I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Sneak Peek of One Word From You

Ooh! I'm so excited about the release of Austen in Austin Collection, Volume I, coming in just a few weeks from White Fire Publishing! It comes in paperback with four stories based on Jane Austen's Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. Or, if you prefer, each story is also available individually in  ebook format.

My story, One Word From You, is a project that's dear to my heart. It won the Genesis for Historical Romance in 2013, and was a joy to write alongside my writing buddies from the Inkwell Inspirations blog.

A few fun facts about my novella, One Word From You:
  • My story may be a retelling of Pride & Prejudice with a Texas twist, but it's not just for Austen fans. If you're familiar with P&P, see if you recognize my re-imaginings of Austen's characters...and even bits of dialogue.
  • The Austen Academy mentioned in each novella in the collection is fictional, but other Austin historical landmarks are real.
  • Something else historical that figures into my story? Time zones weren't established in the United States until November, 1883. Prior to that, each city set its own sun time, as did each train station. They hardly ever matched up, which caused a lot of problems.
Curious about the story? Here's a sneak peek!


“My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice


October, 1883

             “If it is indeed a truth universally acknowledged that a bachelor in possession of a lucrative cattle ranch must be in want of a wife, then Mr. Cray will be swapping vows before calving season.” Merriment pulled at Eliza Branch’s lips as she gazed past her parents at the darkness beyond the carriage window. “He doesn’t need our assistance to find a suitable bride.”

            “This is no time for your odd sense of humor, Eliza.” The carriage bumped over a pothole, and Mother sucked in a hissing breath. “This headache!”

            “I’m sorry, Mother. I didn’t mean to upset you. Are you ill?” Eliza bit the finger-seam of her glove and tugged, baring her arm to the evening cool. She cupped her hand over Mother’s smooth cheek. “You don’t have a fever.”

             Mother’s head jerked back. “Still a hoyden after months of finishing school. Can no one persuade you to stop undressing with your teeth?”

             “I didn’t rip the seam this time.” Eliza patted Mother’s knee. “Let’s turn back home. The Hales will understand if you’re too ill to attend the gala.”

            “You mother’s fine,” Father drawled. “Hot with determination, is all.”

            “No thanks to you, George.” Mother’s eyes flashed glossy as ink in the moonlight. “Now Eliza must wed Hezekiah Cray with too much haste for a proper society wedding.”

            “I—what?” A nauseating sensation coiled in Eliza’s stomach, just as it did during her recurring nightmare of arriving tardy for a French exam at her finishing school, The Jeannette C. Austen Academy for Young Ladies. In those dreams, she couldn’t recognize the conjugations on the chalkboard. But Mother’s perplexing words boded a far worse fate than poor marks.

              “Marry,” Mother reiterated, as if she were about to spell the word. “You’re nineteen. Plenty old enough.”

              Eliza stifled a snort. She’d marry Mr. Cray, with his oily black hair, overlong mustache, and unsavory habits when his cattle sang in the church choir. “He gambles, Mother.”

            “He can afford to. He has the touch of Midas with livestock.”

            “And I do not.” Father sighed and stared out the window at the dark street.

            Eliza’s mouth filled with fearful questions, cold and metallic as coins on her tongue. “What’s happened?”

            “The cattle are diseased.” Mother massaged her temples. “Your father bred good stock with feral cows to produce some new kind of Longhorn. But he failed. The drought hasn’t helped, either. We must sell the ranch to keep the house here in town.”

            Eliza touched Father’s arm, willing him to look at her. “It’s not so bad, is it, Father?”

            He shrugged, but whether his action bespoke apology or resignation, she couldn’t tell.

Meet Will Delacourt, my Texas twist on Mr. Darcy, in the book!


Come back next Monday to learn how to enter to win a copy!

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