Wednesday, 31 December 2014

'Letters from the Heart' By Rose Fairbanks - Giveaway winners!!

Hello everyone!
Today I announce the lucky winners  of the 'Letters from the Heart', giveaway! 

I would like to say thank you to Rose Fairbanks for kindly sharing an excerpt with us from her new JAFF Novella, 'Letters from the Heart'. Pressed for time, novella's are fast becoming my little gems! Thank you to Rose for giving away copies for two lucky winners! 
Lastly I would like to thank everyone who stopped by and everyone who entered the giveaway! So without further ado!

Congratulations ladies!!!
 Maria & Teresita you have both won an ebook copy of 'Letters from the Heart' by Rose Fairbanks!

Happy New Year!

Please contact me with your details, (see my 'contact me' page at the top of my blog)

Thank you again to all that participated :)
(Winners picked using

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Letters From The Heart by Rose Fairbanks Excerpt & Giveaway!!

Hello everyone, I hope you're enjoying the holiday season? To continue the festive spirit I am delighted to welcome Rose Fairbanks to my blog for an excerpt and giveaway of her new Pride & Prejudice novella, 'Letters from the Heart'. A short read, it's perfect for the JAFF addict that will be busy over Christmas :)

I love letters and although I have not written one in years, as text and email take precedent, I love to re-read the letters I have kept. Thoughts, feelings and places in time, are all captured indefinitely within the sheets of a letter; to be cried over, laughed over, cherished keepsakes of days gone by.
Therefore it is imperative letters do not find their way into the wrong hands. especially cathartic letters that are written with the intent purpose, never to see the light of day!

Blurb~ Resolved to forget Elizabeth Bennet during a winter in London, Fitzwilliam Darcy writes a letter in bitterness of spirit. Frustrated by her growing obsession with the arrogant man, Elizabeth commits her thoughts to paper. But angry people are not always wise, and secret thoughts do not always remain secret. Compelled to face their selfishness and fears, their actions encourage those dearest to them to change as well.

Excerpt~  In a previous excerpt we saw the scene which culminated in Darcy’s plan to write a cathartic letter—never meant to be sent—to Elizabeth. As the blurb says, secret thoughts do not always remain secret and the letter was sent. Darcy is now calling on Longbourn to settle matters.

An hour later he arrived at Longbourn’s door in fresh clothing. The house was strangely quiet. He chose the coward’s way out and requested Mr. Bennet immediately instead of greeting the ladies in the drawing room. Mr. Bennet did not seem very welcoming and chose to stare at him directly.
“Mr. Darcy, would you care to tell me your reason for visiting today?”
“I believe I owe you an apology, sir,” he humbly began. “I have reason to believe a mislaid letter was sent here this morning. In it, among other things, I insulted your family.”
Mr. Bennet raised an eyebrow, and Darcy had the uneasy feeling that he was the prey being played with, as a cat toys with a mouse. “And is that the extent of your travesties?”
“No, sir.” He gulped. “I also declared my love for your daughter, Miss Elizabeth, and then arrogantly laid out all the reasons I chose not to offer for her. I insulted her, I blamed her for my own lack of composure, and now I worry that I have compromised her reputation.”
Mr. Bennet was silent for a long time. “I believe she has sent you a letter as well. I am inclined to let the issue pass. I understand you have both exchanged admiration and insults and agree a match is nonsensical.”
This was not how Darcy imagined the meeting to go. “Sir! must see that there were others who handled these letters. An attachment, even an engagement, must be presumed.”
“You sound very certain when you have only arrived to the area yourself, and it has been mere hours since the letters were sent.”
Blast the man! He would make Darcy confess all. “I arrogantly sent notices to my solicitor and family in hopes of making it seem as though there was a pre-existing engagement. Before reading Miss Elizabeth’s letter the idea that she would refuse me never occurred to me.”
“Well, it is as you say. She did not think highly of your insults and might refuse you, even with what appears to be weighty proof of an engagement. It is not uncommon for ladies to think better of an attachment.”
Darcy sank back in his chair. “She would harm her reputation? Even that of her sisters? The engagement would be well known, nothing so easily silenced. Does she truly think so little of me?”
He had been humbled thoroughly this day. More than this, many times now he saw that he chose a cowardly way, but now his heart demanded he be brave and fight. Not because he deserved it, but because he would not harm Elizabeth if he could help it and did not want to lose hope of her regard.
“Might I speak with Miss Elizabeth, sir? I wish to know her thoughts on this.”
Mr. Bennet looked surprised, which only humbled Darcy further. The older gentleman undoubtedly did not believe Darcy was capable of following another person’s wishes.
“Very well.”
Mr. Bennet excused himself, and after a few moments, Elizabeth was brought in. Darcy almost knocked over his chair when he stood at her entrance. She looked more beautiful than he recalled, but was subdued, and he would wager he saw caution in her eyes.
“You wished to speak with me, sir?”
Was she trembling? Why did he always lose his ability to speak sensibly around her? She motioned to his seat, and he obeyed her silent request.
“Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature and, while it may wound your feelings for me to mention it, I must apologize for my unjust accusations in my...” she trailed off before quietly finishing, “in my letter.”
“What did you say of me that I did not deserve? Even more so in light of my letter. I hope you have destroyed it. I wrote harshly, and it is full of expressions that should justly make you hate me.”

