Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Under the Mistletoe Day 10: The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds

For the last day of my Under the Mistletoe series, I want to share one of my all-time favorite mistletoe scenes. It takes place between Cassie Boulton and Calder Westing in Abigail Reynolds's The Man who Loved Pride and Prejudice (formerly titled, Pemberley by the Sea). Anyone who has read Abigail's books knows just what a talented writer she is. She is queen of creating passion-filled, tension-filled scenes, and this one does not disappoint! I hope you enjoy this mistletoe scene between Cassie and Calder as much as I do! And if you have yet to read this Pride and Prejudice modern adaptation, I hope you soon will! 

Excerpt from The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds

     As Cassie moved into the next room she caught sight of a familiar form. She felt a lurch within her at the memory of Calder Westing, but it was just her overactive imagination at work. He couldn’t possibly be there. Still, she found herself glancing over in the direction of the unknown man until he turned enough that she could see his face. Her breath caught. It was him. A sudden memory of that night at the beach came to her, and she felt herself blushing.

     Fortunately, he hadn’t seen her, and she began to edge away. She wasn’t precisely sure why she wanted to avoid him, beyond a vague thought he would question her presence there, or that somehow he might know just how often he had crossed her mind since their last meeting in August.
     She made her escape successfully to the living room, but didn’t find Tim there, only a group of older women sitting close together and gossiping. Feeling out of place, she continued into the dining room, and then the hallway, where she found herself face to face with the very man she was trying to avoid.
     The look on his face bespoke his astonishment at finding her there. Astonishment, and no particular pleasure, at least as far as she could see.
     “Cassie Boulton,” he said slowly.
     His deep voice stirred memories in her, but she wouldn’t be intimidated by his presence. Raising an eyebrow mockingly, she said, “Calder Westing. We both get full points for excellent memory for names.”
     “What are you doing here?”
     As if it was against the law for her to show up at a fancy party! “As it happens, I was invited. But you needn’t worry. I know how to mind my manners in polite company, and I even washed my hands before I came. You can always pretend not to know me if I commit some terrible faux pas. And what are you doing here?”
     His eyes moved down her body, making her feel hot inside. “The Crowleys are old friends of mine. I’m spending Christmas here. Running away from home, if you like. Is your family from this area?”
     “No, I’m just visiting. I don’t get done with work until just before Christmas, with grades being due. It’s too complicated to travel a long way on Christmas Eve, so I usually spend it with friends here.” She felt like she was babbling. She tried to ignore the part of her brain that wanted to find out if he still smelled like evergreens and dark spice, to feel his skin under her fingertips.
     A well-dressed older man came past and nudged Calder in the arm. “Westing, you lucky devil, you managed to catch a pretty one! All I found under the mistletoe this year was Mildred Samuelson.” He pointed above them.
     Cassie’s eyes traveled upwards to discover the sprig of mistletoe in the arch above them. She brought her hand up as if to hold Calder at bay, and said quickly, “There’s no need. It’s just an accident of timing.”
     “Can’t break with tradition, can you, Westing?” the older man said with a broad wink.
Calder smiled slowly, and said in a tone of discovery, “You’re right. I am a lucky devil.”
She felt mesmerized as his fingers touched her cheek gently. Slowly he leaned toward her until his lips caressed hers gently, and in a rush of sensation she was transported back to the last time she felt his kiss. He took advantage of her moment of weakness to tease her lips apart with his tongue.
     Desire raced through her as he gently explored her mouth, drawing an undeniable response from her. Nothing had changed. Despite everything, he still had that unique power to arouse her.
     She was so caught up in the pleasure of his lips on hers that she hardly noticed his arms going around her. Nothing could be more natural than for her to slip her arms around his neck. He groaned softly against her mouth as their bodies finally met, and she understood perfectly. The feeling of his body against hers sent an electric current of desire through her, fueling the ache deep within her where she had felt empty for months. With a sigh of pleasure, she arched against him, luxuriating in the feeling of his body pressing against her breasts.
     Their tongues danced in an age-old manner, familiar from memories she had replayed so often, but with a new life. Finally, he released her lips, leaving her looking at him breathlessly. His hand lightly caressed her lower back, each movement creating a greater need in her.
     It took an effort to remember where they were and how inappropriate this was. At least the older man had disappeared, probably embarrassed by their display. With a sense of shock, she realized how very close she was to giving him whatever he wanted, all for a kiss under the mistletoe she had tried to avoid.

*Excerpt provided by the author and used with author's permission
Mmm-mmm-mmm! Now you can see why I enjoy this story so much! If you have yet to read any of Reynolds's Woods Hole Quartet, you must. The Man Who Loves Pride and Prejudice remains one of my favorite modern adaptations. 

