Good Afternoon dear readers,
How are you today? My week is starting with a pleasant surprise, I just got home from work and had this beauty waiting for me in the mail, isn’t that great?
It could not have been a bigger coincidence because today I’m scheduled to receive Robin Helm with a guest post of A Very Austen Valentine and share a vignettte of a sequel she wrote for her story I Dream of You as well as an excerpt from Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile.
I already started reading this book and I’m loving it, but it will be even better to finish reading it in the paperback format. I expect to bring a review to you shortly, but until then, I hope you enjoy what we brought to you today.
I would also like to thank these incredible authors for putting together another lovely anthology and for visiting today, may we get together to celebrate many more A Very Austen anthologies 🙂
Six beloved authors deliver romantic Valentine novellas set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, together with Susan Kaye and Mandy Cook, share variations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, featuring your favorite characters in sequels, adaptations, and spinoffs of Austen’s adored novels.
Experience uplifting romance, laugh-out-loud humor, and poignant regret as these authors deftly tug on your heartstrings this Valentine’s Day.
Faced with a lonely future and finding himself strapped for cash, Persuasion‘s Sir Walter Elliot manfully decides to marry again. But his careful plans go sadly awry! A lighthearted Valentine mash-up featuring two of Jane Austen’s worst snobs.
My Forever Valentine by Wendi Sotis
Jane and Charles Bingley have married, even though Miss Elizabeth Bennet remains certain Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy gave his best effort to keep them apart. After Mr. Darcy refused to stand up with Bingley and did not attend the wedding, she despises the gentleman more than ever and finds his company intolerable. How will she endure her visit to Kent if Mr. Darcy turns up everywhere she goes?Pretence and Prejudice by Barbara Cornthwaite
A chance encounter with a handsome stranger forces Elizabeth to resort to subterfuge in order to discover his true intentions.My Valentine by Mandy H. Cook
Little Charlotte was always determined and independent, traits which served her well as she battled a serious childhood illness and later as she took on Polite Society. Will those traits now deprive her of true love? Or would her lifelong Valentine win her heart?
The Lovers’ Ruse by Susan Kaye
In this Persuasion alteration, Anne is so altered by Wentworth’s love in the summer of 1806, she refuses to give him up when both her godmother and father try to persuade her. “The Lovers’ Ruse” follows Frederick and Anne through their whirlwind courtship and their secret engagement. When Wentworth returns for his Annie girl, the cat comes out of the bag.
You can find A Very Austen Valentine at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
The Good Doctor – Thaddeus Beckett
By Robin Helm
I must admit to being a huge fan of my original character, Lord Thaddeus, better known as the epitome of male beauty, the heartthrob physician, hero who flouts convention, Thaddeus Beckett.
I first wrote him as Darcy’s competition in More to Love, which I hope to release in February or March. Elizabeth called Beckett an angel, and then referred to him as Apollo, the Greek god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more, I readily admite, for a good while, I wanted him to win Elizabeth’s heart. However, I knew that would raise a storm in JAFFdom, so I relented. Poor man was called away on an emergency. As he wasn’t there to press his suit, Hercules (Darcy) swooped in, claiming the advantage, and won in the end.
Then I re-introduced Beckett as a love interest for Mary in my work-in-progress Maestro, but I fear he may not win her hand, either. Alessandro Landini, the devastatingly handsome Italian musical genius will be tough to beat. Mary, after all, loves music above all else, and Landini is her pianoforte teacher. Maybe if Landini slips up, Beckett can take his place. It would help if he could play and sing. I’m going to work on that.
Beckett has had a bumpy ride as my alternative to Darcy and Landini. More to Love was originally intended to be my story in A Very Austen Valentine, but Laura Hile insisted it should be a full-length book. So, I put aside Beckett and More to Love to start writing Maestro for the anthology. Same thing happened. Once more Laura said, “That’s a book. Not a novella.”
Therefore, I started writing I Dream of You for A Very Austen Valentine, using one shots and shorts that I wrote long ago. Again, the good doctor, Thaddeus Beckett, was mentioned, but he didn’t make an actual appearance (though I did introduce another original character – Mr. Anderson).
Since I can’t seem to let go of the tall, blond, handsome doctor, I’m going to give him a book in 2020. His story will be the first in The Beckett Brothers series.
Until then, I have written a vignette for the good doctor, giving the lovely man a sighting at the end of I Dream of You. His services will be needed for a most important medical procedure.
Perhaps it’s time for you readers to get to know Beckett. I promise, you’ll love him.
