The first Meryton Press release for 2021 is C. P. Odom’s Determination. We are happy to see it make its way into the world. To celebrate, Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks of Determination. More information will be given after the excerpt. Oh, did I forget to mention there is an excerpt too? Yes? It is the first one for this book, and we hope you will enjoy reading it! 🙂
The cover will be revealed shortly, but first, let’s take a look at the blurb.
“Love at first sight” is a laughable concept in the considered opinion of Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam and never occurs in real life—certainly not in the life of an experienced soldier. In fact, until he observes the smitten nature of his cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy, he doubts that fervent love truly exists. Marriage, after all, is a matter of money, social standing, and property.
But his cousin becomes besotted with Elizabeth Bennet, the lovely but penniless daughter of a Hertfordshire gentleman, and is determined to make her his wife. Unfortunately, emotions overwhelm his good judgment, and he botches an offer of marriage.
When the colonel attempts to untangle the mess, his own world becomes almost as chaotic when he makes the accidental acquaintance of Miss Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s beloved elder sister. Can emotions previously deemed impossible truly seize such a level-headed person as himself? And can impassible obstacles deter a man of true determination?
What do you think of the blurb? Does it pique your interest? It did mine! Now that we’ve read a bit about the book, it’s time to take a look at the front cover.
The front cover “represents” a scene from the book. Here’s C. P. Odom to tell you a bit about the writing of that scene.
Thoughts about the cover and Ch. 26
Chapter 26 is the chapter in which all four of our protagonists, Elizabeth, Jane, Darcy, and Fitzwilliam, go on a picnic in order to get away from Longbourn and the frenzy of Mrs. Bennet, who is maniacally preparing her home for visitors, most especially a peer of the realm (Earl Matlock) and his wife, Lady Matlock.
This chapter was the most difficult chapter to deal with, and I spent more time on it than I did on any other five chapters combined. Many readers will be familiar with this story that I published as fan fiction on the old and defunct Hyacinth Gardens site, which was the place where I read so much fan fiction by many superb authors such as Abigail Reynolds, Jan Hahn, and others. I have to admit that this fan fiction story was more risqué than it should have been, and in my re-write for publication I definitely wanted to portray loving adults who were well aware of the physical side of marriage without being explicit.
So I wrote and re-wrote, overwrote and edited, and labored over this chapter. It was difficult and took an exceedingly long time before I ever submitted it for publication and editing by my editor, Neil McFarlane. But I’m happy with it now, just as I’m happy with many other drastic changes from fan fiction, many suggested by Neil. I hope those who read it are able to enjoy it also.
Are you ready to read the excerpt and see how C. P. Odom resolved his issues with Chapter 26?
Cover excerpt from Ch. 26
Richard sat comfortably, his back against a tree, with Jane close beside him, her legs tucked under her. The two of them talked easily with Jane laughing delightedly at his recollections of humorous episodes from his military experiences. She was obviously very comfortable sitting so close, often touching him on the hand or arm to make a point as if she had been doing so all her life.
He was disappointed, however, that the same was not true for Elizabeth and Darcy . . .
He was not surprised when Elizabeth said, about a quarter of an hour later, “I would like to walk on, perhaps to Oakham Mount. Would you care to accompany me, Mr. Darcy?”
Darcy was quite agreeable and quickly arose to assist her. Richard wondered whether Jane might wish to chaperone her sister, but she remained seated. “I shall never be the walker you are, Lizzy. I would prefer to stay here with Richard. Will you be returning for the noon meal?”
“I am not sure. Perhaps we should divide the bounty and take one of the baskets. Then we might eat when we feel hungry.”
“That is sensible, but take care in your selections—remember how much Hill packed. But I do suggest coming back here before returning to Longbourn so we can all return at the same time. Our mother is likely to be angry that we did not tell her of our plans.”
“Trying to offer more targets and spread her fire, eh?” Richard said cheerfully. “Good military tactics, my love.”
Elizabeth nodded her agreement, and she and Darcy packed a smaller, lighter basket before departing. After they left, Richard looked over at Jane and raised his eyebrows inquisitively. “I wonder if those two might need a chaperone,” he said with a mischievous lift of his eyebrows.
“And if they should?” Jane said lightly before growing serious. “I know Lizzy wishes some time alone with Mr. Darcy without the press of our family and all our visitors. This morning seemed to both of us the perfect opportunity since I wished the same thing with you.”
“Perhaps they should have stayed to provide a chaperone for us,” Richard said teasingly.
“I suppose we could catch up with them if we hurried…”
“No, no, that would be too tiring,” Richard said, never having stirred from his comfortable seat against the tree. “In any case, Darcy is eight and twenty and well aware of the bounds of propriety. If he is hesitant to do anything that might offend your sister, he is unlikely to chance liberties that she did not expressly sanction.”
