Coffee with Colette Returns with Abigail Reynolds' Hot New Release ALONE WITH MR DARCY!

Good morning, dear readers! 

Coffee with ColetteWe are BACK! Coffee with Colette returns, and it is only appropriate that Abigail Reynolds should be the first guest joining me as we begin anew! (I know, I've been gone awhile; but that's a topic for a separate blog post. This time has, however, allowed me to catch up on all the JAFF I'd been missing!) 

As I mentioned when Abigail joined me here in March, I had been harassing her for quite some time to release her new Pride and Prejudice variation. Well, it seems that my diligence paid off because.....here it is!!!  (She may come to regret this kind of negative reinforcement.)

Seriously, as soon as Alone with Mr. Darcy was available for pre-order, I pre-ordered it; and then, approaching the appointed date, I waited until midnight for it to appear magically on my Kindle. Because it was so late, I think I did take until the next day to finish it, but only because of that annoying thing called a "day job."

I know I say this every time, but Abigail has topped herself once again! This one really had my heart going pitter-patter. She is here to tell you all about her latest best book ever, PLUS she is giving away an eBook! (What would YOU do if you were alone with Mr. Darcy??? I can tell you what I would do if Colin Firth and I were snowed in together all alone....well, a 1995 Colin Firth! [And a 1991 version of me whilst I was between husbands, but I digress.]) If you like P&P variations - and who doesn't? Hashtag Guilty Pleasures - you are going to LOVE this one; and I am pleased and proud to count myself among the affiliate members of the Austen Variations Authors.
~Colette

Abigail Reynolds is...Alone with Mr. Darcy


It all started with a blizzard and Mr. Darcy. Last year was a good year for blizzards on where I live on Cape Cod, though nothing could compare to this year! Still, it was a pretty bad blizzard, the kind where you could only see a few feet and had to shout to be heard over the howling wind. How did Mr. Darcy get into it? He’s always there, of course! After writing a dozen variations on Pride & Prejudice, I hear Mr. Darcy talking in my head most of the time. Hard life, isn’t it? He’s always telling me what he’d do in this situation of that, or even more often, what I should be writing. Bossy, that’s what he is!

So there I was, huddling inside and wondering if I should bring in some firewood in case the power went out, and Darcy started scoffing in my head about how people in the Regency always managed to keep fires lit and it was no big deal. Actually, he said it was ‘an insignificant concern,’ because that’s how he talks. I silently retorted that I’d like to see him bring in the wood and start a fire, since he’d no doubt always had servants to do it for him, and probably didn’t even know how.

In true Darcy style, he stuck his fictional nose up in the air and told me I should reconsider my prejudices about him because he knew perfectly well how to light a fire. Then he started to dictate what turned into my next book, Alone with Mr. Darcy.

Blurb:
http://www.pemberleyvariations.com/books/alone-with-mr-darcy/
Elizabeth Bennet can’t imagine anything worse than being stranded by a blizzard in a tiny cottage with proud and unpleasant Mr. Darcy. But being trapped there for days – and nights – with an injured and confused Mr. Darcy who keeps saying the oddest things about her, is even worse. At least he possesses the useful ability of lighting a fire to keep them from freezing to death. But when he puts his arms around her, she discovers the hearth isn’t the only place he knows how to build a fire. And the little half-frozen kitten he finds in a woodpile isn’t proving to be much of a chaperone.

She doesn’t really believe his promises to marry her if anyone finds out they spent two nights alone together, especially after learning he was betrayed by another woman in the past. 

When her worst fears are realized and her reputation is in tatters, she isn’t surprised to discover Mr. Darcy has vanished into thin air, leaving her no choice but to find a husband as soon as possible before her whole family is ruined. Any husband, no matter how much she dislikes him. Even if she can’t stop thinking of Mr. Darcy….
 