“Please,” she replied staring at her hands. “Please, do not apologize for your letter. It begins in bitterness, but the ending is so full of hopeless love.”
He reached for her hands, but she pulled them away. She turned from him but said in a shaky voice, “You wrote many sensible things in the letter as well. It would be an imprudent match for you. My family’s behaviour is unpardonable. I would be nothing but a blight on your family name, and I bring nothing but myself.”
He stood at her words. “Elizabeth, you mean everything to me! There is nothing greater I could desire. Do not I owe it to my family to be happy?”
He had never been more ashamed of his selfishness. In his letter he sought only to ease his own feelings. Although he did not mean for her to read his thoughts on her family and connections, it was inexcusable for him to even think them. If, in the last day, he wondered if he truly loved Elizabeth he could have no more doubts. Her pain was his, all the worse for it came by his own hand.
“But would your happiness last? When your family name is diminished, your wife scorned, and your children unaccepted would you still be happy? What of your sister?”
“You are rejecting me?” This morning he felt disbelief at the notion. Now he felt only fear and knew she was every bit justified.
Her voice was low. “The feelings which hindered your earlier regard will soon allow you to overcome your pain, sir.”
Darcy was silent for a long moment, desperately trying to find some kind of composure. His heart pounded and every second he was sure it would be its last beat. He circled around her, willing her to meet his eye. “And what of you, Elizabeth? Do you still find nothing to esteem in me? You wrote you love me. Are you willing to go through life without that love?”
She stared at the floor, but he saw her wipe her eyes before she faced him again to reply. “I am convinced I am the last person in the world you should marry. We both know you would not be here if not for the letters.”
Panicking he declared, “But the letters are known! In an effort to affect a pre-existing engagement for us, I even sent a notice to my solicitor and my relations in London. An engagement is presumed.”
Elizabeth was silent a long moment. “Your letter tells me you think little of my sense—perhaps rightly so—therefore it should come as no surprise to you that I am willing to face the consequences of either the assumption of a broken engagement or corresponding with a gentleman without one. If my family is harmed, according to your depiction, we do not have much respectability to lose. My reputation and my family is not your concern.”
Colour drained from his face and he sank down into his chair. Cradling his head in his hands he knew not when Elizabeth quietly left the room. He had been allowed, encouraged, and nearly taught to be selfish and to think of none beyond his own family circle. Elizabeth could scarcely have chosen better words for her reproof. Here now was the true culmination of the plans of his life. Hope was over, entirely over. Alone with his tortured thoughts, he waited until Mr. Bennet returned.

Thank you for sharing Rose I'm intrigued, would Elizabeth really jeopardise her sisters reputations? Does stubbornness prevail or does she have other provocations? I personally love it when Darcy and Elizabeth communicate. Their fiery, detailed analysis of ones' character defects, is always the catalyst for change, a change that hopefully always leads towards a HEA.