“Perhaps you might be surprised at what either of the Bennet sisters would expressly sanction,” Jane said softly, her eyes on her hands in her lap. Richard’s eyebrows went up as he wondered about this comment, but Jane waved the thought away.
“Never mind, never mind. It was a frivolous thought, not at all serious.” She looked around at the trees overhead, which let only muted dapples of sunlight through the thick branches. “This is a pretty place, is it not? Very relaxing with the gurgling of the stream and the birds singing in the trees. Lizzy comes here often to be away from the chatter and noise of our sisters and our mother.”
She looked at Richard solemnly for a moment. “Having such a large family has its drawbacks, you know. I believe Lizzy feels those disadvantages more sharply than I do.”
Richard nodded his understanding, reaching out to squeeze her hand while he enjoyed looking into those beautiful eyes of hers. “Perhaps we should discuss other topics than a life you will be leaving behind. I asked Darcy this morning whether he had given any thought to renewing his addresses, but he still seems hesitant, not wishing to rush her into making a decision that he worries will go against him.”
Jane said nothing at first, looking down at his hand. “I still marvel at how much larger your hand is than mine, and I am not a small woman. Also, the calluses on your hands are clearly the result of hard work, yet your touch is as gentle as that of a baby.”
“I shall take care when sliding my hand over your skin when I have you safely in my clutches, dearest—I have learned gentleness along with strength. I should not wish to abrade your skin’s delicacy.”
“That is certainly a relief. I believe I would be a twig in your fingers.” She smiled happily and squeezed his hand again.
“As for what you said about your cousin, I have to say this: I have been keeping Lizzy’s secrets for so long, and she mine, that my first impulse was to evade your question. But that will no longer do, will it? We shall be married in just a few days, and I shall be keeping your secrets from that point.”
“You do not have to say anything if it would cause you to betray a confidence.”
Jane only smiled and shook her head, squeezing his hand again to emphasise her point. “That is not my concern. I am only saying that the changes in our lives will require some getting used to. But I do not believe Lizzy would expect me to keep such secrets from you. So, yes, she has concluded that she and Mr. Darcy would do quite well together, and while she has not said so specifically, I am sure she would give him a favourable reply if he repeated his offer. But please do not share this with him just now. Lizzy knows he is being cautious, and she will eventually say something if his hesitation continues; his desires are plain to see. But she wishes to wait until after we are married. She says our mother is difficult enough with only one daughter formally engaged.”
Richard had to laugh at the image that came to his mind. “Especially since your mother will not have the objections she had to me. Very well—I am relieved for Darcy’s sake, and my lips are sealed. I have no wish to worsen your relations with your mother.”
“Oh, I have got over most of my anger. I am afraid my mother cannot help being the way she is.”
“I never took offence at what she said, dear heart. She is trying to resolve an unpleasant situation, and her desperation drives her to foolishness. Let it go and remember that she loves you.”
“She has much to keep her occupied since you so casually mentioned the social triumph she will accomplish by having an earl and his family visiting her home.”
Jane shook her head in resignation, and she and Richard shared a wry smile at the foibles of both their families.
Jane looked down for a moment before she asked, almost in a whisper, “Richard, I…I am feeling…very…oh, I do not know. Will you hold me? I am all…”
She had no need for further words as Richard lifted her effortlessly onto his lap with her back cradled by his right arm while his left went around her waist and pulled her tightly against him. Her head came naturally to rest on his shoulder, and he heard her sigh in relief as the tension seemed to flow out of her.
“Thank you,” she said softly. “I do not want to…burden you, but I cannot tell you how comforting you are to me. I feel that nothing can go wrong when you are holding me.”
“You could never be a burden, dearest one,” Richard said, luxuriating in the clean, sweet smell of her dark hair under his chin. “I shall hold you as often and for as long as you wish for all of our life together.”
Jane snuggled in even closer at these words. “That sounds like so long now—‘for all of our life together.’ Who could have thought my life would change so much and so quickly?”
Did you enjoy the excerpt? Even though it was difficult for the author to write, I believe he wrote it well. He should be happy with it.
The back cover shows another scene, but you will need to read the book to learn more about it. 🙂
It’s giveaway time. As I mentioned earlier, Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks of Determination. To be entered leave a comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight central time, Saturday, the 16th of January.
Tell us what you think about the excerpt. Did any of you read the story when it was on Hyacinth Gardens? As C. P. Odom said, this published book is much different from the one on fan fiction. We hope you will enjoy it.
Determination is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be auto-delivered to your Kindle on Monday, January 18th. The Blog Tour will begin on Monday, January 18th as well. The schedule with links will be posted on this blog later in the week or over the weekend. There will be more excerpts and giveaways. Be sure to visit each stop.