Monday, 18 January 2021

Determination by C P Odom - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway

Blog Tour: Determination by C P Odom
I’m happy to be welcoming C P Odom back to Babblings of a Bookworm with his latest book, Determination. This is a Pride & Prejudice variation with a lot of Colonel Fitzwilliam by the sound of it, which I know will please a lot of people. Meryton Press are also offering a giveaway to accompany the blog tour. Read on for an excerpt of Determination and details on how to enter to win an ebook.

Book cover: Determination by C P Odom
Book Description

“Love at first sight” was, in the considered opinion of Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, simply a laughable concept, not one that occurred in real life. Certainly not in the life of an experienced man-of-the-world such as himself. 

This was so patently obvious, based on his own experiences and observations, that he had given it little thought. It was, after all, a fanciful concept emanating from the new romantic literature written exclusively for the diversion of the fairer sex. In fact, until he observed the smitten nature of his cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy, he would not have been certain that such an emotion as true, fervent love existed at all. Marriage was a matter of money, social standing, and property, an arrangement far too critical to be influenced by transitory emotional attachments.

But his cousin had become quite besotted with a lovely but quite penniless daughter of a Hertfordshire gentleman and had determined that he must make her his wife. Unfortunately, due to his emotions overcoming his normal good judgement, he had made an incredible botch of his offer of marriage. It should have been a simple affair to accomplish, given his wealth and position, but he had bungled it badly, and Fitzwilliam had dutifully set about trying to untangle the muddled threads of his affections for Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

Then his own world became almost as chaotic when he made the accidental acquaintance of Miss Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s beloved elder sister. Seized by emotions he would have previously deemed impossible for such a level-headed person as himself, he found himself facing a commander of a regiment of His Majesty’s Dragoons, he faced different but equally substantial obstacles as his cousin. Only a man of true determination would be able to find a path through such impassible, thorny undergrowth.

Book cover: Determination by C P Odom
Introduction from C P Odom

This excerpt is from Chapter 6 of my new novel, Determination. The setting is the Gardiner home on Gracechurch Street in London. Colonel Fitzwilliam met Elizabeth Bennet’s sister Jane when he took it upon himself to disabuse her of her misconceptions regarding George Wickham that he happened to overhear. In this, he was only partially successful, but his chance meeting of Jane Bennet made such an impact on him that he asked her permission to call on her the following day.

When he does call, however, he finds that Elizabeth’s uncle, Mr. Gardiner, wishes a word with him. Elizabeth has made the assumption that he is literally destitute and has so informed her uncle, who feels compelled to discuss the matter with the colonel.

Excerpt from Determination by C P Odom

Chapter 6

Love at first sight is only realizing an imagination that has always haunted us; or meeting with a face, a figure, or cast of expression in perfection that we have seen and admired in a less degree or in less favorable circumstances a hundred times before.

— William Hazlitt

Tuesday, April 28, 1812
Gracechurch Street, London

It is often the small things that are unexpected, Richard thought sourly as he guided his horse towards Gracechurch Street. His problem this afternoon was the unanticipated apprehension roiling his stomach. It was as bad as anything he had experienced before battle, and the affliction had proven quite beyond his ability to quell.

Stop it, he told himself firmly for the twentieth time. I am not some adolescent suffering a case of first love. This is beyond ridiculous. I am almost thirty, for God’s sake. I am born of the nobility, a veteran of numerous conflicts with the tyrant’s minions, able to mix and mingle in any milieu, no matter how fashionable, and not completely inexperienced with the opposite sex. It is embarrassing to be unable to control my innards when making a simple social call. It is not as if I were making a visit to court after all. Miss Bennet may be a veritable angel in appearance, but common sense says she is actually a rather undistinguished young lady, at least from the point of view of her family and connexions.

But it was all useless. No matter how harshly he castigated himself, he was completely unable to effect any change, and he had to resist the temptation to kick his horse into a gallop in order to have the journey finished sooner rather than later.