Rose Fairbanks is kindly giving two lucky readers a chance to win an e-book copy of 'Letters from the Heart'. Leave a comment below for a chance to win. Is Elizabeth's refusal one of your favourite scenes? What is and why? 
Winner to be announced on the 31st Dec 14 (open internationally). Good Luck everyone! Thank you again Rose, for sharing an excerpt with us today & for your generous giveaway! 

Author bio: 
Rose Fairbanks fell in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy twelve years ago.  Coincidentally, or perhaps not, she also met her real life Mr. Darcy twelve years ago.  They had their series of missteps, just like Elizabeth and Darcy, but are now teaching the admiring multitude what happiness in marriage really looks like and have been blessed with two children, a four year old son and a one year old daughter. ! She proudly admits to her Darcy obsession, addictions to reading, chocolate and sweet tea, is always in the mood for a good debate and dearly loves to laugh.

You can connect with Rose on Facebook, Twitter and her Blog

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Lucky 13 by Cat Gardiner

What's more swoon worthy than a Redcoat? Mr Darcy in his fireman's outfit!!!! Intrigued by such an enhancement on Mr Darcy's attributes, I was eager to see him in action. However rather than a detailed account of his heroic acts, the reader gets far more action than they bargained for in the form of Mr Darcy, pin up fireman for the latest charity calendar. Oh yes, tis a sight to behold or (imagine)! .

Darcy responded to the pretty girl before him, “What do I look for? Well, besides compassion, intelligence, and kindness, I’m looking for someone who is honest, not only with those around her, but also, more importantly, with herself. Not someone who hides behind a persona, but someone who is comfortable with who she is, and knows what she wants in life. I’m only going to marry once in my life, and I want my wife to be happy. I don’t want to wake up one day to find out she’s miserable with who she became or the life we built together. I want someone real.” - Cat Gardiner

CEO of his father's Tech firm, Will Darcy is a tormented man, guilt ridden for not being there to save his parents from the fire that lead to their deaths, he  has joined ladder Company 13 on a part time basis. Of course I had no quibbles with Darcy putting his life on the line to save others, yet the same could not be said of Darcy's aunt Lady Catherine who was seriously displeased with her nephew fraternising with common peasants! Christmas is approaching and as the anniversary of his parents death approaches Darcy has thrown himself into his work, pulling extra shifts whilst virtually living at the firehouse. The Colonel, Richard to you & I in the twenty 21st century is determined to get Darcy out of the perpetual depression which plagues him at this time of year. Resigned to his fate Darcy states "This is Manhattan in the 21St century and a woman worthy of the Darcy name just doesn't exist"

Oh I beg to differ, Elizabeth Bennet is an advertising director, who is OCD on organisation & perfection and has a kick boxing belt to add to her list of accomplishments! Mrs Bennet would disagree of course and say that a husband and kids are the only accomplishments that need matter.Which leads perfectly to why Elizabeth is on a mission, fed up with her mothers tirades on
being single, Elizabeth and Charlotte come up with a plan to get Elizabeth a Christmas dinner date .
The fun part being that they are going to blog about it along the way, cleverly if your Kindle is connected to the internet you can click on the blog posts that are posted throughout the book and have a laugh when Darcy comments under the pseudonym caveman!

"Quick on its heels was an unexpected side kick to his left rib cage, jolting him backward. Elizabeth smiled through her yellow mouth guard, and he quickly knocked the smile from her lips with a fast one-two combination. Damn, he hated causing pain to that beautiful face of hers, but she hardly seemed to notice or wince from the impact." - Cat Gardiner

For me modern JAFF's is about transporting Regency D&E into the 21st century without losing the essential ingredients which resonate with lovers of Jane's original couple and this book accomplished that. Darcy is of course shaped and moulded by modern proprieties, yet his gentlemanly behaviour spoke volumes, his compassionate heart and endless charity work was as endearing as his rescue of Lydia in cannon. His idea of a perfect date is traditional and romantic, how can any girl turn down a carriage ride on a snowy winters evening snuggled up with the epitome of perfection. (sorry this was the closest I could get related to Mr Darcy/fireman)

Elizabeth is more stubborn than Darcy is arrogant, but I liked her feisty personality, If done well it can be quite entertaining witnessing Elizabeth fight her destiny when we all know that once she see's Darcy for the man he really is, all resistance will be futile, not to mention foolish.