The first excerpt we are sharing today is from Robin Helm’s sequel vignette of I Dream of You, but before you starting reading this vignette, please be aware that this is only the part 2 of the excerpt, if you want to read the entire vignette, please stop by at My Love for Jane Austen where the first part was published on January 12 🙂
Sequel chapter to I Dream of You – Part 2
The colour drained from Darcy’s face; however, he took his wife’s arm as she requested, assisting her to her rooms.
While the men waited outside the bedchamber, Elizabeth’s maid helped her to don a nightgown and get into her bed.
Beckett put a hand on Darcy’s shoulder. “Perhaps you should send word to the Bingleys, apprising them of the situation. I feel certain Mrs. Bingley would want to be with her sister, and Bingley can keep you occupied until this is over.”
Darcy raised both eyebrows, and his tone brooked no opposition. “Occupied? I shall be occupied, for I fully intend to be with my wife until she is safely delivered.”
“You cannot mean that. This may take a few hours or a full day. Each birth is a bit different,” replied the physician. “Go to your chambers and rest or back to the parlour to read a book. Elizabeth may not wish for you to see her like this.”
“First,” said Darcy tersely, “her chambers and mine are the same. Second, I cannot rest or read a book while my wife is birthing our child. My place is with her. If you are able to see her like this, I certainly am.”
Beckett shook his head. “As you wish, but if she asks you to leave, you will do so. Agreed?”
Darcy frowned, but nodded his consent.
When the maid opened the door, telling the men her mistress was ready, Beckett entered, followed closely by Darcy.
Beckett examined his patient, and then retired to the couch.
While Elizabeth was initially surprised by her husband’s presence, she soon made it known that she liked the idea of his being present for the birth of their child.
“Shall I read to you, my love?” he asked. “Perhaps it will distract you.”
She smiled, and he picked up the book on the table.
“Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded? Samuel Richardson is a bit dull, but the moral is good,” he said, moving a chair to the side of the bed. “I should not be surprised you would enjoy reading about a brave, intelligent, rather sassy woman.”
He sat down and began to read.
After a few hours, the maid came in with tea. Elizabeth sipped a bit, but would take no food, though she insisted both men should eat. Before the maid left, Beckett told her to bring plenty of clean towels and hot water.
Darcy soon noticed that her pains were occurring ever closer together. He left his chair to stand by the bed. “My darling, shall I rub your back?” he asked, removing his tailcoat, throwing it over a chair.
“Yes, please. Help me turn to my side.” She grunted as he moved her.
Beckett looked up from his newspaper, watching the couple.
Darcy noticed the movement and glanced at him. Is that envy on his face? Because I married the woman he loved, or because he wishes he were married? Perhaps I am too hard on him. He is very likely lonely. I have a wonderful wife who loves me, and we shall soon have a child. He goes home to relatives and servants, but no wife. His sister and her family love him, but that is hardly the same.
For several more hours, Darcy ministered to his wife, noticing her discomfort, trying to help her bear it, whispering encouragement to her.
Beckett removed his tailcoat and waistcoat, then took over reading duty while Darcy continued to massage her.
She groaned more and more as the time passed.
He rolled her to her back and used a cloth soaked in cold water to wipe the perspiration from her face and neck. “You are a champion, my strong, fearless wife. You must do this, and you shall. If I could, I would gladly do it for you.”
“If I could, I would let you,” she replied, attempting a smile.
He did his best to chuckle, but he could not.
Finally, her pains were nearly constant, and Beckett came to the side of the bed. “I think your baby shall arrive very shortly. Darcy, are you certain you wish to stay for the birth? You have surprised me by the way you cared for your wife during labour, but the birth itself is quite different.”
The gentleman did not look away from Elizabeth. “I helped to deliver colts, calves, and lambs at Pemberley when I was a lad, and I know what it is. I am fully prepared. I shall not leave Elizabeth.”
“You did not love the mothers of those animals. ’Tis truly not the same.”
Darcy bent over to look into her eyes. “Elizabeth, do you want me to stay?”
She grasped his hand with both of hers, squeezing until his eyes watered. “Yes,” she said, gripping him even more tightly.
Beckett walked to the nightstand, rolled up his sleeves, and lathered his hands and arms with soap, rinsing and drying them before returned to the bedside. He lifted the covers from her feet and legs, folding them until they settled on her thighs. After giving her a cursory examination, he turned to Darcy. “Wash your hands and send for more hot water. Take off your waistcoat, and use soap up past your elbows. Cleanliness is next to godliness. There is a reason that phrase has been quoted since ancient times, even if other physicians do not subscribe to it.”
