Hi sweet friends! I hope all who celebrated yesterday enjoyed a very happy and wonderful Thanksgiving with those they loved! 🙂 Now that Thanksgiving has taken place, it is time to start decking the halls and prepare for the Christmas season (although, I know many already did get a head start!) 😉 One of the things I’m look forward to most this Christmas season is reading a bunch of holiday-inspired Austenesque! And one of the books I’m excited to read is this new release from Jennifer Redlarczyk – A Holiday to Remember. Jennifer is my lovely guest here at Austenesque Reviews (we love when she visits!) and today she is share 2 Christmas inspired excerpt with you all! We hope you enjoy!
Meredith, I am so happy to be back visiting your blog today with A Holiday to Remember and more music! In this modern P&P variation, Elizabeth Bennet is a dedicated choral director and teacher at Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts and William Darcy is the aloof CEO of Darcy Enterprises. The two of them met when unfortunate circumstances brought them together during a summer music festival in Chicago where tempers flared and unpleasant words were exchanged. Find out what happens when their paths cross again in December. Will their animosity continue, or will their reunion turn out to be A Holiday to Remember?
From Chapter One
Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts
Monday, 4 December
“Liz Bennet! Please tell me I didn’t hear what I just thought I heard!” Charlotte Lucas burst through the doors of the choir room and marched straight to the keyboard where Elizabeth was working out the final arrangements for A Holiday to Remember—part of the music academy’s final showcase before the winter break.
“Char, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m kind of on a deadline here. Uh … you do remember I have a major rehearsal at six o’clock tonight?” She arched a questioning eyebrow in her friend’s direction before entering the final chords on the master lead sheet in her computer.
“Right, but for your information, Mr. Billy Collins just told everyone in the teacher’s lounge he has a big date with you on New Year’s Eve. He says he’s escorting you to the Pemberley Foundation’s charity gala at Forest Ridge. What gives? Don’t those tickets start at five hundred a pop? Not to mention any woman who would dare to go out with that nutter would have to be a marble short.”
Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and burst into laughter. “Char, do you honestly think BC would actually shell out that kind of money just to have a date with me? The man is so tight he probably wouldn’t spend five dollars on his own mother. Don’t worry. The Vocalteens were asked to perform at the gala and will be doing the opening act right after dessert. Since Reeves will be out of town, I’m making do with Billy-boy to run sound. You’re welcome to join us if you don’t have a date. I can always use an extra chaperone. Plus, after the kids leave, the adults are invited to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. There’s going to be a live band, dancing, loads of food and some kind of a silent auction. It could be fun, even without dates.”
“Sorry, Liz. As a matter of fact, I do have a date.” Charlotte straightened up and fluttered her eyelashes in jest. “And … as much as I’d like to hobnob with the rich and famous, Brexton Denny is taking me to the Signature Room to celebrate the New Year. Who knows, this might turn out to be my Holiday to Remember, if you don’t mind me borrowing the title from your medley.”
“Go right ahead. The Signature Room is pretty impressive. Is there any chance your Mr. Denny might finally be getting serious?”
“Not to my knowledge. Still, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a date with a buff trainer from the fitness club, fireworks over Lake Michigan, and a kiss at midnight.”
“A kiss at midnight,” Elizabeth sighed, kind of dreamy-eyed. “Aunt Maddy says being kissed at midnight by someone special is magical, and although I’ve yet to meet that perfect someone, I believe her.”
“Girl, you’ve been watching way too many holiday romance movies on your favorite channel, if you ask me. I could never be like you. At any rate, if you need an escort, you can always ask my brother. I know Johnny isn’t ideal, but he’s okay in a pinch. On second thought, what about that cute drummer from the music store? Didn’t you go out with him a couple of times? Maybe you can take him.”
“George Wickham?! I think not! And no, we never dated. Char, your memory fails you. I only agreed to sing backups for that smooth talker’s band at the Lollapalooza Music Festival last summer because he was desperate. Believe me; dating was not part of the chord chart. Besides, I’m hardly interested in a fly-by-night drummer or any freelance musician for that matter. And I’m definitely considering adding your brother to my no-go list of men. If Johnny stands me up for one more transmission or any other mechanical failure, the man is toast. As it turns out, I’ll probably hand him his marching orders once he escorts me to Charles Bingley’s holiday party on Friday. Who knows, I may end up following Jane’s lead and using her professional dating service after all. I mean, who could complain about Mr. Bingley?”
“Are you serious?”
“Absolutely! Charles is exceptional. He’s considerate and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he brings Jane flowers, sends her cards, and takes her out to dinner, concerts, company functions, yada, yada…. And to top it all off, it was Charles Bingley who recommended the Vocalteens for the Pemberley gig. As one of the corporate lawyers who work for the foundation, he was happy to submit my PR materials to the marketing director. Mr. Reynolds thinks our Holiday to Remember medley will be perfect for the charity gala.”
“I agree; it’s bound to be a hit. The kids are already looking pretty good, and you still have until next Thursday to pull it all together for the showcase. Speaking of the gala, I hear the CEO of Darcy Enterprises is pretty hot.” Charlotte wiggled her eyebrows as if in the know. “William Darcy has been in all of the tabloids lately. They say he’s some kind of aloof, mystery man—tall, dark, and handsome. I wonder if he’ll be there.”
