• Melissa Makarewicz

Captive Hearts

Will Captain Wentworth realize too late that he has a second chance at love?


With a successful naval career and a fortune to his name, Frederick Wentworth receives a hero’s welcome from his sister’s neighbours.


One person, though, presents a source of vexation. Years earlier, Miss Anne Elliot had reneged on her promise to marry Wentworth, revealing a significant character flaw. Yet Anne’s unmarried state at the age of seven and twenty, her altered demeanour, and her resolute avoidance of Wentworth raise questions that gnaw at his composure.


In this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the captain follows the advice of a respected new friend and re-examines the agonizing circumstances of his bitter break from Anne, reaching a novel conclusion. But before he can act upon his new resolve, a dire twist of fate threatens Anne’s life.


Hello fellow readers! I am excited to be sharing this amazing story with you today. Kelly is an author that has been on my want-to-read list now for a while. When I saw this was a Persuasion variation, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this tour.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy in order to read Captive Hearts early and wow! I was blown away. This is my favorite Persuasion variation to date. It kept me hooked from beginning to end. There were even a few moments where I gasped out loud. In my humble opinion, this is an absolute must-read!


Now for the exciting part. Here is an excerpt from the story...

This scene, in Captain Wentworth’s point of view, takes place at a dinner party held at the Great House at Uppercross (The Musgrove family’s house). Right before this, the captain had declared his disapprobation of ladies on warships and his sister, Sophia, expressed her disagreement.



Sophia faced Mrs. Darcy. “I am curious to know your opinion. If your husband undertook an extensive sea voyage, would you not wish to accompany him?”


The lady alternated glances between Wentworth and Sophia. “I should indeed, Mrs. Croft. I should not wish to suffer a long separation from my husband under any circumstances.”


He directed a studied gaze towards Mr. Darcy. An intelligent, educated gentleman such as this must comprehend the inherent dangers to the female sex with sea travel, even on the sort of luxury vessels that purveyed to the wealthy. “What say you, Mr. Darcy? Are you in favour of your wife embarking upon an arduous, protracted ocean journey, even with your escort?”


“Certainly not during wartime. Even without the threat of war, I should use every means at my disposal to convince my wife against the action.”


“Oh?” Mrs. Darcy leaned towards her husband. “What might you say?”


“I should remind you of the limited opportunity for walking afforded by a ship.”


“Hmm.” The lady cocked her head. “Your strategy has merit, but your best chance at success would be to avoid sea travel yourself.”


With a slight rise to the corners of his lips, Mr. Darcy nodded.


Croft leaned back, lifting his chin. “The sea has its dangers, but so does travel by carriage. Highwaymen pose a threat, as do icy roads or any number of other carriage mishaps.” His sight shifted to Wentworth. “It is all too easy to believe yourself firm on this subject as a bachelor. But mark my words, when you are married, you will welcome the opportunity to take your wife aboard your ship and thank any captain who transports her to you.”


“Your proclamation cannot be proven or disproven under current circumstances, so let that be an end to it.” Several of the ladies present tittered. Wentworth rose and walked to the mantle. His hands brushed over his temples and through his dark-brown hair.


Why had his sister and brother-in-law forced him to defend his position? He would not elucidate the many risks to a lady at sea—not in mixed company. But his sister and brother-in-law understood the potential threats posed to any female by fierce storms, enemy fire, pirates, and even members of one’s own crew.


At the request of his friend Harville, Wentworth had taken Mrs. Harville and her sister, cousin, and three children from Portsmouth to Plymouth, a journey encompassing a full night at sea. For him, the voyage had been fraught with anxiety and cost him a long sleepless night. Several of his men had given the ladies lustful stares, inducing him to assign his most trusted sailors as their constant guards. He had seldom been more relieved than when they reached the port of Plymouth without incident.


The butler announced the arrival of two young ladies, Miss Hayter and Miss Julie, cousins of the Musgrove offspring.