The reason for his sedate pace was to avoid kicking up dust. He had dressed with special care, donning well-tailored and fashionable riding clothes that had been a gift from his mother upon his return to England. While his father had no use for him after his defiance so many years ago, the earl at least had put no impediments to Richard’s associations with the rest of the family. But he had expressly forbidden his wife to provide his wayward son with funds of any sort, so Lady Matlock had acquiesced to her husband’s orders, and she got around them by providing gifts of clothing and furniture to her son that Richard’s own frugality would have otherwise avoided.

So today Richard was dressed in the most fashionable manner, which was possibly also a factor in his agitation. He had briefly considered wearing his uniform when choosing his dress, but he had worn his uniform the previous day, and he wanted to make a good impression today.

For the most part, he paid little attention to fashionable dress; a uniform was almost always acceptable for a serving officer in time of war. And for those few events in which fashion mandated a more elegant mode of dress, Richard was not above trading shamelessly on his status as the son of an earl in order to avoid the dictates that forced other men into less comfortable attire than his own well-tailored uniforms.

There are some aspects of being the son of nobility that not even the earl’s disfavour can take away, he often thought with a touch of sardonic humour.

But he had decided he wanted to look the part of a gentleman on this occasion and, for that reason, had solicited the assistance of Darcy’s valet to tie his cravat. His orderly, Sergeant Bascomb, was more than capable of assisting him with the rest of his attire, but such intricacies as tying a cravat were beyond his experience. Once that task was completed, he had left Darcy’s town house and travelled at a moderate speed and on less travelled avenues. Thus, he rigidly controlled his pace, and he was therefore condemned to the flutterings of trepidation until he arrived.

***

When he was ushered into the parlour, Richard was surprised to find Mrs. Gardiner awaiting him with a man beside her. The obvious deduction was that this was her husband, and so it proved as Mrs. Gardiner performed the introduction. Before further conversation, however, Mr. Gardiner asked Richard whether they might have a few words in the privacy of his study, and he politely, if a little confusedly, agreed.

As he followed the older man, Richard’s usual sensibility finally put a halt to his internal qualms as he comprehended that Jane’s uncle intended to interview the complete stranger who had suddenly appeared in his niece’s life. Richard had more or less anticipated something of the sort if this first call was followed by others, but the fact that the occasion came on his first visit was somewhat surprising. He now realized the suddenness was likely due to Elizabeth enlisting her uncle’s aid in her desire to protect her sister.

“Please, have a seat, sir,” Mr. Gardiner said as he closed the door to his office. “May I offer you some tea, or perhaps you would care for something a bit stronger? A glass of port, perhaps, or even brandy?”

Richard raised an eyebrow at the tone in Mr. Gardiner’s voice, and he quickly concluded that some type of test was being offered. Given the popular attitude towards soldiers, it took little imagination to determine what it was, and it was with a touch of malicious humour that he replied.

“Well, sir, thank you for the offer, but even considering the popular image of those of us who wear His Majesty’s coat, it is a bit early for brandy, and I usually prefer port after a meal. So, perhaps I might trouble you for a cup of tea or, better still, coffee?”

Richard’s tone was bland, but Mr. Gardiner immediately coloured as he realized his rather clumsy attempt to determine whether Richard was overly fond of the bottle had been deciphered.

“Touché, Colonel,” he said with a rueful smile as he pulled on a cord to ring for a servant. After he had ordered coffee for both of them, he continued.

“I apologize for my ruse, but I am out of my normal fishing pond here. What my wife related of your visit yesterday was both surprising and unforeseen. When I was also informed that you had asked my niece’s permission to call on her, I simply had no idea what to expect. But I should have been more discreet.”

“I understand your position of responsibility, and I assure you I do not possess a volatile temperament. Regardless of discretion, then, might I suggest you ask whatever questions you need to ask?”

“Very well, then, I shall do exactly that. As of yesterday morning, you were completely unknown to everyone in my family except for Lizzy, and she had not so much as mentioned your name or even your cousin’s astonishing offer of marriage. Given the pain my elder niece has suffered due to the disappearance of your cousin’s friend from his estate, I do not want to see her hurt further. So, therefore, I would like to ascertain your intentions towards Jane.”

