Loving for all Seasons … Excerpt + Giveaway

Loving for all Seasons … Excerpt + Giveaway

I had planned to kick-off this past December with a new holiday release: a Christmas story I’d been working on for a while. Alas, it was not to be. Still, I wanted very much to keep with my commitment to offer a new release as well as treat loyal readers to a tremendous bargain, so I put together a new book bundle.

It’s titled Loving for all Seasons. Released in mid-December, Loving for all Seasons is a special limited time only collection featuring Impertinent Strangers, my number four top-seller on Amazon. The regular price of the three-book bundle represents a cost savings of over 37% on Impertinent Strangers alone.

To Refuse Such a Man is also included in the collection, along with Matter of Trust: The Shades of Pemberley. The latter of the two, while widely available at most online retailers, was previously unavailable on Amazon in eBook or print, and will no longer be available once Loving for all Seasons is removed.

Matter of Trust is one of my early stories. Like To Refuse Such a Man, it is based on a forced marriage premise. Here’s an excerpt from Matter of Trust for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Moments later, she supposed she must have conjured him up, for after she donned her bonnet and shawl and opened the door, he stood there with his hand poised to knock.

“Mr. Darcy!”

“Good morning, Miss Elizabeth. I—I … we need to talk.”

Elizabeth glanced over her shoulder, then quickly stepped outside and closed the door behind her. “I am inclined to agree. We need to talk, but not here. Shall we take a walk?”

“Should we not go inside first? Perhaps visit with your family?”

“Is that your wish, sir?”

“No. However, after the events of last evening, I think it is only proper that we adhere to expectations.”

“On the contrary, Mr. Darcy, after the events of last evening, it is imperative I speak with you alone.”

Darcy extended his arm. “I am your servant. Lead me and I shall follow.”

Elizabeth crumpled her brow. Was he attempting to make light of her predicament? Accepting his arm, she walked with him down the steps and along a lane leading to the large duck pond. Nobody would bother them there.

“Why did you do it, Mr. Darcy?”

“I beg your pardon, Miss Elizabeth?”

“Why did you tell my mama that we are to be married?”

“In light of the circumstances, I do not see that I had a choice. Your mother was on the brink of hysteria, and I cannot say that I blame her. What happened to you in the short time after I left you on the terrace? Did Wickham return? Did he assault you?”

Elizabeth looked away. “Yes, Mr. Wickham returned after you left and, well, yes—I mean no, he did not—what I mean to say is he and I—we … we had a huge difference of opinion, a misunderstanding if you will.”

“A misunderstanding?” His raised voice held a measure of astonishment laced with contempt. Startled, Elizabeth took a tiny step back.

“Miss Elizabeth, you were frantic when you ran into me. Your gown was torn, ripped at the seams, and you dare to tell me that it was a misunderstanding.”

Elizabeth walked away and stared across the pond. How could she tell him the truth? How many times had he warned her about Mr. Wickham as late as mere moments before their misunderstanding? And that is exactly what it was, a misunderstanding. Somehow she had led the gentleman to think that she would welcome his proposal, welcome his advances, when all she ever meant to do was to enjoy his company. That and rejoice in their mutual dislike of Mr. Darcy!

Elizabeth would not share her shame with Mr. Darcy. He was just the sort of man who would take pride in having been correct in warning her against Mr. Wickham. Perhaps one day she would admit her mistake, one day when she had learned to trust him … but certainly not now.

“As I said, Mr. Wickham and I suffered a misunderstanding is all.”

Darcy walked up behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder. Gone was the ire. He now spoke with genuine concern. “Why are you protecting him?”

Elizabeth turned to face him. Her demeanour prickled with defiance brought on by his earlier rebuke. “The better question is, why did you say that we were to be married when you knew that whatever my dilemma, you were not to blame?”

“I have been used to cleaning up for Wickham’s misdeeds for as long as I have known him. He is a scoundrel, a reprobate. Seeing you in such a state, first amongst my thoughts was that your father would be compelled to avenge your honour or even worse, attempt to persuade the man to marry you.”

Elizabeth schooled her expression. She did not intend for him to know that he had hit upon her exact fears.

