Friday, September 21, 2018

Obstacles by Belén Paccagnella Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! It's my pleasure to have Belén Paccagnella on So little time... today! She has a delightful excerpt to share with us! Plus, be sure to enter the giveaway! Details are at the bottom of the page!

Thank you, Candy, for hosting me during the tour for my book, Obstacles. It’s a pleasure to be here sharing this post with your readers. Here's an outtake from my story that takes place after Elizabeth moves in with William at Pemberley. It’s called Follow your Heart


“This bloody thing is not opening.” Elizabeth struggled to undo the latches of the trailer’s ramp.

Darcy observed her quietly, allowing her to struggle with the fastenings for some time before deciding to intervene. “May I?”

She sighed and moved to the side. “It’s stuck.”

He opened it easily, something that only managed to increase Elizabeth’s irritation. She hated when he was so calm and she was so incredibly nervous. Why did she agree to come to Leeds?

“I’ll unload Petticoat.” Darcy walked inside the trailer and walked the mare out. 

This was Elizabeth’s first time out in the competing arena since Liddy’s debut almost a year ago. She had been working with Petticoat for weeks, coached both by Darcy and Col. Forster, yet she still felt unprepared. The only reason why she agreed to come to Leeds was because Darcy insisted this would be the perfect show for Petticoat’s first time out. He had also designated Elizabeth as the mare’s official trainer, so when the show was scheduled, Elizabeth had no choice but to man up and return to the ring. Now she suspected this had been his plan from the start, that he had tricked her into competition since she had been avoiding his constant hints since she moved in with him. 

As usual, Darcy was right. The Leeds Pony Club was indeed the best place for a horse’s debut and, Elizabeth admitted begrudgingly, her return to the showjumping ring. It was a small outdoor show with excellent facilities where children and novices from different riding schools gathered to gain experience in competition. The atmosphere was informal and friendly with lots of proud parents and teachers clapping enthusiastically after every round. After accompanying her fiancée to several grand prix shows and suffering the stress of flights, long journeys, and vertiginous qualifying rounds, this should feel like a picnic, yet she was panicking. 

The day was sunny and warm, and for a moment, Elizabeth forgot about the stress of the show and just enjoyed herself and Darcy’s company in the beautiful park. Even Petticoat was perfectly calm, swatting flies with her tail and standing unmoved to everything that happened around her. 

The beginning of the show was announced, and Elizabeth and Darcy went to the arena so she could walk the course she was going to jump. 

“I’ll wait for you outside,” Darcy said as they reached the arena. 

“What? You’re not coming?” She could feel her apprehension growing.

“I’m not jumping today; you are.”

“But Will!” she whinged.

“Come on, just count the steps and memorize the order of the jumps,” he said lightly. “It’s quite easy.”

“Whatever,” she grunted while casting him an unfriendly look. He dismissed it with a chuckle and a soft nudge that pushed her towards the arena.

There were nearly 100 entries that day, quite a record for the club. Elizabeth was competing against 15 others in the three-foot category. There were a few seniors jumping above that height, but the rest were mostly children and teenagers. Some of them were even jumping ponies as they were too small for larger horses. As she walked the course with the others, Elizabeth realized that only the children and beginners walked the course accompanied by their teachers and coaches. People her age and with her expertise did it by themselves. 

Darcy received her with a smile when she came back. “It wasn’t that hard, was it?”

“Piece of cake.” She smiled too. 

“I told you so.” He smirked. “Anyway, you would have looked ridiculous walking the course with a coach like a ten year old.”

“Shut up!” Elizabeth gave him a little shove. 

He laughed and grabbed her and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. “God, you’re so frustratingly annoying.”

“And you’re so frustratingly calm.” She smiled in his arms.

“Relax, Babe. You’ll do great. You’ve been working very well at home, and Petticoat is the best horse today. There is nothing to fear.” 

They watched the lower categories doing their rounds and had lunch at their camp under the shadow of a tree. It didn’t take long until someone recognized Darcy, and the news that England’s top rider was spread around. No one bothered them, but Elizabeth could sense all eyes on them as they passed. Darcy didn’t seem to care—he was quite used to being in the spotlight—but Elizabeth began to feel the pressure that she couldn’t disappoint. She was competing under the name of Pemberley stables, riding a Pemberley horse, and coached by William Darcy. Why on earth had she agreed to come to Leeds?

