Good Afternoon everyone,
How are you today? I am very happy to receive at From Pemberley to Milton Laura Hile, an author who has marked me forever with one of my all time favourite books, Darcy by Any Other Name. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! But today she is not here to talk about that book, she is visiting to share with you an excerpt of her most recently release novel, So This is Love.
I am currently reading this book and I’m really enjoying it, in fact, the excerpt we are sharing today is precisely the point where I stand in the book, and I am looking forward to see how the romance between Charlotte and Captain Blunt will evolve.
I used to only read Darcy/Elizabeth centered books, but after reading so many stories, one cannot help but feel the need for something different, so secondary based novels now hold a new appeal to me.
So This is Love is certainly holding my attention, and I hope you like reading the excerpt as much as I am enjoying reading the book. And there is a giveaway, so don’t forget to comment 🙂 Let us know if you are only interested in Darcy/Elizabeth stories, or if like me your tastes have changed over time. If so, is Charlotte one of your favourites? Or is she a character that holds little appeal for you? I’m looking forward to read your opinion, but now I think it is time to let you read the blurb and the excerpt 🙂
“I am not romantic, you know. I never was.”
Newly escaped from a loathsome engagement of convenience, Charlotte Lucas has no interest in romance. More than ever, she is convinced that no man would—or could—love her. As companion to an aging aunt, Charlotte’s new life is as predictable as it is circumspect.
But then she is rescued from a robbery by her uncle’s heir, a masterful man who is disastrously handsome. Why has he remained as a guest in the house? Why is he so determined to draw Charlotte out and make her talk? And what of his invitation to visit his home by the sea?
Romance is not on the chart for Captain Jack Blunt. Never again will he be played for that kind of fool! He is ashore only to heal from an injury and see to business, nothing more. And yet the pointed disinterest of his cousin’s pert niece is intriguing. She is forthright, refreshingly honest—and altogether lovely. She will make a fine wife for one of his officers. But not, of course, for him.
You can find So This is Love at:
Excerpt Introduction (general): Mr. Collins is little more than a stranger when Charlotte Lucas agrees to marry him. This is a prudent choice, given her situation. But when Mr. Collins crosses the line, something in Charlotte snaps. How dare he be so familiar, so shamelessly forward! It isn’t as if he loves her!
Come with Charlotte as she breaks the engagement, is sent away to her father’s relations, and discovers a future that is vastly different from the one she envisioned.
Because “I am not romantic” is anything but true. Charlotte simply hasn’t met the right man.
In this story, she will.
In Chapter 6, the coach in which Charlotte and her brother are traveling is robbed by highwaymen. Now she and her handsome rescuer must ride double on his horse.
With a nod to the passengers, Captain Jack Blunt took the reins and led the horse down the coaching road at a walk. Once out of sight, he stopped and looked back at Miss Lucas. “The trouble is this: because of an injury my foot will not bear me the full two miles. I’ll mount up behind you now, and we’ll ride together.”
“I’ll gladly dismount and walk.”
While he appreciated the spirit of her offer, Jack was not about to allow a woman to walk while he rode. “After twenty-odd hours cramped in that coach?” he countered. “Without sleep? I have traveled like that many a time; it is brutal.”
“Brutal is certainly the word.”
“It will be easier this way.”
“Easier for your pride!”
“How well you understand me! We’ll bring this off, trust me.”
“I have no choice but to trust you, Mr. Blunt. I’ll have you know,” she added, “that although I am no horsewoman, I am not a coward.”
“Assuredly not, merely worn to the bone. You gave as good as you got back there.”
Blunt swung into the saddle behind her, and after a bit of adjustment, they settled in. Never mind that she was half sitting on his lap! He shifted the hilt of his sword so that it did not dig into her side.
“That was a bad business you were witness to,” he remarked, as he urged the horse forward. “I regret having to shoot that fellow, but there was nothing else to be done.”
“His flintlock had already been fired, hadn’t it?”
“It had,” he said grimly, “but at the time I did not know this. Moreover, he threatened to shoot you. From my vantage point, it was likely that he would. Barring that, he’d bludgeon you on the temple, possibly killing you.”
“That is just what you did to the other man!”
Blunt hesitated. He would never make her understand. “It was the easiest way to disable him. It makes no difference; he’ll hang soon enough.”
He felt her stiffen. “These are not novices or innocents, Miss Lucas. They have been robbing travelers for many weeks; I cannot fathom why there was no guard today. You saw Marlow’s cheek where the bullet grazed him.”
“Yes,” she said quietly.
“You do understand,” he added, “that last week another driver was shot and killed along this same stretch of road?”
He sensed her discomfort. Apparently she did not know.
