January is always a fun month. Well, when I was teaching, it was fun for a day or two and then school started again and the snow started falling and things got ugly. 😉 Now, however, I am a writer, and I can look at things differently. Yes, it will still snow like nobody’s business, and by the end of the month, I will likely be buried under three or four feet of it and have shoveled for hours. However, the pace of my work is now one that I have set myself, and while it is a busy one, it is not at all the hectic, frantic pace of an online school. I almost look forward to this first month of 2017. Almost. 😀
I’m certain most of you know by now, I released a book on Christmas Eve Day. It is now available at Amazon in print and e-book, as an e-book for NOOK and KOBO, and in print at Createspace online. The book is titled Matches Made at Netherfield, and is dedicated to my mom, who most of you know by now passed away in December of 2008. I wanted to share an excerpt with you here. Once you have read it, there will be details about the giveaway. Fair warning: it’s a little long.
Charles Bingley was about to walk past his youngest sister’s sitting-room when her voice brought him up short. Tilting his head to better catch her words, he stepped quickly behind the door and peered through the crack between the door and the jamb. He could see Caroline pacing the end of the room; Louisa was out of his line of sight, but he could hear her plainly. Leaning against the wall, he settled in to listen.
“I do not understand what he is thinking to keep me waiting so long! We have been isolated in this nondescript town for weeks, and he has not yet proposed. What is he waiting for?”
“I do not know, Caroline. Are you certain Mr. Darcy is interested? Did not Charles deny it was so?”
Caroline scoffed. “What does Charles know? I am the perfect candidate to be his friend’s wife. I have been to the best school for young ladies that could be found. I am of a respectable family and have a very healthy dowry. And he likes me, I know he does! You have seen as well as I have how Mr. Darcy has laughed at my witty comments. He has joined me in making sport of those around us!”
“This is true.”
“Then why does he not propose?” Frustration was evident in Caroline’s voice. “I am not getting any younger, you know.”
“You are not old to begin with. You are twenty. You have plenty of time.”
“No, I do not. I will soon be on the shelf. This is my third season; I should have been snapped up two years ago.”
“You could have been, if you recall. You received two proposals that year, but you refused both in pursuit of our brother’s friend.”
“They were not highly placed enough in society, Louisa. We are supposed to make good marital choices and pull our family further from our roots.”
“Going higher does not mean we must marry into the first circles, Sister. I made an appropriate choice.”
Caroline sniffed. “Perhaps, but that does not negate my wishes to do better. I must make Darcy propose before Christmas.”
The jangling of Louisa’s bracelets stopped, indicating to the still-eavesdropping Charles that she had focussed her attention on her sister. “Caroline, what are you about? I must caution you not to do something foolish. If you try to compromise yourself with Mr. Darcy and he refuses to marry you, the only person whose reputation will suffer is yours.”
“Pish posh! Mr. Darcy is too honorable to do anything but marry me. Besides, I did not say I was going to compromise him.”
“I know you too well to doubt the meaning behind your words. You will be on your own if you continue down this path. I shall not help you.”
Caroline’s voice became hard. “Oh, yes, you will, Sister dear, or your ‘appropriate’ choice of husband will learn, in excruciating detail, the exact reasons we were so suddenly asked to leave his sister’s home last year. How long do you think your marriage would last if Mr. Hurst was aware that he was a cuckold?”
On the other side of the door, Bingley was shocked at what he was hearing. He had not known Louisa had committed adultery, though he was not surprised that no one told him. As terrible as Louisa’s actions were, it was his youngest sister’s behavior that caused him the most concern. He remembered Caroline bribing him in the same manner when they were children, but the consequences had not been so dire for either of them. That she still behaved so with Louisa said a great deal about his youngest sister’s maturity. Finally, Caroline began speaking once more.
“Oh, do stop pouting, Louisa. It does not become you.”
“Very well, then. What do you anticipate my role to be?” Tears were evident in her voice. I would lay odds Louisa will give in to a bout of tears as soon as she gets alone, Bingley thought.
“I have not planned every detail as of yet, but I must do it soon. I might perhaps plan an event and compromise Mr. Darcy in public. Of course, I could just as easily do so at one of the gatherings we are invited to in this backwater.”
At this point, the conversation moved to disparaging comments about the neighbors, and Bingley stopped listening. Not wishing to be caught eavesdropping, he silently moved back down the hall from whence he came, ducking back into his own set of rooms and shutting the door behind him. I must do something. Darcy has sworn he would never marry Caroline no matter what machinations she attempts. I must protect my sister from herself, and I know that Darcy would never be happy in a marriage to her, even should his honor demand one. He deserves better than a loveless union. Not knowing how to act without being aware of Caroline’s actual plans, Bingley determined that he must remain alert for the time being, not only to his sister’s schemes but also for a more permanent solution for his friend.
Now for the giveaway information: I am giving away an e-book copy and a print copy of Matches Made at Netherfield.
Leenie indirectly challenged me recently, because almost all of her giveaways must necessarily be international due to her residence in Canada. Being the competitive sort, I immediately committed to actually mailing something internationally in a giveaway. Therefore, the giveaway is open to everyone…if you live in the remotest part of Africa, and you get mail delivery, and you win the print copy, I will mail it to you! 😀
All you have to do to get a chance to win is to comment. Be sure to leave your email address and your preference for e-book or print. The giveaway ends at 11:59 ET on Friday, January 13, 2017. 🙂