At times I found Elizabeth's resistance to Darcy a little trying and her vulnerability to Charlotte's brother Lucas was painful to witness as I expected Elizabeth to be less foolish, however I am suddenly reminded of Elizabeth's blind faith in that scoundrel Wickham. I particularly liked that Mrs Bennet was not alone in her matchmaking schemes for Elizabeth, but Richard, Charlotte, Jane, Charlie and Georgiana all had their part to play.

"I looked over to where Charlie sat to the left of my mother. He didn’t know I was watching him when he subtly bent toward his dinner plate to sniff the food, slightly crinkling his nose. That’s when I knew Charlie was a great guy, a real keeper. He discovered my mother’s secret seasoning – Binaca Breath Spray. " - Cat Gardiner

Lucky 13 is a funny, heart warming seasonal JAFF that can be read at any time of the year. I appreciated the fact that it was kept more or less out of the bed room, if you can class Darcy's hip gyrating dance at the fireman's charity auction, in front of an audience of screaming ladies, clean then you'll be fine, although I am not sure Elizabeth was, once it became clear he was dancing just for her!! I believe I heard a certain gentleman once declare " it is a compliment which I never pay to any place if I can avoid it." However it was for charity.

This Book is worthy of 4 hearts - Mr Bingley

As always please feel free to share your thoughts or perhaps comment on what your idea of Fireman Darcy would look like?

Friday, 5 December 2014

Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour - Nov 17- Dec 14

Hello and welcome to my stop on the  Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour!

This is the first book I have read where Jane Austen is the main character! "I am all astonishment" I hear you cry! Indeed, but in my defence what a wonderful book to begin with. Jane Austen, 1791 & First love is like music to my ears, the perfect combination for a Jane inspired read. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you when I write my review.

Syrie James is kindly sharing an except of her delightful book with us today and I assure you it will not disappoint. Share your thoughts and you will be entered into a wonderful prize draw, with a chance to win one of five amazing Austen-inspired prize packages!

Book Blurb

In the summer of 1791, fifteen-year-old Miss Jane Austen is determined to accomplish three things: to do something useful, write something worthy, and fall madly in love. While visiting at Goodnestone Park in Kent for a month of festivities in honor of her brother's engagement to Miss Elizabeth Bridges, Jane meets the boy-next-door—the wealthy, worldly, and devilishly handsome Edward Taylor, heir to Bifrons Park, and hopefully her heart! Like many of Jane’s future heroes and heroines, she soon realizes that there are obstacles—social, financial, and otherwise—blocking her path to love and marriage, one of them personified by her beautiful and sweet tempered rival, Charlotte Payler.

Unsure of her own budding romance, but confident in her powers of observation, Jane distracts herself by attempting to maneuver the affections of three other young couples. But when her well-intentioned matchmaking efforts turn into blundering misalliance, Jane must choose between following her own happily-ever-after, or repairing those relationships which, based on erroneous first impressions, she has misaligned.

                                   Excerpt from Chapter the Thirteenth

Jane Austen’s First Love
By Syrie James

Jane Austen, a vivacious and precocious young lady at fifteen years of age, is in Kent visiting the Bridges family for a month of festivities in honor of her brother Edward Austen’s engagement to Miss Elizabeth Bridges. While there, Jane has met the Bridges’s cousin and neighbor Edward Taylor, a charming, handsome, and accomplished young man with whom she is deeply infatuated. Jane writes the following letter to her dear friend Martha Lloyd who is back home in Hampshire:

Goodnestone Park
Tuesday 7 June, 1791
My Dearest Martha,
Thank you for your letter, which found its way to me here this morning. It is refreshing to hear news of home, particularly to learn that you are faring so well as mistress of the rectory, and more to the point, enjoying said duties. As for my last letter, wherein I gave a description of Goodnestone Park and all its inhabitants, although it might seem to be a shame to destroy anything written by my own hand (and I am flattered that you think the epistle contains several clever turns of phrase), I insist that you burn it (along with all the rest of mine) when you have finished reading it for the seventeenth or eighteenth time. I would not wish its contents ever to be made known to those few whom I so good-naturedly abused, even if they were all accurately depicted!

