Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Blog Tour: A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity by Amy D'Orazio - with giveaway!

I am thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for Amy D'Orazio's release, A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. My thanks also goes to Claudine Pepe for inviting me to take part.

"Is not the very meaning of love that it surpasses every objection against it?

Jilted. Never did Mr. Darcy imagine it could happen to him. 

But it has, and by Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who first hated and rejected him but then came to love him—he believed—and agree to be his wife. Alas, it is a short-lived, ill-fated romance that ends nearly as soon as it has begun. No reason is given. 

More than a year since he last saw her—a year of anger, confusion, and despair—he receives an invitation from the Bingleys to a house party at Netherfield. Darcy is first tempted to refuse, but with the understanding that Elizabeth will not attend, he decides to accept. 

When a letter arrives, confirming Elizabeth’s intention to join them, Darcy resolves to meet her with indifference. He is determined that he will not demand answers to the questions that plague him. Elizabeth is also resolved to remain silent and hold fast to the secret behind her refusal. Once they are together, however, it proves difficult to deny the intense passion that still exists. Fury, grief, and profound love prove to be a combustible mixture. But will the secrets between them be their undoing?"

Good morning, Sophie. Thank you for hosting me here at your lovely blog, Laughing with Lizzie. It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to share a vignette that I’ve written just for your readers. This vignette is not from the time period described within the book. This story takes place in April 1816 when the Darcy have been married under two years. Darcy made Elizabeth a promise during their engagement that he would always cut a bouquet of roses and place them in her bedchamber in the morning.

For nearly two years, Elizabeth Darcy woke to fresh-cut roses in her bedchamber whenever she was at Pemberley. Sometimes red, sometimes pink; sometimes from the garden and otherwise from the hothouse. Large arrangements, small arrangements, even posies draped in jewels on her first anniversary of marriage!

But today there was nothing.

Darcy was absent from her bed—perhaps he had slept longer than usual and had just now gone to pick them for her? She resolved to pretend to sleep when he returned so that he might have the pleasure of seeing her eyes opening to them.

She soon heard his footsteps in the hall and hurriedly buried herself back in the covers. Seconds later the door opened, and he stepped in. She opened her eyes the merest slit to see him, trusting in her lashes to conceal her gaze. 

He was empty handed and looked down at her with a wry expression on his face. “Mrs Darcy, you fool no one with those pretend snores.”

She laughed and sat up. “I did not snore!”

“You might well have! It might have persuaded me more. In any case, do you intend to lie abed all day? I must ride to Matlock later and need to get an early start. I hoped I might have the pleasure of your company at the breakfast table.”

So no roses. It was a queer little disappointment to see their tradition begin to stumble. But of course it did not signify. She knew her husband loved her, and it was most likely he had merely forgotten them today. Forgotten or been too busy…it said nothing of his affection for her.

“I am glad you are leaving early,” she said. “I think we may expect rain later.”

“In April, one can expect rain nearly every day,” he teased. “It is only the sunshine that surprises us.”

“In any event, I have not yet dressed so perhaps you would do best to begin without me.” She knew how he was when he travelled. Delays vexed him exceedingly.

“No, no. Your maid is waiting for you in your dressing room. I will await you in our sitting room.”

Such ceremony! She laughed. “Please, dear, do go on without me. I would not like to make you wait.”

“I am afraid I shall insist. But pray do not tarry.”

It seemed there was nothing for it but to remove herself from her bed and begin the day. Her maid attacked her with curious haste, bustling her into the many layers of attire with such alacrity that Elizabeth cried out, laughingly, “Are we in some sort of race?”

The maid, shamefaced, apologised and slowed her pace, giving Elizabeth more time to consider her lack of roses. It was April of course, and the flowers in the hothouse were less abundant. Perhaps the gardeners needed the cuttings to begin the outdoor gardens?

Darcy was likely quite anxious about his business at Matlock as well. No doubt something to do with Colonel Fitzwilliam who had returned from the war in Upper Canada seriously injured.

Nevertheless, Darcy’s habit of placing roses in her bedchamber could not have been expected to endure forever. Would she be seventy and still expect him to bring her roses? Not seventy, but I suppose I did expect that, having endured thus far, it might have lasted a bit longer.

But she would not repine over such things, nor would she indulge in creating a tempest in her teacup. Her husband loved her, and she did not require roses to know it.

He waited for her in the sitting room, the only sign of his impatience was the way he lightly tapped one finger against his leg. “Ah! Looking as handsome as you ever have, my darling wife.”

“You say that as if we have been married an eternity.” She smiled up at him as she slid her arm into his but he said nothing, only smiling at her as they descended the stair and began to walk towards the dining hall—not the usual breakfast room they used but the one that was much larger and had a dining table that would seat forty people.

“Shall we not go to the breakfast room?”

“I think not. I have a little something arranged in here.”

“Oh? Is there some occasion?”

“Only an anniversary”

“Anniversary?” Elizabeth stopped short. “Sir, I am loath to inform you that it shall be several months until we may celebrate two years of marriage.”

“Not that anniversary.” They had reached the dining room, and a footman moved to open the door. Darcy dismissed the man with a nod, and he bowed, leaving them.

Darcy turned to Elizabeth. “Five years ago on this day, I believed I had the right to declare myself to you, to tell you I loved you. Indeed, I dare say I had even the foolish arrogance to suppose you were likewise attached to me.”

“Five years since…” Elizabeth did some quick calculation in her head. “Since that night at Hunsford parsonage! Can it be five years! How the time did fly!”

“Indeed it did. The time has been short, though the journey from where we came is long. It is almost too much to believe when I think back on it.”

“We were different people then. I scarcely remember being that girl who thought herself so clever to dislike you so.”

“Having recollected on those days, you must allow me to tell you this. I am privileged to be with you today and to be able to profess my ardent devotion to you having the superior knowledge of what it is to love you. So I shall repeat those words that I said back then, knowing now that I at last understand them.”

“What did you say then?”

He smiled mysteriously then opened the door, leading her to the dining table on which was spelt, in rose-petals:

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

“You did not, I hope, miss your posy today? I think I put it to good use.”

Elizabeth could not answer for a moment, her heart too full as she looked down on the words that she remembered so well, words that she had reflected on often herself.

“This is much better than any posy,” she said softly.

There were some petals arranged in the shape of a heart. She looked him and asked, “May I?” He nodded.

There weren’t enough petals nor enough space to spell more than a few words, so she thought carefully before she set to work.

“And I, you.”

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.  
She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.
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8 eBooks of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity are being given away by Meryton Press and the giveaway is open to international readers. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on February 21 – until midnight ET on March 8, 2018.

Terms and conditions:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My thanks again goes to Amy for this adorable vignette! My thanks also to Claudine for setting up this tour.

I wish Amy all the best with this release as well as any stories in the future!

A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity Tour Schedule

February 21 More Agreeably Engaged/ Book Review & Giveaway

February 22 From Pemberley to Milton/ Book Review & Giveaway

February 23 Austenesque Reviews/ Guest Post & Giveaway

February 24 My Vices and Weaknesses / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

February 25 My Love for Jane Austen/ Vignette & Giveaway

February 26 Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway

February 27 Savvy Verse and Wit / Guest Post & Giveaway

February 28 Laughing with Lizzie / Vignette Post & Giveaway

March 1 So Little Time / Excerpt Post & Giveaway

March 2 Of Pens and Pages/ Book Review & Giveaway

March 3 Liz’s Reading Life / Author Interview

March 4 Just Jane 1813 / Book Review & Giveaway

March 5 Diary of an Eccentric/ Guest Post & Giveaway

March 6 Margie’s Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway