Good morning, my dear readers. Today, I am thrilled to have Lory Lilian visit with us today to share an excerpt from her new book, “A Man with Faults.” She also wanted to discuss how this book differs from her past stories and who’s to blame for this darker, angst-filled story. I hope you’ll tell us what you think of her new book after you’ve read it!
My first visit to Just Jane 1813 was in January 2016, and it was an opportunity for me to meet one the loveliest people and to visit one of the most delightful places in the JAFF world: Claudine and her blog.
Then last year, Claudine posted the first review of “The Rainbow Promise” and, during a chat, I asked her for constructive feedback. She said: “to be honest, everything was a little too perfect. I would prefer a bit more angst.”
Claudine was the second person who told me that (the other one was Meredith).
So, when I started working on the new story, under the impression of the feedback from two such lovely ladies and valuable bloggers, I said to myself: “let’s do angst”.
Now – for those who do not know me, I have been known in JAFF world for two things: my inclination for hot mush (my signature used to be MAM -must add mush! LOL) and for being a huge angst wimp. Huge!
I had attempted to include angst in one of my stories a few years ago when I wrote “Remembrance of the Past”. Back then, I planned to torment Elizabeth with doubts, jealousy, misunderstandings and so on – but I gave up after four chapters. I just could not do it! There was some angst in RotP, mostly coming from Lady Cassandra and other characters, but Elizabeth and Darcy enjoyed about 400 pages of hot mush, LOL
Back to “A Man with Faults” – the first draft was about 90.000 words and it was really dark. I mean D.A.R.K.! Darcy was still deeply in love with Elizabeth after her harsh rejection; he could not forget her, nor forgive himself for his weakness, and that made him behave like a jerk with Elizabeth. He helped her, protected her, became friendly with her family – but to her, he was harsh, rude, and cold. Then he made a deal with her: “I helped your sister, you must help mine, but do not expect me to be grateful or to treat you as a friend” (something like this). Of course, things improved in time. There was still a slow reconciliation, still an admission of his own errors, still a HEA. But when I finished the first draft and I re-read it, the angst wimp in me cried: “Geeezzz, I hate this story and this Darcy!” That was in December.
So I started from the beginning; the final version is about 125,000 words and – well, hopefully, you will not hate either the story or Darcy. If you do – blame Claudine, LOL!
Here is an excerpt from “A Man with Faults,” that I hope you will enjoy. It is from the middle of the book when Elizabeth and Darcy are staying in an Inn. I won’t say more. Their relationship is still rather cold; they are still very awkward to each other, he is still struggling with his feelings while her feelings are starting to slowly change. The HEA is still far away at this point, but …” evil grin”
Darcy woke almost violently from his tormenting dream. The awakening was so abrupt that he nearly fell from the bed. He looked around in complete panic and realised he was alone in the small room. Of course, she was not there. Of course, it was only another mortifying fabrication of his troubled mind.
He rushed to wash his face then opened the window widely. The rain had stopped—that was the only fact. He opened his shirt as he still felt he could not breathe. A gentle breeze was blowing, and he leant out the window as much as he could, allowing the wind to chill his inner heat.
Everything was dark except for the torches that guarded the inn. To his left on the lower floor, another window was open. He remained still, and his knees weakened as he recognised Elizabeth’s figure wearing nothing but a nightgown, her hair playing in the wind. He wished to withdraw but had not the strength to abandon the bewitching image. When she turned to him, their eyes met; it was too dark for him to read the expression on her face, but she did not avert her gaze. He knew he should say something, or at least wave to her or give the reasonable response of a proper gentleman. But he could not; the taste of her lips and the memory of her scent—though not real, just the result of his imagination—were too vivid to allow him to think rationally. So he just took a step back and closed the window. The room became unbearably warm, and it appeared to shrink, weighing heavily on his shoulders. So he opened the window again but remained away from its frame. Finally, he dared to steal a glance; the window of Elizabeth’s room was closed.
The night was late and dark; the patter of rain had stopped after hours of splashing rhythmically on the window, and it was the perfect, complete silence that awoke Elizabeth. At first, she was confused about her location. She felt herself shivering and wrapped herself in the blankets. But then she became warm and thirsty and went to the small table to pour herself some water.
She glanced back at the large bed with its four pillows. Two of them were not even used. Both the bed and the pillows were too large for her, just as the bed in the smaller chamber was probably too small for Darcy. She should have taken the other room, but he would brook no argument. He wished to be certain she was comfortable; but she was not, and her sleep was restless. The image of him sleeping in the same bed on another night was disturbing. Not unpleasant. Not distressful. Only disturbing, thrilling, stirring. She knew that her thoughts were unreasonable, embarrassing, even shameful, but she could not escape them. Just as she could not escape the recollection of his closeness, his touch, or his scent that had troubled her since dinnertime. She had never known such a storm of feelings from the mere nearness to a man. She could have moved her chair a few inches away to be sure their bodies would not brush against each other. But she did not. He could have done the same if he wished. He was at the end of the table—for him it would have been even easier. And yet, he preferred not to.
What was happening to her? She was there to keep Georgiana company. To take care of her. To provide that sweet girl the peace, comfort, and support she needed. Instead, she was making a fool of herself. She must gather herself and keep her head clear. She had to be more careful. She should avoid being too close to him. Her behaviour was neither proper nor reasonable in his presence.
She turned to the bed again, and a sense of panic enveloped her. Should she go back to sleep? Or perhaps just wait for morning to come?
Elizabeth opened the window, yearning for fresh air, and she breathed deeply the scent of early autumn washed by the rain. There was little to be seen as the moon and the stars were hidden by the clouds. A few torches lit the yard of the inn, their fire flickering with the breeze. A sense of calm enveloped her, and she closed her eyes, bending out over the window frame. Then a shiver ran down her spine, and her heart fluttered for no apparent reason. She opened her eyes and glanced up the dark wall of the building. She startled then remained still, astounded, her gaze frozen. On the upper floor—at a small window lit by the torch burning behind it—stood Darcy. He was looking outside, his white shirt unbuttoned and his hair in disorder. Mesmerised, Elizabeth watched his head slowly turn, his gaze falling upon her and seeming to burn her face. Their eyes met and held for a long, heavy moment; then he gradually retired and closed the window.
She needed time to regain her composure and reluctantly do the same. With hesitant steps, she returned to the bed, lay down, and pulled the blankets around her. A few minutes later, she took one of the extra pillows and embraced it, but the tremor inside her was not to be soothed until dawn.
Isn’t that a wonderful excerpt? Can’t you just feel the romantic tension? I’m about 50% into this book and I am loving it. I hope you do too!
Lory Lilian has generously brought two readers’ choice giveaways for my readers. Readers who comment on this blog post will enter a giveaway to win any eBook by Lory Lilian. Isn’t that fabulous? Comments should be made no later than midnight ET on April 28th. The winner will be announced on this blog on April 29, 2017.
Thank you, Lory Lilian, for visiting my blog, even if you’re throwing some blame my way, LOL, and for your generous giveaways. “A Man with Faults” already has six 5-star reviews on Amazon and has earned a Best Seller badge, so I think readers are already loving this new story!
Visit Amazon to add “A Man with Faults” to your bookshelf.
“A Man with Faults” is also available through KindleUnlimited.
Check out Goodreads to see what your friends are saying about this story.