Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What Are You Reading? ~ April 14, 2021

* * Post contains affiliate links. * *

Hey there, my friends! It's been a long time since I did a What Are You Reading post! I don't know if I'm going to be consistent in doing these, but I thought if I don't get started again, I won't ever get started! Lol! 

What are you Reading? Let me know what your current read is, what you recently finished reading, and what you plan on reading next!

Current Read

I'm currently reading Traces of Guilt* by Dee Henderson. This cold case mystery has me hooked! So far, I haven't been able to solve the mystery myself. There are so many possible ways it could go. I'm also a fan of all the characters in the story.  

Recently Finished

I recently finished reading Shadow and Bone* by Leigh Bardugo. I've heard so many good things about this story, and I wanted to read it before the Netflix show comes out. It didn't really live up to the hype for me. It was good, but I didn't love the protagonist. So, I'm not sure if I'm going to continue with the series. Maybe if the show is good, I'll pick it up again. ~ 3.5 stars.

I also listened to the audiobook of They Went Left* by Monica Hesse. I really enjoyed this story. It follows Zofia Lederman after she has been liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. After spending a couple of months in a hospital, she sets out to find her little brother. It was interesting to see what life was like for Zofia as she tries to piece her life and memories together. ~ 4.5 stars

This is the second book I've read by this author. Both were set during WWII. I think she does a great job researching her books.

What's next?

I plan on reading a book my daughter lent me, The Girl He Used to Know* by Tracey Garvis Graves. It looks good!

*Disclaimer: Links to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

On a personal note, I have some fantastic news! I recently became a grandma! One of my sons and his wife had a beautiful baby boy. He was born almost 3 weeks ago. 

He's only a few days old in this picture!

Are you reading anything good? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, March 8, 2021

A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright ~ Blog Tour ~ My Review

Hello, my friends! I'm so excited to be part of A Captain for Caroline Gray Blog Tour! I really wanted to read this one, and I'm so glad I did!

"An unconventional woman finds herself at home at sea in this stirring Regency from Julie Wright…This adventure is sure to entice fans of historical romance."— Publishers Weekly

A Captain for Caroline Gray
by Julie Wright

Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Pages: 336
Received: I received a copy of the book for my honest opinion.
Rating: 4 stars

Regency London 

Caroline Gray's third season in London society ends as badly as her first two—no marriage proposal, no suitor, not even a glimmer of an interested prospect. She suspects it's because she is far too quick to speak her mind to men who are put off by her forthright opinions, her eager intellect backed by a formal education, and her unconventional ideas about the future. She is far more daring than demure to suit the taste of her class. Besides, Caroline thinks there will always be next season to find a husband. 

However, her family's dwindling income leaves Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: a one-way ticket to sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend waits. If the match doesn't work, Caroline cannot return home. 

Captain Thomas Scott loves the thrill of the open sea, and as commander of one of the ships of the Fishing Fleet, he ferries scores of young English girls to the shores of India to find husbands. The voyages pay well, but he struggles to understand why families would allow young women to be matched with total strangers so far away. 

The trips have always been routine and uneventful—until this trip's first night's dinner with one Miss Caroline Gray. She engages in a lively political conversation, presenting opposing viewpoints to the conventionally opinionated gentlemen at her table. Captain Scott is secretly amused and delighted at her boldness, not to mention quite drawn to her beauty. 

The rest of the passengers are shocked by her behavior and Caroline finds herself an outcast, suffering harsh judgments from the other passengers. However, she finds an unlikely ally in Captain Scott which quickly draws them closer. 

Both know an arranged marriage awaits Caroline at the end of their voyage, yet the attraction between them is undeniable. Caroline will have to decide if she will honor her mother's wishes and marry a man in India whom she has never met, thus securing a future for her and her mother, or be brave enough to throw convention to the wind and commit to love a sea captain. He may be enchanted by her bold and unconventional ways, but will his love and admiration last?
My Review

Faced with the harsh reality of being a spinster and being passed around to relatives that would take her in or going to India to meet a man to marry - Caroline chooses the adventure of going to India.