Her category was announced, and they saddled Petticoat. The proximity of the show only increased Elizabeth’s anxiety. The schooling pen burst with excitement, crowded with young riders and their teachers. There were three hurdles placed in different positions, and the coaches were giving their apprentices last minute tips before their entry. The schooling pen was a sort of organized chaos where instructions mingled, horses trotted and hurdles fell. Darcy remained on one side during her warm up, reclining on the fence and making conversation with the teachers standing close to him. When Elizabeth’s time approached, he walked to the centre of the arena and told her to jump. 

“Be careful,” he spoke calmly. “There are too many children around, and someone may cross your way.”

Elizabeth nodded and galloped. She jumped successfully and returned to him with a huge exhalation. 

“Great.” He waved for her to follow him. “Let’s go; it’s almost your turn.”

Elizabeth made a conscious effort to stay focused and draw the course in her mind. Her palms felt sweaty and she dried them on her thighs. She could feel Darcy’s eyes on her, always so calm and poised, and for an instant, she envied his ability to stay in tune with his horse and forget about everything else. Unlike Liddy, Petticoat was calm and mentally balanced, and Elizabeth feared her nervousness would rub off on the mare.

“Elizabeth,” She heard Darcy approaching her. He looked very serious and he made a gesture for her to lean down so he could say something in confidence.


He looked around to check if someone was hearing him, then spoke directly in her ear. “Your ass looks great in breeches.”  

Elizabeth burst out in laughter.  

He laughed too and pointed at the entrance to the arena. “Go, amaze them.”

Three minutes later, Elizabeth was back, grinning broadly after a clear run.

“That was great.” He patted her thigh and then Petticoat’s neck. “Best time of the round.”

Elizabeth was still smiling as they walked together to the schooling pen. “I can’t believe you said that.” 

“But it worked, didn’t it? You were so tense that you were going break Petticoat’s back. It’s just a small show, Liz. Try to relax and enjoy the day; think of it as a picnic."

“Yeah, that’s easy for you. I’m sure you had a hell of a picnic at the Nation’s Cup.” She walked next to him.

“I had,” he grinned wickedly. “Only at that picnic, I was eating lobster and caviar.” 


Elizabeth was about to jump in the finals. The hurdles had been lifted to four-feet, and she would have to run against the timer. The pressure was really on, and she expressed her fears to her fiancée.

“My God,” she said, before mounting Petticoat. “How am I going to do it?”

“Throw your heart over the obstacle, then jump after it,” Darcy replied calmly.


“It’s an old saying.” Darcy placed his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes. “Elizabeth, jump because you want to jump, because it makes you happy. Don’t do it because I or anyone else asks you to. You don’t need to compete if you don’t want to, but if you do it, just follow your heart.”

This was a very good philosophy. Darcy wasn’t No. 1 only because he was the most talented rider she had ever seen. It was also because he loved to be there, in the centre of the ring, defying the laws of gravity while jumping in front of thousands of people. He loved the adrenaline and he thrived on the challenge. He was the best and he knew it, and he demonstrated it every time he rode his horse.

“Is that what you do?” She smiled.

“What?” He raised his eyebrow.

“Throw your heart over the obstacle and then jump after it.”

“My heart belongs to you now, so I can’t throw it too far anymore. But yes”— he smiled—“that’s what I usually do.” 

After that, she didn’t give a damn about the show or her nerves, she just cared about him. She didn’t think she could love him more. “You’re the best, you know?”

Darcy made a smug face. “I do. Now, jump and have fun.”

Elizabeth bent her leg and two seconds later she was sitting atop her mare. She really enjoyed jumping that day.

by Belén Paccagnella

Not all obstacles are restricted to the show-jumping arena… 

Though Elizabeth Bennet lives an uneventful life instructing young equestrians at Longbourn, the family farm, she dreams of winning a show-jumping competition on Liddy, her spirited mare. But her life is upended when a team of world-renowned riders arrives at Netherfield, the neighbouring estate, and uses it as their training headquarters. As she assists the newcomers and their prize-winning mounts, she meets William Darcy, a wealthy and arrogant—albeit talented—rider with Olympic aspirations. He first insults and then ignores Elizabeth, and her feelings teeter between disgust at his hauteur and admiration for his equestrian prowess. As she discovers first-hand the rigors of a world for the elite, will Elizabeth change her perspective about love, trust, and the foibles of her own family? 