“Highwaymen are romanticized by women and fools. Any one of you might have been killed today, including your precocious brother.” He paused. “Now, unfortunately, Johnny will think highwaymen rob with empty flintlocks and are easily mastered.”
“Thank you,” she said stiffly, “for coming to our rescue.”
“You are welcome. Your uncle was, ah, disinclined to accompany me due to his gouty foot. A pity; a second horseman would have been useful.”
Miss Lucas slewed round. “You talked this over with my Uncle Allen? Do I know you, Mr. Blunt?”
“Perhaps you have heard your parents speak of me,” he said gently, “as Captain Blunt.”
It appeared that she had heard of him after all. “Forgive me, but you introduced yourself as Jack. I have always heard you called Jasper.”
“I prefer Jack,” he said grimly.
“And I prefer Diana,” cried Miss Lucas, “for it is a lovely name and she, unlike me, is beautiful. But my name is Charlotte. Plain, ordinary Charlotte. Wishing a thing were different does not make it so.”
Blunt’s response was to laugh. “There is nothing of the ordinary about you, Diana.”
“That shows how little you know.”
Again he laughed. Poor Miss Lucas was out of her element entirely. Now when would she realize that she was leaning against his chest?
Presently she did become aware, and she pulled herself rigidly upright. Her traveling bag made this an awkward maneuver. Jack put a hand to her shoulder and gently drew her back. “It’s easier for the horse if you do not fidget, Miss Lucas.”
“That,” she muttered, “is an outright lie. What a wretched day!”
“It is indeed. Go ahead and have your cry,” he offered. “Don’t mind me.”
“You are as stupid as you are ignorant, Captain Blunt,” she said. “I never cry. Not in front of people.”
“But there is only me. You have rightly characterized me as stupid; I cannot be said to count.”
“Crying solves nothing. For me, it only makes everything worse. Besides, I am not pretty enough to cry.”
“What nonsense is this?”
“It is very true. In my family, I am the sensible one. When I cry, I never get my way, nor do I get sympathy. People become upset, and sometimes they become angry.”
He leaned sideways to look at her. “Angry?”
“It is easier for the horse if you do not fidget, Captain Blunt.”
That scotched him! “Aye, aye, ma’am,” he said meekly.
They lapsed into silence. “Look,” said Jack suddenly. “Everyone cries. Even battle-toughened men on a warship. Even me, and I am as hard as they come. Not in the heat of battle, mind, but after. When I read the service for the deceased, and we send crewmen to their watery graves, I weep. We all do. There is not a dry eye on deck.”
She appeared to consider this, but no tears came.
“You’ve had quite a day. Bounced inside that coach for hours on end, covered with dirt from the road, robbed at gunpoint, witness to a killing—”
“And deprived of food and drink,” she added. “Johnny ate most of the food Mother sent.”
“Did he now? Johnny deserves to be flogged.”
“It is not his fault, poor boy. He is growing and is always hungry.”
Blunt dug in a pocket for his flask and uncorked it. “Here,” he offered. “Sip cautiously.”
She sniffed it. “But this is …”
“Cognac from your uncle’s cellar. Otherwise known as brandy.”
She took a tentative sip, closed her eyes, and then took a larger swallow.
“That’ll do, Diana.” Blunt removed it from her grasp. “Just enough to take the edge off.” He eyed the flask and then took a swallow for himself.
He heard her sigh. “It’s only a swallow,” he protested.
“That’s what they all say.”
Blunt gave a shout of laughter. What an unusual girl!
He stole another look at her; her eyelids were at half-mast. “I recommend you settle in and take a nap.”
Of course she was horrified; it would be no fun if she were not. “I could never! And if I did, I would fall sideways. You would have to catch me, which you couldn’t do because I am so heavy. We would both end up on the road.”
“Egad,” said Jack, grinning. “I’d not thought of that. Stay awake, by all means.”
Which meant she would be asleep within the quarter hour.
Sure enough, Captain Blunt was right.
Encourager. Believer. Author. Teacher. Friend.
By day, Laura Hile teaches at a Christian school. By night—or rather, in the early morning when she can think! —she writes Jane Austen and Regency romance with laughs and happy endings.
The comedy Laura comes by as a teacher. There’s never a dull moment with middle school students!
She enjoys gardening (she is a weed warrior!), choral singing, and having coffee with friends.
Laura lives in Beaverton, Oregon, with her husband and a collection of antique clocks. One day she hopes to add a cat or three.
Connect with Laura:
Laura Hile is offering one ebook copy of So This is Love to my readers. To apply to it all you have do to is comment on this post and let us know if you are a team Charlotte kind of person. The giveaway is open until the 22nd and the winners will be announced shortly after.
Good Luck everyone!