I was fascinated that this was a thing. I mean, I knew about mail order brides of the U.S., but I didn’t realize that women would do something similar in England. It makes sense, though. The ratio of men to women at this time was low. They were called “Fishing Fleet women” who would brave the seas and unknown diseases to find husbands. 

I really enjoyed Caroline’s time aboard the ship, along with the other passengers and crew. Learning what life was like in India for those new brides was so interesting! I loved it!

I truly loved Caroline - She’s brave, curious, and intelligent. She enjoyed talking about politics and learning how things worked. Her beauty attracted gentlemen, but her outspokenness and honest opinions would turn them away.

A Captain for Caroline Gray is a wonderful adventure and a fine proper romance! I would highlight recommend it!

FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC of the story from the publisher for my honest review.

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FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author

Julie Wright wrote her first book when she was fifteen and has written over twenty novels since then. She
is a Whitney Awards winner for best romance with her books Cross My Heart and Lies Jane Austen Told Me, and she is a Crown Heart recipient for the novel The Fortune Café.

She has one husband, three kids, one dog, and a varying amount of fish, frogs, and salamanders (depending on attrition). She loves writing, reading, hiking, playing with her kids, and watching her husband make dinner.

She hates mayonnaise.

Connect with Julie Wright

"A charming historical romance in which smarts and sass are vindicated."— Foreword Reviews

"…a delightful, not exactly traditional Regency romance. Teen readers will enjoy this adventurous journey with its proactive heroine and exotic settings."— Booklist, starred review

Join the virtual blog tour of A CAPTAIN FOR CAROLINE GRAY (Proper Romance Regency), Julie Wright’s highly acclaimed historical romance novel March 1 – 28, 2021. Over forty popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with excerpts, spotlights, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set aboard an English ship bound for India. 

Blog Tour Schedule

March 01 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
March 02 Storeybook Reviews (Review)
March 02 Lu Reviews Books (Review)
March 02 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
March 03 Probably at the Library (Excerpt)
March 03 Our Book Confessions (Review) 
March 03 Lady with a Quill (Review) 
March 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Review) 
March 04 Fire & Ice (Review)
March 05 Literary Time Out (Review) 
March 05 Among the Reads (Review)
March 06 Books and Socks Rock (Review) 
March 07 Encouraging Words (Excerpt)
March 08 So Little Time… (Review) 
March 09 For Where Your Treasure Is (Review) 
March 10 Laura's Reviews (Review) 
March 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
March 11 Heidi Reads (Review) 
March 12 Reading with Emily (Review)
March 13 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review) 
March 14 Silver Petticoat Reviews (Excerpt)
March 15 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
March 16 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)
March 16 Greenish Bookshelf (Review) 
March 17 Inkwell Inspirations (Review)
March 18 A Darn Good Read (Review) 
March 19 Relz Reviewz (Review)
March 20 Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review)
March 21 Jorie Loves a Story (Review)
March 22 From Pemberley to Milton (Review) 
March 23 Gwendalyn's Books (Review) 
March 24 Captivated Reading (Review) 
March 24 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Excerpt)
March 25 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)
March 26 Randi Loves 2 Read (Review)
March 27 Library of Clean Reads (Review) 
March 28 The Bibliophile Files (Review)

Many thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress @ Austenprose for organizing and including me on this tour, and to Shadow Mountain Publishing for the advanced copy of the book!

Did you all know about "Fishing Fleet women", or was that just me? Haha! 😆 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Interrupted Plans Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm so happy to have Brigid Huey visiting here today with an excerpt from her new novel Interrupted Plans! Looks like a fantastic story! And don't forget to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the page! 

Interrupted Plans
by Brigid Huey

Suppose Elizabeth Bennet never visited Pemberley… 

It is October of 1812. Elizabeth Bennet and her family have seen dramatic changes in the past few months—none of them welcome. Her sister Jane needs a fresh start, and Elizabeth is no less eager to leave behind the pain and confusion of not accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy has not seen Elizabeth since he offered for her—and she adamantly refused him. When she appears in London, he is determined to gain her friendship and make amends. When a carriage mishap throws them together, Darcy does all he can to demonstrate his changed behavior. 