Richard nodded at this statement. It was clear, direct, and even blunt. In fact, its clarity crystallized the amorphous emotions that had been churning beyond the conscious part of his mind. And now that he had the courage to look deeper, he found that his inner self had already made decisions he had not yet comprehended. Therefore, to answer Mr. Gardiner’s questions was quite easy, but the answers needed to be phrased with a certain delicacy in order to make them both understandable and believable, even to him, for they were quite new. Accordingly, a somewhat circuitous approach was indicated, and his gaze was intent as he began.

“Mr. Gardiner, you appear to be a man of some experience in the world. And I am not exactly an innocent young lad. So would you not agree that both of us regard the concept of love at first sight as something more appropriate to a writer of fiction than to a man of good sense and experience?”

Mr. Gardiner’s eyebrows furrowed at this unexpected answer to his question, and his answer, therefore, was rather tentative. “While what you say is sensible, I do not know what relevance it has to my question.”

“Just this: you stated that your objective was to make sure your niece would not be hurt further, with the obvious implication that I might be the occasion of such pain to her feelings. I assure you, I share your objective to spare Miss Bennet any further misery, and I shall do all in my power to avoid it. Do you follow me so far?”

Mr. Gardiner was still puzzled, but he nodded in agreement.

“In fact, the true situation is that Miss Bennet should not suffer further infliction of pain in any way. If the sensibilities of anyone are at hazard, they will be my own.”

“You mean…”

“I do, sir. Yesterday I would have laughed with you at the notion of love at first sight and confined such a ludicrous concept to that literature written exclusively for the diversion of the fairer sex. But today, I no longer find the idea laughable. In fact, I tell you frankly: not only are my intentions towards your niece honourable, but it is my firm intention to win her affections and eventually make her my wife.”

Even as the words fell off his tongue, Richard’s mind was still reacting to what his heart had already decided, and Mr. Gardiner was caught so completely off guard that his mouth was still open in surprise when the coffee was delivered.

Dismissing the servant and pouring coffee for both of them gave Mr. Gardiner time to come to grips with his amazement. Finally, he ventured, “I cannot help but comment that what you have told me seems somewhat precipitate. You have, after all, only just met Jane.”

“You are saying nothing to me that I have not said to myself in the past twenty-four hours and with considerably more vehemence. And your words are having no more effect on my intentions than my own did.”

Mr. Gardiner considered this comment in silence as he sipped his coffee, then he began to see the more amusing side of what he had just been told.

“Ah, the impetuousness of youth,” he murmured with a small smile.

“I have never been impetuous in my life, Mr. Gardiner; else, I should not have evaded the snares of at least a brace of society daughters who were certain the younger son of an earl could not be a pauper.”

“Ah, so you are a pauper, then?” Mr. Gardiner asked intently.

“No, sir, I was a pauper. But Darcy’s father left me a generous bequest, part of which I used to purchase a house here in town. It is smaller than your own but still sufficient in size for a wife and family. It even has a small stable that I share with my neighbour. The remainder of my bequest was invested in the Funds, along with what I have been able to save over the years from my army pay and from rents of my house when I was gone from England.”

“I see. I also share a stable with a neighbour.”

“So I was told when the girl who admitted me arranged to have my horse cared for.”

“And an excellent mount, as I saw from the window of the parlour.”

“Maximillian has rescued me from more than one tough situation, sir. A cavalryman lives and dies by his horse, and he was a gift from my mother before I left for Egypt more than five years ago. Magnificent beast. In any case, along with the interest from my legacy and my army pay, even if it goes to half-pay when these disagreements with the Mad Corporal are put to rest, I can state confidently that I have sufficient solvency to support a wife and family—in comfort if not in luxury.”

“But you seem to be saying you were not looking for a wife when you met Jane.”