“As much as the idea of marrying Wickham might not repulse you, I can assure you that it would never have happened. That is unless you have a comfortable dowry of at least ten, or better still, twenty thousand pounds. I could not bear to watch you suffer a similar fate as so many other young ladies he has taken advantage of with promises of love and felicity, and subsequently discarded.”

“You know nothing about me, Mr. Darcy. You never once looked at me, except to find fault. Must I remind you that you thought me only tolerable and not handsome enough to tempt you?”

He shook his head. “You are mistaken. I do not look at you to find fault.” He closed what little distance there was between them. “I look at you because I admire you, and because I am attracted to you like no other woman before you.”

Darcy took Elizabeth’s hand. “I ask you to forgive me for my careless remark at the assembly. You are the handsomest woman of my acquaintance.

“As regards your first accusation that I do not know you, I am guilty as charged. You and I do not know each other as well as we should; however, all that will change.”

Elizabeth withdrew her hand. “I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage, sir, for I have never supposed myself to be particularly attracted to you, and I have certainly never done anything to garner your good opinion.”

“And yet you have my good opinion, and I am fairly certain that it is only a matter of time before you admit that you are indeed attracted to me.”

“Mr. Darcy, I think you are mistaking me for Miss Bingley.”

“No, you are mistaken. Miss Bingley epitomises all that I disdain in a woman with her constant fawning and simpering. Whereas you, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, amaze me and always leave me guessing what you will do or say next.”

Holding his hands loosely behind his back, Darcy said, “Come, Miss Elizabeth, we are to be man and wife. Surely there must be something you like about me.”

“You are not my cousin—Mr. Collins. In fact, you are nothing like him. That speaks highly in your favour.”

“Such a comparison as that is hardly a compliment. I say that with certainty after having been forced to make his acquaintance last evening.”

Elizabeth suffered embarrassment akin to that at the ball when her cousin had the audacity to approach Mr. Darcy and introduce himself. “So, it is commendations you seek.”

“Exactly—I expressed my deep admiration for you. You ought to remark on what a loyal friend I am and how I would do anything in the world for those who mean most to me.”

“There is that, I suppose.”

“I do not mean to make light of our situation. The road ahead will be fraught with difficulties. There is the matter of your family, your lack of fortune and low connections. Truth be told, my own family will deem our marriage abhorrent. However, I shall not let their sentiments dissuade me. From this day forth, I commit myself to you. I shall do all I can to tolerate your relations as we spend time together over the coming weeks, or months even, should you desire a long-drawn-out engagement period.”

Tolerate! Not that again. Was it too late to accept her cousin? “Heaven forbid that you should find my family wholly intolerable,” she said.

“I knew you would understand my predicament.”

Elizabeth held her tongue. It would not do to argue with Mr. Darcy—certainly not on the first day of their engagement. The notion of killing him with kindness was now infinitely more appealing to her.

She smiled wryly. “Speaking of my family, perhaps it is time we return to the house. I imagine everyone, especially Mama, is eager to enjoy your company.”

“Must we? I rather enjoy this time alone with you. This has been an unexpected, yet pleasant, surprise.” Darcy reached out and tucked an errant curl behind her ear.

His affectionate gesture caught her quite by surprise. For a moment, Elizabeth’s spirits rose to playfulness. “Indeed. However, tolerance is often something that comes about with repetition, and I would not wish to deny you any opportunity to practise.”

 

How’s that for an auspicious start to an engagement? Have your share in the conversation. Comment below with your thoughts on forced marriage scenarios.

Giveaway Time!

Comment for a chance to win a digital edition (ePub or mobi) of Loving for all Seasons. One winner will be chosen. Contest ends on Tuesday, January 16th.

52 Responses to Loving for all Seasons … Excerpt + Giveaway

  1. Way too late to enter the giveaway, I wanted to let you know this sounds like a great story. I will add it right now to my wishlist and will buy it as soon as I can.