Though their renewed acquaintance seems to be growing into a genuine friendship, a family secret constrains Elizabeth. As she falls deeper in love with the man she rejected, does she dare tell him the truth?

Thank you, Candy, for having me on your blog today! I am so excited to share the next excerpt from my new novel, Interrupted Plans. I love sharing scenes from my novels, as I really do believe it’s the best way to get a feel for the story.

Interrupted Plans takes place after Darcy has proposed, but in my story, Elizabeth never travels to Pemberley. In this scene, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are dancing together, having come upon each other unexpectedly at a ball.

     “I do believe history is in danger of repeating itself, sir.”

     “Is it?”

     “We have been dancing these five minutes without speaking a word. Surely, we must have some conversation?”

     “Of course. I am, as ever, at your service.” Her head snapped up at these words, and her gaze was filled with scrutiny. “Let us speak of something pleasant. You mentioned the Lake Country while we were with your aunt and uncle. Are you travelling directly there? Or will you tour the whole of the North Country?”

She blinked at him—surprised, no doubt, by his rapid change in conversation. She recovered herself in a moment, however, and smiled a little. “Yes, we are to go directly to the Lakes. We are excited to embark on this next adventure. Jane is quite ready to leave London, and I am no less eager.”

     “How will you occupy yourself on the long journey north?”

     The dance separated them for a moment, but when they came together once more, Elizabeth answered readily. “With books, of course, sir.”

     “An excellent choice. I find I am able to read in a carriage and find enjoyment in passing the time that way. Georgiana, unfortunately, cannot read as we travel and is obliged to look at the scenery.”

     “An admirable alternative. I have heard that the country in the north is uncommonly fine.”

     “It is, indeed—although I am, perhaps, a trifle biased in my opinion.”

     Elizabeth became rather quiet once more as they moved down the line of couples. What had he said to cause her embarrassment?

     “You once told me that your good opinion, once lost, is lost forever.”

     He startled at her words. “Yes, I recall the conversation clearly.”

     She looked as if she wanted to say more, but the music was ending. They took their places opposite each other, each offering the other the usual acknowledgment of a bow or a curtsey. He extended his hand to lead her from the floor, and for a moment, he was afraid she might refuse.

     With notable hesitation, she placed her hand in his and he led her towards her sister, who was speaking quietly with Bingley a short distance away. Elizabeth said nothing more, and Darcy again felt the burden of his presence.

     “If you will excuse me, Miss Bennet, Miss Elizabeth.”

     He bowed and left them, moving away without a thought as to his destination. He found he could not be in the same room with Elizabeth and not be near her. He wanted nothing more than to be close to a woman who clearly wished him miles away. Really, he must get hold of himself. As a gentleman, he must accept that she would never be his. He must stop imposing his presence on her.

About the Author

Brigid Huey has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing
the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids and spends her free time reading and writing. She also has an assortment of birds, including five chickens and too many parakeets. She dreams of living on a farm where she can raise as many chickens, ducks, and goats as she likes and write romance novels in an airy study overlooking the wildflowers.

Connect with Brigid Huey

Buy a copy of Interrupted Plans

Amazon US (paid link) • Amazon UK

Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

Blog Tour Schedule

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Brigid Huey’s Interrupted Plans, and the giveaway is international. Yay!

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Many thanks to Brigid for stopping by today with that lovely excerpt! 

Also, a big thanks to Janet  @ More Agreeably Engaged for organizing and including me in this tour! And to Meryton Press for the giveaway! Thank you!