I have scarcely had a moment to myself since our arrival. The house is so full of people that there is hardly a quiet corner to be found anywhere; and you know how much I love quiet corners. My mother and the Knights are to come tomorrow. The strawberry-picking party proved to be particularly diverting. I was so fortunate as to spend time conversing again with Edward Taylor, the young gentleman who so obligingly retrieved us from the road upon our journey hither. He is truly the most engaging, well-travelled, and accomplished young man I have ever met in my life. I must tell you more when next I see you, for there is not room enough in this missive to do him justice. I wish I could scold you for your implication; but indeed, the Bard’s line, “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?” does apply, at least to me; I am already in a fair way towards falling in love with him! Should he ever return the sentiment, it will be a great disappointment to his aunt, Mrs. Watkinson Payler, who has designs on him for her daughter Charlotte (a pretty, rich young lady whom Mr. Taylor seems to dote on, but who is far too reserved for my taste.) Yesterday, I hoped to capture his attention by displaying my considerable skills on the archery range, but as I am already proficient at the sport, he spent all his time teaching Charlotte how to shoot a bow and arrow. How irritating it was to see him standing over her for such a lengthy period, and in such an intimate posture! How I wish he had been instructing me! It seems that a young lady, if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

Now I have something truly unexpected to tell you. This morning I rose early and, before breakfast, I removed to the drawing-room, which was as yet uninhabited, hoping for a rare, quiet moment to practise on the pianoforte. I had just sat down at the instrument when my brother Edward suddenly appeared, hastened within, and shut the door. “Jane,” said he, in great distress and perturbation, “I need your help.” “My help? Why?” said I. He explained that he and Elizabeth had quarrelled last night. He had made a thoughtless remark, his fiancée was furious with him, and he wanted to write her a note of apology. “However,” said he, “I think something more than a standard letter is required—a poem perhaps, or something in the romantic vein—but I am hopeless at that sort of thing. You are a clever writer, Jane. Would you do me a great favour and draft a note to Elizabeth with pretty words of apology, which I can then transcribe in my own hand? It will have to be our secret, of course; it must seem as if I wrote it myself.”

You can only imagine how surprised I was by this request! At the same time, I was delighted by his faith in my abilities. Of course I told him that I would be only too happy to help. (I break no vows of secrecy in this disclosure, for he said I might tell you and Cassandra, but no one else.) He required my services immediately, in the hopes that the breach could be mended by this evening at the latest (for the engagement ball is tomorrow). I spent a good two hours labouring over the endeavour. It was rather a trial to compose, as he did not wish to share the particulars for which he was apologising, requiring the admission of guilt to be constructed in the most general terms. At length I found inspiration in Shakespeare (three copies of his complete works, which appear to have never been read, adorn the library shelves here). My brother proclaimed the finished work to be brilliant. He is recopying it now; we must wait to see its effects, which I hope will prove fruitful!

I expect I shall hardly sleep a wink to-night, for the ball is tomorrow—my first real ball! Although it will not be held at an assembly room filled with handsome strangers, as you and I so often imagined, there will be one tall, handsome young gentleman with whom I hope to dance (his identity I leave you to guess); after that, I will have nothing else to wish for. From the bustle which has been going on all day in preparation for the event, I predict it will be very grand; my only regret is that my mother steadfastly refuses to allow me to powder my hair. I can only hope, when she arrives tomorrow, that I can succeed in changing her mind. I must close now, for Sophia, Marianne, and Cassandra are calling me to join them for a walk into the village. Fare you well.—Please give my greatest love to my father when you speak to him, and a handshake to all the boys.

                                                        With best love, &c., I am affectionately yours,
                                                        Jane Austen

How ill I have written. Your hand is so much more delicate than mine. I begin to hate myself.
What a great excerpt to choose Syrie, I for one liked how 15 year old Jane is depicted, it translated beautifully in her letter and I could visualise how a young Jane might have been. I particularly liked the part where she had to write her brother's letter! "It will have to be our secret, of course; it must seem as if I wrote it myself.” S. J  Can you imagine Jane penning a letter for you! I would be in seventh heaven. However Jane Austen writing a letter so that it sounds like it is written by her brother, must indeed, be no mean feat! How would she tone down such brilliancy of language. "Impossible!" I hear you say and I quite agree, however knowing how masterful she was with a pen, combined with her creation of Mr Collins & I am sure she could. Thank you for sharing Syrie, I am certain this excerpt has left readers intrigued to read more!  