“Entirely correct, though I was not explicitly avoiding the subject either. I had a plan in my mind that marriage would be more appropriate when I pass on command of my regiment to another officer rather than at the present time. There is a certain saying in the army that goes like this: a subaltern may not marry, captains might marry, majors should marry, and lieutenant colonels must marry. That usually meant that officers would not marry until their mid-thirties. The fact that I am a full colonel is balanced by my age of thirty, so I am able to choose at my discretion.”

“Pardon my ignorance of military matters, but my experience is that you are rather young to already hold such a high rank,” offered Mr. Gardiner.

Richard shrugged. “A matter of fortune, though whether it is good or ill depends greatly on your point of view. Being the son of an earl helps somewhat, though your wife likely told you of my…let us say, strained relations with my father. He certainly has never actively exerted any patronage on my behalf. But there is another facet to my rank: promotion comes easier on the battlefield, especially when higher-ranking officers keep getting shot out of the saddle. I was fortunate that the campaign was concluded before my turn arose to be shot out of the saddle, and equally fortunate that my rank was confirmed when the regiment returned from Italy. On the subject of my Italian service, I would only say that I have sworn a vow never to willingly set foot in Italy again unless it is as part of an army bent on conquest and subjugation—with the addition of a copious amount of looting and burning. I might even turn my eyes away from a judicious amount of rape. I can point out a few residences and government edifices that would make excellent bonfires and a few treacherous noblewomen who deserve the fate worse than death.”

“I take your point, Colonel. So it was Italy where you received your promotion?”

“It was. A disastrous campaign, sir, simply disastrous: intrigues, betrayal, cowardice, retreat, disorder. It was nightmare piled upon nightmare.”

“It definitely sounds like one. Now you make me rather nervous that you might leave my niece a widow.”

Richard shrugged again. “While soldiering is not a safe profession, death will come for all of us sooner or later. And if it should befall me, my wife would at least have the security of an adequate income, a home, and a pension from the King, which is more than most men can promise.”

“True, but why my elder niece? Why not Lizzy? You knew her before you knew Jane, and her manner and deportment is similar to Jane’s.”

“I am not sure I can answer your first question for the reasons I’ve stated. I cannot even explain how it happened to me—at least not yet. Your second question, however, is much more straightforward. Even before I knew of my cousin’s interest in Miss Elizabeth, I knew she and I might be friends—even good friends—but nothing more serious. We are quite dissimilar, you see. She and my cousin Darcy would actually be much more suited to each other if it were not for the dislike your niece has developed for him. They are both quick-witted—much more so than I am. They are very private, subtle, well-read, and they both delight in verbal rhetoric and debate. I am a much more ordinary sort of person—slower, good-natured, and happiest when in cheerful company.”

“And that is more Jane’s nature than Lizzy’s. Yes, you do have a point. But still, it is so unexpected. Jane could have all sorts of deficiencies you know nothing about. She might be a spendthrift, for example.”

“Then I shall have to make sure to keep her on a tight allowance, sir.”

“And she does have three rather silly sisters and a rather silly mother, though she is my own sister.”

“I shall not be marrying either sisters or mother. And if they come to visit, I always have my duties to keep me busy.”

“Or she could have…”

“It is no use, sir. I beg you to desist. The situation is hopeless, quite hopeless.”

Mr. Gardiner nodded slowly, a broad smile coming over his face. “I begin to agree with you, Colonel. And, despite the upheaval of the last day, I can find no reason not to allow you to seek your destiny—commensurate, of course, with the usual dictums of propriety.”

“I understand and agree, sir.”

“Does Jane have any idea of your…impetuosity?”

Even Richard had to smile at this jibe, and he shook his head. “I think not, sir, though she has to understand I have some interest, or I would not have asked to call in such a hasty manner. But it is too soon for her. I can see she has suffered hurt, and I shall give her sufficient time to heal before I press my suit.”

“Excellent, Colonel, excellent. I can only applaud your thoughtfulness—unlike, I might add, the young man who caused her pain in the first place.”