So, friends, what do you think? I love when Darcy and Elizabeth get a second chance! But what really caught my eye was in the book blurb - "carriage mishap throws them together" - I'm always delighted when they are somehow forced to be together! How about you?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Death in Highbury by Riana Everly ~ Blog Tour ~ Charades & Riddles ~ Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! It's my stop on the Death in Highbury Blog Tour! Riana Everly is here to with some fun Regency parlour games! Plus, there's a chance to win an e-copy of Death in Highbury! Details are at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for letting me stop by your lovely blog today as part of my blog tour for Death in Highbury: An Emma Mystery. It’s always a pleasure to be here.

Death in Highbury is the second of my Miss Mary Investigates mysteries, where Mary Bennet steps out of her sisters’ shadows and shines as a detective. In the first book, Death of a Clergyman, she helped prove her sister Elizabeth innocent of killing Mr. Collins. In this new release, she finds herself in Emma’s Highbury, where she helps solve a series of strange deaths in the community. 

While the storyline does not follow that of Jane Austen’s Emma, it does include Jane Austen’s beloved characters, and that includes what they do for amusement. In Emma, Emma and Harriet amuse themselves with parlour games and collecting riddles. In fact, it is through these riddles that Mr. Elton makes some of his first overtures towards Emma – ones which she misinterprets as being directed toward Harriet.

These activities do not stop just because Mary Bennet is staying at Hartfield, and Mary sometimes finds herself engaged in the planning and collecting of the same.

So what, exactly, were Regency-style charades? The term was used synonymously with “riddle.” They were not the contemporary game, where a word is acted out, syllable by syllable. Instead, the clues were spoken, and you had to guess each syllable and then put them together.

For example, in Emma Mr. Elton offers a well-known riddle:

My first doth affliction denote, 
     Which my second is destin'd to feel
And my whole is the best antidote
     That affliction to soften and heal.

Here, the “first,” or first syllable, is woe. The second syllable is man. And the “whole” is woman.

When asked to come up with his own, Mr. Elton then provides the following:


My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings, 
     Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease.
Another view of man, my second brings,
     Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!

But, ah! united, what reverse we have!
     Man's boasted power and freedom, all are flown;
Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave,
     And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone.

Thy ready wit the word will soon supply,
     May its approval beam in that soft eye!

Here, the first syllable is court, where a king’s wealth is displayed, and the second is ship – the monarch of the seas. And together they make courtship. A not very subtle hint, which Emma completely misunderstands!

Here is another one by Jane Austen:

When my first is a task to a young girl of spirit,
     And my second confines her to finish the piece,
How hard is her fate! but how great is her merit
     If by taking my whole she effects her release!

You might have seen this, but if not, any guesses? I’ll put the answer at the end.

Now, I am the first to admit I would be a complete flop at Regency parlour parties. I have no head for these things whatsoever. They are like cryptic crosswords to me: I understand the theory but am totally unable to do them.

Let me try to make one, though. See if you can guess it.

My first with scones and toast is often served
     My second that which hovers near the table
My whole a lovely image, well deserved
     That flits and takes what nectar it is able

Yes, I know. It’s not very good, is it? What about you? Are you good at these word games? Would you like to try one to challenge us with? Put it in the comments and let’s see how we all do.


Here are two short excerpts from Death in Highbury. In the first, Mary is not too happy about sitting all afternoon with Emma and Harriet.


Mary had, by now, become sufficiently accustomed to Mr. Woodhouse’s laments that she imagined “poor” Isabella to be quite well settled. 

“Isabella?” Emma called from her seat. She must have heard the name. “I had a letter from her just today. The boys are all very well, and baby Emma is growing as you watch her! Isabella,” she explained to Mary, “is my sister in London, and she is married to none other than Mr. Knightley’s brother! Is that not amusing? We quite adore our shared nieces and nephews, and when he is very angry with me, Isabella’s children are our path to reconcile. I was still in the schoolroom when they married, but Mrs. Weston will tell you how I foresaw they would do very well for each other. And so it has transpired!”

She gave a wide and self-satisfied smile before returning to her conversation with Harriet about the best sort of charades, and if poetry were superior to verse, or the opposite.

