At the end of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen wrote:
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort and to have done with all the rest.
I have chosen to pick up that pen and continue the stories of various Austen characters who were at fault in some way in Miss Austen’s novels in my Other Pens Collection of books. In these stories of redemption and reformation, I do not look to dwell on the characters’ guilt and misery so much as help them find a way to overcome their failing and find their own happiness.
This month’s Friday Feature, which is on sale in the KINDLE STORE this weekend, is one of these stories.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Forced to marry. Deeply in love. If only each knew the other’s heart.
A gambler, a profligate and forcibly married to the silly daughter of a country gentleman, no one expected George Wickham to amount to much, nor did they expect him to fall deeply in love with his wife. When that wife takes an unplanned trip in the company of another gentleman, leaving Wickham and her children behind, he will be forced to face his fears and fight for those he holds dear.
When her funds run low, Lydia Wickham chooses to travel to Derbyshire to seek help from her sister. What she finds when her husband arrives to take her home is not the kind of help she expected, but exactly the kind she needs. Will she be able to overcome her shortcomings and prove herself worthy of the one person she cannot bear to disappoint?
Through Every Storm is part of Leenie Brown’s Other Pens Collection of books that picks up the storytelling pen where Jane Austen put it down. If you like well-written stories of sweet redemption, then you will love this story about a couple whom everyone discarded as hopeless finding the help they need to save their love and claim a happily ever after that seemed lost forever.
So, put the kettle on, pick up your copy of Through Every Storm, and step into a sweet romance, set eight years after the close of Pride and Prejudice, that is filled with trials and fears and tinged with the vibrant hues of hope, redemption, and love that is worth fighting for.
And this weekend, January 19-21, 2018, get this story for only $0.99 — but only in the Kindle store
AN EXCERPT FROM Through Every Storm:
Wickham had slept, but it had been fitful at best. He pulled out his watch fob. One more hour, one more hour and they would be on their way. He paced the length of his bedchamber, his stocking clad feet making a soft padding sound as he paced. His boots stood ready by the door; his bag was packed and waiting. Fifteen minutes, fifteen minutes and Denny would join him to break his fast. Five more minutes of pacing and turning over what he needed to do in his mind. He checked his watch one more time; then, he straightened his cravat, slipped into his coat and tugged on his boots before proceeding down the hall to his wife’s room. There, he gave a loud knock before throwing the door open and striding into the room.
Lydia shot up in bed, clutching the blankets to her. “George!” she squealed. “You gave me such a fright. What do you mean disturbing my sleep so early?”
“We leave in less than an hour. If you wish to dress and eat before entering the carriage, I suggest you get out of bed now.” He spun on his heels and strode out of the room, leaving a gaping and sputtering Lydia.
“Good morning, Wickham,” said Denny as they descended the stairs. “I see you have taken to my method of rousing the wicked.” Denny laughed and smacked Wickham on the back.
Wickham smiled. “Seems effective.” He could hear his wife banging about in her room.
Denny and Wickham were the first to enter the breakfast room and hungrily filled their plates from the steaming serving dishes on the sideboard. They were both halfway through their plates and on their second cup of coffee when Lydia stomped into the room.
“Good morning, Lydia. Nice of you to join us,” said Denny.
“As if I had a choice.” Lydia rattled the plates and clanked the serving spoons to show her disgust as she filled her plate.
“You had a choice. Eat or go hungry.” Wickham spread jam on his toast. “If you break the dishes, you will pay for them. I will not. I suggest you swallow your annoyance and start acting like a lady instead of a spoiled child. Good morning, Darcy, Mrs. Darcy.”
Lydia huffed once again and sat her plate down on the table rather heavily while shooting her husband an obvious look of displeasure.
“You are off early this morning?” Darcy asked.
“Yes, there are bills to be paid. Mr. Hamilton is expecting Lydia to report for work this afternoon.”
The cup of tea Lydia was lifting to her lips stopped in mid-air and slowly moved back down to the table. “Mr. Hamilton? Work?”
“You remember Mr. Hamilton, do you not? He is the owner of the inn that you left without paying.” Wickham forced himself to calmly sip his coffee. “Denny and I have made arrangements for you to work off your bill since your allowance seems to have already been spent.”
Wickham finished the last of his toast and coffee. “You will want to hurry if you wish to pack before we leave.”
“Is there not someone to do that for me?”
“No. I have informed Darcy’s housekeeper that her staff have done quite enough for you already. After all, you did arrive unannounced. It is the least you can do.”
Wickham could see Lydia’s ire beginning to bubble up. He steeled himself for the coming storm.
“You want me to pack my own things?”
“And carry them to the carriage.” Wickham’s face was implacable, though, his insides churned.
“Do you wish me to drive the carriage as well?” Lydia was on her feet leaning across the table towards her husband.
“If I thought you could manage it. But, I would like both you and the carriage to return home unharmed.”
Lydia was well and truly beside herself. She stamped her foot and crossed her arms. “And if I do not wish to do those things and work at an inn?”
Wickham pulled a small notebook and pencil from his pocket. He opened it to a clean page and wrote the date.
“What is that?” Lydia demanded.
“And what is it for?” She eyed him warily.
“It is to be an account of your behaviour. We do have a review of your agreement coming in six months. I would like to think that I would remember every detail between now and then, but I do not wish to risk missing some important point. So, what should I write? Shall I write that you refused to accomplish your first task?” Wickham cocked an eyebrow and stared at Lydia.
Lydia flopped into her chair and glared at him.
Wickham held her gaze and tapped his pencil on the page. “I really do need an answer, my dear.”
“Fine. I will pack my own things and carry them down. Happy?” She spat the words at him.
Wickham scratched a note into his journal, then looked at her. “Nothing about this situation makes me happy, Lydia.” He tried to keep the pain he was feeling from tinging his voice, but to those who were listening, it was there. He stood. “I will see to the carriage and horses. We leave on the hour. Be ready.”
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