“William Darcy?” Elizabeth frowned. “His sister, Georgiana, was studying piano with Aunt Maddy at the music store until….” Her voice trailed off. “Are you sure he’s connected to the foundation? Mr. Reynolds never mentioned him.”
“Small world! According to Google, the foundation is run by Darcy Enterprises.” Glancing at the wall clock, Charlotte changed the subject. “It looks like the bell is about to ring, so I’d better head over to my advanced ballet class. Do you still need help tonight with choreography for the opening number?”
“I’d really appreciate it, since I’m going to have my hands full with the pit orchestra. If you can take over while we run through my new arrangements, it would mean one less thing for me to juggle at practice.”
“No problem. I’ll be there. Catch you later.”
After Charlotte left, Elizabeth minimized her music program and quickly googled William Darcy, CEO of Darcy Enterprises. “I can’t believe it. It is him! So, Mr. Darcy,” she continued to babble while glaring at the computer screen. “Your Mr. Reynolds booked us for the gala. How was he to know you never wanted to see me again?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the most of it, won’t we?”
Well, it looks like our favorite couple had a run in at Lollapalooza which is an annual music festival in Chicago featuring popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and more. Can you picture George Wickham as a drummer? Ha! Ha! I just love making mischief on that guy.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes William and Elizabeth to warm up to one another. As you can imagine, they are bound to meet at Bingley’s holiday party. Meanwhile, I’d like to give you another excerpt from a little Regency story which I’ve included at the end of my book. Enjoy!
A REGENCY SHORT STORY
The breakfast room
25 December, 1811
Sitting in his favourite chair, Fitzwilliam Darcy quietly browsed through the paper while sipping his morning coffee. The touch of his wife’s hand on his shoulder interrupted his perusal, and he glanced up, appreciating the mischievous sparkle in her eyes, along with the musical sound of her laughter.
Quickly rising and taking Elizabeth into his arms, he kissed her and asked, “To what do I owe the honour of your teasing ways, my love?”
“Teasing?” She arched a brow in his direction. “I could ask the same of you, my dear husband. Instead I shall simply express gratitude for my very unusual present.”
“Unusual present? Elizabeth, I am sure I do not understand your meaning.”
“Why, I am referring to a partridge in a pear tree now residing in the solarium,” she giggled. “Do you intend to shower me with all of the gifts which are mentioned in that old yule rhyme? If such is the case, I fear we shall have an excess of birds, and Cook will not be happy.”
“Elizabeth, there must be some mistake,” he puzzled. “Though I would have no problem showering you with gifts for twelve days, I assure you I did not send a partridge in a pear tree. Was there no message?”
“No, husband, there was not. I naturally assumed it was from you. Shall we go and take a closer look?”
“With pleasure,” he offered his arm. “I wonder if this is some trick of Richard’s. As a youth, he was known for such pranks.” Darcy continued to elaborate on the merits of his cousin’s mischief while accompanying his wife to the solarium. Entering the room, they were greeted by the screeching cries of the partridge being chased by a footman.
“Walters, what is going on here?”
“Forgive me, Mr. Darcy,” the footman responded while trying to regain his composure. “I was standing watch as Mrs. Darcy instructed when all at once the bird came down from his perch and started fluttering to and fro. I tried to catch him with the intention of restraining him in this box, but to no avail. As you can see, the bird has begun to create a mess with his droppings and has damaged some of the leaves on the potted plants.”
While Walters was speaking, Elizabeth had her own idea of what to do. Moving to a corner table, she quickly removed the items resting on top in order to free the tablecloth.
Mr. Walters, please try using this cloth to subdue the bird.” Five minutes later, the task was accomplished.
I shall take this bird to Cook at once.” Walters bowed and quickly left.
Elizabeth.” Darcy was not happy. “I believe it is time to send Richard a note.”
Oooh! I love the beginning of both of these stories! I am definitely most intrigued to see a modern-day Lizzy working as music teacher! And oh my! Who sent the partridge in a pear tree…is it Richard? Will he send the rest of the gifts mentioned in the song? I cannot wait to continue reading both!
A cappella singing groups are very popular throughout High School and College campuses in the United States. Straight No Chaser, a men’s vocal group from Indiana University, performs their unique “12 Days of Christmas” for one of their first reunion shows in 2008. I’m sure you will love this very creative rendition of the old Yule Carol which is currently plaguing the Darcys in my little Regency Story. Enjoy!
The Twelve Days of Christmas
There you have it! Now it’s your turn to tell me what you think. Please feel free to leave your comments below, as I will be giving away two eBooks of A Holiday to Remember (International) and would love to hear from you. If you have a chance, be sure to check out my Pinterest page where I’ve posted many more fun pictures for each chapter. Happy Holidays and thank you all!
Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red) ♫
~ Connect with Jennifer ~
Today Jennifer brings with her some lovely prizes for me to give away in celebration of her new release!! TWO ebooks of A Holiday to Remember for me to give away to some lucky winners!!! Woot woot!!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, a question, or some love for Jennifer!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Jennifer!
- This giveaway ends November 29th!