Mary listened to the discussion for a while with her accustomed detached boredom and believed that Mr. Woodhouse had dropped off to sleep, for he had not spoken in a while. Suddenly he raised his head and gave her a quizzical look. “We often played charades in my younger years. It was a great favourite in the neighbourhood on a summer evening, or in the winter if the roads did not become too covered in snow for the carriage. I was not the most adept at the game, but Mrs. Woodhouse—that is Emma’s dear mother, now departed—was most proficient, and Mrs. Bates the cleverest of the lot of us. Though we might try and try, we never were able to catch her out, for she got all of them. She had a fine mind, better at figures and puzzles than many men I knew, always with an eye to the future. Pity she was not born a man, for she would then have been very smart indeed.

Mary’s head snapped up and only with difficulty did she hold her tongue. Foolish old man, to believe that a woman could not be as intelligent as a man! One’s sex had nothing to do with one’s ability to think, to reason. What ridiculous and ancient ideas he had! Prudence triumphed, and she refrained from making a sound. 

Her host stared into the flickering fire and continued, “Young Jane Fairfax promised to be as quick-witted as she. As a very young thing, all Mrs. Bates could do was boast about how Jane was counting to ten by a year of age and reading by four and playing the fortepiano at five. She seemed destined for such great things, a splendid match, no matter that her father left her with nothing but his name. Poor Miss Fairfax. Perhaps if her poor mother had eaten more gruel…”

He returned his eyes to the hearth, and in short time soft snores wafted to Mary’s ears. She would learn nothing more from Mr. Woodhouse this evening. With a resigned sigh, she left her chair and moved to the sofa, asking if she might join Emma and Harriet at their contemplation of tableaux and parlour games.


In this second excerpt, Alexander has gone to interview some townsfolk, and Emma has decided to join him against his wishes.


What was the man not saying? He was so certain there was some other iota waiting to be learned. But he also knew when he would hear no more. Abdy did suggest another person to seek out, who had a farm near the woods where Smith had made his home when first he arrived, and who had allowed the tramp to sleep in his barn on the coldest or wettest nights.

Alexander thanked the clerk for his time, and then thanked the bank’s supervisor, and led Emma back out onto the streets. 

From here, matters followed the same pattern. Every man they spoke to had some small crumbs to offer, but with each, Alexander suspected they knew more than they were willing to say. Emma would often interject her own questions with the same glee as if she were solving a delightful charade, as often interrupting a useful response and thereby distracting the teller to the point of forgetting what he was about to say, as offering anything helpful. She was lovely and charming and everybody to whom they spoke wished greatly to please her, and Alexander rued the moment he ever first spoke to her. How he would prefer to have Mary beside him: quiet, thoughtful, calm Mary, who had the gift of melting into the background to the point that his witnesses forgot she was there. They would then speak easily, telling him what he needed to know, without deference to a woman’s delicate sensibilities.

Instead, he heard only what the men believed Emma ought to hear, and when Alexander at last walked Emma back to the village where she was to meet Harriet, he had discovered precious little.


The answer to Jane Austen’s charade is “hemlock.”

The answer to my riddle is “butterfly.”

Death in Highbury
An Emma Mystery
by Riana Everly

Book Blurb 

When political chaos in London forces Mary Bennet to take refuge in the picturesque town of Highbury, Surrey, she quickly finds herself safe among friends. Emma Woodhouse welcomes her as a guest at Hartfield, Jane Fairfax is delighted by her love of music, and Frank Churchill can’t stop flirting with her. But it is not long before Mary starts to suspect that beneath the charming surface, Highbury hides some dark secrets.

Alexander Lyons is sent to Surrey on an investigation, and at his friend Darcy’s request, heads to Highbury to make certain Mary is comfortable and safe. But no sooner does he arrive than one local man dies, and then another!

Soon Alexander and Mary are thrust into the middle of a baffling series of deaths. Are they accidents? Or is there a very clever murderer hiding in their midst? And can they put their personal differences aside in time to prevent yet another death in Highbury?
Buy: Amazon (paid link)
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Connect with Riana Everly

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Riana I am giving away five eBooks worldwide over the course of this blog tour, chosen randomly from people who enter. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link or widget. 

