She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Love Without Time’ is the first in a trilogy and it’s best described as a Jane Austen-inspired time travel romance. She’s currently hard at work on the second in the trilogy, ‘By Time Divided’.

If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here. Her website is here.

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Giveaway

Elaine is generously offering a signed copy of Love Without Time to one lucky reader, open internationally. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, December 2, 2018. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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Thank you, Elaine, for sharing that intriguing excerpt and for being my guest today! I can’t wait to read the book, and I bet my readers are thinking the same thing right now!

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