Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A New Release!

by Jeanna Ellsworth

I am so happy to be a guest on English Epochs. I thought I would tell a little about the book I just wrote called Pride and Persistence that was just published on Amazon.com

Here is the back cover intrigue: Undaunted by a threatening storm, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley insists he must deliver his letter to Miss Elizabeth Bennet–– then tragedy strikes. Riddled with guilt, Elizabeth comes to the aid of the comatose Mr. Darcy and stays by his side until he regains consciousness. She soon learns that although Mr. Darcy has awoken, he has not returned to himself. And with no memory of his first disastrous proposal, he has concluded that there is nothing he wants more than to propose to Miss Elizabeth. This humorous journey of love leaves one asking, can persistence pacify prejudice? Can Elizabeth see the real gentleman behind the injury, a man who persists in professing his love to her every chance he gets? In this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet both learn the value of persistence.

I thought I would share an excerpt with you. At this point in the book, since Darcy’s head injury has left him perseverating on the fact that he wants to propose to Elizabeth, she has had to endure several proposals. She seems to have a knack for calming his emotionally volatile state. Because she has been so useful in helping him stay calm, the doctor has solicited Lady Catherine’s help in making Elizabeth stay longer to help her nephew. Lady Catherine is unaware of Mr. Darcy’s admiration, nor the multiple proposals, but she does have a rare ability to persuade Elizabeth who has had to endure 6 weeks of terrible food at the parsonage because the Mrs. Collins’s cook, Mrs. Wilkinson, lacks talent in the kitchen.

*****
“Do stop pacing on my rug, Miss Bennet. I pride myself on my choices of décor, and that one was imported from France, I will have you know. It is one of a kind, made especially for me. I will not have you destroy it with your shuffling feet.”

Well, if you are trying to convince me to stay with that kind of flattery, you will be very disappointed. “Yes, Lady Catherine,” she smiled.

Elizabeth waited while Lady Catherine dismissed the servant with orders for tea and refreshments. She watched as the overbearing woman took her place of power at the center of the room and then motioned with her hand where she desired Elizabeth to sit. Elizabeth smiled, but sat down where she was told. The seating arrangement was not the battle she wished to fight today.

“I suspect that you desire to thank me for my offer,” Lady Catherine said, looking down her nose.

“No, ma’am.”

Surprise rose in every crevice of the wrinkled face. “I see you are up to your impertinent ways again. Of course you are grateful. How could you not be? I imagine your father will be quite impressed that I offered such a thing.”

“My father is impressed with a number of things, but he does not mind letting me travel by post, I assure you.”

“He may have felt that way before I wrote to him and told him of your new plans, but now that you have a safe and reliable method of travel, I would think that he will prefer it immensely.”

They were interrupted temporarily by the arrival of their refreshments, and Elizabeth’s stomach growled quietly. She could see that the raspberry muffins and chocolate cream puffs that she loved so much were on the tray, and there were enough to feed five people! Suddenly she was very grateful to be at Rosings.

The last few days, and most of the last few weeks for that matter, had been filled with nearly inedible food that Elizabeth had often forced herself to eat. Poor Mrs. Wilkinson! If only she had a lick of talent in the kitchen. She reached for one of the chocolate cream puffs. Maybe she could stall this argument until all the pastries were eaten. “You wrote to my father?”

“Of course I did! What else would a most loyal aunt do but ensure the health of her favorite nephew? I sent it by express yesterday and just received the return letter a moment ago. So, it is all arranged. He, of course, did not argue with me. No one ever does, except you.” Lady Catherine poured the tea and handed Elizabeth a cup, who took it greedily.

The tea was heavenly. It had just a hint of lemon and milk, like the tea she made at home but so much better. Such a delicious concoction could never be obtained at the parsonage. Elizabeth was delighted to indulge her senses.

She reached for another chocolate cream puff, and the cream leaked out onto her finger. Too bad I cannot just lick it off. She instead used her napkin and bemoaned the precious cream. She placed the rest of the cream puff on her tongue, feeling the smooth, sweet icing graze her teeth as she bit into it. She had to take a bigger bite than intended to encase the cream threatening to escape, but she didn’t mind. She didn’t intend to do much talking with these delightful treats in front of her. She tried not to moan in pleasure, but a small one escaped her mouth. To hide the moan, she thought she should probably say something. “I will do whatever Mr. Darcy needs of me.”

“Good. Then it is all settled.”

Elizabeth was shocked back from staring at a raspberry muffin. “What? What did you say?”

“Personally, I am a little shocked that you so readily agreed, but I do know what is best. Perhaps you are beginning to see that.”
She contemplated delaying the correction until she got one of those muffins onto her plate, but it was not in her nature.

“No, Lady Catherine. I meant I will do what Mr. Darcy needs of me while I am here, but I cannot stay another six weeks.” She took a moment to evaluate Lady Catherine’s response while enjoying another long drink of her tea. The expected displeasure came quickly enough but not so quickly that Elizabeth couldn’t reach for a muffin and take a bite first.

“I dare say you shall! I am under strict doctor’s orders!”

Elizabeth coughed on the muffin. “Doctor’s orders? It was not Mr. Darcy who suggested it?”