If you don’t like Rafflecopter, you can still enter. Just send me an email ( saying so, and I’ll add your name to the list for the draw.

The giveaway will close at 12am EST on February 27, 2021.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulation, Riana, on the release of Death in Highbury! And thank you for stopping by with this diverting post! 

So, friends, are you good at word puzzles or charades? Please, feel free to accept Riana's challenge and leave one in the comments! 😃

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Reckless, Headstrong Girl Giveaway winner!

Hello, my friends! I hope you are all doing well. It's time to announce the winner of the Reckless, Headstrong Girl by Grace Gibson eBook! 

Many thanks to Grace for stopping by with that fun character interview. I really enjoyed seeing the change in Lydia, and I truly liked her!

Also, a big thanks to Meryton Press for offering one of my readers a chance to win an e-copy.

Without further ado... the randomly picked winner is:

Sophia Rose!

Congratulations, Sophia Rose!

Buy: Amazon USAmazon UK

Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon US. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

Thanks again to all who entered!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Came a Flight Gently by Leigh Dreyer ~ Excerpt

 Hello, my friends! Leigh Dreyer's third book of the Pride in Flight Series is now available, and I have an excerpt from Came a Flight Gently for you to read! I hope you enjoy it! 


Came a Flight Gently
by Leigh Dreyer

In the exciting conclusion of the Pride in Flight Series (The Best Laid Flight Plans and The Flight Path Less Traveled), our dear couple Elizabeth and Darcy have moved to Pemberley to begin their lives together. An outsider to New York society and the affluent world of Darcy, our heroine uses her characteristic drive and wit to begin her marriage and all that comes with him. Helped along by Mrs. Reynolds and a curmudgeonly airplane mechanic, Elizabeth discovers a new path to the civilian flight world. Darcy, ever the hero, supports her and learns to trust her instincts. Fast-paced and dramatic, Came a Flight Gently soars through love, adventure, and intrigue as it races through Reno to the finish.