Intrigued? Here are two scenes from it, one where Elizabeth discovers Darcy by the side of the road, and one where he lights that fire:

 A burning knife was digging a hole in Darcy’s skull. Why? All he wanted was to sleep. The cold had finally gone away. If only the knife would do the same!
“Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy!” A female voice called his name urgently.
He wanted to ignore it, but it stirred some memory. He forced his eyes open to discover the visage of Elizabeth Bennet only inches from his face. “You,” he said distinctly, “are not supposed to be here.”
I am not supposed to be here?” Her voice rose sharply on the words. “You are the one who… oh, never mind. Are you well enough to walk?”
“Walk? Why would I want to walk?”
She closed her eyes as if hunting inside herself for patience. “Because it is snowing and you are injured.”
“I am not injured. I am merely resting.”
This time her lips twitched. “I see. You have chosen to rest by the side of the road in the middle of a snowstorm with a gash in your head. An interesting choice, Mr. Darcy. Personally, I would recommend a warm bed next time.”
How tempting those lips were! “A warm bed sounds very good to me, although hardly for resting.”
Elizabeth turned her face away, but he thought she was laughing. “Come, sir. I must take you to shelter. I fear you are confused from your injury.”
He frowned. Had her normal intelligence deserted her? “I already told you I am not injured.”
With a sigh, she pulled off her glove and touched her fingers to the burning knife, sending it ever deeper into his skull. He winced as she held up a bloody handkerchief in front of him. “Sir, you are bleeding. That is generally a characteristic of injuries.”
Was she laughing at him? He tried to raise himself to a sitting position, since it was not polite to lie down in front of a lady, but the knife twisted painfully and he had to bite down on his lip to keep from crying out. So he was injured after all. That explained a great deal. “Ah, yes, I suppose it is.”
An icy gust of wind blew past. Elizabeth grabbed her bonnet, holding it to her head. “Mr. Darcy, the storm is worsening. We cannot remain here.”
“Where are we?”
“On the Hatfield Road. Were you travelling alone?”
“I believe…” He shook his head slightly, sending red-hot pain shot through his skull. He could not recollect how he had come to be there. He certainly was not about to admit that to Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
“Never mind. Do you think you can stand?”
The snow was coming down now at a slant, tiny ice crystals stinging his cheeks. Gritting his teeth against the inevitable discomfort, he lurched to his feet, his muscles stiff. He dusted off the covering of snow which had collected on his greatcoat. “I must have been unconscious for a few minutes.”
“More than a few, I fear, from the amount of snow on you. You must be half-frozen. You might wish to press my handkerchief over your wound so it does not start bleeding again.” She stood with her hand half extended as if prepared to catch him.
He did not need her help, even if the ground beneath him was moving noticeably. “I am well enough. Is there shelter nearby?”
“Meryton is almost three miles from here, though there is a tavern perhaps half that distance where you can warm yourself at the fire.”
Two miles. He tried taking one step, then another. His vision blurred in and out of focus. Through the haze of pain he said, “I fear that may be beyond my strength. Might I request you to seek aid for me while I remain here?” Having to ask for assistance was always bitter. Having to beg it from Elizabeth Bennet was even worse.
Elizabeth glanced at the sky, though she could not have seen anything through the heavy snowfall, then to the spot where he had lain, already half filled in. “I dare not leave you alone for so long in this weather. There is a laborer’s cottage nearby. I will take you there, then seek assistance.” She bit her lip. “The accommodations will not be what you are accustomed to, but it will be warm and dry.”
“I have been in poor cottages before. I can ask no more than warm and dry.” Warm and dry sounded like heaven at the moment.
***
Darcy rested back on his heels, his head throbbing as he inspected the flickering flames. It had been many years since he and Richard built fires in the cavern near Matlock, but apparently he still retained some knowledge from their fumbling attempts. This tiny fire would do little to chase away the chill in the air, but the pile of coal and firewood beside the hearth would not last long if he built it any higher. The cold had sunk so deep into his bones he could hardly imagine ever being warm again.
He stripped off his sodden greatcoat and hung it over a stool near the fire. He doubted it would make much difference, but it would not help him if his clothes became wet as well. Wetter than they were, that is. His trousers were soaked through at the knees and caked with ice over his boots. As he knocked away what ice he could, he looked up to see Elizabeth wringing out the hem of her dress. She seemed to have fared somewhat better than he in that regard; but then again, she had not lain unconscious in the snow, just walked through it. Her pelisse seemed to have protected her well, though her stockings must be cold and wet. No. He should not think about Elizabeth’s stockings or how they must cling to her shapely legs. Not that he had ever seen her legs except as a shadow through that pale blue dress, but he had imagined them often enough, usually wrapped around him. Devil take it! He needed to get control of himself.
He glared at the fire. This was not a good sign. Here he was, half frozen, stiff from bruises, his head pounding, and in an old cottage little better than a shepherd’s hut. He ought to be immune to lust, not thinking about Elizabeth’s legs – especially when those legs happened to be trapped in a small room with him. Perhaps the injury to his head had impaired his mental faculties more than he thought.
