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Monday, 25 September 2017

These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston - Blog Tour - Colonel Fitzwilliam Vignette and Giveaway

Blog Tour - These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
I'm very happy to be welcoming Nicole Clarkston back to the blog. Nicole has written a story which is proving very popular - I just took a look on Goodreads and it's rating at over 4.5 stars, with over 50 ratings, which is pretty impressive feedback.

Let me share the book description with you, and then I'll hand over to Nicole for a vignette, which you won't find in the book.

Book Cover - These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
Book Description:

An abandoned bride
A missing man
And a dream that refuses to die...

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy's death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past.

An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

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Full Book Cover - These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
Nicole was so kind as to offer me a menu of choices for a vignette, and I chose something which I thought would be low angst (because I'm a wimp), a subject that I thought would prove popular with you, my lovely blog visitors and something that I thought would be apt, bearing in mind the characters on the back cover. Yes, I am pleased to tell you that Nicole has written a vignette about Colonel Fitzwilliam!

Let me hand over to Nicole without further ado. Enjoy reading this, I know I did :)

Vignette - Fitzwilliam's Wedding Day

This vignette explores Richard and Amália's wedding day, a scene which was not included in the book. It appears just before the epilogue in sequence. I came to care deeply about this couple, and I hope you will enjoy their Happily Ever After.

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Retired Colonel Richard Andrew Fitzwilliam, Viscount Matlock, spread trembling fingers and smoothed them down the front of his coat. “That will do, Davis,” he dismissed his valet.

“Sir,” the man dipped a deferential head. He began to step away, then turned back with something.

“Sir, his lordship had this sent up for you this morning.”

Richard’s eyes had locked to one target—the reflection of the brass button nearest the top of his coat—and his peripheral vision had faded for just a moment. “Pardon? What have you there?”

The valet produced a small, white envelope. As Richard accepted it, he bowed his retreat. “If that is all, sir, I will retire now.”

Richard was fingering the perfectly smooth edge of the paper, the crimson seal which bore the Earl of Matlock’s crest, and he had to break his attention once more. “Oh, yes, thank you, Davis.”

“And sir, if I may be so bold,” Davis drew his master’s gaze one last time, “congratulations, sir.”
Richard felt a tight breath begin to uncoil within his breast. He released it, slowly, and then another.

“Thank you, Davis.”

The valet disappeared, and Richard turned to inspect the cut of his coat one more time in the mirror. Why he cared, none could have told. Aye, he was a military man, and therefore his dress was always impeccable, but he was no dandy. But today… today should be perfect. It would be some minutes still before he was wanted, and beads of sweat began to break out upon his brow. Was he really about to do this? Could he truly dare so? Moreover, could he ask it of her?

To distract a mind which had begun to scramble, he slid a finger under the envelope’s seal and broke it. His father’s words sprang from the crisp page, and he began to blink.

Richard,

I would speak one last time before the events of this day have played out. Well do you know the trials and struggles you invite. I cautioned you of them, repeatedly, when you declared your intent to set out upon this course. I would never have ventured so myself, and in former days, I would have spent my last breath warning you off.

I shall no longer do so. You are made of sterner stuff than that, my boy, and no words of persuasion or threat that I might speak would serve to divert you. Therefore, I offer you my full support, whatever that may mean.  Your mother and I are agreed; she will be a daughter to us.

My warmest congratulations and all the pride of my heart go with you today, my son.

JF

Richard folded the note carefully, a peculiar stinging sensation clouding his eyes as he tucked it into his breast pocket. His hand no longer trembled.

He drew a long breath and gave himself one last inspection in the mirror. Almost time. Three seconds later, just as he had expected, a knock sounded upon his door. He smiled. “Come in, Darcy.”

His cousin opened the door, but he was not alone. “You were expecting me?”

Charles Bingley stood just behind, a laughing smile upon his face. “Wedding jitters, Darcy. His nerves are all on edge! You remember how it was; you were twisted into knots yourself.”

Darcy glanced mildly at his friend. “I would hardly characterise it so.”

“You made your valet tie your cravat at least four times!”

Darcy chose to ignore Bingley’s accusation and stepped near to his cousin. “Are you holding up well, Richard?”

“I will be bloody relieved to have this day behind me, and to board the ship tomorrow!”