Excerpt from Chapter Fifteen

     Elizabeth was back a few days later to meet Weston’s friend as arranged. 
     “Mrs. Reynolds sent you a sausage biscuit, hard-boiled eggs, and water,” Elizabeth announced walking into the hangar office and pulling the water bottle out with a flourish. 
     “Water.” Weston made a face of disgust.
     “She said you’ve got to watch your sugar.” Elizabeth laughed. “I think you two should go out,” Elizabeth added, watching Weston attack the breakfast bag. 
     “No, we’re just old friends.” He sighed, taking a bite and waving one hand. 
     An aircraft taxiing up outside the hangar interrupted them. Weston got up and opened the hangar door. “That would be your instructor.” 
     Elizabeth followed him out of the office. 
     As the door opened, the engine ticking of a beautiful red, white, and blue Lancair Legacy came to a stop. The canopy tipped forward and a thin, attractive woman in her early thirties stood up smiling and waved. She was wearing something like tennis shoes but different, khaki slacks and a blue woman’s polo shirt with wings on the left side. 
     The woman hopped down off the wing as Weston and Elizabeth waited. “How are you, you old curmudgeon?” she said, giving Weston a big hug. 
     He put her arms around her. Elizabeth noticed him blush. 
     “Check the oil and wipe her down,” the woman joked as she let him go. Weston backed away, looking down and coughing to recover his voice. 
     “Mrs. Darcy, may I present Allison Noreen Dashwood, airline first officer, and Lancair instructor extraordinaire. Allie Nore, Mrs. Darcy.”
     “Elizabeth, please,” said Elizabeth, putting out her hand.
      “Allie,” she answered, shaking her hand, and looking annoyed at Weston. “And when have you become so formal, Stephen Paul? Not Fog anymore? Should we just call you ‘Step?’” She laughed. 
     Weston blushed an even brighter red. 
     “You have a beautiful airplane,” Elizabeth said. 
     “So do you,” replied Allie, nodding to the aircraft in the hangar. “I’m the one that flew it in. You didn’t screw with the flight control balance, did you, Steve?” 
     “No, no, just checked out the engine, did a flight condition check, and changed the oil,” he replied. 
     “Good,” Allie answered, looking at Elizabeth. “It’s a sweet flying aircraft. Whoever built the kit did an outstanding job harmonizing the controls. Nice avionics too.” 
     They went into the hangar. 
     “Weston said you’re an airline pilot,” Elizabeth asked. 
     “Yep, for about five years. Should upgrade to captain soon. Seniority, you know? Flew checks and freight before that, some charter work, and instructed at a Cessna 141 school. And you?” 
     “Got my commercial couple weeks ago, Air Force T-6, and the mighty Skyhawk,” Elizabeth answered. 
     “Steve said you, how’d he put it, ‘crashed’ out of training.” 
     “Yeah, ejected and trashed my back. Medically retired.” 
     “Hmm,” said Allie, then perking up, “well, that won’t stop us today.” 
     Allie continued to talk, and Elizabeth listened. She discovered that she liked this calm woman who seemed to understand airplanes. They discussed various flights, procedures, and Allie shared how she started with the airlines. Soon, conversation shifted to the upcoming flight, and Elizabeth could tell Allie was probing her knowledge and desire to fly the Lancair. 
     After Allie appeared satisfied, she said, “Let’s go sit in the plane, go over systems and avionics. It’ll take about an hour. Steve keeps talking about a Mrs. Reynolds and a mansion for lunch, then we’ll take her up this afternoon.” 
     “Sounds good,” responded Elizabeth. “I’ll call Mrs. Reynolds to expect three of us.”
     At the aircraft, Allie showed Elizabeth what to look for in the pre-flight inspection, how the landing gear retracted, and how to check the oil and propeller. Elizabeth enjoyed the way she instructed and treated her as an equal. Allie had a quiet demeanor but shared her knowledge freely, allowing Elizabeth to learn quickly. Allie continued to quiz Elizabeth, but it was pleasant, unlike standup evaluations during Air Force pilot training which had left her sweaty and nervous. 
     With the walk-around completed, they entered the cockpit. “The biggest difference from something you’ve flown before is the stick is in your left hand, and the throttle, the right,” began Allie. “It’s different than the yolk, but you’ll get used to it. Most people initially over control in pitch so watch yourself on takeoff.” 
     Elizabeth moved the stick around, getting the feel and checking the flight controls. Together, they went through the instruments. Weston had hooked up an auxiliary power cart so they could view the avionics without draining the battery. Allie made Elizabeth operate and input data into the avionics. 
     “Each system is just a bit different,” said Allie. “Makes it a pain switching between aircraft.”
     Elizabeth nodded, concentrating on pushing the buttons.           “Yeah, this is similar, but different from the Bonanza. I’ll have to practice before taking this in the weather.” She finished putting in a typical flight plan and sat back. 
     “There. That’s a good place to stop. After lunch, we’ll get airborne. Typical stuff, stalls, slow flight. You know the drill. You said you just finished your commercial ticket…” 
