New by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford (Giveaway at the bottom!)

New by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford (Giveaway at the bottom!)

 

Hello all! We’re very excited to announce our newest Pride and Prejudice Variation, Believing in Darcy. This ‘what-if’ takes a delightful twist when Mr. Collins, true to form, does something very foolish that changes the course of events. If you enjoy watching Elizabeth come to love Mr. Darcy, and take exception to some of Mr. Collins’ and Mrs. Bennet’s behavior, you’ll love Believing in Darcy, available now on Amazon kindle.

Excerpt:

“Mrs. Collins is not at all well,” Mr. Collins said. “She is tired. She’s been waking at all hours.”

Elizabeth directed her attention toward Charlotte. “If that’s the case, I’m sorry to hear it. I hope you’re feeling better soon.”

“I’m sure I will be.” Charlotte’s expression brightened with her words.

Elizabeth had known Charlotte all her life. There was something about her mien that made Elizabeth feel Charlotte was privy to more than she said. It wasn’t that she was lying, but she wasn’t telling all.

“Lady Catherine was quite adamant about the harm lack of proper rest can do,” Mr. Collins said. “She graciously condescended to give me something to help Mrs. Collins sleep.”

Charlotte’s brows drew together. “When I confessed my recent difficulty sleeping, I believe I mentioned it is nothing worth troubling Lady Catherine over.”

“Which was considerate, of course, but Lady Catherine, in her kindness, finds no trouble too small to dispense her wisdom on,” Mr. Collins said. He turned back to Elizabeth. “When Mrs. Collins left the room briefly, I told Lady Catherine of her trouble. She said Mrs. Collins is undoubtedly not getting her full nights’ sleep if she’s waking. Lady Catherine said no good would come of it.”

Elizabeth was surprised at Mr. Collins. She would have thought him too dull to realize his wife’s words were a warning, but she was obviously mistaken. He wouldn’t have waited for Charlotte to leave the room before speaking of it if he hadn’t realized she would disapprove.

Still frowning, Charlotte shrugged. “I wake up, but go back to sleep quickly. It is nothing to trouble Lady Catherine over. I don’t need anything to help me sleep.”

“Yes, you do, or you wouldn’t be waking up. Lady Catherine was very adamant about what the trouble must be and how to resolve it, and we would do well to benefit from her wisdom.” He pulled a small square bottle out of his coat pocket. “This will help. Lady Catherine said you should take six spoonfuls before going to bed.”

Elizabeth raised her eyebrows. “That seems like rather a lot. Are you sure that’s what she said? The bottle looks quite small for so large a dose.”

Mr. Collins turned it in his hand. It was stoppered with a cork and unlabeled. “No.” He paused, looking thoughtful. “Lady Catherine said tablespoons, not teaspoons. I don’t believe Lady Catherine, in her wisdom, meant Charlotte to avail herself of it for long. This is but a generous gift of a sample from the lady’s store.”

That eased Elizabeth’s worry somewhat, but she still didn’t care for the idea of Charlotte being drugged into a good night’s rest. Especially when a glance showed her friend’s distaste for the idea.

Mr. Collins turned to Charlotte. “You really do look tired, Mrs. Collins. It’s already evening. Perhaps you should follow Lady Catherine’s advice now. We can entertain ourselves for one evening without you while you avail yourself of extra sleep.”

Charlotte’s shoulders sagged slightly. She pressed her lips into a thin line for a moment, then nodded. Elizabeth realized her friend must be tired indeed to give in. It was still quite early for bed.

“I’ll fix you a draught,” Mr. Collins said, his eyes kind as he looked at Charlotte. He stood, set the bottle on the table, and hurried off toward the kitchen.

Elizabeth admitted to herself, albeit grudgingly, that Mr. Collins seemed to actually care about Charlotte’s wellbeing. Perhaps his defiance of her wish not to trouble Lady Catherine was born of care for Charlotte, not simply the desire to give his patroness new ways to dispense her advice.

Momentarily freed of Mr. Collins, she turned to Charlotte. “What is really the trouble?”

Charlotte shook her head, her lips clamped shut.

“Charlotte Collins, if something is truly wrong, please tell me. I shall do all in my power to assist you.”

“Nothing is wrong, Lizzy.” Charlotte’s lips turning up in a slight smile. “I’m simply unsure of something. I’ll tell you soon.”