That idiot Bingley, Richard thought, though he was careful not to voice such thoughts aloud. He only shrugged and tried to be calm as he replied, “How Mr. Bingley could ever let such a treasure slip out of his grasp is beyond me, sir, but I shall not say I am sorry, except for the pain your niece has suffered.”

His attempt to maintain his composure was not very successful, however, as he instantly saw from Mr. Gardiner’s expression.

I must have let some of my venom show, he thought. However, he is a sensible man, and he must realize I am already aligning my nature to protect a loved one, even though, strictly speaking, that responsibility still remains with him as long as Jane stays in his house. And it is likely he agrees with the sentiments I unconsciously revealed since they likely parallel his own.

“Very well, sir. I do want to apologize for the question about your financial situation. I had been informed it might not be of the best, but it seems my information was in error.”

“It was, but that is probably not the fault of your…informant. She was correct that I have had no financial help from my father since I was twelve, but she took my comments about younger sons a bit too broadly. I remember the conversation when she mentioned that younger sons often sought wealthy wives. I commented that their habits of expense made such a consideration necessary. But I was speaking in generalities. I never said it pertained to me.”

“That is entirely more than I need to know, and I shall not detain you longer. I wish you luck in your endeavour, and I shall maintain our conversation as completely secret.”

“Thank you, sir. I hope I shall not ever disappoint you.”

“I rather think you will not, young man. Now, I hope you will do us the honour of dining with us tonight?”

“Thank you, it will be my pleasure.”

“Excellent. Now, my wife should be in the front room with my nieces. I am sure you can find your own way back since I have to return to my warehouse after I have written a note to Jane’s father relating our conversation. Have a good afternoon, Colonel.”

“Good afternoon, sir.”

***

Author C P Odom
Author Bio

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics.

I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife's beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have five novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015), and Perilous Siege (2019), and A Covenant of Marriage (2020). Four of my books are now audiobooks, Most Civil Proposal, Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets, Consequences, and A Covenant of Marriage.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

Colin Odom Facebook page / C. P. Odom Amazon Author page  / 

C. P. Odom Goodreads page  / C. P. Odom Meryton Press page


Book cover: Determination by C P Odom
Buy Links 

Determination is available to buy from today in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf




Giveaway Time!

 Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Determination. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter.

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Note about comments: If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

Blog Tour: Determination by C P Odom
Blog Tour Schedule

Please check out the other stops on the blog tour to learn more about the book and have further chances to win:

Jan 18 Babblings of a Bookworm

Jan 19 So little time…

Jan 20 Diary of an Eccentric

Jan 21 My Vices and Weaknesses

Jan 22 Austenesque Reviews

Jan 25 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

Jan 26 Donadee’s Corner

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68 comments:

  1. This story sounds intriguing. The loquaciouscolonel having bungled a marriage proposal, I never would have thought. And I live the pairing of him to Jane.Lookimg forward to reading this book.

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    1. Thanks for your interest, Deborah Ann, but it was Darcy who bungled the wedding proposal (who woulda thunk it?), and it was the Colonel who overheard Elizabeth coming to Wickham's defense and setting out to correct her misconception. All well and good, until he meets Elizabeth's older sister . . .

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    2. Glad you like the sound of the story Deborah Ann!

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  2. Thank you for hosting, Ceri! I enjoyed this excerpt, Colin! It is great to see Colonel Fitzwilliam getting a significant part of the action in your story! :)

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  3. More than a considerable part, Ceri. While E & D's story is woven through everything, Colonel Fitzwilliam & Jane are actually in the forefront of the action. I hope you read the story and see whether I succeeded in making things work.

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  4. I like the Colonel FitzWilliam/Jane combination better than Bingley/Jane. I can see Bingley eyes straying after a few years ...

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    1. And if his eyes didn't stray, I think he just settle in to being comfortable, and he'd take Jane with him. But a man with DETERMINATION would be more likely to keep a wife interested!

      At least, that's my opinion for this book, at least! :-)

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    2. I would hope not... although if they lived in town I wouldn't be surprised if he got overtaken by temptation.

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  5. Thanks for hosting, Ceri! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog.

