Another Look Back, by P. O. Dixon

Another Look Back, by P. O. Dixon

Happy Thursday!

In celebration of an upcoming BookBub International Deal, I am sharing an excerpt from the featured title, Still a Young Man. This is one of the first JAFF stories I wrote and one I don’t often have a chance to revisit, even though it’s one of my favorite book babies.

Here’s the blurb:

Secrets. Seductions. Second Chances.

Widowed after six months of marriage, an older Elizabeth is determined to leave her past behind and enjoy life to its fullest, on her own terms. Charming, witty, and engaging, she is widely admired by all. However, everything is not as it seems. She harbors a secret.

The beautiful widow captivates a younger Mr. Darcy. He knows her better than she knows herself. He struggles to break through her protective barriers, the most daunting being her tightly held conviction that she will never marry again.

Elizabeth, refusing to suffer anyone’s pity, hides the unpleasant truth of her forced marriage from everyone. Having observed the mourning period for a deceased husband she did not love, she looks forward to enjoying a Season in town. Her liveliness, her beauty, and her charm attract the notice of unscrupulous people posing as friends. There’s only one man who’s able to help her navigate the treacherous waters of the ton.

Here’s a sample of what readers who enjoyed the story said:

“If you are looking for a story that takes you beyond Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this is a perfect choice.” – Stephanie H.

“I couldn’t put this book down. I finished it in a day! I love the twists and turns and the different Elizabeth than the original.” – Amazon Customer

“Filled with secrets, scandals, and speculation, Still a Young Man is an enthralling adventure into London society! I highly recommend this novel to Austenesque readers interested in seeing Darcy and Elizabeth traverse distinctly alternate and original path!” – Austenesque Reviews

Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 2 for your reading pleasure:

Heavens, these people are strange! What is the purpose of their being here? No doubt, they are awaiting the arrival of a wealthy gentleman to rescue them from their lowly existence. Moreover, what are Caroline and the Hursts doing here? I thought they were in London and would be there for the duration of my visit.

The Bennet women were in lively fashion, fluttering about and bubbling with talk of laces and ribbons, officers and redcoats, and entreaties to Jane and Bingley to hold a ball at Netherfield.

Mr. Darcy had captured the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, and noble mien. Questions arose from every direction.

“How do you find Hertfordshire? Do you dance, Mr. Darcy? What say you about a ball? Do you not think it is an excellent idea?”

Sick of the obsequious air of the room and annoyed because so much effort was made to garner his opinion on this thing and that thing by the silly young Bennet ladies, Darcy escaped from the room on the guise of handling some business with his man but with an unsettling conclusion: his friend had attached himself to the most uncouth lot of people he had ever had the misfortune to encounter. He indeed had seen a collection of people in whom existed little beauty and no fashion, for none but one of those whom he had met had held the smallest interest for him.

Mrs. Bingley, she is pretty, but she smiles too much.

Upon his precipitous departure from the room, Mrs. Bennet’s opinion of the young man had been established. At first glance, she had thought him a suitable match for either of her unmarried daughters, save Elizabeth, but in the wake of his exit, his character had been decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world.

“The shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy, he is above his company and above being pleased. I quite detest the man!” The startled speeches amongst the Bennet women rang out vehemently. The most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted her daughters.

 

~*~

The stately Netherfield library, widely regarded as the finest in the county, made for a perfect refuge from the raucous goings-on in Bingley’s drawing room. Endless rows of shelves lining the rich mahogany walls were stacked with pristine journals, most of which had never been cracked, a silent testimony to the lack of interest displayed by the estate’s current residents. Though nothing compared to the library at Pemberley, its atmosphere calmed Darcy’s strained sensibilities. Darcy appreciated the reprieve.

His long legs crossed, Darcy settled in a comfortable chair across from his friend. Bingley sat on the edge of his seat. A thousand questions flooded his thoughts on how Bingley’s life had suffered such a turn.

“For Heaven’s sake, how did you find yourself here?”

“Netherfield Park is a fine estate. Do you not agree?”