Elizabeth found that response unilluminating. She opened her mouth to say so, but closed it again at the sound of approaching footfalls.

Mr. Collins returned, a glass and serving spoon in hand. Elizabeth frowned at the spoon. True, serving spoons were often referred to as tablespoons, but she wasn’t sure there were even six spoonfuls of that size contained in the small bottle. A spoon that large couldn’t be what Lady Catherine meant.

Mr. Collins went to the table. Giving Charlotte a smile, he proceeded to unstop the bottle and measure out spoonfuls. The reddish-brown liquid was thick, slowing the process and increasing Elizabeth’s unease. She had little experience with laudanum. Her father refused to allow its use in their house. Still, she was familiar with its description. She’d heard people used drops only, or thinned it with wine.

Mr. Collins wasn’t using drops, and the viscous syrup did not appear thinned. When he came to the final spoonful, not enough of the potion remained in the bottle to fill it. Muttering about Lady Catherine’s staff being stingy, he held the bottle over the glass until only a thin trickle came out.

“There,” he said, giving the bottle a final shake before setting it aside. He brought the nearly full glass to Charlotte, his expression showing affection. “Drink this. You will sleep soundly, and tomorrow you will be well, just as Lady Catherine says.”

Charlotte accepted the glass. She sniffed it, grimacing, and raised weary eyes to her husband. Elizabeth bit her lip. She didn’t like to interfere in matters between a man and wife, but the little she did know of laudanum and other remedies suggested that no matter what was in the glass, it was simply too large a dose. Mr. Collins smiled down encouragingly. Charlotte lifted the glass to her lips.

“No,” Elizabeth cried, jumping up.

Charlotte turned to her, eyes wide with surprise.

Elizabeth crossed the room and pulled the glass from her friend’s hand, eyeing the dark liquid with mistrust.

“Cousin Elizabeth,” Mr. Collins said. “I must ask you to return that to Mrs. Collins. She is not sleeping well and needs treatment. Furthermore, Lady Catherine herself said Mrs. Collins was to drink it. What will I tell her if Mrs. Collins does not?”

Elizabeth shook her head. “I will not let Charlotte drink this. I don’t know what’s in this glass, but this can’t be the correct dosage. You must agree, Charlotte, nothing save tea or wine is ever prescribed in such abundance.”

Charlotte looked at the glass Elizabeth held. She let out a sigh, nodding. “Elizabeth makes an honest observation, Mr. Collins. In all my years, I’ve never heard of a medication for any ill being given so liberally, unless it is a thing usually drank.”

Mr. Collins’ moment of husbandly care fled, his usual nervousness returning. He wrung his hands. “What will I tell Lady Catherine?”

Charlotte frowned. She looked from her distraught husband to Elizabeth, to the glass.

“You must drink it,” Mr. Collins said. “Lady Catherine bid you drink it. She is our benefactor. We do not wish to seem ungrateful.”

“Mr. Collins is equally correct, Lizzy,” Charlotte said. “We do well to remain in Lady Catherine’s good graces. I’m sure no great harm will come from it.” She reached for the glass.

Elizabeth took a step back from the chair, holding the glass out at arm’s length, far from Charlotte’s reach. “It isn’t safe. I can’t let you do this, even to appease Lady Catherine.”

Mr. Collins plucked the glass from Elizabeth’s hand. Before she could attempt to reclaim it, he tipped his head back and poured the thick liquid into his mouth. Elizabeth and Charlotte both cried out in protest, but it was too late. Save for what coated the inside of the glass in ominous ripples, the bulk of the dark liquid was in Mr. Collins’ mouth.

He swallowed convulsively, grimacing. Anger apparent in the set of his mouth, he turned to Elizabeth. “I shall sleep very well tonight. Tomorrow, you will see you were wrong. You will come with me to apologize to Lady Catherine for your and Mrs. Collins’ behavior. I am sure she won’t be surprised you are the instigator of this, Cousin Elizabeth. Knowing your contrary nature, it is only because I care for Mrs. Collins that I permitted you to visit. I’m afraid I must ask you to shorten your stay. Tomorrow you will make preparations to depart. I will not harbor a disruption to my home and a threat to Lady Catherine’s patronage.”

GIVEAWAY!


What do you think? Should Charlotte have taken the medicine? Will Mr. Collins get a good night’s sleep?