    Colin, I loved this excerpt! It was such fun reading about the Mr. Gardiner's and Colonel Fitzwilliam's conversation. Well done, sir!

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    1. Thanks, Janet. Having two daughters myself and being of a suspicious nature concerning any young men showing an interest in them, this excerpt really wrote itself!

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  6. Great excerpt to show the Colonel's background for this story and entice readers to want to know more. Best of luck on the release and blog tour, Colin, and thanks for hosting, Ceri!

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    1. I hope the rest of the book lives up to your expectations from this excerpt. Thanks for your interest.

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    2. Thanks so much for stopping by Suzan!

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  7. Huge fan of C P Odom! Can’t wait to read this one. Sounds delish!

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    1. Hi Christina! I hope you enjoy it! I'll forever be grateful that you edited "Consequences" and talked me into considering it for publication. I had an idea that there was too much angst for it to be publishable in this genre, but it's sold well and has good ratings on Amazon.

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    2. I hope you enjoy it when you read it Christina!

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  8. Congratulations on this newest release. It does sound intriguing.

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    1. I hope you read and enjoy it, Patty. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. Hope you enjoy it when you read it, Patty.

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  9. I'm intrigued by the pairing of the Colonel and Jane. Congrats on the release!

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    1. Thanks, darcybennet. Back when I came up with the idea for the storyline, it seemed new to me. I especially liked the idea of the hard-bitten professional soldier who didn't plan on looking for a wife until he was ready to leave active service being blindsided by an unexpected attraction!

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    2. In the original they don't meet, do they. It's clear that although Elizabeth attracted Colonel Fitzwilliam he is not tempted away from marrying for money but perhaps if he met somebody who he liked more he might have been tempted!

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  10. Another great story begins. I have enjoyed all your books and look forward to this one as well!

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  11. I have this one on my list of stories to download from KU. I have read others by this author and enjoyed them all. Thanks for sharing this long excerpt.

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    1. Thanks for your interest, Sheila. I hope I piqued your interest!

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    2. I don't think I've read Colin's other titles, aside from Consequences, which I enjoyed very much. Good to know they are all good reads, and I hope you enjoy this one just as much, Sheila!

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  12. Interesting to think about another possible match for Jane and to explore Col. Fitzwilliam's character. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

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    1. I find it easier to write when the plotline I come up with is a bit different. Of course, I'm still really an amateur writer, and there are a lot of professional writers who've forged very successful careers with the same formula.

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    2. I agree, it's always nice to travel a different path and see where the author thinks it may take us!

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  13. Long ago, I married a military man and when he first came to call, I was not all that interested. He, however, was a man on a mission, and Col Fitzwilliam reminds me of my own dearest darling filled with determination. Colin, I'm thrilled that this book is being published! Best wishes for a successful blog tour.

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    1. Thanks, Jan, and I'm glad your own personal military man succeeded in his quest! Good luck with your own efforts. I loved "An Arranged Marriage," among others!

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    2. Thanks so much for stopping by. It's a good point that perseverance sometimes can reap rewards. We can even see it in P&P, where Elizabeth is flattered and filled with goodwill towards Darcy for not holding the past against her, which paves the way for more tender feelings :)

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  14. I remembered writing the unpublished version and laughed at Elizabeth's notion of Colonel Fitzwilliam's wealth in talking with her uncle. Looking forward to reading the published book!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dung. I hope you enjoy reading "Determination."

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    2. Hope you enjoy the published version just as much, Dung!

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  15. I do love the Colonel, Enjoyed the verbal interaction between the Colonel and Mr Gardiner. (I wonder if he will need to do the same with Mr. Bennet)

    Thank you for the excerpt and the chance to win a copy

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  16. Thanks, Buturot. As I commented above, this part essentially wrote itself. I just put myself in Mr. Gardiner's place, having two daughters myself. I'm really old-school about daughters, and my wife got me a tee-shirt that says, "Yes, I have teenaged daughters. I also have a shotgun, a shovel, and an alibi!"

