Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Excerpt & Giveaway from Marilyn Brant!

The second post of today comes from author Marilyn Brant, who is also a member of this year's Janeite Roundtables. Make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom to win 1 of 5 books! 

It’s wonderful to be celebrating Austen In August again! Thanks so much for inviting me to be here today, Misty :)
[Note from Misty: Happy to have you!]

    I don’t know about all of you, but there are certain people in my life who absolutely loathe weddings. Some friends, some family... (For the sake of privacy, they shall remain nameless for now, LOL.) Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by weddings, even when I don’t know the couple in question. But when the nuptials are for those I’m truly close to, I enjoy them all the more. Not only are they a celebration of love and commitment, they’re incredibly fun events to attend from a novel-writing/people-watching standpoint. 
    My parents were quite social when I was growing up and knew a great many families, so we went to a LOT of weddings, varying in number of guests, location of venue, religious affiliation, and cultural background. I have memories galore of interesting happenings that took place at houses of worship and reception halls over the years (!!), and sometimes snippets from these events work their way into my fiction...
    One hot August afternoon, a few decades ago, I was at a wedding where there was just a wee bit of tension (understatement) between a few members of the bridal party. I could see it in their facial expressions and body language, even though I didn’t know the particulars. So this recollection was part of the inspiration behind the scene I’ll share below from Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet.
If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a bit about the book:

The course of true love doesn't always run smooth -- not even for millionaire bachelors...
Everyone thought Beth Ann Bennet and Dr. Will Darcy had an unexpected romance in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match (Perfect #1). Now, Beth's best friend, Jane Henderson, and Will's first cousin, Bingley McNamara, begin their own unlikely love story in Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (Perfect #2), which starts at the Darcy/Bennet wedding when they find themselves in the roles of maid of honor and best man for the newlyweds.
Jane is an interning school psychologist and a woman who wears an angelic mask in public, but she's not as sweet tempered as she'd like everyone to believe. Turns out, she may have just crossed paths with the one person who'll unnerve her enough to get her to reveal her true self.
As for Bingley, he's a wealthy, flirtatious and compulsively social guru of finance, who likes to wager on stocks and, let's face it, on just about anything that strikes his fancy. But this dedicated ladies' man may have finally met the woman who'll challenge his bachelor ways!
Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet...where life's biggest gamble is the game of love.

And here’s an excerpt from the story—from Bingley’s point of view—that takes place at Will Darcy & Beth Bennet’s wedding:

    Once the last of the guests had been given a chance to offer their congratulations, the photographer herded the main players back into the church so pictures of the bride and groom together could be taken, along with a range of shots featuring the entire wedding party. A lean, fast-talking British guy named Ian something-or-other was the photographer, and he was choreographing their every movement.
    “Now, Will,” Ian said, gesturing with a frenetic intensity. “You’re going to be looking at Beth adoringly in this shot, as if you’re staring at a rare piece of artwork, okay? Okay!”
    Will—not unexpectedly—said, “Okay,” although Bingley thought this exchange was wholly unnecessary. His cousin was already staring at Beth like she was the Mona Lisa.
    “Now,” Ian commanded, “let’s get these little darlings lined up.” He snapped his fingers and hypnotized young Charlie and the flower girls into temporary submission with his manic gestures and his foreign accent.
But then Ian tried to tell Bingley that he and Jane should stand shoulder to shoulder.
    “That’s right, love!” Ian said, motioning to Jane to slide nearer to Bingley. “Now you—” He pointed at Bingley. “Put your arm around the pretty maid of honor as the two of you smile at the happy couple, okay? Okay!”
    Bingley could only clumsily comply, while Jane stood stiff as a mannequin next to him.
Ian clicked a few fast shots, looked momentarily bewildered and gestured with both hands for them to get even closer. “Now, love, don’t tell me he has bad breath! You can move a few inches nearer to the dashing best man, can’t you?”
    A slow hiss leaked out from between Jane’s grinning teeth, which Bingley couldn’t help but overhear. Still, she slid fractionally closer to him and smiled so angelically, so guilelessly at the photographer that Ian beamed back at her and seemed to fall under her spell.
    “Perfect, love. Perfect!” He snapped several more pictures. “Oh, yes. This is going to be a beautiful album. You are divine.”
    Click. Click. Click.
    “Gorgeous. Okay, lovely lady in red, hang on a second and let me set up the next shot, so we can get one of you with the bride…”
    The moment the Brit no longer had his camera focused on them, Jane sprang away from him like a Slinky. And that was pretty much the way it went between them for forty-five minutes at least.
    When the flirty, overly animated photographer was finally done with them all, Bingley took a deep breath and approached Jane. Clearly, she was being way too sensitive about the whole engagement party thing, but maybe an apology on his part was still warranted.
    “Jane,” he said in a low voice. “Look, about what I said to Dustin—” He shrugged. “It was only guy talk. I didn’t mean to offend you. Or anyone. I was just—”
    “You were just thinking I was easy,” she whispered. “You were just hoping you could win me over with one of your charming smiles and your fake gentlemanly manners.”
    “My manners aren’t fake—”
    “They are,” she countered coldly. “You’re one of those people everyone thinks they know. I’ve watched you act all polite and chivalrous toward a dozen women in just the short time since we’ve met. You fool them into believing you’re genuinely interested. That you actually want to talk with them and dance with them.”
    “What are you saying? I do want to talk and dance with women. I love talking. And dancing. And women, for that matter—”
    “Yeah, I’m aware. But what you really want is to hook up with them a few times and then move on to someone else before anyone gets to know the real Bingley McNamara. The real man hiding behind the oh-so-amiable smile, the quick wit and the large bank account.”
    He didn’t like where this conversation was going. Not at all. This was what he got for trying to be a good guy and apologize to her. 
    “You might be able to fool a lot of people,” she continued, crossing her slim arms in front of her, “but I don’t buy your super nice guy act. You’ve got your performance down pat and, I’ll grant you, you’ve got charisma, but I know when someone’s putting on a show for me.”
    A show? 
    Huh. Well, if that was what she thought—and if this was how she was gonna be about it—he’d give her a show all right. If he wanted to, he could act just like the scheming womanizer she was describing.
    “Oh, yeah. That’s what you think, eh?” he asked, raising one eyebrow in a move calculated to make him look almost Machiavellian. “But tell me something, Jane, what makes you so sure that this is all some kind of game for me? That my behavior is nothing but pretense? That, deep down, I’m actually some diabolical, disloyal, traitorous—”
“Don’t forget manipulative and insincere.”
    He rolled his eyes. “What makes you think I’m just a counterfeit flirt?”
    “Because,” she said softly, leaning in toward him and sending him a smile so sweet her expression looked like a gift from the heavens, “it takes one to know one.”
    And with those stunning words stealing the air out of Bingley’s lungs, the saintly-looking Jane Henderson glided out of the church and headed to the hotel for the reception, sending a coquettish wink in the photographer’s direction as she slid past, and making all of the stained-glass window angels wonder why one of their own had left so suddenly.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! In addition to Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet (and my debut novel, According to Jane), I’ve written a number of contemporary romances that were inspired by Austen’s work. I’m giving away an ebook copy of one of these other five books below—winner’s choice!—to one commenter on this post. Open internationally, these novels are all standalone stories, and they include:

Stranger on the Shore (S&S-inspired)

To be entered, post a comment about your favorite (or least favorite) aspect of weddings in general...or something interesting, agitating, unusual, surprising, etc. that happened while you were attending one. And then fill out the Rafflecopter below! Looking forward to reading your comments, and best wishes to you all for a wonderful rest of August!

xox, Marilyn Brant

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!


  1. I enjoyed that! Marilyn Brant is a fabulous storyteller.

    1. Awww, Christina, thank you!!
      You made my day :) :) . xoxo

  2. Oh man, that is quite the scene for that pair.

    I think I'm a so-so wedding fan. I enjoy them more when I'm just a guest, but there was a period of time when I felt like a professional bridesmaid/pianist for friends and family weddings and I was always nervous.
    My favorite part and I always tear up is seeing the bride and groom saying their vows.

    1. Thanks so much, Sophia! <3
      And I would've been nervous, too, if I'd been asked to play piano at anybody's wedding! However, I think it's wonderful that your friends & family loved your playing and wanted you to share your musical talent at their special events! (I say this with awe, given my Mary Bennet-level of piano proficiency, LOL :)

  3. Thank you for the excerpt. Truly enjoyed these modern takes of our beloved P & P characters stories. Thank you for the giveaway

    1. I'm so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the excerpt, Buturot!! Thank you! 🙂

  4. Enjoyed the excerpt. I love weddings and enjoy noticing the differences between ceremonies. Two of the first weddings I ever attended were for my brothers, one married in the Jewish faith and the other in the Catholic faith and the two ceremonies and receptions were extremely different.

    1. Thanks, Darcy! I'm delighted you enjoyed the excerpt!! And I love what you said about appreciating the differences between ceremonies. I find that fascinating too! 😊😊

  5. I'm not one to dress up so I dislike going to weddings all doll up. I feel like I'm having a competition with the other ladies in attendance to look my best. That's why I don't usually go to weddings unless it's a close relative or friends that I can't get out of. Maybe you think I'm weird but that's how I am.

    1. I don't think you're weird at all, Luthien!! 😊 I'm not big into dressing up either. My favorite outfit is an old sweatshirt & yoga pants, lol. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!!

    2. Thank you for the kind comment, Marilyn. I don't like people to gossip about my physical appearance and outfit in comparison with other ladies. I'll tell you a secret. I reuse some of the dresses I wore at other weddings and hope the guests don't find out.


Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...