Darcy kissed his wife’s cheek and hurried away to complete his tasks.
“I can see the crown of the head,” said Beckett. “Hold her knee aside. She is fighting me.”
For the next half hour, Darcy assisted Beckett, speaking to his wife from time to time, assuring her all was well.
And at the end of that time, he helped to wash his baby boy before he wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in the arms of his exhausted mother. She kissed his forehead and motioned to her husband to join her.
Thaddeus Beckett smiled at the little family as he cleaned himself up and dressed. He left, promising to return the following day to make certain mother and child were well.
Darcy climbed into the bed with his wife and son, kissing each of them gently. He was too exhilarated to sleep, so he watched them until his eyes grew heavy. Carefully, he lifted the baby from Elizabeth’s arms and laid him between them. Then he fell into a shallow sleep, awakening each time either his wife or child stirred.
William Alexander Darcy, his head full of dark curls, spent his first night being adored by his elated father.
Fitzwilliam Darcy was a happy man, indeed.
EXCERPT from Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile
Sir Walter Elliot’s Valentine card was sent by mistake to the wrong Lady Catherine, a faux pas of monstrous proportions. However, after seeing Rosings Park pictured in his copy of The Grand Estates Guidebook, Sir Walter journeys to Hunsford to investigate. As luck would have it, he is asked to dinner by the rector.
Mr. Collins was happy to talk—about nothing and everything. Apparently the man was extremely fond of food. He carved the roast with gusto and described for Sir Walter’s benefit each dish that was brought to the table. He ate and he ate, until Sir Walter feared the buttons on his waistcoat might pop off!
On the other hand, his unrelenting praise for the provider of his living gave Sir Walter much useful information.
“In point of fact,” he confided to Sir Walter, after the meal was finished and they were alone at the table with a bottle of port, “Mrs. Collins chose the excellent joint of beef we enjoyed tonight because of her ladyship’s kind suggestion.”
“You don’t say,” said Sir Walter politely.
“Indeed, yes. She noticed it in the butcher’s shop and knew it would be just the thing for us. Lady Catherine de Bourgh watches over those living on her estate with admirable care.”
Which only showed how hideously bored she must be. The poor woman needed a change of scene.
“As further evidence of her generosity,” Mr. Collins went on, “you have only to observe the wonderful renovation of our parsonage. When you come again, Sir Walter, I will take you through every room. The improvements are most extensive.”
Sir Walter smiled, but could not enter into Mr. Collins’s enthusiasm. This was, after all, a small and commonplace house. But because he wished to hear more about Lady Catherine, Sir Walter adroitly exchanged his full wineglass for Collins’s empty one. “I take it she has made similar improvements to the mansion?”
Mr. Collins’s pink cheeks grew pinker still, and he described at length the excellent renovations made to the kitchens. Sir Walter passed the wine bottle, and Collins again refilled his glass.
“And,” he added muzzily, “you will not believe the new shimney-peach in one of her drawing rooms. Eight hundred pounds it cost,” he added, “and not a penny lesh.”
To Sir Walter, this was a truly thrilling detail, for it indicated good taste as well as largesse. Any woman who would spend that much for a chimney-piece was just the wife for him.
We are right in the middle of the blog tour, so please keep following it to find out more about this anthology 🙂
01/06 Just the Write Escape; Guest Post, Giveaway
01/07 Margie’s Must Reads; Review, Giveaway
01/08 So Little Time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
01/09 Babblings of a Bookworm; Author Interview/Character Interview, Giveaway
01/10 Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
01/11 Austenesque Reviews; Vignette, Giveaway
01/12 My Love for Jane Austen; Vignette, Giveaway
01/13 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
01/14 From Pemberley to Milton; Excerpt, Review or Vignette, Giveaway
01/15 My life journey; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
01/16 My Vices and Weaknesses; Guest Post or Vignette. Excerpt, Giveaway
01/17 Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, Giveaway
01/18 Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway
01/21 Austenprose; Author Interview
These talented ladies are offering a very generous giveaway during the blog tour, they are offering ten eBooks of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2. This giveaway is international and all you have to do to apply is click here.
They are also offering a US only paperback copy of A Very Austen Valentine: Austen Anthologies, Book 2. You may click on the same link, but don’t forget this will only be valid it if you have a US address.
Good Luck everyone!