    Just kidding, and both my girls are proving very adept at keeping their Dad's paranoia under control!

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    1. Well, I am going to look for that shirt now. I have 2 daughters , one is turning 17 soon. So thanks for the info. once I find it, we will start wearingit ;)

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    2. Oh goodness, I am dreading those upcoming worries, luckily my daughter is too young at the moment, but I am sure she will think she is ready before I do :(

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  17. Great looking blog, Ceri! Thanks for hosting me today and being the first stop on my Blog Tour. Thanks to all your readers, those who posted and those who just read.

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I wish you all the best with this book and look forward to reading it!

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  18. Interesting conversation between the colonel and Mr. Gardiner. I'm interested in learning about the fallout between the colonel and his father. Hum

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    1. There's more and less to learn, foreverHis. In an earlier exchange in the book, the colonel explains how he came to be estranged by his father and was taken in and provided for by the Darcy family, with his cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy being more of a brother than just a first cousin. But beyond that, there's little to learn about the earl. He and his son have not spoken in close to two decades.

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    2. I think life is too short to cut people out even now and you wonder, in those times, where life was often literally shorter, and with a son in the military with wars happening, why you would take the risk of cutting him out :(

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  19. Carole in Canada19 January 2021 at 20:10

    Fantastic excerpt! Just love that cover! I look forward to reading this one. Congratulations and thank you for a chance at the giveaway!

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    1. I think the cover is generating some real interest, Carole. None of my previous books had as much reader interest in the cover reveal. Now if all those interested parties buy the book . . . :-)

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    2. Hope you enjoy the book just as much as the cover has led you to anticipate!

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  20. Oh man, waylaid by the uncle. I enjoyed that interchange between Uncle Gardiner and Col. Fitz.

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    1. Yup. Blindsided by reality and the sincere concern by Elizabeth for Jane. I had fun when I first wrote this section for the fan fiction version. It almost wrote itself and I didn't have to change much about this section when I was re-writing things for publication.

      Of course, other parts of the book weren't so lucky. I wasn't quite as good a writer in 2008 as I may have thought I was! :-)

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    2. It felt like a very real scene didn't it!

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  21. OMG! I love that cover. I read this years ago as a WIP and loved it. I can't wait to see what you have done with it as a published work. I wish you all manner of success. I have it on my wish-list and look forward to reading it again. Blessings, stay safe, healthy.

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    1. Hope you enjoy the published version just as much as the WIP. It'll be interesting to see the changes between the two!

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  22. Janet Taylor and her son, Jeff, collaborated on the cover. They did a great job! You'll find some changes, both in plotting and in the writing. It's an uncomfortable fact that I wasn't as good a writer in 2008 as I am now, having been suitably disciplined into improving my craft by several editors and the Grammar Goddess of Meryton Press, Ellen Pickels. Thanks for the good wishes on staying safe, also. One of my good friends and his wife are recovering from a bout with Covid, and they're in my prayers every day.

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  23. I enjoyed the excerpt- it provided a good view into the Colonel's character.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Nightstitcher. I kept the title of my book in mind in every description I wrote of Colonel Fitzwilliam. Bingley was a wishy-washy milquetoast. Fitzwilliam was DETERMINED! :-)

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  24. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing this excerpt.
    It’s certainly something I haven’t seen recently and has piqued my interest.
    Best of luck with your book.
    Thank you for hosting,Ceri.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Mary, and I hope it stimulated enough interest for you to go ahead and read the book. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Thanks so much Mary! I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

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  25. Oh I loved the excerpt! I read the post over on Austenesque Reviews yesterday and was curious to see if I could find an excerpt too- wonderful! I´m really looking forward to reading this book!

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    1. I'm looking forward to having you read it, kaewink. I hope it proves worth your time.

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    2. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. And I am glad to hear you are making time for reading, as I know you must be busy!

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  26. Really love this excerpt! Thank you for posting this. I am trying to catch up on the posts, so to let you know.

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    1. I know THAT feeling Jen, I am constantly chasing my tail to try and catch up with things!

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