Readers, to enter the giveaway please leave a comment below.
What intrigues you about Jane Austen's First Love, and this letter in particular?
What letters featured in Jane Austen's novels are memorable to you?
Which one is your favorite, and why?

Giveaway Details

Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Five Fabulous Jane Austen-inspired Prize Packages

To celebrate the holidays and the release of Jane Austen's First Love, Syrie is giving away five prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any of the blog stops on the Jane Austen's First Love Holiday Blog Tour.

Increase your chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour! Syrie's unique guest posts will be featured on a variety of subjects, along with fun interviews, spotlights, excerpts, and reviews of the novel. Contest closes at 11:59pm PT, December 21, 2014. Five lucky winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments on the tour, and announced on Syrie’s website on December 22, 2014. The giveaway contest is open to everyone, including international residents. Good luck to all!

Author Bio

Syrie James, hailed as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings” by Los Angeles Magazine, is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels that have been translated into 18 languages. Her books have been awarded the Audio Book Association Audie, designated as Editor’s Picks by Library Journal, named a Discover Great New Writer’s Selection by Barnes and Noble, a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association, and Best Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews and Suspense Magazine. Syrie is a member of the WGA and lives in Los Angeles. Please visit her at syriejames.comFacebook or say hello on Twitter @SyrieJames

Click for full purchase links 
Pertinent Information 

Thank you for stopping by, as always I delight in hearing your thoughts.  Good luck in the giveaway!

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Muse By Jessica Evans - Blog Tour December 1-15

I am delighted to be in the premiere en bas for The Muse blog Tour! Welcome to the first stop  on The Muse Blog Tour kindly brought to you by Leatherbound reviews in conjunction with  Meryton Press.

Jessica Evans is sharing an except of  her début book The Muse, an extraordinary concept for a modern JAFF. The excerpt has left me curious and I am eager to read how the author will transcend my idea of Regency Darcy by exchanging breeches for tights!

Blurb for The Muse
Elizabeth Bennet, the newest corps de ballet dancer at Ballet Theater of New York, dreams of rising through the prestigious company’s ranks to become a prima ballerina. When she’s cast in superstar choreographer William Darcy’s newest work, she believes she’s one step closer to realizing her dream–until she meets him.
William Darcy, the former dance legend and ballet bad boy, is a jaded perfectionist who dancers both fear and admire. Although touted as the next big thing in the ballet world, he secretly battles a bad case of artist’s block–until he meets Elizabeth Bennet.

Tempers ignite between Elizabeth and Darcy, but he’s irresistibly drawn to the stubborn and beautiful corps de ballet dancer. Could she be the muse he needs to reignite his passion for ballet?


This is the opening scene of The Muse.

