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I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Joy’s Meryton Mystery series, and I was so excited when I saw there was going to be a fourth book. Well, it’s available now, and I have a treat for you, my dear readers. I’m delighted to welcome Jennifer back to Diary of an Eccentric today, and she’s brought with her an excerpt from The Immovable Mr. Tanner and a very generous giveaway.

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About The Immovable Mr. Tanner

She longs to be free from her past. He refuses to let go of his.

Jonathan Tanner, owner of the Meryton Inn, stands on his own. Proud of the life he has carved out, he scorns those of the upper class and keeps those who wish to befriend him at a distance. And then Fitzwilliam Darcy came along like the pesky little brother Tanner never wanted.

When Tanner finally accepts the Darcys’ invitation to visit them in London, he’s forced to answer to Mrs. Annesley — the fine lady he’s tried to forget over the past year. But Tanner’s defensive walls are no match for the gentle beauty.

Arabella Annesley chose to follow her heart … and she’s paid the price for it. Disowned by her family, widowed, and without a protector, she refused to sell her dignity to keep a roof over her head. Finding refuge and friendship with the Darcys, she feels safe … until Mr. Tanner shows up at Darcy House.

When a stranger calls and is murdered in Mr. Darcy’s front parlor, suspicions Arabella thought were long-buried resurface to threaten her and everyone she holds dear, forcing her to choose between the privilege she was born into and a heart she doesn’t trust.

Can Tanner let go of his resentful past to grasp onto a hopeful future with Arabella? Or will her history, riddled with secrets and disguise, deprive them of a happily-ever-after?

The Immovable Mr. Tanner is the fourth novel in Jennifer Joy’s A Meryton Mystery romance series set in England’s captivating Regency era — when a gentleman’s manners were regarded as highly as a lady’s reputation and a happy marriage was the ultimate prize (although a fortune was never frowned upon).

If you like falling in love with Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth as they fall for each other, then you’ll love this sweet romance-mystery variation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice.

Read The Immovable Mr. Tanner to satisfy your craving for a fast-paced mystery interwoven with a heartwarming, wholesome romance today!

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An excerpt from The Immovable Mr. Tanner, courtesy of Jennifer Joy

“You will let me pay,” Tanner grumbled, sticking to his initial argument when he realized how shaky the ground was on which he stood. Who was he to tell Darcy how or when to spend his own money? So long as he spent it on someone else, Tanner’s pride insisted.

Darcy leaned forward, making sure he had Tanner’s full attention before he said firmly, “No.” He sat back and crossed his arms, his glare fixed on Tanner, who returned his determined look with one of his own.

The rest of the ride to Darcy House was spent in silence, both gentlemen equally matched in their unwillingness to budge.

When they stepped into the entrance hall, anxious to part ways, only to see Georgiana waiting for them, Tanner determined not to inflict his bad mood on her. Darcy, too, forced a smile.

She still noticed something was off. Georgiana noticed everything. Looking between the two of them several times, she said in an overly cheerful voice, “It is time for your first lesson, Tanner.”

If there was a merciful God in Heaven, Tanner wished He would strike him down then and there. Maybe break his leg on the way to the music room? Was that too much to ask? Anything to spare him from having to prance and twirl like a dandy after the humiliations of the morning. Tanner did not dance.

But neither could he refuse Georgiana when she turned her sky blue eyes on him.

She smiled at him, knowing she would get her way, and he followed her in defeat. At least her company was preferable to their pig-headed pest of a brother. Anything was preferable to his aggravating association.

Except for the sight awaiting them.

Arabella stood in the middle of the music room, the sunshine coming through the windows bathing her in a radiant glow.

“I hope you do not mind I enlisted the help of your sister to provide music,” Arabella said as he stood frozen in the doorway.

Georgiana played a cheerful jingle, plucking at the keys of her pianoforte with a happy grin and a saucy wink in the direction of her companion.

It was a conspiracy of siblings — a competition to see who could make Tanner more miserable. Georgiana won by a landslide.

Tanner broke out in a hot sweat. Great. Not only was he fairly certain his face looked like a beet, but he would have to hold the woman whom he spent a great deal of energy not thinking about while he reeked of perspiration.

Being the lady she was, Arabella pretended not to notice his discomfort. She pointed to a spot on the floor two steps away from her and said, “We will begin with something simple, and we will add to it as the week progresses.”

He stood where she indicated, clasping his moist hands behind his back and waiting for further instruction while praying this dance did not require him to draw any closer to her than he presently was. Lord, but she was beautiful. Her grace under the intense pressures of recent events only raised her in his estimation. But it was her strength of character which truly won his admiration. Arabella was not a wilting lily.

She nodded at Georgiana, who began playing a slow, steady tune.

Taking a step closer to him, Arabella said, “You stand in place while I move in a circle around you.”