From the publisher:
A modern love story with a Jane Austen twist.. .

Marine biologist Cassie Boulton has no patience when a modern-day Mr. Darcy appears in her lab on Cape Cod. Proud, aloof Calder Westing III is the scion of a famous political family, while Cassie's success is hard-won in spite of a shameful family history.

When their budding romance is brutally thwarted, both by his family and by hers, Calder tries to set things right by rewriting the two of them in the roles of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice...but will Cassie be willing to supply the happy ending?

Author Bio:
Abigail Reynolds is a great believer in taking detours. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.  After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a hobby during her years as a physician in private practice.
A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod.  Her most recent releases are MR. DARCY’S REFUGE, MR. DARCY’S LETTER, A PEMBERLEY MEDLEY, and MORNING LIGHT, and she is currently working on a new Pemberley Variation and the next novel in her Cape Cod series. A lifetime member of JASNA and a founder of the popular AUSTEN AUTHORS group blog, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of animals.  Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house.

Connect with Abigail Reynolds
Read It Now!
Kindle | Nook


  1. My, my, that WAS a lovely, steamy little interlude! This whole series has been great fun, and you certainly chose a fantastic passage to wrap up the lip-action laden posts.

    1. I could think of no better way to wrap up this series than with my favorite kiss! Mmm-mmm! ;) Thanks so much for stopping by, Diana! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. MmmMmmMMM I wouldn't care if everyone in the room was staring at me - I mean, it's Calder.

    LOVE love love this book. Definitely makes my list of favorites, and I was so happy to see more of Cassie & Calder in Morning Light.

    1. Just mentioning the name "Calder" does things to a girl.... *sigh*! ;) Cassie sure is one lucky girl!
      I agree, Monca. I, too, was happy to see Cassie and Calder in Morning Light! Looking forward to the next Woods Hole book, whenever it may come out.

  3. Replies
    1. Oh, yes, Angie! I would love to personally see all the sights from TMWLP&P and Morning Light, especially the salt marsh and the bioluminescence. And maybe experience what Calder and Cassie did that night there! =) It sounds like a neat experience.

    2. I hope someday you'll come up to the Cape so that I can take you on my special tour of all the sights in the book! I love showing those places to people.

  4. Replies
    1. Very nice, indeed, Ceri! ;) This is one of my favorite books, and I am glad to see that Abigail maintains this feel in the next Woods Hole book, Morning Light. I cannot wait for when she publishes the third book in the quartet!

  5. I have this book!!! Love it ;). Abigail did such a wonderful job with this makes me smile reading this snippet again!

    Jakki, your Mistletoe series was great fun. Thank you for sharing all of these scenes with us!!

    1. Thanks, Marilyn! =) It was a fun series to post! I mean, all those great kisses must be read and reread, and in this case, read again for the 200th time! ;)
      Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!! =) *Hugs*

  6. I loved this book. Thanks for sharing the excerpt today.

    1. You are so welcome, Sophia Rose! When I thought about doing this series, this was the first mistletoe scene that came to mind! Glad to hear you enjoyed this book too! =)

  7. Thank you for all the lovely comments. Both the book and this scene hold special places in my heart. I'm actively working on Book 3 in the series after letting it sit on the shelf for more than a year. I can see now what the problem with that version was, and I'm working on correcting it. Unfortunately, this means pulling out some major plot elements, so I have to do some restructuring. I'm excited about it.

    Thanks for including my book, Jakki!

    1. It was truly my pleasure, Abigail! Like *SO* many others, I just adore your writing and Calder & Cassie!
      I'm glad to hear you are working on book 3 in the series!! YAY!! Can't wait to see what you come up with! =)
      And thank you for stopping by! =)
      Hope you and your family enjoy this Christmas season!!

  8. Wonderful (and now I want to know how it continues!). Perfect for wrapping up your wonderful mistletoe-series, Jakki. Thanks for searching for all these great scenes for us readers, Jakki!
    Christmas can come!

    1. Oh, Katrin!! This is a MUST READ for any modern P&P lover!
      You are so sweet!! =) Big hugs to you! Glad to hear you enjoyed this series, Katrin!
      Hope you have a Very Merry Christmas! =)

  9. *le sigh* How I love that scene! How I love this book! Calder is just too hot! I can't take it! ;)

    Wonderful first event, Jakki! It was so enjoyable to see all these Christmas excerpts featured together and in the spotlight!

    1. Calder *is* too hot!! ;) Reading this excerpt gives me the urge to pick up this book and read Cassie and Calder's story all over again (for about the 4th time)!!
      Thanks, Meredith! This was a fun event to do! =)