Originally known as “Obstacles to Overcome,” Obstacles pays homage to Pride and Prejudice in the highly competitive world of equestrian show jumping.

Buy: Amazon US • Amazon 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!

About the Author

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belén Paccagnella
discovered the world of Jane Austen fan fiction after watching the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. In her teens, she lived in Brazil when her family moved to the city of Curitiba due to her father’s work. She moved back to Buenos Aires a few years later, where she studied agronomy but finally pursued a different career and started working in the development administration of shopping centres.

In 2001, she started writing both Regency and modern stories adapted from the Pride and Prejudice storyline, merging drama, humour, and adventure while creating characters with unique traits.

Belén still lives in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where she shares her home with her daughter and her pets while spending her time working, reading, and writing. 

Blog Tour Schedule

September 17 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post
September 18 / Diary of an Eccentric / Excerpt Post
September 19 / Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Post
September 20 / More Agreeably Engaged / Author Interview
September 21 / So Little Time... / Excerpt Post
September 22 / Just Jane 1813 / Guest Book Review
September 23 / My Love for Jane Austen  / Character Interview
September 24 / From Pemberley to Milton / Excerpt Post
September 25 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review
September 26 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Vignette Post
September 27 / My Vices and Weaknesses  / Book Review
September 28 / Of Pens and Pages / Book Review

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks of Obstacles to eight lucky winners in conjunction with this tour. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

  • One eBook per winner.
  • Eight winners will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.
  • 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.
  • Giveaway is open to international readers.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Belén for sharing an excerpt with us, Merton Press for the generous giveaway, and Claudine @ JustJane1813 for organizing this tour, and including me!

So, friends, what do you think of this modern Pride and Prejudice? 


  1. Excellent outtake! Thanks for sharing it, Belén, and thanks for hosting today, Candy! Wow! Darcy didn't have any trouble saying all the rights things here, did he!

    1. Thank you Janet! For once, he says the right thing, shows how much he learns from his mistakes.

    2. You're welcome, Janet! I'm glad you could stop by! :)

  2. Glad to get the excerpt and see that the horse jumping setting is a strong part of the story. I do love watching the horse events. :)

    1. Hello, Sophia Rose! I agree with you, I enjoy watching horse events. They are such beautiful creatures! This is definitely a fun setting. As always, thanks for stopping by! {{hugs!}}

    2. Hi Sophia rose! Horses are a huge part of this story. Thank you!

  3. I like the references to the Regency story behind this story: petticoats and breeches LOL! This was a nice little vignette for us to read. Thanks Belén for the writing and to Candy for being such a welcoming host!

    1. I noticed that too, Suzan! LOL! So fun to find these little tidbits!
      It's my pleasure having Belén here! Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Thank you Suzan! It's funny, because when I first wrote this, I didn't think of them as Regency references, I guess they were subconscious! (for some reason,I can't sign in with my name, so this 'unknown' posts are mine. Belén.

      Once again,thank you Candy for having me!

  4. Enjoyed the excerpt. They are so cute together.

  5. Wow, I love this beautifully written outtake. I think it's perfect that you shared this loving scene between Elizabeth and Darcy, Belén. I have been to an equestrian event before as a spectator in my youth so this brings back wonderful memories. Best wishes for pursuing your writing path!

  6. I enjoyed the outtake. I used to show horses so this really hit home for me. Thank you for the generous give away.

  7. Thanks for the outtake, Such a lovely interaction between Elizabeth and William.

    I've seen our future daughter-in-law compete at a couple of similar shows so it was a reasonably familiar setting for me.

  8. I read an earlier version of this, and would love to read it again! The samples above were really delightful. Darcy sounds like a good coach. :) Lobsters and caviar, ha!

  9. Sounds like a delightful story. I know nothing about horsejumping, so it would be interesting from that perspective as well.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...