A dancer’s life is a series of small routines. The same exercises in the same order: pliés, tendus, battement jetés. Bandages wrapped around the same toes, the ones that, despite dime-sized calluses, always rub and blister by afternoon rehearsals. The same faces in company class, the same bodies with their minute variations. The same schedule: company class, rehearsal, performance. Repeat. The programs may change, the casts may change, the audiences may change, but the routines endure.
That morning, however, was different. That morning the dancers of Ballet Theater of New York walked into the studio fresh and alive. They danced the first exercise, pliés, with the grace of Swan Lake. Legs sliced crisply through during tendus and jetés. By rond de jambes, sweat beads trickled down foreheads and fell in droplets to the floor. A man sat at the front of the studio, arms folded across his chest, blankly looking out at the company of dancers. Every so often, he glanced down, scribbled in a notebook with a thin black and gold pen, and then looked up, expressionless.
He was William Darcy, the Ballet Theater legend, the one in the company’s old promotional poster hanging in the lobby downstairs. William Darcy, back at the company in a new capacity: to create dance.
He was casting for his new work. This class was his audition. All of the dancers knew it. All of them wanted a part in his next piece, the one the critics were already buzzing about, the one that had yet to be choreographed.
Class proceeded uneventfully. Darcy remained stoic at his seat in the front, scribbling notes to himself. Many of the dancers tried to catch his eye during reverance, but he refused to acknowledge them. When class ended, he stood and nodded curtly to the ballet mistress and the dancers, and then he strode out of the studio.
Many of the dancers grabbed water bottles and the discarded remains of their warm-up clothes. Some stayed in the studio to stretch, Elizabeth Bennet among them. She splayed out in a small group of corps de ballet dancers which included her sister, Jane.
Jane exhaled as she stretched out her calf. “So what did you think of Darcy?”
“Scary,” replied Elizabeth. “Did you see his face during class? He could be one of those human statues that perform for the tourists in Times Square. He didn’t blink once throughout adagio. I watched him the whole time.”
“He was hot,” said Charlotte Louis, jumping in place to break in a new pair of pointe shoes. A tall, lithe dancer with ebony skin and sharp cheekbones, Charlotte had entered Ballet Theater that year like Elizabeth, although she had danced for three years previously at Atlanta Ballet.
“What rehearsals do you have this afternoon, Lizzy?” Jane asked.
“Just Act II of Swan Lake.” Being a new member of the company, Elizabeth was rarely cast in ballets. She performed at least every other night.
“Cheer up,” Jane said, patting her sister’s leg. “It takes a while.”
“Easy for you to say.”
Jane furrowed her eyebrows but didn’t reply. Long-limbed, blonde, and graceful, Jane seemed poised to rise up the company ranks. She’d been in Ballet Theater for a little over five years since graduating high school, and she’d become a casting favorite of Charles Bingley, the company’s Assistant Artistic Director. In the last few months, she’d also become his girlfriend. Lately, Jane had begun dancing soloist roles, although many wondered whether this was due to the burgeoning romance between the two.
Sighing, Elizabeth plopped to the floor. “I desperately want to be in Darcy’s piece.”
Just then, another dancer, Lydia Lopez, leaned over to their group and interjected, “I’ve heard he’s an asshole but a brilliant asshole. Did you see his last piece at San Francisco? It was beautiful. If he doesn’t cast me, I’ll die.”
“I just want to stare at him for a few hours every few days,” Charlotte joked. “Asshole or not, the man is hot.”
“I’m having déjà vu,” Elizabeth joked.
“Shut up,” replied Charlotte, poking her friend. “He’s hot. It’s a fact.”
Elizabeth winked. “Worth repeating over and over and over again.”
A few other corps dancers giggled.
“Do you want to eat lunch or what?” Jane asked as she stood. She extended her hand to her sister and hauled her up.
“Lead the way,” Elizabeth replied. “Charlotte?”
Grabbing the remainder of their things, they hurried down into the locker room to grab protein bars, yogurts, and baby carrot sticks before afternoon rehearsals.

Thank you Jessica for sharing this excerpt it certainly has my attention. The premise is unusual and I am sure it will make for a very interesting read. Good luck on your début, I look forward to reading more about this book throughout the tour!

Author Bio:
Jessica Evans cut her writer’s teeth in various fan fiction forums starting at fifteen. Although she discovered Jane Austen’s novels as a college sophomore, she didn’t begin writing Austenesque until several years later. The Muse: A Pride and Prejudice Variation is her debut novel.
Jessica teaches sixth grade English in New York City. In her spare time, she reads a lot of Young Adult literature, and cooks and eats as healthily as possible. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The Muse Blog Tour Schedule!
12/2: Review at Songs & Stories
12/3: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged 
12/4: Review at Wings of Paper
12/5: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie 
12/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm 
12/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen 
12/8: Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories From the Past 
12/9: Review at So Little Time...
12/10: Review at BestSellers & BestStellars
12/11: Author Interview at Wings of Paper 
12/12: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
12/13: Review at Fairy Jane Tales
12/14: Excerpt at The Calico Critic 
12/15: Review at Warmisunqu's Austen

As always please feel free to share your thoughts on this interesting concept!