In a quest for distraction, he noticed two buckets sitting by the door. They would need water, and he might as well take care of that while he was still cold and wet. If only he were not so dizzy! Somehow he managed to put one foot in front of the other for the few steps needed to reach the door.
Elizabeth said sharply, “Where are you going? Did you not just say it was unsafe to travel in this weather?”
“I have no desire to travel, only to bring in some snow to melt. We will want water later.”
“Oh.” She sounded taken aback. “Thank you for thinking of that.”
A deafening blast of icy wind burned his face and bit through his clothes as soon as he stepped over the threshold. This was worse than it had been just a few minutes earlier. He filled the buckets as quickly as he could and hurried back to the relative safety of the cottage.
It seemed oddly still inside again, even if he had only been out in the storm a short time. He set the buckets beside the hearth where Elizabeth stood warming her hands. “The wind has picked up. We were fortunate to find shelter when we did.”
“I thought it seemed louder.”
There was something odd about the fire. It seemed to be growing, fading in and out…
Elizabeth’s hand clutching his elbow brought him back to his senses. “Mr. Darcy, I pray you, sit before you fall down. One head injury is enough for the day.”
“I am perfectly well,” he said automatically.
She huffed. “In that case, even though you are perfectly well, would you be so kind as to sit down purely to relieve my anxiety? You would not wish me to suffer for your stubbornness, I am sure.”
How neatly she had trapped him. And how fortunate she had done so quickly, since the floor was showing a disturbing tendency to tilt under his feet. “Very well.”  Keeping a steadying hand on the wall, he lowered himself to sit on the hearth.
“Thank you.” Elizabeth hesitated, then hurried away from the fireplace - not that there was far for her to go - and rummaged through a small wardrobe.
“May I assist you with anything?” It seemed polite to ask, though he doubted he could even stand up at the moment.
“No, thank you. I am simply looking for… oh, here they are. If you would not mind keeping your back turned for a moment, I would appreciate it.”
“Of course.” Darcy bit his lip so hard it hurt. Surely she was not changing her dress!
Fortunately for his sanity, she quickly rejoined him at the fire, still wearing the same dress. “Thank you. Now, if you do not object, I believe it would be wise for me to examine your injury while there is still light.”
As if he did not feel enough like an invalid already, having been rescued by the woman he was trying to forget! “I think it is unnecessary. The bleeding appears to have stopped.”
Her lips twitched. “I knew you to be a man of many talents, but your ability to see the back of your head is quite remarkable. Perhaps I misspoke when I said I should examine it if you do not object. If you do object, I still prefer to examine it.”
Trust Elizabeth Bennet to make him laugh in the most unpropitious circumstances. “Since you insist, Miss Elizabeth, I will do my best to comply with good grace, but I still think it unnecessary.”
“You may think whatever you like, so long as you allow me to check your wound. If you could turn away from the window so it is in the light – yes, just like that.”
He could feel her fingers in his hair, carefully parting it around the wound. The movement stung, but all he could think of was her touch. How often he had wished for her fingers to run through his hair! This was not the way he had hoped for, but still, she was standing so close to him, he could practically feel the warmth radiating from her.
“I fear the eyes in the back of your head have deceived you, Mr. Darcy. It is indeed still oozing blood. Do you perchance have a handkerchief I could use to clean it?”
Darcy reached into his pocket and handed it to her without a word.
“Thank you. I am sorry to put your fine linen to such a messy task. I will try to avoid hurting you any more than necessary.”
He was tempted to tell her it was too late for that. His inability to possess her had been a constant ache for over two months. In comparison, the gentle touch of her fingers in an open wound was nothing, and her concern was more soothing than he cared to admit.
It would be easy to allow himself to enjoy being cared for by Elizabeth more than he ought. He fixed his gaze on his drying greatcoat to distract himself. It had been joined by two long white stockings. Good God, she must have taken them off while he was gathering the snow! His imagination presented him with a tantalizing image of walking in while she was peeling those stockings off, one leg at a time. Wounded or not, he would have been delighted to offer his assistance, and then to…
“My apologies, that must have hurt. I will try to be gentler.”
It was a good thing she could not guess the true reason he had stiffened. No more thinking of her legs, which must be bare and cold under her petticoats. It would only be kindness to warm them for her. 
He was almost grateful for the blinding pain that suddenly stabbed through his head.
“There, I can see it now. Fortunately, the cut is not large, although you have an impressive goose egg around it. I would guess the bleeding will stop with a little pressure. I have folded your handkerchief, and perhaps you could press on it here.” Her hand took his and guided it to the appropriate spot. “Very good. I will check it again in a few minutes.”
What would she say if he told her the touch of her hand on his was the best healing he could have?
“How did this happen? Were you set upon by footpads?”
He winced. “No. I was....” Devil take it, what had happened? Why could he not remember? The road to Meryton was a safe one, and it would have been broad daylight. Surreptitiously he felt for his watch. It was still there, gold fob and all. Not footpads, then. They would not have left that behind. “I am not certain.”
Her eyebrows shot up, but instead of saying anything, she crossed to the wardrobe and returned with a threadbare quilt. As she draped it around his shoulders, she said, “It is hardly fashionable, but it should warm you a little.”
He should have declined, but the sensation of having Elizabeth worry over him was disquietingly pleasant.
 


