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I’m beyond excited that the official release date for my latest Pride and Prejudice Variation, Franchise & Follies, is December 30th! I scheduled the release two days after this blog post so anyone reading this still had an opportunity to buy the book at the discounted price of $4.49. On the 30th, the price is increasing to $5.49. If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader, yes, it will be in KU!
I admit, my launch has been a little lackluster; life has been hectic. But don’t think that means I’m not proud of my newest book-baby. Let me tell you a little bit more…
After the death of his father, Darcy discovers he’s inherited significant debts and his family faces ruin. He quietly sells a sizable portion of his assets, including Pemberley, and accepts a loan from Bingley’s father. He heads off to India and uses the money to create a successful shipping company… which is where this story begins.
As Franchise & Follies was being written, I shared the first few chapters with you. Logically, I should now include chapter three as an excerpt, but I am hesitant to reveal too much of the plot. So instead, I closed my eyes and selected a random passage. You will notice it’s very short. That is because it is so hard for me to find any chapter that doesn’t reveal spoilers. So, from chapter 15…
They climbed the porch steps as the fading sound of the carriage wheels crunching against the gravel gave way to the distant chatter of the driver issuing instructions to the stable boy. Once facing the front door, Elizabeth prepared for a battle of wills. She turned the knob and gave the door a firm push. It was known to stick in wet weather and did not disappoint. She pushed again, this time using her shoulder for additional leverage. It heaved and groaned before giving way. Had it not been for her firm grasp on the handle, she would have tumbled into the foyer, but as it was, she caught herself using the door itself and one steady foot. She righted herself before Kitty and Mrs. Hill rushed forth from the parlor.
“Did the door give you trouble?” Mrs. Hill asked.
“Of course, it did,” Kitty snapped.
As Jane stepped inside, the loose floor board squeaked.
Kitty shook her head and muttered, “Why has the floor never been fixed?”
“I quite like it,” Jane said with her sweet smile. “That sound has greeted me for as long as I can remember. It is as though Longbourn never forgets to welcome me home.”
The tension in Kitty’s face lifted, and after three swift steps, she took her eldest sister in her arms. “I’m so glad you’re here. The way you look at things always lifts my spirits, and I need that right now.”
“How are they?” Jane asked.
There was no need for words. Kitty’s dour expression provided the answer.
“The doctor is with them now. He should finish his exam soon.”
Elizabeth removed her coat and boots, then walked toward the staircase. Mrs. Hill touched her arm as she passed.
“Actually, Miss, your father asked to see you in his study.”
“Certainly. But first, I want to check on my mother and sisters.”
Kitty released Jane and turned to Lizzy. “He was very insistent. He said to send you in as soon as you arrived home. It would be best if you speak to him first. He is in his study.” Her tone left no room for argument. Their father rarely asserted his authority, but when he did, he was not ignored.
Elizabeth shifted and strode toward her father’s study. Once she was out of view of the others, she rolled her eyes in a show of defiance.
The study was located down a short hallway which was accessed behind the stairs. Logistically, it lay in the manor’s heart, but in appearance, it could have been a foreign body. While Mrs. Bennet had added her personal touch throughout the house, selecting everything from the colors used to decorate the rooms to the moldings that encased the doors, this hidden section remained untouched. Perhaps it was because it kept the history and character of countless generations that it felt like the living, beating energy that made Longbourn a home.
Elizabeth tapped at the door and was immediately invited inside. Rather than reclining in the soft leather armchair near the window, her father sat behind his desk—a clear sign this would be a serious discussion. There was not even a book in his hand, nor any on his desk. Instead, he stared absently into space, sipping steaming liquid from a mug.
She lifted her eyebrows. “I understand you wanted to see me,” she said.
At the sound of her voice, he set down the cup and faced her. “Yes. Come in. Have a seat.”
She went to stand behind the wooden chair opposite her father’s side of the desk and took hold of the back. She had no intention to sit or do anything to delay herself from tending to the sick. “I hope this won’t be a lengthy discussion. Mr. Waters is coming to call this afternoon, and I’d like to check up on everyone and speak with the doctor before he arrives.”
Mr. Bennet gave a knowing nod. “Ah yes, Mr. Waters. He recently came to see me and wanted my permission to ask you something important.”
So, this was what he deemed so urgent that he kept her from her ailing mother and sisters. “I know all about that, Papa. He spoke with me earlier today, and I intend to accept his proposal this afternoon.” Her skirt brushed against the floorboards as she shifted her direction, ready to be dismissed.