“I would imagine so,” Darcy smiled. He took Richard’s hand with his right, and rested his left on his cousin’s shoulder. “Congratulations, Richard. She is a remarkable lady. I might go so far as to confess that you have found the second finest woman in all the world.”

“Third!” laughed Bingley. “But she is still far better than you deserve,” he continued with a wink.

“She will make a fine countess.”

“She could be a washer woman for the regiment, and I think I would be content.” Richard accepted Bingley’s tease with a tight smile. “Indeed, I believe I would be far more at ease.”

Darcy frowned. “You are not the first of the ton to marry a Catholic. Society is beginning to change, Richard. It may be years before we see a full acceptance of those of that faith, but we shall never again see the bloody days of former centuries.”

“Bloody days! You are a great one for encouraging the man, Darcy!” Bingley protested. “I say, the lady will win over the ton on her own merits, for I scarcely ever saw such a charming creature.”

“It is that which may work against her,” Richard answered. “My mother has kept me apprised of the string of jealous mothers and ‘spurned’ ladies who have attempted to storm her drawing room. In the absence of vice, the presence of quality is sufficient grounds to condemn a lady, in these circles.”

“Elizabeth and I will do all we can to support you,” Darcy offered. “And there are others as well. Lady Malvern, for example. I spoke with her son not two days ago, and he mentioned the matter.”

“What of your future father-in-law?” Bingley wondered. “You said that he had been unable to come at the last moment?”

Richard sighed. “It was unavoidable. I would have preferred that Amália’s father could present her properly and publicly offer her his blessing, but perhaps it is for the best that he is not here. We journey to Portugal on the morrow, and they are to return with us in a month. That fact is public knowledge.”

“I say, you have nothing to trouble you, old boy. You will see, all these concerns will have been for naught.”

Richard smiled, a slightly bolder expression than the hesitant one he had offered a moment earlier.

“Thank you, Bingley.”

Darcy offered him his hand once more in congratulation. “I will be wanted in the other carriage. I will take my leave now.”

~

Darcy returned to his own home, which was a scant two blocks away, and found all the ladies in readiness. Elizabeth greeted him in the entry; sparkling warm eyes making his heart flip as they always did. “Will Richard survive the morning, do you think?”

Darcy ignored the maid standing nearby and bestowed a light kiss upon his wife’s cheek. “It would be a pity if he does not, for I have found the most rewarding parts of marriage come after the ceremony.”

She pinned him with that arch smile. “I shall have to enquire about those rewarding parts later. Amália’s maid sent word down that she was ready. Shall we?”

The Darcy carriage rolled in all estate to the church, bedecked in wedding finery and drawn by a foursome of prancing greys. The bride was nearly silent through the short journey, but a warmth glowed upon her countenance which Darcy had, in satisfaction, seen grow over these past months.

The terror of the past had begun to slip from her, that flicker of fear she had once carried now dead in her eyes. In its place had blossomed an inspired hope—the conviction that what she had once despaired of had finally come to pass. She gazed now out the carriage window as they drew up, as if searching for the living reason for that hope among the assembly.

“Madam,” he offered her his hand as he assisted her from the carriage.

She looked to him with a quick smile, a girlish blush, and quickly took his hand. Elizabeth and Georgiana had ridden with the Bingleys, and now it was only they two of the wedding party who remained outdoors.

Amália’s hand clenched tightly upon Darcy’s arm when the church doors opened. He sensed, rather than saw, her eyes roving the pews, searching for frowning faces. “Courage, madam,” he whispered.

He felt her strides lengthen once more, heard a sharp intake of breath, and then, “Thank you.” Her chin hitched and all hesitation vanished the moment her eyes locked with those of her beloved.

Darcy released the bride to her prospective husband and retired, taking his seat beside his own wife. Elizabeth sat tall and poised, elegant in all the proper ways without looking pretentious. Neither her expression nor her posture altered when she whispered, “Richard is not listening to the rector.”

“Nor does any groom,” Darcy answered back in like tones, his lips scarcely moving. “His mind has leapt about twelve hours forward.”

She prodded him sharply with her elbow. “Let us hope he is more gentlemanly than some others have been before him.”