So, what would you do if you were stranded alone with Mr. Darcy? Let me know, and you could win an ebook copy of Alone with Mr. Darcy! (Leave a comment below with your email address so we can let you know you're the winner!)


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http://www.austen-whatif-stories.com/
Abigail Reynolds may be a nationally bestselling author and a physician, but she can’t follow a straight line with a ruler. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a hobby during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Alone with Mr. Darcy, the national bestseller Mr.Darcy’s Noble ConnectionsThe Darcys of Derbyshire, and Mr.Darcy’s RefugeShe is currently working on a new Pemberley Variation (Yea!!!!  I shall begin harassing her immediately! ~ cls) and the next novel in her Cape Cod series. Her books have been translated into five languages. A lifetime member of JASNA, she lives on Cape Cod with her husband, her son and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.
 
Web site: www.pemberleyvariations.com
Twitter: @abigailreynolds




Comments

  1. How wonderful for your readers that Darcy has such a presence in your mental faculties, Abigail. I, for one, am grateful. Thank you for letting us see your thought process in developing this story.

    Of course, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy could build a fire. What were you possibly thinking, Ms. Reynolds? Thanks for the chuckle.

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    1. You're right! What *was* I thinking? ;)

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  2. I love the fact that you have conversations with Darcy to inspire more novels! Can't get enough of your writing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dung! Let's just hope no one asks me if I hear voices. ;)

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  3. I loved the book and the great writing. Thanks for pleasing your reading fans!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, MaryAnn! So glad you enjoyed it.

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  4. I would ask him about his library then probably I would ask to hear stories about the Colonel

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. How there's an answer worthy of Lizzy Bennet - asking him about his library!

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  5. I would have to ask how he and Bingley became friends. It seems an unlikely friendship. And how does he put up with Caroline? Great start to the story.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. saganchilds(a) gmail.com

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    2. Good question! I've always wondered if his friendship with Bingley is because most other men won't put up with his habit of saying offensive things.

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  6. I am so far behind on my TBR, but the book is there. I would love to have Mr. Darcy in my head all the time; you are a fortunate lady. Thank you for sharing how the book started. Yes, what an inspiration for the story; the past 2 winters, Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

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    1. This winter I started feeling like I had to finish the book ASAP because maybe it was going to keep snowing until I did! Talk about magical thinking, LOL!

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  7. What would I do if I were stranded alone with Mr. Darcy? Wow! That's a difficult question! Probably for the first time in my life, I wouldn't care about my dear books and I would spend hours talking to him. I'd love to hear his voice!!

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

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