Now, for the GIVEAWAY! To celebrate Believing in Darcy, we’re giving away two Kindle copies!

To enter, just comment below. The GIVEAWAY will end at midnight EST on Wednesday, April 19th, 2017. Winners will be announced on Saturday, the 22nd.

111 Responses to New by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford (Giveaway at the bottom!)

  1. I am intrigued. A lot of Austen based books do very little for me. However, this one has grabbed my interest and fired my imagination. I look forward to reading it!

  2. I have an idea that charlotte might be pregnant so this would have done both her and the baby harm. I also have a feeling this is a good beginning to a book.

  3. No, she shouldn’t drink it because she does not know what it is. Moreover it could be poison if drank in large quantities above the recommended dosage. Elizabeth is smart to know it shouldn’t be consumed at all without a doctor’s prescription.

    Congrats on another new release, Renata. And thank you for the generous giveaway.

  4. no Charlotte should not have drunk it, and I think mr collins will die and lady c will be blamed for murder.

    • Murder Most Horrid! (I wish I could get Murder Most Horrid on US DVD. Maybe I’ll go check again if it’s available) I’m not sure anyone intended murder, but someone may have committed it 🙂

  5. I think Mr. Collins is going to get way more than the good nights sleep he is expecting, hope they can even wake him in the morning, afternoon or evening. I do believe before anyone including he took the potion he should have checked the dosage with Lady Catherine. Can’t wait to read how it turned out, poor man!

  6. I’ve read this book on KU and I loved it ( like other work of Renata & Summer). 🙂 Great premise, intriguing plot and wonderfully written characters. My only little quibble is that ODC took a long time to clear misunderstanding. But they wouldn’t be D&E if they resolved all the problems at once. 😉

    Please, include me in the giveaway, as I know I’d love to read it again. 🙂

    • Thank you, Kate. We’re glad you enjoyed it. We had fun writing it. Yes, sometimes it’s like Darcy and Elizabeth don’t know what we know, that they’ll end up together 🙂 Good luck with the giveaway 🙂

  7. Only a fool would drink that glass, and we all know about Mr. Collins. Bless his heart… to so blindly obey his patroness without question, is to question his sanity. To take something of so large a dosage was beyond ignorant… and he will pay dearly for that mistake. Do not include me in the give-a-way. I already own the book. I couldn’t wait and had to have it. Thank you for such a creative story. Wow!!!

    • Thank you 🙂 For getting our book, and for your kind words. I can’t take much credit for the creativity of the story. Renata is the plot-master. She does a great job coming up with more and more ideas 🙂

  8. Can’t wait to read the rest of the book! I believe Mr. Collins will get very long good night’s sleep. Poor ignorant fellow! Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. It did seem like an awfully large dose. Probably not safe, especially if the thing she isn’t sure of is having a baby. Mr. Collins might sleep for days, or not wake at all. Sounds like an overdose.

  10. Wow I don’t think Elizabeth will be going to apologize to Lady Catherine, she’ll be going to get her because Mr Collins has overdosed!!!

  11. Omg, I think there’s going to be a funeral at Rosings soon….very soon. I wonder if Charlotte is carrying the heir?????

    • Only if the mysteries are easily solved and end with Happily Ever After 🙂 As I recently told a friend, I don’t fancy myself a mystery writer. I think Renata could be, though, so you never know 🙂

  12. If he survives, perhaps Mr Collins will learn something from the experience such as listening instead of thinking of “pretty” things he thinks Lady C and others may want to hear. Poor Charlotte methinks she may be a widow and a mother in short order! Thanks for the giveaway, ladies. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  13. Yep, I believe he will be getting more than a good night’s sleep. More along the lines of the eternal night of sleep. Looking forward to finding what actually does happen.

  14. I’m sure Lizzy’s instincts are very good. Don’t take it, Charlotte! I’m pretty sure if Mr Collins takes it he’s sure to have a really long sleep. So happy I found this author website. I’m a huge fan and love hearing about the newest releases and, of course, giveaways!

  15. Uh. Oh. Sounds like someone had it in for Charlotte, and now Collins will o-d instead. How could Collins be so stubbornly stupid? Interesting excerpt!

  16. Interesting, and I too wonder if it was a plot of some type, or an error on Mr. Collins part, and just what is Charlotte hiding from her friends. Thanks for providing a giveaway, as well.

Your thoughts are precious!