“Easy enough,” Tanner said, his voice cracking like a stripling, firmly pressing his arms against his sides. At least, he was not expected to move. He could stand in one spot easily enough.

It was easy until Arabella passed behind him, and he caught a scent of her spicy rosewater. What was it? Cloves? Cinnamon?

When the next step required him to stand before her with his palms pressed against hers — and his worst fear was allayed when he raised his arms and she did not pinch her nose — he thought he could stand thus forever with her hands against his. How long and thin her fingers were. How perfectly they would fit between his. If he spread his fingers ever so slightly, he would find out…

So mesmerized was he at her touch, Tanner forgot how to walk when Arabella turned to the side and skipped down an invisible line of dancers holding their arms in an arc over them in a promenade. Tripping over his own feet, he tried to catch up with her like a bumbling oaf. His palms tingled where her hands had been.

Georgiana giggled as she played. “You will have to crouch down just as William does. You will be in high demand at the ball.”

Tanner scoffed. “I doubt that. I shall do my best to blend in and stand against the wall.”

“You? Blend in?” Georgiana stopped playing, her eyes raised to the ceiling and her expressions changing as she considered the possibility of Tanner’s plan. Finally, she shook her head. “No, it simply will not work. You are new in town, connected with us, and dashingly handsome. Do you not think so, Arabella?”

Georgiana cocked her head and raised her eyebrow at Arabella, who bit her lower lip and blushed, causing Tanner to break into a sweat again. He pulled at his collar, but there was no relief from the fire consuming him. He foresaw a very long week of dance lessons ahead of him.

Georgiana returned her attention to her instrument, and Arabella resumed her position to begin the dance again. Tanner did his best to follow along, eventually performing the expected steps without having to give them much thought.

After what felt like forever — an hour according to the chiming clock on the mantel — Tanner was ready for a break. He was out of breath for reasons other than the exuberance of the dance. It did not help that every breath he took was scented with Arabella’s spicy, sweet aroma. She smelled like cake and mulled cider — his favorites.

After a pivot and a turn, Georgiana stopped playing to clap enthusiastically. “That was excellent! If you learn the other dances as quickly as this one, you will have an easy time of it at the ball.”

Tanner’s relief was brief, for Arabella struck her hands together like a schoolmistress and said, “Again.”

His torture was set to a quicker rhythm this time, and he now understood why ladies and gentlemen insisted on wearing gloves when they danced. The electric bolts jolting up his arms at Arabella’s every touch melted the knot of nerves in his stomach, filling it with something infinitely worse — desire.

Tanner did not know which direction his limbs moved, but he kept up with Arabella. He must have done well because she smiled at him.

Georgiana increased the tempo of the music once again, and Arabella acknowledged the challenge. “Are you up for another turn, Mr. Tanner? Your sister seems to think we cannot keep up with her.”

Tanner stepped, turned, and swayed as Arabella had taught him to.

“This is not so bad,” he said when he felt confident enough to speak whilst his feet moved.

“How is it you never learned?” Arabella asked.

“My mother loved to dance, and she tried to teach me. But I was an unwilling student. I suppose I never saw the point of it.” He ought not to have said that. What he did not understand as a young lad, he fully understood under Arabella’s tutelage. The closeness, the contact, the conversation. The dangerous combination made him dizzy, intoxicating him in a way no drink had ever done.

“And now?” she asked, her lip curling up into a lopsided smile.

“I see why she loves to dance,” he replied, trying not to blush to his ear tips.

“Your mother would be proud. You are a graceful dancer.”

Tanner had not noticed the decrease in tempo until Georgiana increased it again. He wished his mother were there to see him now. She would delight in Arabella’s company — just as he did.

Arabella laughed gleefully when she had to run around him to keep up with the music. It was easy to get caught up in her happiness, and Tanner bellowed along with her as they skipped down the imaginary promenade, making it to the end, breathless with glee. It felt good. It felt happy.

Georgiana applauded, joining in their laughter. “Well done. If you can manage that, you will be perfectly fit for the ball. Nobody will doubt you are one of us.”

“Until I step on a lady’s slipper and knock out the gentleman next to me with an ill-aimed flail of the arm,” Tanner teased. He could take a thousand dance lessons and still never truly be one of them. Although, it irked him to realize he now wanted to be. Not a gentleman — no, never that — but rather, a part of their family.

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If that scene grabbed your attention, you’ll be happy to know that Jennifer is offering a bonus scene from the book, available to her newsletter subscribers. Click here to sign up for her New Release newsletter!

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Giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering 3 ebook copies of The Immovable Mr. Tanner. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address and tell us what you think of the excerpt. This giveaway will close on Sunday, May 6, 2018. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Jennifer, for being my guest today. It’s always a pleasure! Congrats on your latest release!

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