Elizabeth nodded. 
     “Great,” Allie said, rolling her eyes, “you’ll probably be better than me at those maneuvers.” 
     “Oh, I doubt it,” said Elizabeth. “You’ve got the more recent Lancair practice.” They both laughed as they got out of the aircraft. 
     Weston came out of the office and turned off the power unit.
     “Ready for lunch? Mrs. Reynolds just called and said whenever you all are ready.” 
     “Sure, let’s go see this mansion.” Allie teased. 
     Weston and Elizabeth grinned at each other. 
     “I’ll drive,” said Weston. “Get in the truck.”
     During the short drive, Allie said, “Steve’s been telling me about this extravagant mansion forever. Which one is it? I saw four within five miles of the airport flying in.” She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at Weston. “Based on all the other jokes he’s pulled, it’s probably a mobile home at the other end of the airport.” 
     Elizabeth tried not to chuckle; Weston kept a straight face. They turned into the driveway and Pemberley came into view. Elizabeth remembered the first time she had seen Pemberley and how her stomach had dropped in amazement at the utter beauty of the home and the surrounding land.
     “Here we are,” said Weston, grinning. 
     Allie looked forward and her mouth dropped. “You gotta be kidding me,” she said. 
     “No, this is it. Just a small summer cottage.” A big smile erupted on Elizabeth’s face. “Welcome to Pemberley. Steve, drive to the front door.” 
     Weston said, “The front door, ooh, the front door. We must be getting the full treatment, Allie.”
     They parked and walked to the door. 
     “Oh my god. You live here? How do you not get lost?” said Allie. 
     “I have,” said Elizabeth, laughing. “I had to carry the tour map with me for the first few weeks.”
     Mrs. Reynolds met them at the door, and they made introductions walking to the breakfast room. 
     “You have a breakfast room and a dining room?” said Allie as they walked by. 
     “Yep, and a parlor, and a music room, and a study.” Elizabeth smiled. “Oh, and a bar, slash, game room.” 
     “Wow—now, I guess I’ve got something to work toward,” replied Allie. 
     Mrs. Reynolds brought out two platters with Reuben sandwiches, chips and pickles for the women and a Rueben sandwich only for Weston. 
     “Allie, what can we get you to drink?” asked Elizabeth. 
     “Root beer, if you have it, please,” responded Allie. 
Elizabeth chuckled. “Virgil’s, Dad’s, Barq’s, A&W? Here, you pick your poison,” asked Elizabeth.
     “I’ll take a Dad’s,” said Weston. 
     “You’ll have water,” snapped Mrs. Reynolds, glaring at Weston. 
     The two younger women giggled as a very maternal Mrs. Reynolds put a glass of ice water in front of him before sitting down next to him. 
     In between bites, Allie asked, “So Elizabeth, what do you miss about Air Force flying?” 
     “Well, I didn’t get very far. Instruments are about the same. I miss formation flying,” answered Elizabeth. 
     Allie said, “I’m a FAST instructor, and the Lancair is a good formation plane.” 
     “What’s FAST?” asked Elizabeth, intrigued. 
     “It’s a group that certifies people to fly formation together. Airshows require it, and various aircraft groups signed up to agree on signals and expectations. You have to practice with an instructor, take a test, and a checkride,” explained Allie. “But most of all, it’s fun! Not every day you get to fly formation, huh?” 
     “That sounds cool,” said Elizabeth. It wouldn’t be hard to talk Darcy into a few weekends away to fly. He could even come with me!
     “Get through your checkout before you go off flying too close to someone else,” grumbled Weston. 
     “Steve, what do you have against anyone having fun?” teased Allie. 
     “Yes, what do you have against fun?” asked Mrs. Reynolds, turning on him. 
     Elizabeth opened her mouth to add on, but Weston interrupted, “I know when I’m out numbered. Should have never agreed to lunch with three women. Like a zebra in a crocodile farm. Let’s go. Eat up. Some of us have to work for a living.”

About the Authors

Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way: “You know the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ scene in Top Gun (Goose, you big stud!) when Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son, a daughter who was a pink pilot for Halloween, and a one-year-old son who is so used to F-16 noise, he does not even startle to sonic booms.

Paul Trockner was an Air Force fighter pilot for twenty-eight years. He flew the F-111, T-37, A-10, and T-38. He currently teaches fighter pilots using simulator instruction. He has been happily married for thirty-six years to his lovely wife Elizabeth. Leigh is the oldest of his five children.

Connect with Leigh Dreyer

Came a Flight Gently Buy Links

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Congratulations, Leigh, on the release of Came a Flight Gently! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing an excerpt with my readers! 

Friends, please feel free to leave a comment! Tell us what you think of the excerpt, or have you read any of the other books in the series? 

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