Darcy turned to her in startled offence, but she merely arched her brows in serene approval of the proceedings at the front of the church. Darcy narrowed his eyes, helpless to do aught but enjoy her easy provocation of all his sensibilities. Indeed, marriage had softened him, yet in essentials, her influence had honed and sharpened his sense of being until he felt himself a new creation—one ever growing and experiencing the riches of life to the fullest. A tiny wrinkle appeared at the corner of Elizabeth’s mouth as he gazed at her, promising that he might make whatever retorts and defences of himself he pleased… later.

Darcy turned his attention back to the ceremony. In short order, the new couple were signing the registry and were being hailed as Viscount and Viscountess Matlock. Amália, petite and almost lost amidst the heraldry and opulence of her new station, raised adoring eyes to her husband. Darcy felt a trembling in his breast—a welling up of feeling, similar to the joy he felt whenever he held his own beloved. Pride, delight, and a sense that all was as it ought to be, joined with the glittering satisfaction now glowing upon Richard’s face.

Darcy clasped Elizabeth’s hand, and felt her warm grip answer his own. What completion and perfection he had found in his own marriage, his treasured cousin would also know for himself. As the new couple returned down the aisle, arm in arm, Richard’s dancing eyes found his. Darcy nodded, a small acknowledgement. Richard’s attention turned back to the woman who now owned his life, and they walked forward, together unto the end of their days.

Author Bio:

Author Nicole ClarkstonNicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

Contact Info: (Link is embedded in the name)


Buy Links:


Buy Links for Nicole’s other books:

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Amazon:


Giveaway Time

Book Cover - These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
Nicole is kindly giving away ebooks of These Dreams to international entrants. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter.



Blog Tour Schedule:

Blog Tour - These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston
09/19   So little time…; Guest Post, Excerpt, Giveaway
09/20   My Jane Austen Book Club; Vignette, GA
09/21   From Pemberley to Milton; Review, GA
09/22   Interests of a Jane Austen Girl; Review, Excerpt, Giveaway
09/23   Just Jane 1813; Review, GA
09/24   My Vices and Weaknesses; Excerpt, GA
09/25   Babblings of a Bookworm;  Guest Post or Vignette, GA
09/26   Diary of an Eccentric; Review, Giveaway
09/27   Half Agony, Half Hope; Review, Excerpt
09/28   Darcyholic Diversions; Author Interview, GA
09/29   My Love for Jane Austen; Charcter Interview, GA
09/30   Margie’s Must Reads; Guest Post, Excerpt, GA
10/01   Savvy Verse and Wit; Review, GA
10/02   Austenesque Reviews; Character Interview, GA
10/03   Obsessed with Mr. Darcy; Review, GA
10/04   From Pemberley to Milton; Guest Post, GA



46 comments:

  1. Loved the vignette. Can't wait to read and discover more about the Col. and Amalia's relationship.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Darcybennett! I was happy that Nicole gave me such a lovely vignette to share with my blog visitors.

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Darcybennett!

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  3. Oh!! What a truly heartwarming excerpt! I just loved it!!
    To think of Richard being as happily married and settled as Darcy and Bingley is just what our collective hearts crave!
    I've heard great things about this book and despite the angstometer being set quite high,I'm looking forward to discovering how everything is happily resolved!!
    Best of luck with this book,Nicole! 😊
    Cheers,Ceri,for such a lovely post!

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    1. I promise it will be okay! Would I lie? ;-) (Answer: Yes, I'm an author, I lie for a living, but I'm not lying right now.)

      I loved Richard so much in this book. He has become quite the hero though Fandom, something Jane Austen probably never saw coming, but I can't help but think she would approve.

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    2. I am a little frightened by the potential angst too, Mary, but other readers have said that it's bearable!

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  4. Thanks for such a great post, Ceri! I believe you picked a perfect vignette. It is such a lovely one, Nicole. Made me feel warm inside. I was smiling for all the love being felt by the Richard and Darcy. Excellent! Thank you, ladies.

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    1. Bros to the end! What better fortune can a man have than finding happiness with his true love? Why, that his dearest friends also find such, and their wives get along.

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    2. As soon as Nicole offered me a post to do with the Colonel I knew that was the one I wanted to be able to share with you all. Glad you enjoyed it, Janet!

