Well, it is out now, so you can get it now. But for those of you who can't rush out to get it quite right, um, now, how's about another little taste?
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Excerpt from Persuade Me, Juliet Archer’s updated version of Persuasion. This is the second book in her series Darcy & Friends and it opens with a Foreword by none other than Will Darcy:
A magazine headline, circled in black ink: ‘Never forgive, never forget’. You can tell a lot from what’s on a person’s desk …
Some years ago, just before I met Elizabeth, I took my sister Georgie to Australia for a much-needed holiday. She was going through a particularly difficult time; so, when she showed a spark of her previous passion for saving the planet, I encouraged it in every possible way.
During a brief visit to Melbourne I discovered that there was an expert in marine conservation based at one of the local universities, a Dr Rick Wentworth. I sent him an email, using the pretext of possible interest from the Pemberley Foundation in his Save the Sea Dragons campaign – although I usually avoid the ‘grand benefactor’ act at all costs. When I received a terse and somewhat begrudging invitation to meet in his office, I immediately pictured an old, cross, bespectacled nerd.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. He turned out to be young, charming and, judging from Georgie’s sharp intake of breath, very easy on the female eye. And he was English, with a northern accent that had apparently resisted all attempts at Australianisation.
He even apologised for the tone of his invitation. He told us that, with his work attracting more and more media attention, he’d become wary of requests like mine. This led to a brief discussion about the drawbacks of being a modern celebrity, especially a reluctant one.
As we talked, I realised that he was meticulous about his research – and not just on sea dragons. I’d given him no indication of my sister’s troubles and had taken the necessary steps to gag the press, although inevitably some details had leaked out. Yet I sensed he knew – and understood – what she’d been through …
So I watched in genuine admiration as he drew Georgie out of her dark shell into the wider world, if only for an hour. He held us both spellbound with stirring tales of battles against natural elements and man-made disasters, often in the form of short-sighted bureaucracy, and showed us stunning footage of the fragile creatures he was fighting to protect. Of the man himself I learned very little – until we got up to leave.
At this point he scrawled his personal email address on a piece of paper and handed it to a blushing Georgie, urging her to get in touch with any questions. That in itself made me warm to him and decide on a generous donation from the Foundation for his campaign – an unusual instance of my heart ruling my head.
But the piece of paper had been hiding something on his desk, a magazine article with a big bold headline. A headline that obviously had a greater significance because he’d drawn a brutal black ring round it: ‘Never forgive, never forget.’
They were words I could relate to completely. Except that I was thinking of the man who’d broken my sister’s heart, whereas he – as I discovered much later into our friendship – was thinking of the girl who’d broken his.
Although neither of us knew it then, their paths would cross when he wrote a book and, despite some misgivings, visited England to promote it.
This is their story …
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Persuade Me is in stores now
You can check out my thoughts on Persuade Me in the 3rd Annual Jane in June
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