Soon thereafter, one of the young ladies cried out for dancing and the others voiced support for the idea.


Miss Elliot moved to the pianoforte, and he partnered with Miss Musgrove for the first set. After the fourth set, when no one moved to relieve Miss Elliot, he could not refrain from querying Miss Louisa in a lowered tone. “Will Miss Elliot not dance?”


The lady’s blonde curls jounced with her merry laugh. “Anne? Oh no, never. She has given up dancing. She would rather play. Our dear Anne never tires of playing.” He sneaked a glance to his left where Miss Elliot scanned a shelf filled with music books. She once enjoyed dancing. In what other ways had she changed?


He gazed towards Mrs. Darcy, who stood nearby. Vertical lines formed between the lady’s brows, and her eyes darted between Miss Elliot and Miss Louisa.


Later, when Miss Elliot returned to the pianoforte with a selection of music, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy approached the instrument. Wentworth made a casual turn about the room and halted a short distance away.


“I wonder if you would indulge a whimsical fancy of ours.” Mrs. Darcy rested a hand upon her husband’s arm. “You see, Mr. Darcy, bless his heart, delights in hearing me play, even though my skill does not equal yours. Would you mind terribly if I played the next set?”


Miss Elliot propelled herself from the seat. “Why no, of course not. I should be happy to step aside.” She turned to walk away.


“Miss Elliot.”


She halted and spun to face Mr. Darcy. “Yes?”


“I should be honoured if you would dance the next with me.”


“Oh. I…yes. I should be happy to accept.”


Wentworth’s respect for the wealthy couple deepened. Without question, Mrs. Darcy had been the impetus behind their ploy. The lady’s husband, who had declined to dance until that moment, paid Miss Elliot a particular honour and made her the subject of envy. More than one indiscreet lady present had voiced a desire that evening to dance with the “uncommonly handsome” Mr. Darcy.


Whilst he danced with Miss Julie, the lady partnered with Mr. Darcy absorbed him. Engaged in this convivial activity, Miss Elliot revealed glimpses of her younger self, the one from his cache of memories.


Criminy! His instinctive jerk backwards prevented a collision with Mr. Charles Musgrove. “Pardon me.” Wentworth hastened to where a grinning Miss Julie awaited him. Heat overspread his face. How had he turned the wrong way?


Thereafter, he restricted his focus to the dance and his own partner. Not tonight, but soon, Miss Elliot’s society would cease wreaking havoc upon his equanimity.


About the Author:

Award-winning author Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano, singing, or walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets.


Captive Hearts is her fifth book published by Meryton Press. Other

books by Kelly Miller:




Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation with a touch of fantasy

• Winner: Royal Dragonfly Book Awards and Indies Today Book Awards.

Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation

• Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

Accusing Mr. Darcy, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation and murder mystery

• Winner: Firebird Book Awards and Queer Indie Awards-Ally Division.

• Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.

• Finalist: Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

A Consuming Love, a Pride and Prejudice Regency novella

• Winner: Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.

• Recommended Read: Author Shout Reader Ready Awards.


Kelly’s blog page is found at www.kellymiller.merytonpress.com, her Twitter handle is @kellyrei007, Instagram: kelly.miller.author, and she is on Facebook: www.facebook.Author.Kelly.Miller.

Contact Info:

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

Facebook

Twitter

Blog


Buy Info:

Amazon US

Amazon UK



Captive Hearts Blog Tour Schedule

1-24 Babblings of a Bookworm

1-25 My Jane Austen Book Club

1-27 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

1-28 The Literary Assistant

1-29 From Pemberley to Milton

1-31 My Vices and Weaknesses


Giveaway:

Meryton Press is giving away 6 eBooks of Captive Hearts.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MGNhODZiOWI4ODNmNDRkMjQ1ZDA5MDg0NTQ1MWExOjQ2/?


Thank you all for stopping by. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway.


Happy Reading! Melissa


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