  2. Forgot to put in this. Curious as to what the “misunderstanding” plays out to be with Darcy and how possessive he is over Lizzy, and how he will take it. He starts out, in my opinion, as the prince riding the turtle saying the wrong thing. Then his turtle turns into a stallion and he saves the day.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  3. I enjoyed the excerpt and noticed some tongue-in-cheek references to the original Hunsford proposal scene woven into this well-written dialogue. This looks like an interesting beginning to a “Forced Marriage” scenario and I agree with some of the other comments regarding the idea that a patient and affectionate Darcy at the beginning is more interesting to read. The ones where they are both horrible for ages are not pleasant. Much better to see continuing improvement in their trust and understanding as one progresses through the story. These are both intelligent people, even if stubborn and prejudiced to a fault, so it makes more sense for them to continue learning and improving steadily, rather than holding onto their resentment until the last 2 or 3 chapters! I have been reading Jane Austen for over 60 years, but am new to fan fiction in the last few months and have already found some of those difficult FM themes. I am not familiar with your work, but found a couple of your books on Kindle Unlimited and hope to read them soon. Please enter me in your giveaway.

  4. The FMS are nail biting for me. Granted we know ODC will come together at the end, it is the getting there. They have to acknowledge each other’s faults, overcome insecurities and learn to trust each other. This being harder for Lizzy. Think most of her insecurities I believe stem from her mother planting seeds of doubt. She does go on and on about Jane. Enjoy reading how Darcy breaks down the walls around her and earns her trust and love, faults and all. Sorry for the ramble.

  5. Ihave always liked the forced marriage variation for Elizabeth and Darcy. It is fun to watch them struggle in their misunderstandings within the marriage before one or either both of them acknowledge their love. Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

  6. Love the excerpt. I can’t wait to find out how far into the marriage they are before Elizabeth admits her love for Mr. Darcy. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Loving the excerpt and curious to know how Elizabeth came to love Darcy in Matter of Trust: The Shades of Pemberley. May I know why you are not making it available to purchase on Amazon, Pam?

    • Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the excerpt, Lúthien84. I believe there are trust issues in the beginning — more so on Elizabeth’s part than Darcy’s. Once they move beyond that, things fall into place. 🙂

      As for the story’s availability on Amazon, it was once enrolled in the subscription program. Things got complicated.

  8. So long as it’s fictional, forced marriages offer good plots. Thanks for another good story, Pam.

  9. I love reading lively and witty conversation between characters who are destined to be together. It sets the expectation for an interesting future beyond the final printed page.

  10. I don’t mind the FMS [forced marriage scenario]; however, I don’t like it when Lizzy takes too long to ‘get over it’ and see the good in her husband. It drives me crazy when she is still on a b-witch rant long after they have married and she continues to punish him. I don’t like those. Don’t include me in the give-a-way as I already have this book.

    • You make a very good point, J. W. Of course, a patient and understanding Mr. Darcy is always a bonus. 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me know you already own the book. I hope you’ll love it. 🙂

  11. You can definitely see the pride both carry in their own “rightness” without any consideration for the feelings of others. Thank you for sharing the excerpt — more stories to add to the TBR pile!

  12. I do love a good “Forced Marriage Situation”. Some are among the top of my list of favorites. At least in this one it seems that Darcy begins their relationship admitting he likes her. Some FMS books have them both disdaining the company of each other. Some even have the consummation of the marriage before love develops. Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win.

  13. I’ve seen a few forced engagement scenarios. Some are good, some awful, and there are just a few diamonds hiding in the lot. If I find myself squirming while reading, it’s usually poorly written. Since I’m NOT squirming after this excerpt, you have my attention. Please do enter me inmthe giveaway!

  14. I love forced marriages It makes the characters look at themselves and see that they aren’t perfect either. Thank you for the give away.

  15. Oh dear, I think they both need to adjust their attitude and think more of the other person’s feelings. Hopefully this will happen soon and they will realise how suited they are.

    • It make take awhile for the two of them to get on the same page. The good news is the engagement period is rather short. I hope you’ll enjoy the story, Glynis. 🙂

  16. Mostly I’m glad that we don’t have the same rules of society today. Not a great start to an engagement. What will it take for Lizzy to see the light?

    • I’m glad those rules no longer apply as well, Ria. On the other hand, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy Regency era stories so much. They offer a wonderful means of escapism. 🙂

Your thoughts are precious!