“I imagine it is as fine as any other. You miss my meaning entirely. I do not speak of the estate. I speak of your alliance with this Bennet family.” Darcy spat the appellation disdainfully. “In your letter you mentioned nothing of their connections, their fortune. What do they have to recommend themselves, pray tell? What were you thinking?”

“The Bennets are one of the finest families in Hertfordshire.”

“What about the father? What is his manner and deportment? He cannot be beyond reproach if his wife is any indication.”

“Mind you, Darcy, it is my family of whom you speak.”

“As I will endeavour to consider,” said Darcy, barely contrite and urging Bingley to answer his question.

“Mr. Bennet is a fine gentleman. He commands respect wherever he goes. I might add he is somewhat reclusive. He rarely ventures beyond the village of Longbourn nowadays. He does not visit Netherfield, but perhaps he will be persuaded to attend the ball, then you might meet him and judge for yourself.”

“Longbourn? Am I to assume Longbourn is the name of his estate? Does he have a son who will inherit the property?”

“No, Mr. Bennet has no sons. The estate is entailed to the male line of the family. Jane’s cousin, a Mr. Collins, will inherit.”

“My God! Do you mean to say you are one heartbeat away from supporting the lot of them?”

“Indeed, I am, if you choose to see it as such.”

“What were you thinking in taking on such responsibility?”

“You spoke with my Jane. Tell me that you do not think she is an angel.”

“I grant you that she is pretty. Her family, on the other hand, is quite another thing altogether.” Darcy thereafter went on to explain that he had found them … unrefined, vociferous, ill-mannered, and unfashionable.

“But what about Jane’s sister, Elizabeth? I dare say she is pretty, as well.”

“I think ‘tolerable’ best describes her,” Darcy quipped. Elizabeth.

“Tolerable? Surely, you jest. I would not be as fastidious as you are for a kingdom!”

Indeed. Darcy had found it hard not to admire her. “I stand corrected, my friend. I seldom have beheld anyone more stunning than she.” Darcy altered his manner and tone dramatically in recollection of his initial impression of Elizabeth—her pleasing figure, her long dark hair, her eyes. He uncrossed his legs and leaned forward. “What can you tell me about her?”

“Nothing, besides the fact she lives at Netherfield with us. Beyond that, I shall not discuss my sister with you or anyone. If you want to know anything more, you shall have to ask her.”

 

Elizabeth chose that moment to make her presence in the library known to the gentlemen. They had been unaware she was seated comfortably in an oversized chair facing the fireplace, engrossed in a book upon their arrival and thereby privy to their entire conversation.

Whatever does he mean in questioning my brother on my situation? Saying, on the one hand, I am tolerable, and, on the other hand, I am stunning. The insolence of that man! I shall have to keep a sharp eye on him. Elizabeth approached the gentleman, obliging them to stand. He has a satirical eye. If I do not begin by being impertinent, I shall soon grow afraid of him.

“Mr. Darcy—”

 

An older Elizabeth? And a widowed Elizabeth at that? A younger Mr. Darcy? Oh, the possibilities. Comment below for your share in the conversation.

If you enjoyed the excerpt and you have not read Still a Young Man, I hope you’ll grab your copy when it goes on sale.


There’s More!

Are you a JAFF audiobook lover? If yes, you’ll love Pearl Hewitt’s brilliant narration of Still a Young Man.

Here is what one Audible listener said:

Happy News! I have a number of complimentary Still a Young Man US and UK audiobook codes. Email me at podixon@podixon.com and request your code today!

Offer good while eligible codes exist.

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15 Responses to Another Look Back, by P. O. Dixon

  1. Thank you for the excerpt. This is such a good deal.. already have the two become one collection but tempted to get this. A very different story of ODc esp with EB being older than FD

  2. I have this book and look forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing that excerpt. You stopped right as it was getting good… LOL!! I wonder just what she said to him. I’ll have to read it in order to see. That was pretty sneaky of you. Bwahahaha! Blessings on your endeavors, wear masks, stay safe, and healthy.

  3. Thank you for your generous offer – just send off my email.
    I want to thank you and your fellow Austen Authors for your stories. Reading the new ones and old favorites have been my escape from the craziness of the world outside. First, it was the pandemic and now the wildfires ravaging California.
    Thank you again.

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