“Why would he do something like that? No, indeed he did not. Darcy would never request your presence when he is to be engaged to my daughter. As soon as he is well, it will be settled. The doctor came straight over yesterday and insisted that you stay six more weeks. He said you were talented and showed marked abilities in handling my nephew’s specific needs, and that he had never seen such influence for good. Coming from that man, it is a commendation indeed, and I agreed with him, despite the fact that I so despise him.” Lady Catherine eyed Elizabeth suspiciously, picked up a cream puff, and tried to daintily nibble on it.

Elizabeth’s stomach was too happy for her to make sense of what Lady Catherine was saying. Why did Colonel Fitzwilliam say it had been Mr. Darcy’s idea? Or had he? She couldn’t remember the conversation now with the delicacies before her. She took another bite of muffin and felt the small tart fruit, still warm from the oven, mash against her tongue and cheeks. It was beyond anything she could have hoped for. The sugar crystals sprinkled on the top crust counteracted the tartness perfectly. She took another bite ravenously and then tried to calm herself.

She had to keep her wits about her because if Lady Catherine offered her another muffin right now, she would do anything. The pleasure in her mouth was so intense that without realizing it, she relaxed and slouched a little into the back of the chair.
“So, you see, it is the express medical counsel that you maintain the interaction you have had with my nephew until he is well. At that time, I shall be happy to do you the service of transporting you to Longbourn myself. And do sit up! You will drop crumbs all over! This behavior is exactly what I would expect from a lady raised with no governess.”

Elizabeth sat up but only to grab another chocolate cream puff. She promptly put its entirety in her mouth and gave a slightly wicked smile. How are these manners for you? But even her extremely blissful taste buds couldn’t stop her from saying, “Lady Catherine, I assure you I do nothing more than anyone else would do. I do not know why he responds so well to me.”

“Exactly my point. No one really knows what will work with head injuries. So, whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Whatever you are saying, keep saying it . . . for six more weeks.”

She swallowed the last bit of cream puff, finished the last of her tea, and put her cup down. Should she ask for more tea or forge on into the battle? At the moment, her senses were overwhelmed. Her taste buds had a certain level of control over her that she couldn’t quite explain. All she knew was that she desperately wanted another muffin, and she was ready to do anything to get it.

“If I stay, and I have not agreed to do so, mind you,” Elizabeth replied, “I would wish for something in return.” She picked up her tea cup and gestured her desire for more. What was wrong with her? Why was she negotiating? Why couldn’t she think past a warm raspberry muffin and more tea?

Lady Catherine slowly smiled. “It seems you have been won over by my cook’s talent. I rarely get to compliment her on her usefulness. Now, hold your cup steady.” She poured the hot liquid into the cup. She then pushed the refreshment platter closer to Elizabeth. “If there is anything you need, just ask. My cook is used to special requests, and I am happy to loan her to you in exchange for your services.”

Was it really over? Had she really just accepted to stay at the parsonage in exchange for a few baked treats? She eyed the last muffin jealously. Without fully being aware of what she was doing, she snatched it up and took a bite. Then she realized that in doing so, she had just sealed the deal. They sat in silence for a minute while she finished it.

At one point, it looked like there had been too many refreshments; now, there was not enough, for she had just sold six weeks of her time for a few cream puffs and muffins. And impressively perfect tea, do not forget. She giggled. It very well might be worth it. She savored the full cup she held possessively in her hands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you all liked the excerpt. I am giving away either a paperback (U.S. only) or an eBook (internationally) to those who comment on this blog. Thank you again for having me! It was a pleasure to be a guest!

The winner of this giveaway is Lúthien84!

Follow Jeanna Ellsworth on Facebook www.facebook.com/jeanna.ellsworth or Twitter @ellsworth.jeanna

Website for her other books and works in progress can be found at www.heyladypublications.com

Read her blog on http://www.heyladypublications.com/jeanna-ellsworth-blog.html.


8 comments:

Vesper Meikle said...

I didn't realise that anybody, but especially Elizabeth, could get in so much trouble just eating delicious cakes - I am so jealous of the cakes.

meikleblog at gmail dot com

junewilliams7 said...

Heh-heh! Now if those were chocolate eclairs with *chocolate* filling, and *chocolate*-raspberry muffins, I too would have been lost. Very funny, Jeanna!

Jeanna said...

Thanks vesper! How many of us really are manipulated by food? I know I am!

Jeanna said...

It was a fun scene to write and tickles me every time. I am a sucker for chocolate and one of these days I''ll learn to hide it from my kids!

Lúthien84 said...

I think I have read this scene before. Is it on your website or some other blogs where you posted it before, Jeanna?

I love cakes, muffins and chocolates and try not to over indulge to keep my waistline from expending. But if I were to be in Elizabeth's shoes I certainly would not refuse this delightful treat.

International so it'll be the e-book if I do win. Thanks, Jeanna.

Loren Dushku said...

I don't know that but I hope there's a lot of Lady Cathrine in this book...

Lúthien84 said...

Hi Debra, I just check your blog and found that I'm a winner. As I didn't put my email address in the comment, I didn't receive any email notifying me of my win. I hope it is okay for you that I have contacted Jeanna on her Facebook author page just now. Sorry if I overstep.

Debra Brown said...

Hi Luthien, I had suggested to Jeanna that she try to contact you via your web page. At any rate, you are now in contact, and I am glad you took the initiative. Congrats on the win!