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  5. Thanks for hosting Ceri. I loved, Loved, LOVED this book. And I love Nicole Clarkston's work. Yep... write it and we will read it. That is a promise. Blessing on the success of this book Nicole. I loved it.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne! It is so much fun chatting with people who love these characters as much as I do. It keeps my fingers tapping away!

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    2. What a fantastic comment, Jeanne, I love your enthusiasm!

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  6. I'm reading all these amazing reviews and I want to read it right now but at the same time I'm thinking I should make sure I've got several uninterrupted days in a row to read it! (I'm a slow reader!)

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    1. Woohoo, Brenda! I hope you enjoy it!

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    2. That sounds like a good plan to me, Brenda. If I am expecting something to be a bit angsty, it's much easier if I am able to read it as quick as possible!

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  7. This book is absolutely amazing down to the very last sentence!! Get it, read it, and LOVE IT!

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    1. Thank you, Leah! You made my day :-)

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    2. What fantastic praise! Glad you enjoyed it, Leah!

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  8. Love Nicole's work and am so super excited to read her new book!

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    1. Enjoy, Priscilla! Thank you for your support of the tour :-D

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    2. I hope you enjoy it when you read it, Priscilla!

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  9. I had tears in my eyes several times reading the above vignette. I know this will be an excellent book and I have enjoyed all her other books, also. I have been saving the pleasure of reading it until I have a day free from other commitments as I know it is long and full of angst. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Have chocolate on hand, because... well, because chocolate! I hope you enjoy it, Sheila.

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    2. Thanks for commenting, Sheila. I am glad you enjoyed the vignette, and hope you enjoy the book :)

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  10. Oh-My-Gosh!!! Nicole... after having read 'These Dreams' I am so moved at this side pre-epilogue short. OMG!! I loved our dear Colonel in the main story and to now see his happy day... that pleased me to no end. I always love a good epilogue and was excited to read what happened with his life. Now you have given us a glimpse of his joyous day. Yeah!! Thank you for sharing it with us. Thanks Ceri for hosting today. Blessings my friends.

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    1. I'd marry the colonel.... Thank you for stopping by, Jeanne!

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    2. Thanks Jeanne. I am so glad Nicole gave me the opportunity to share a Colonel Fitzwilliam scene with you all.

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  11. Lovely. Thank you for sharing the scene.

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  12. Thank you! I love the Colonel! I might love him even more in this book!

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  13. I absolutely loved this book!!! Not only the fabulous cover (front/back) but the depth and breadth of this book was so much more than I ever imagined! Yes, Jane Austen would have loved this Colonel!

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    1. Thank you for the comment about the cover, I am really proud of this one. Janet outdid herself! I was biting my nails when I hit 70k words and the story was just getting rolling, so I'm glad it didn't scare you off, Carole!

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    2. What a lovely comment, Carole, it must be wonderful for Nicole to receive such praise. I love the cover too, and I particularly wanted to include it in this post as the Colonel features on the back.

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  14. I definitely love the vignette and wish it were included in the book. I can't wait to find out more about Amália. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming and memorable wedding, Ceri and Nicole.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, Luthien! Perhaps I will have to put out a "revised" edition of the Kindle ;-)

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    2. Thanks Luthien, I am glad you enjoyed it.

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  15. Always love more page time from Colonel Fitzwilliam!

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    1. Darcy and Fitzwilliam... like coffee (or wine) and chocolate! What a team!

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    2. Glad we could oblige Becky!

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  16. Thanks for the delightful excerpt, Nicole. What a beautiful addition to a wonderful story! I loved everything about this book, the depth of emotion, the amazing roller-coaster plot, the Portuguese connection and Nicole's effort to get every detail right (you must have had such fun with your consultant, looking at it from all angles, with the magnifying glass!) and last but by no means least the wonderful writing style. Best wishes, Nicole, and lots of inspiration!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Joana, what wonderful praise!

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  17. I loved this story and the amazing rollercoaster ride it takes one on with the surprising dips and turns throughout. A definite must read from a talented author. Looking forward to her next story. The vignette is so sweet. I love it.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the vignette, Debbie! When Nicole suggested one featuring the Colonel I immediately knew that was the one to go for as he is very popular with so many readers.

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